Kurkjian: Marlins will offer Valentine a four-year deal

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If Peter Gammons’ word isn’t enough to convince the HBT readership that Bobby Valentine is days away from being named the Marlins’ next manager, this might do the trick:

According to ESPN.com’s Tim Kurkjian, the Fish will offer Bobby V. a lucrative four-year contract after he is interviewed on Friday night in south Florida.  Valentine is obviously interested in the gig because he withdrew his name from the O’s managerial search earlier this week. 

And why wouldn’t he be?  The Marlins are off to a disappointing 35-36 start this season and currently sit six games back of the Braves in the National League East, but with talented youngsters like Hanley Ramirez, Mike Stanton, Josh Johnson, Gaby Sanchez and Chris Coghlan in tow, there’s plenty of reason to be optimistic about the club’s future. 

A new stadium set to open in 2012 should only sweeten the deal for Valentine, who is currently an analyst on ESPN’s Baseball Tonight.

Before the offer comes, however, the Marlins will the will interview their interim
manager, Edwin Rodriguez, as well as Diamondbacks’ third base coach Bo
Porter, a former Marlins and current Diamondback coach. That according to FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal
One can’t help but turn a cynical eye at those interviews as Loria
pretending to consider minority candidates (Rodriguez is Latino and
Porter is black) while everyone on the planet knows that he wants
Valentine.  Such is the world we live in, however, and one can easily
argue that baseball’s insistence that such token interviews take place
is sillier than conducting them is.

But that’s a conversation for another day. Today, it seems, Loria is
getting his man. Or will soon, anyway. May they be happy together.

Tanner Scheppers leaves Cactus League game with lower core injury

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Rangers’ bullpen candidate Tanner Scheppers left Friday’s Cactus League game with pain in his “lower half,” according to reports by Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. The specifics of the right-hander’s injury have yet to be determined, but he was accompanied by the athletic trainer when he exited the game and is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Saturday.

Scheppers, 30, has a long history of elbow and knee injuries. He missed all but 8 2/3 innings of the 2016 season after undergoing a procedure to repair torn articular cartilage in his left knee. While he appeared healthy enough through his first seven appearances this spring, he failed to impress with three runs, five walks and six strikeouts over 7 2/3 innings with the club.

Should Scheppers find himself on the disabled list for another lengthy stay, MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan speculates that his absence could clear some room in the bullpen for Rule 5 draft pick and fellow righty Mike Hauschild. Hauschild, 27, has dealt seven runs, five walks and 15 strikeouts through 17 1/3 innings in camp.

Report: Jose Ramirez close to four-year extension with Indians

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Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan reports that third baseman Jose Ramirez is finalizing a four-year extension with the Indians. The deal is said to be worth north of $30 million, and may crest $50 million if all options are exercised. While the extension won’t take effect until the 2018 season, it guarantees Ramirez a $26 million sum with two options worth $11 and $13 million and will give the Indians control of the infielder through the 2023 season.

Ramirez, 24, is entering his fifth season in the Indians’ organization. He posted career-high numbers during his first full season in the majors, slashing .312/.363/.461 with 11 home runs, 22 stolen bases and 4.8 fWAR in 2016. He’s projected to have a strong follow-up season at the plate and will likely see some time at second base as Jason Kipnis works his way back from a shoulder injury.

Although 2016 only showcased the beginning of Ramirez’s success with the club, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman says it’s a standard move for Cleveland to “sign their stars early,” and indicates that Ramirez was rumored to want the deal. Jeff Todd of MLB Trade Rumors adds that the extension will keep Ramirez under club control through three arbitration-eligible years and one year of potential free agency.