It sure seemed like a change in plans when it was revealed that the Red Sox were talking to Bobby Valentine yesterday. But as Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald reports, this is not a new development:
Bobby Valentine has been a candidate for the Red Sox manager job from the early stages of the team’s search process, a club source said yesterday. Valentine was one of the first people interviewed by general manager Ben Cherington
This is less important from the perspective of Bobby Valentine’s status, I think, than it is from a team philosophy perspective. Because if it had been the case that Ben Cherington had been interviewing guys like Dale Sveum and Pete Mackanin, and then ownership swooped in and injected Bobby V. into the discussion, it would have told a story of a new GM being undermined and organizational incoherence. But if Valentine was always in the running and if Cherington has been part of that process all along, well, then it’s not a big deal.
I will ask one question, though: If Bobby Valentine has been a candidate for several weeks, is anyone surprised that word of it hadn’t gotten out before yesterday? He’s so recognizable. And last year, when he was being connected to several teams, we heard about it almost immediately, often from people close to Valentine, as opposed to the team.
I have no reason to doubt the report that the Sox have been on Valentine for a while, but I am kinda surprised that no one leaked word of it before now.
Brewers closer Corey Knebel set a modern major league record for relievers to start a season, as Thursday’s appearance marked his 38th consecutive appearance with a strikeout. He set down the side in order in the ninth inning, striking Josh Bell out to start the frame.
Aroldis Chapman held the record previously, recording a strikeout in his first 37 appearances of the season in 2014 with the Reds.
Knebel, 25, has flown under the radar despite having an incredibly good season. He moved into the closer’s role in mid-May when Neftali Feliz, now a free agent, struggled. After Thursday’s appearance, Knebel is 12-for-15 in save chances with a 0.96 ERA and a 65/17 K/BB ratio in 37 2/3 innings.
Despite having hit at least 20 home runs in eight of his 11 seasons in the majors, Reds first baseman Joey Votto has never participated in a Home Run Derby. Currently, he’s tied for the National League lead in home runs with 20, and he hasn’t been invited to this year’s festivities at Marlins Park.
In the event he is invited, Votto said he thinks he can win it, C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. Votto likened himself to Ichiro Suzuki, a player known more for his contact abilities and mastery of the strike zone than power. “Just think of me as the Canadian Ichiro — Japan has theirs and Canada has theirs,” Votto said. “I could pull homers into the seats at will.”
Along with the 20 homers, Votto is currently hitting .306/.419/.601 with 53 RBI, and 52 runs scored in 313 plate appearances.
Teammate Scott Schebler also has 20 home runs at the moment and Adam Duvall, who made it to the semifinals of the Derby last year, has 16. Neither of them have been approached about participating in the Derby, either. Per Rosecrans, in the event each was invited, Duvall said he would consider participating if he wasn’t an All-Star and Schebler would participate regardless. Votto said he would only participate if he made the All-Star team.