Jose Valverde is in The Best Shape of His Life

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Via our friend Nick Collias comes the translation of an interview Tigers closer Jose Valverde gave to Mañana Deportiva on Dominican radio the other day. Valverde has lost weight.  And he has a nice description of Prince Fielder:

“I lost 40 pounds, because I was very obese.”

“I had to undergo that process because I was overweight. I ate healthily, something that a lot of players don’t do since we eat late, without caring what type of food it is. I hired a chef in order to better care for my food. You can even eat five times a day. The quantity doesn’t matter, but rather the quality.”

“After undergoing that diet process, there’s a change in the field, even during these early training days. My energy is much better. I feel more awake in the practices. It’s a overall change that I’ve given my body, in all senses.

About Prince Fielder: “As we say in the Dominican, Fielder is a block. He’s very strong, muscular. For his size and weight, he runs well. He goes after the ball like a man, not like a boy.”

“He goes after the ball like a man, not a boy.”  I like that. I think I’ll use that in the ATH recaps a few dozen times this year.

Must-Click Link: The Best “Irony Jerseys”

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Our old friend Joe Posnanski tackles a venerable topic over at MLB.com: guys you totally forgot played for a given team. Mostly superstars who had brief stops at non-signature stations at the end of their careers. Or guys, like Mike Piazza and Reggie Jackson, who were with a team for a blink of an eye in between more famous way stations.

We’ve all had this conversation before: remember Willie Mays with the Mets? Doc Gooden with the Astros? John Smoltz with the Cardinals? Heck, I had forgotten about Smoltz with the Cardinals and he was a star on my favorite team once upon a time.

Posnanski calls them “Irony Jerseys.” That’s pretty appropriate, as one can totally imagine someone buying, say, that Dale Murphy Rockies jersey in the name of obscurity. Whatever you call it, it’s a good read.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to get my Ted Simmons Braves jersey for a party at some place uptown that you’ve probably never heard of.

The Mariners and Cardinals make a minor trade

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The Seattle Mariners and the St. Louis Cardinals have made a minor trade. Seattle has acquired lefty Marco Gonzales from the Cardinals in exchange for outfielder Tyler O’Neill.

Gonzales, the Cardinals’ first round pick out of Gonzaga back in 2013, is in his first season back from Tommy John surgery. It’s been a good season, in which he has posted a 2.78 ERA and 64/17 K/BB ratio over 74.1 innings across two minor league levels. He’s pitched one game for St. Louis this year and got shelled, but we’ll leave that go.

O’Neill is a third rounder from 2013. He has hit .269/.344/.505 in five minor league seasons. He’s holding his own in Triple-A this year, smacking 19 homers in 93 games.