Last week Bobby Valentine made headlines for saying he wanted to punch WEEI radio host Glenn Ordway following what the Red Sox manager thought was an obnoxious question.
Valentine was back on WEEI and Ordway’s show this afternoon and jokingly brought boxing gloves to the studio.
In addition to proving (or at least attempting to show) that he’s a good sport Valentine also said he plans to manage the Red Sox in 2013 “and beyond” amid speculation that he’ll be fired after the season.
Here’s the full quote, via Paul Flannery of WEEI.com:
It’s not up to me, but I think I will be, yeah. And beyond. Why would I say that I want to be here for 2013 as though that’s going to be the end of something? That will be the continuation and hopefully the beginning of something really special. Why would I think it’s going to be a year’s job?
Well, for starters because Valentine’s contract has one more year on it. But whatever.
He was also asked about Kevin Youkilis being traded to the White Sox following a reported feud with Valentine and noted that Youkilis’ batting average hasn’t risen since the deal, saying: “I just want to point out that I’m not the reason he was batting .238.”
That’s technically true. Youkils had a .233 batting average for the Red Sox and has a .234 batting average for the White Sox. Of course, his OPS has risen 100 points since the trade and he’s homered 12 times in 61 games for Chicago.
There’s more potentially quotable stuff from the radio interview, but I’m just about Valentine’d out.
The Rays were busy over the weekend, trading starter Jake Odorizzi to the Twins, designating All-Star outfielder Corey Dickerson for assignment, and then picking up C.J. Cron in a deal with the Angels. The Rays saved about $4 million — Odorizzi’s $6.3 million less Cron’s $2.3 million salary — and picked up a prospect. They’re still on the hook for Dickerson’s $5.95 million salary until they can find a trade partner, which seems likely.
Those are some head-scratching moves if you’re a Rays fan or a member of the Rays. Dickerson hit .282/.325/.490 with 27 home runs, 62 RBI, and 84 runs scored in 629 plate appearances last season, part of which resulted in his first trip to the All-Star Game. Designating him for assignment is strictly a financial move, assuming he can be traded. The Rays are currently operating with a payroll below $70 million. This comes just a week and a half after Rays ownership proposed the public footing most of the bill for the club’s new stadium. And the Rays had traded third baseman Evan Longoria — then the face of the franchise — to the Giants earlier this offseason.
Longoria expressed sympathy for Rays fans for having to put up with this. Via Andrew Baggarly, Longoria said of the curious Dickerson move, “I just kind of feel sorry for the Rays fan base. … I’m not going to take too many shots but it’s pretty obvious that guy is a valuable player and didn’t deserve to be DFAd. Corey was our best player last year.”
Longoria isn’t quite on the money there. By WAR, Dickerson ranked fifth among position players on the team, according to Baseball Reference. FanGraphs is also in agreement. Still, it’s indisputable that Dickerson, who turns 29 years old this May, more than pulled his weight. The Rays do not have a surfeit of starting outfielders, so it wasn’t like they were making room for other capable players. Mallex Smith, who put up a .684 OPS in 282 PA last year, is slated to start in left field at the moment. Designating Dickerson for assignment, as well as trading Longoria and Odorizzi, were simply cost-cutting decisions.
The Rays’ M.O. has been part of the problem leading to the current stagnant free agent market (sans Eric Hosmer‘s eight-year deal on Saturday). Teams like the Rays, Phillies, Reds, and Tigers have been explicitly putting out non-competitive teams in order to facilitate a rebuilding process. Longoria is right to express sympathy for Rays fans, who see their favorite team worsening a roster that went 80-82 last year. The Rays haven’t finished at .500 or above since 2013 and doesn’t figure to halt the streak this year.