This comes as a bit of surprise. But not really.
Tim Kurkjian of ESPN.com is reporting that Bobby Valentine has pulled himself out of the running for the Marlins’ managerial vacancy.
Valentine gave no reason for his decision, only saying that he has “decided to go in another direction,” but it’s safe to assume that he felt disrespected by the organization when he was not named Fredi Gonzalez’s replacement in June. The Marlins engaged in serious talks with Bobby V at that time and a deal seemed close, but Edwin Rodriguez was named interim skipper instead.
Valentine will be courted by the Mariners and Blue Jays this winter and maybe the Mets, once they figure out a new general manager. He has options, in other words, and would rather head to a club that really wants him than one that operates in an indecisive manner.
Former Phillies skipper Jim Fregosi, former D’Backs bench coach Po Porter and Yankees bench coach Tony Pena are believed to be candidates for the job in south Florida. Padres bench coach Ted Simmons and Dodgers minor league manager Tim Wallach have also been linked to the Fish.
The Giants have acquired All-Star infielder Eduardo Nunez from the Twins in exchange for minor league pitcher Adalberto Mejia, the club announced on Thursday night.
Nunez, 29, went 0-for-4 in Thursday night’s game against the Orioles. He’s hitting .296/.325/.439 with 12 home runs, 47 RBI, 49 runs scored, and a league-best 26 stolen bases in 391 plate appearances this season. Nunez has played mostly at shortstop this season, but has also logged significant time at third base and a handful of games at second base, so he’ll give the Giants some versatility.
Nunez will likely play a lot of third base for the Giants as Matt Duffy is still sidelined with a strained left Achilles. He’s earning $1.475 million this season and will enter his third and final year of arbitration eligibility heading into 2017.
Mejia, 23, was considered the Giants’ seventh-best prospect by MLB Pipeline. He earned a promotion to Triple-A Sacramento last month after posting a 1.94 ERA with Double-A Richmond. In seven starts with Sacramento, he has a 4.20 ERA with a 43/11 K/BB ratio in 40 2/3 innings.
With a roster spot open, the Twins called up infield prospect Jorge Polanco from Triple-A Rochester, per MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger.
Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY reports that the Mariners have received “strong” trade interest for starter Taijuan Walker. The right-hander is currently on the mend from tendinitis in his right foot. He’ll throw a bullpen on Friday at Wrigley Field with scouts in attendance.
Walker, 23, has a 3.66 ERA with an 80/18 K/BB ratio in 86 innings this season. It’s his first bit of sustained success at the major league level. What’s arguably just as intriguing is the fact that Walker will be under team control through 2020.
The Mariners have been hovering around .500 for the last month and entered Thursday six games behind the first-place Rangers in the AL West and 4.5 games out of the second AL Wild Card slot, behind three other teams as well as the two Wild Card leaders. It’s enough uncertainty which could push the Mariners to sell.