UPDATE, 10:34 PM: Spencer now says that Heyman got it right. Valentine is no longer in the running for the job.
UPDATE, 8:50 PM: Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald heard from a “high-placed source” late Sunday night that Valentine is still a candidate for the job.
UPDATE, 6:24 PM: This is all news to Valentine, who texted “I have no idea” to the Palm Beach Post’s Joe Capozzi when asked about Heyman’s report and whether or not he is still in the running for the job.
6:11 PM: SI.com’s Jon Heyman reports that Bobby Valentine is no longer in the running for the Marlins’ managerial opening.
What an odd turn of events. Valentine seemed like a near-lock for the gig on Friday when Heyman posted this on Twitter:
“marlins, valentine have at least a tentative deal for him to manage. he starts by monday, when florida plays mets in P.R. “
And Heyman was not alone. Many in the baseball industry, even those with close ties to both Valentine and the Marlins’ thinking were penciling the Baseball Tonight analyst in as the team’s new manager.
Now it appears that the Marlins will stick with interim skipper Edwin Rodriguez as they travel to Puerto Rico for a three-game set with the Mets. It’s a nice honor for Rodriguez, who is from the country, but whether he will have his interim tag removed altogether remains to be seen. The Marlins cut ties with manager Fredi Gonzalez last week after the club got off to a 34-36 record this season under his watch.
The Nationals are trying to go big this offseason, and FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal notes that they are still in trade talks for White Sox’ left-hander Chris Sale and Pirates’ center fielder Andrew McCutchen. Both players figure to command a big return, as Sale delivered another Cy Young-worthy performance in 2016 and, despite a downturn in his production rate, McCutchen is still one of the more coveted sluggers in the National League.
In 2016, Sale led the league in complete games, with six, and turned in a 3.34 ERA and 5.2 fWAR in 226 2/3 innings. While teams have been sniffing around the White Sox’ ace since the trade deadline, the club is expected to maintain a high asking price — so high, said FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, that it may keep the left-hander in Chicago for the foreseeable future.
According to Heyman, four other teams are reportedly in the mix for Sale, including the Red Sox, Astros, Rangers, and Braves, though parts of Rosenthal’s tweet hinted that the Red Sox were maintaining their interest in hopes of striking a more affordable deal. Should the Nationals pursue a deal for Sale, it’s likely that they’d have to move shortstop/center fielder Trea Turner, which they appear reluctant to do.
McCutchen, meanwhile, is also drawing interest around the league after batting .256/.336/.430 with 24 home runs in 675 PA during 2016. He didn’t appear to lose much power in his eighth season with the Pirates, but took considerably fewer walks and struck out at a career-high clip.
The Nationals were said to be in the lead for McCutchen on Thursday, and there was some expectation that the club would wrap up a trade for the center fielder by the non-tender deadline on Friday. FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi pointed out that the Rangers were also talking to the Pirates, however, and no deal has come to fruition as of yet.
The Astros have reportedly agreed to terms with free agent DH/outfielder Carlos Beltran for a one-year, $16 million contract, per ESPN’s Buster Olney. The deal includes a complete no-trade clause, according to a report from Bob Nightengale of USA Today.
Beltran elected to return to the Astros after fielding offers from the Yankees, Blue Jays, and Red Sox. He appeared in Houston during the second half of 2004, batting .258/.368/.559 with 23 home runs in 399 PA and making his first postseason run to the tune of a .435 average and eight homers as the Astros battled their way through to a seven-game loss in the Championship Series. Beltran also played with Houston manager A.J. Hinch and bench coach Alex Cora in separate stints with the Royals and Mets, which the Houston Chronicle’s Jake Kaplan cited as possible influences in the Astros’ decision to pursue the free agent.
In 2016, Beltran split the season between the Yankees and Rangers after getting dealt at the deadline for a package of right-handed pitching prospects. He was stationed in right field for the majority of his time in New York, but was almost exclusively utilized as a designated hitter over 52 games in Texas. Between the two clubs, he batted an impressive .295/.337/.513 with 29 homers and earned his ninth career All-Star designation to boot.
The veteran slugger is expected to fill a similar role on the Astros, who need a full-time DH but could use some additional support in the outfield corner. Olney envisions a lineup with Beltran in the five-spot, per an earlier report: