Bobby Valentine's reaction at not getting the Florida Marlins' job


There’s a long, interesting story over at SportsBusiness Journal today, breaking down the different philosophies between ESPN’s “Baseball Tonight” and MLB Newtwork’s “MLB Tonight” shows.  It starts out with a behind the scenes look at how Bobby Valentine reacted after he found out that he wouldn’t be the Marlins’ next manager.

The scene: Valentine, Kruk and the others are watching games on video screens in the BBTN conference room.  Jeff Loria comes on the broadcast of the Mets-Marlins game from Puerto Rico and says that Edwin Rodriguez has the job.  Valentine already knew he wasn’t getting the job, but apparently had not heard from Jeff Loria about it yet and didn’t know that Rodriguez was keeping the job. Valentine flipped just a little bit:

“I can’t believe this,” he exclaimed to a room of around a dozen
employees and on-air talent preparing for the nightly “Baseball
Tonight” broadcast. “That’s not where he [Loria] told me he was.”

“Are you saying that he lied?” asked John Kruk, a .300 hitter over a
decade as major leaguer and now one of the ESPN show’s most popular
baseball analysts.

“I’m just saying that he told me he was in a different place than
where I just saw him,” Valentine said.

He grabbed his cell phone and left the room. He returned a few
minutes later, still fixated on the Mets-Marlins game on the screen.

Based on the account I’m surprised that Valentine — though he got his digs in — was as civil as he was about it all by the time he actually went on the air and talked about it.

And about that: the SBJ story spends a lot of time talking about the differences between “Baseball Tonight” and “MLB Tonight.” And there’s a reason the Valentine anecdote serves as the lead in.  Check this out:

[The Bobby Valentine] interview is exactly what [ESPN’s Norby] Williamson wants from “Baseball
Tonight.” He’s looking for talent that will be in the news and will
have to talk about it on ESPN.

Look, I’m not going to dispute the fact that ESPN has been wildly successful over the years, but do we as fans really benefit by ESPN personnel to “be in the news?” That’s the same kind of thinking that led to the LeBron James fiasco and which chips away at the network’s credibility as a news source daily.  Most notably when the news is bad for ESPN people and athletes who are closely associated with the network like Ben Roethlisberger. In those cases we can never be sure if what we’re getting from ESPN is the whole story.

MLB Network has its own issues in this regard, I suppose. For example, I think there’s an open question as to how critical of Major League Baseball’s decisions is the network really free to be.  But it’s not like the network has a desire to insert itself into the story like that either.

At the end of the day I think I’d just prefer someone knowledgeable to tell me what happened on the field that night and leave the intrigue to reality shows and stuff.

Tigers in discussions with Jordan Zimmermann

Jordan Zimmermann
AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports that the Tigers are in discussions with free agent starter Jordan Zimmermann. His sources have told him that the talks have become “serious”.

Zimmermann, 29, has a career 3.32 ERA across parts of seven seasons in the majors. He finished fifth in National League Cy Young Award balloting in 2014, finishing with a 2.66 ERA and a 182/29 K/BB ratio over 199 2/3 innings.

Among starters who have amassed at least 1,000 innings since 2009, only Cliff Lee, Dan Haren, Madison Bumgarner, and Zack Greinke have compiled a better strikeout-to-walk ratio than Zimmermann’s 4.09. While he doesn’t have the star power of other free agents such as Greinke or David Price, the Tigers would certainly improve their rotation by bringing him on board.

Blue Jays still focused on upgrading their pitching

Marco Estrada
AP Photo/LM Otero

Having already added Jesse Chavez and J.A. Happ to the mix and re-signing Marco Estrada early in the offseason, Blue Jays interim GM Tony LaCava said the team will continue to pursue pitching upgrades, as Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports. Nicholson-Smith added that LaCava declined to comment on free agent ace David Price. It is believed that the Jays will not pursue Price and other big-name free agent starting pitchers given their November activity.

The Jays re-signed Estrada to a two-year, $26 million deal on November 13, acquired Chavez from the Athletics in exchange for reliever Liam Hendriks on November 20 and signed Happ to a three-year, $36 million deal on Friday.

Nicholson-Smith notes in a column on Sportsnet that the Jays need to address the bullpen in particular. That is especially true after swapping Hendriks, who had a career-best 2.92 ERA out of the Jays’ bullpen in 2015, for a back-end starting pitcher.

Report: Jonathan Papelbon is “untradeable”

Jonathan Papelbon
AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports spoke to an anonymous baseball executive, who said that Nationals closer Jonathan Papelbon is “untradeable”. The Nationals are hoping to trade both Papelbon and the man he displaced, Drew Storen.

Papelbon has a poor reputation in baseball, particularly after a dugout altercation with superstar outfielder Bryce Harper. Focusing strictly on what he does on the field, Papelbon still gets the job done. The 35-year-old finished the last season with a combined 2.13 ERA, 24 saves, and a 56/12 K/BB ratio over 63 1/3 innings between the Phillies and Nationals.

The Nationals owe Papelbon $11 million for the 2016 season.

Minor league home run king Mike Hessman retires

NEW YORK - JULY 29:  Mike Hessman #19 of the New York Mets bats against the St. Louis Cardinals on July 29, 2010 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. The Mets defeated the Cardinals 4-0.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper reports that corner infielder Mike Hessman has retired from professional baseball after 20 seasons. Hessman hit 433 home runs in the minor leagues, an all-time record. He broke Buzz Arlett’s record this past August and with style as #433 was a grand slam.

Hessman, 37, was selected in the 16th round of the 1996 draft by the Braves and remained with the organization through the 2004 season. He then went to the Tigers from 2005-09, the Mets in 2010, then drifted into the Astros and Reds’ farm systems before returning to the Tigers for the last two years.

Hessman took 250 plate appearances at the major league level, batting .188/.272/.422 with 14 home runs and 33 RBI.