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.
David Price showed “strength improvements” in his elbow on Saturday, but Red Sox’ manager John Farrell still doesn’t think the left-hander will be ready to throw by the start of the season — or for a few weeks afterward. According to ESPN’s Scott Lauber, the 31-year-old might not be ready to debut until May at the earliest.
Price hasn’t thrown off of a mound this spring after experiencing soreness in his left elbow on March 1. Surgery doesn’t appear to be necessary, but the Red Sox are playing it extra safe with their No. 3 starter in hopes that rest and rehabilitation will return him to full health sometime during the 2017 season. For now, Price has been restricted to short games of catch until he’s cleared to resume a more rigorous throwing program. Via MLB.com’s Ian Browne:
[There were] strength improvements to the point of putting the ball back in his hand a little more consistently,” said manager John Farrell. “Today’s the first step for that. A short game of catch. That’s what he’s going through. Not off a mound but just to get the arm moving with a ball in flight, and he will continue in this phase for a period of time. There’s no set distance and volume yet to the throws.
The lefty is coming off of a lackluster 2016 season, during which he delivered a 3.99 ERA, 2.0 BB/9 and 8.9 SO/9 over 230 innings for the Red Sox.
Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Cardinals’ catcher Yadier Molina is still open to extension talks during the last week of spring training. Once Opening Day rolls around, however, Molina has preemptively nixed any contract negotiations until the end of the 2017 season, when he’s scheduled to hit free agency.
Molina wants to stay with the Cardinals, or so he’s telling reporters, but he’s also “not afraid” to test the free agent market this fall should a deal fail to materialize. Via Goold:
I would love to stay, but at the same time I’m not afraid to go to free agency. I’ve still got many years in the tank. Believe me. I feel great. I feel like a 20-year-old kid. I’m not afraid to go to free agency.
The 34-year-old backstop is entering his final year under contract, though Goold points out that he has a $15 million option for 2018 that he can choose to decline in the event that it’s exercised by the team. He’s reportedly searching for a figure closer to those made by other top catchers like Buster Posey and Russell Martin.
The 2017 season will mark Molina’s 14th year in the Cardinals’ organization, building on a career that has spanned seven All-Star campaigns, nine postseason runs and two World Series championships in St. Louis. He batted .307/.360/.427 with eight home runs and a .787 OPS for the club in 2016.