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

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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.

Cubs, Jake Arrieta avoid arbitration at $10.7 million

Jake Arrieta
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
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The Associated Press is reporting that the Cubs and starter Jake Arrieta have avoided arbitration, agreeing to a $10.7 million salary for the 2016 season. That marks the highest salary on a one-year deal for a pitcher with four years of service, the AP notes. Arrieta and the Cubs were set to go before an independent arbitrator but now can simply focus on the season ahead.

Arrieta, 29, is in his second of three years of arbitration eligibility. He had filed for $13 million while the Cubs countered at $7.5 million. The $5.5 million gap was the largest among players who did not come to terms with their respective teams by the January deadline. The $10.7 million salary is $450,000 above the midpoint between the two submitted figures.

Arrieta won the National League Cy Young Award for his performance this past season, narrowly edging out Zack Greinke, then with the Dodgers. Arrieta led the majors with 22 wins, four complete games, and three shutouts. With that, he compiled a 1.77 ERA and a 236/48 K/BB ratio across 229 innings.

Once a top prospect in the Orioles’ minor league system, Arrieta struggled in the majors but found immediate success with the Cubs in 2013 after the O’s traded him along with Pedro Strop in exchange for Steve Clevenger and Scott Feldman.

Giants sign Conor Gillaspie to a minor league deal

Los Angeles Angels third baseman Conor Gillaspie is unable to hold on to the ball after catching a grounder hit by Kansas City Royals' Lorenzo Cain in the fourth inning of a baseball game at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., Friday, Aug. 14, 2015. (AP Photo/Colin E. Braley)
AP Photo/Colin E. Braley
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Per Baseball America’s Matt Eddy, the Giants have signed infielder Conor Gillaspie to a minor league deal. Gillaspie was selected by the Giants in the supplemental round of the 2008 draft, then was traded to the White Sox in February 2013.

Gillaspie, 28, hit a meager .228/.269/.359 with four home runs and 24 RBI in 253 plate appearances between the White Sox and Angels during the 2015 season. Almost all of his playing time has come at third base but he can also play first base if needed.

The Giants, thin on depth, will allow Gillaspie to audition in spring training for a spot on the 25-man roster.

Joe Nathan plans to pitch in 2016

Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Joe Nathan throws against the Chicago White Sox in the ninth inning of a baseball game in Detroit Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
AP Photo/Paul Sancya
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Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports that free agent reliever Joe Nathan, recovering from Tommy John surgery, plans to pitch in 2016 according to his agent Dave Pepe. According to Pepe, Nathan’s workouts are “going well” and the right-hander is “definitely planning on playing this year.”

Nathan, 41, got the final out on Opening Day (April 6) against the Twins before going on the disabled list with a flexor strain in his right elbow, causing him to miss the next 161 games. He will likely be able to contribute out of the bullpen in late May or early June if he has no setbacks. On a minor league deal or incentive-laden major league deal, Nathan could make for a low-risk gamble.

Over a 15-season career that dates back to 1999 (he did not pitch in the majors in 2001 or 2010), Nathan has 377 saves with a 2.89 ERA and a 967/340 K/BB ratio over 917 innings.

The Rays are considering reliever Tyler Clippard

New York Mets pitcher Tyler Clippard throws during the eighth inning of Game 4 of the National League baseball championship series against the Chicago Cubs Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2015, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh
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On Thursday, we learned that the Diamondbacks were still considering free agent reliever Tyler Clippard. You can add the Rays to the list as well, per Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times.

The Rays traded lefty reliever Jake McGee to the Rockies in exchange for outfielder Corey Dickerson in late January, so Clippard would be able to slot right in behind closer Brad Boxberger. Clippard, 30, compiled a 2.92 ERA with 64 strikeouts and 31 walks over 71 innings in a season split between the Athletics and Mets. The strikeout rate was at its lowest since the right-hander become a full-time reliever in 2009, and his walk rate was at its highest since 2010, which may be a factor in his still being a free agent in February.