Schilling

Curt Schilling says Red Sox players hate Bobby Valentine

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You’re not gonna believe this, but Curt Schilling has some hard, controversial truths about the Boston Red Sox which were revealed to him, Curt Schilling, because he is, in fact, Curt Schilling:

Speaking on WEEI earlier this week, he said that several players have complained to him about Valentine’s behavior:

“I thought that the manager that managed the Mets that I was not a big fan of was now going to be a different manager, and I don’t think there’s anything different at all,” Schilling said. “And I don’t think that that is going to be conducive to doing well here. There’s a lot of things I think that are happening not just from his perspective, but when you talk to these guys—and I’m still talking to some of these guys—I don’t think this is going well. And I think it’s going bad quicker than I expected it to.”…He also said that the players don’t like how much attention Valentine has brought to the clubhouse.

And then, in a moment of complete lack of self-awareness, Schilling said this:

“The point I made the other night was that he’s doing a lot of things right now that are forcing his players to extend their media involvement to answer questions about him and the situation when it’s already a challenge enough to do it, to play in this market and to win,” he said.

Because Schilling never, ever did that. Oy.

Anyway, Curt Schilling has been out of baseball since 2007. I wonder how much of his insight here is really based on him talking to a lot of Red Sox players and how much of it is based on him talking to, say, one or two of them and then filling in the rest with his own opinion. Which, as far as the Red Sox clubhouse is concerned, doesn’t matter one iota.

Even if Schilling is right, though, every team is going to have guys who hate the manager. Indeed, as Casey Stengel once said: “the secret of managing is to keep the guys who hate you away from the guys who are undecided.”  So great, Schilling found the guys that hate Valentine. News flash.

(thanks to Dan Turkenkopf for reminding me where that quote came from).

Brandon Belt signs $6.2 million deal, avoiding arbitration with Giants

Brandon Belt
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In a last-second compromise before a scheduled heading today, first baseman Brandon Belt and the Giants have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $6.2 million deal.

Belt requested $7.5 million and the Giants countered at $5.3 million, so they’ve settled slightly on the team-friendly side of the midpoint. Belt will be arbitration eligible again next season for the final time before hitting the open market as a free agent.

He’s coming off a very good season in which he hit .280 with 18 homers and an .834 OPS in 137 games and Belt has a lifetime .803 OPS through age 27, making him one of MLB’s most underrated all-around first baseman.

Orioles sign ex-Padres reliever Dale Thayer

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Right-hander Dale Thayer and the Orioles have agreed to a minor-league contract that includes an invitation to spring training.

Thayer had a rough 2015 season for the Padres, posting a 4.06 ERA and spending time in the minors, but he was a solid part of San Diego’s bullpen from 2012-2014 with a combined 3.02 ERA and 173/50 K/BB ratio in 188 innings.

At age 35 there’s no guarantee that Thayer will look good enough to claim a spot on the Opening Day roster, but he’s got a strong chance to wind up pitching middle relief for Baltimore.

Phillies acquire Taylor Featherston from Angels

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Taylor Featherston, who was designated for assignment by the Angels last week, has been traded to the Phillies for a player to be named later or cash.

Featherston stayed in the majors with the Angels for all of last season due to being a Rule 5 pick from the Rockies organization, but the 25-year-old infielder hit just .162 in 169 plate appearances.

He’s been much better in the minors, but nothing about his track record there screams quality regular and the Phillies are likely viewing him as a defense-first bench option for now.

Keith Law: The Braves have the best farm system in baseball

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Flags fly forever! Hooray for The Process championship!

Ah, sorry. This is about as much rooting as I’ll get to do this year, so cut me some slack.

This is the week when ESPN’s Keith Law releases his prospect and farm system rankings. He kicks off his content this week with a top-to-bottom ranking of all 30 farm systems. As a rule he limits his analysis to players who are currently in the minors and who have not yet exhausted their rookie of the year eligibility. The top system: the Atlanta Braves. The bottom: the Los Angeles Angels, about whom Law says “I’ve been doing these rankings for eight years now, and this is by far the worst system I’ve ever seen.” Enjoy Mike Trout, though, you guys.

If you want to know the reasons and the rankings of everyone in between you’ll have to get an ESPN Insider subscription. Sorry, I know everyone hates to pay for content on the Internet, but Keith and others who do this kind of work put a lot of damn work into it and this is what pays their bills. I typically don’t like to pay for content myself, but I do pay for an ESPN Insider subscription. It’s worth it for Law’s work alone. And though he drives me crazy sometimes, Buster Olney’s daily column/notes thing is also worth the money over the course of the year.