Asked about Jose Valverde’s latest terrible outing in Game 1 of the World Series last night, Tigers manager Jim Leyland replied: “You know, he wasn’t terrible. He just wasn’t good.”
That’s about as nice as he could possibly phrase things considering Valverde has now allowed nine runs while recording a grand total of five outs in his last three appearances.
And they may be his final appearances, both of the season and for the Tigers. Valverde replied “you never know, you have to play until it’s over” when asked last night he expected to pitch again versus the Giants, reiterating that he felt his mechanics were improved after making some between-series adjustments with pitching coach Jeff Jones.
It’s worth noting that Valverde’s velocity was plenty good last night, with his fastball consistently clocking in at 92-94 miles per hour, but after striking out pitcher Tim Lincecum the Giants’ actual hitters went double, single, single, single off Valverde before Leyland removed him for Joaquin Benoit.
Valverde insisted that “I never lose my confidence” but even if that’s somehow true the same obviously can’t be said about Leyland’s confidence in the longtime closer and at this point it’d be surprising to see the impending free agent make another appearance for the Tigers.
Joe Longo, the agent of Marlins outfielder Christian Yelich, said his client’s relationship with the Marlins is “irretrievably broken,” ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports. He believes in the best interest of both Yelich and the Marlins to work out a trade before the start of spring training.
They have a plan. I respect that plan, but that plan shouldn’t include Christian at this point in his career. He’s in the middle of the best years of his career, and having him be part of a 100-loss season is not really where [we] want to see him going.
The relationship between player and team is irretrievably broken. It’s soured. He’s part of the old ownership regime. The new ownership regime needs to get new parts into this plan and move forward, and he needs to get on with his career where he’s got a chance to win. The big issue is him winning and winning now.
He loves the city of Miami. He loves the fans. He’s had nothing but a good experience in South Florida, and he feels sorry where they ended up. But I think having him report [to spring training] and attempting to include him moving forward is going to be uncomfortable for both sides. I don’t see how it’s going to work.
This certainly comes as no surprise considering the offseason the Marlins have had after installing new ownership, going from Jeffrey Loria to Bruce Sherman and Derek Jeter. The club traded All-Star outfielder Giancarlo Stanton, who hit 59 home runs last season, as well as Dee Gordon and Marcell Ozuna. As Crasnick notes, Yelich isn’t the only player to express disappointment with the Marlins’ current direction — J.T. Realmuto and Starlin Castro have as well.
Yelich, 26, signed a seven-year, $49.57 million contract extension with the Marlins in March of 2015. Given his career performance, that’s a bargain of a contract, which is why more than a handful of teams have inquired with the Marlins about him this offseason. Yelich finished the past season with a .282/.369/.439 triple-slash line along with 18 home runs, 81 RBI, 100 runs scored, and 16 stolen bases in 695 plate appearances.