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.
Bill Whitehead of the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that the Braves have signed reliever David Hernandez to a minor league contract on Sunday. He’ll report to spring training as a non-roster invitee.
Hernandez, who turns 32 years old in May, signed a minor league contract with the Giants in February. He requested and was granted his release on Friday when he learned he wasn’t making the team’s 25-man roster to open the season.
Hernandez pitched for the Phillies last year. He compiled a 3.84 ERA with an 80/32 K/BB ratio in 72 2/3 innings.
Scott Kazmir won’t begin the regular season in the Dodgers’ starting rotation. Manager Dave Roberts said after Kazmir’s Cactus League outing on Sunday that it “doesn’t make sense” for the ailing Kazmir to break camp in the rotation, Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times reports. The lefty will instead rehab some more and join the rotation at a later time.
Kazmir has been battling a hip issue which has caused his mechanics to suffer. He was clocked in the low 80’s 10 days ago and wasn’t much better on Sunday afternoon.
Last season with the Dodgers, Kazmir posted a 4.56 ERA with a 134/52 K/BB ratio in 136 1/3 innings, his worst numbers since returning to the majors in 2013.