Dustin Pedroia doesn’t think Bobby V. should be fired

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Dustin Pedroia told Rob Bradford of WEEI that he doesn’t think Bobby Valentine should be fired:

“I don’t think Bobby should be fired,” he said. “Listen, we haven’t played well. I mean, that’s the bottom line. I’m not going to blame anything on Bobby, and I don’t think anyone else is. It’s on the players. Last year wasn’t on Tito [Francona]. I know he took it hard. We all did. I mean, jeez. It’s on the players.”

Obviously this clashes a bit with Jeff Passan’s report that Pedroia, along with Adrian Gonzalez, led the “Fire Bobby V” charge last month.  Of course you wouldn’t expect Pedroia or any of the players to admit that publicly.

But he is right: the losing is on the players. Say what you want about Valentine, but he’s not the one failing to pitch worth a tinker’s damn most nights.

Still: there is not anything necessarily inconsistent with the on-the-field performance being the fault of the players and the in-the-clubhouse strife being so intolerable that the players want the manager gone. Even great teams can hate one another. Just ask the late 70s Yankees.  As such, Pedroia alluding to the team’s performance is something of a red herring.

Braves release James Loney

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Just a few days after inking him to a minor league deal, the Braves have released first baseman James Loney, the team announced on Monday. Loney became expendable when the Braves acquired Matt Adams from the Cardinals on Saturday as a replacement for the injured Freddie Freeman.

Loney, 33, appeared in two games at Triple-A Gwinnett. He had one hit, a single, and one walk in eight plate appearances.

Loney will likely have to wait for another team to deal with an injured first baseman or DH before he can secure another contract.

Ian Kinsler lists the five toughest pitchers in the AL Central

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Every now and then, The Players’ Tribune runs a “five toughest” feature. In 2015, David Ortiz listed the five toughest pitchers he ever faced. Last month, Christian Yelich wrote up the five toughest pitchers in the NL East. Now, it’s Ian Kinsler‘s turn with the five toughest pitchers in the AL Central.

Kinsler goes into detail explaining why each pitcher is difficult to face, so hop over to The Players’ Tribune for his reasoning. His list

Presumably, Kinsler intentionally omitted his Tiger teammates from the list. He has faced Justin Verlander a fair amount earlier in his career, and he has only a .176/.333/.235 batting line in 42 plate appearances against the right-hander. Verlander’s stuff is often described as tough to hit in one phrase or another. Kinsler has also struggled against Indians starter Carlos Carrasco (.590 OPS), but one can understand why he would be omitted from a list of five given who was already listed.