Doesn’t work that way I suppose, but last night’s walkoff grand slam probably covers for a lot of past transgressions by Jordany Valdespin. Who I vaguely understood was unpopular with his teammates due to some immature antics and lackadaisical play, but I had no idea just how unpopular and how lackadaisical it was until I read Andy Martino’s piece on him in the Daily News this morning.
Some people may say “only on the Mets” to stuff like that, but for Valdespin I’d say “lucky it’s on the Mets.” Because there’s a decent chance that a guy like him never sees the light of day on a more talented team, as baseball just doesn’t tolerate knuckleheads like that. At least those who aren’t capable of superstar play.
The grand slam doesn’t erase all that stuff — if he has a rough stretch his weirdness and immaturity will be just as big a problem as it was before — but it’ll be interesting to see if growing as a professional and a talent go hand-in-hand.
The Arizona Diamondbacks just announced that they are parting ways with Tony La Russa at the end of the month.
La Russa served as the club’s “Chief Baseball Officer” from 2015-16. For the last year he was styled “Chief Baseball Analyst.” That’s a nice way to saying that he was pushed aside when the club fired his hand-picked general manager Dave Stewart and brought in Mike Hazen to run the club a year ago. La Russa was stripped of his powers, but was told he could hang around as an advisor. Most didn’t think he’d actually take the club up on that offer, but he did. By all accounts he was a pretty unobtrusive presence around the team this year, offering counsel and insight when asked but not making things awkward the way having the old boss around might do.
I suppose that can only last so long, however. The Dbacks had considerably more success without La Russa in charge in 2017 than they had with him in charge the previous couple of years. At some point you just part ways. That point is now.