Peter Gammons is reporting that Ichiro is lobbying for the Mariners to make Bobby Valentine their new manager. Gammons calls Valentine “Suzuki’s preference.”
It’s not clear why he’d be Ichiro’s favorite, but one can assume that it has something to do with Valentine’s track record in the NPB and word of mouth from friends, former teammates, etc. As I noted last week, however, it’s possible that Valentine’s experience in Japan could be just as likely to be a plus as it is a minus in his column. Familiarity is a two way street, after all.
Based on his age and track record and temperament I’d say that Valentine would be a fine choice with any team that isn’t a total rebuild with kids. He’s a good manager. He’d bring some gravitas to the Seattle job in much the same way Buck Showalter has brought to Baltimore.
The Nationals have acquired left-handed reliever Marc Rzepczynski and cash considerations from the A’s in exchange for minor league infielder Max Schrock.
Schrock is a 21-year-old second baseman who has been pretty darn impressive in A-ball this year, but the Nats can be excused for giving up promise in 2018 or whatever for some bullpen help come playoff time. Rzepczynski walks a few too many guys for my taste but he strikes ’em out at a pretty decent rate for a LOOGY and the Nats could use another southpaw reliever apart from Oliver Perez. This is especially true given how many tough lefty hitters they may face in the playoffs.
On the basic merits, sure, Rzepczynski for Schrock may look pretty dang good for the A’s in a few years. But this October the A’s will be watching on TV from home while the Nats will be trying to win it all, making the trade pretty darn understandable from their point of view.
Meanwhile, in Tulsa, Zach Welz of the visiting Arkansas Travelers made a spectacular catch. It was the catch Torii Hunter tried to make on that famous David Ortiz homer in the playoffs a few years back except Welz made it.
Watch as he topples over the wall to come up with the would-be dinger off the bat of Tulsa Drillers first baseman Cody Bellinger: