Jeffrey Loria

News flash: Jeffrey Loria says something stupid

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Maybe it really is a news flash and not just an ironic one. Loria usually does stupid thins as opposed to saying them publicly. I’ll leave that analysis to someone who can stomach thinking about Jeff Loria for more than the time it takes me to do this post and then go cleanse my psyche with non-Loria thoughts.

Anyway, here’s Jeffy, unhappy with how the Marlins are doing:

“I’m not happy,’ he said in the clubhouse during the seventh inning of Florida’s 6-3 loss to Tampa Bay. Asked about his team’s play so far, Loria quickly vented his frustration.

“Uninspired baseball … Inconsistent and not acceptable. Very few guys have focused on what they’re here for. Very few … I know it’s only spring training, but it’s time to take a look in the mirror. We’re better than this. It’s time to show it. We need to be playing as a team and we need to hit.”

It’s spring freakin’ training. And while one can identify bad habits and bad signs in any given player over the course of the spring, I have yet to see any study whatsoever that shows a link between a team’s overall performance in spring training and how they do in the regular season.

And really, that’s what Loria’s on about here: the losses. Because nowhere in his quotes does he identify actual problems with the team other than the losses. He dismisses injuries — which is one of the few things that are relevant about spring training — and talks about “effort” and “inspiration” and other intangible hokum about which he knows very little. It’s the kind of thing you hear guys discussing in sports bars and on talk radio. Any serious baseball person knows that Loria is speaking in empty platitudes here. The Marlins haven’t won in spring training while he’s been down there. That’s all he knows. Boo-freakin’-hoo, Jeff, it’s irrelevant.

But there is something awesome about the story: the accompanying photo of Loria holding a stopwatch or a cell phone or something while “checking the pitch speed on Jhan Marinez.” As if he knows something about baseball other than how to make money in it and destroy franchises.  It’s like a fantasy camp for billionaire art collectors who fancy themselves scouts or GMs or something.  Cute!

Bobby Valentine on short list to be U.S. Ambassador to Japan

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 12:  Former MLB player Bobby Valentine attends Annual Charity Day hosted by Cantor Fitzgerald, BGC and GFI at BGC Partners, INC on September 12, 2016 in New York City.  (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Cantor Fitzgerald)
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There is literally nothing you could tell me that the incoming administration is considering which would shock me anymore. As such, I saw this story when I woke up this morning, blinked once, took a sip of coffee, closed the browser window and just went on with my morning, as desensitized as a wisdom tooth about to be yanked.

Rob Bradford of WEEI reports that Former Red Sox, Mets and Rangers manager Bobby Valentine is on a short-list of candidates for the job of United States Ambassador to Japan:

The 66-year-old, who currently serves as Sacred Heart University’s athletics director, has engaged in preliminary discussions with President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team regarding the position.

When contacted Thursday night, Valentine refused comment.

Huh. Given his history, I’d have assumed Valentine would be a better choice for the CIA, but what do I know?

Valentine managed the Chiba Lotte Marines of Japan’s Pacific League for six seasons, leading the team to a championship in 2005. He also knows the current prime minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, as both went to USC. Assuming championship teams meet the country’s leader in Japan like they do in the United States, Valentine has at least twice the amount of experience with top political leaders than does, say, Ned Yost, so that’s something.

The former manager, more importantly, is friends with Donald Trump’s brother, with the two of them going way back. Which, given how this transition is going, seems like a far more important set of qualifications than anything else on this list.

Report: Dexter Fowler will take a physical in St. Louis on Friday

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02:  Dexter Fowler #24 of the Chicago Cubs reacts after lining out during the third inning against the Cleveland Indians in Game Seven of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
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Update (8:51 PM EST): The deal is in place, according to Heyman.

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Update (8:27 PM EST): Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Cardinals made an “over-the-top offer” to Fowler to ensure he’d sign.

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Frank Cusumano of KSDK Sports reports that free agent outfielder will take a physical in St. Louis on Friday. Presumably, that means that Fowler and the Cardinals have gotten pretty far along in negotiations.

Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports recently reported that Fowler was looking for $18 million per year. The Blue Jays reportedly made an offer to Fowler in the four-year, $16 million range several days ago. The Cardinals’ offer to Fowler, if there is indeed one, is likely somewhere between the two figures.

Fowler, 30, is coming off of a fantastic year in which he helped the Cubs win their first World Series since 1908. During the regular season, he hit .276/.393/.447 with 13 home runs, 48 RBI, 84 runs scored, and 13 stolen bases in 551 plate appearances.

Fowler rejected the Cubs’ $17.2 million qualifying offer last month. While the QO compensation negatively affected Fowler’s experience in free agency last offseason — he didn’t sign until late February with the Cubs — his strong season is expected to make QO compensation much less of an issue.