According to Joe Frisaro of MLB.com, the Marlins have signed Jordany Valdespin to a minor league contract. This confirms a report from Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper yesterday and also proves that Valdespin’s fashion sense is rather prophetic.
Possibly the most-talked about .219 career hitter ever, Valdespin wore out his welcome in New York after a number of incidents with teammates, the opposition, and even his own manager Terry Collins. Making matters worse, he also served a 50-game suspension this summer for his ties to Biogenesis. The Mets finally non-tendered him last month.
Valdespin’s deal with the Marlins doesn’t even include an invite to spring training, so it’s fair to say that his career is pretty much at rock bottom right now. He’s expected to begin the season in Triple-A.
Mets manager Terry Collins informed outfielder Jordany Valdespin, sitting on a .566 OPS this season, that he was being optioned to Triple-A Las Vegas. Valdespin, known in the past for being emotional and sometimes immature, did not take the news well. As Jorge Castillo of The Star Ledger describes it, Valdespin threw a temper tantrum:
[…] the exuberant utilityman snapped in anger in the visitors’ clubhouse at PNC Park, yelling furiously while his startled teammates looked on, according to two people who witnessed the episode.
The witnesses requested anonymity to speak freely on the matter.
Bullpen coach Ricky Bones had to calm Valdespin down, according to one witness.
Mike Puma is reporting Valdespin was a bit more colorful than the aforementioned article may lead you to believe.
As the anonymous observer Castillo quoted in his article is right: “you just need to shut up and pack your bags.” Valdespin can hit his way back onto the Mets lineup, just like Ike Davis did.
Fun story from Jeff Passan at Yahoo!. In the course of his Matt Harvey/Zack Wheeler feature he passes along a tale from last year when Matt Harvey was a rookie and Jon Rauch was a reliever for the Mets. It seems that Harvey was trying to take a nap in the clubhouse and Rauch tried to haze him by tossing a bucket of ice water on him. Passan:
[Harvey] bounded up and challenged Rauch to a fight. Right there. Right then. He gave up 7 inches, about 75 pounds and a gallon or so of bad ink. It didn’t matter that he was a rookie. Harvey would not be a joke. He would not be a punch line in Rauch’s re-telling. He would not let some mediocre clown play him.
Rauch backed away.
Great stuff. Of course it makes me wonder what would have happend if it was another player who challenged the veteran like that. One not as good as Harvey or as important to the Mets’ future. Or if Rauch wasn’t Rauch but was, instead, someone a bit more established and respected overall. Is Harvey a punk who can’t take a joke then? I’d think not as I feel like veterans hazing rookies in all sports is about as dumb as it gets and if I were Harvey I’d do the same thing, but I’m sure some would spin it that way if it were, I dunno, Jordany Valdespin.
None of which says anything about Harvey or Rauch or Passan or anyone here. Just an observation about how stories like this tend to come out in such a way as to serve a story. The Mets’ mastery of the Braves yesterday can be likened to someone getting off the matt and refusing to take any more crap, if one were so inclined. If one were also so inclined this story could later be viewed in another way at another time for another story. It all depends on how Harvey’s career goes.
I know it’s hard to believe that a guy who alienated his entire clubhouse in Atlanta and then made headlines buy putting homophobic slurs on his eyeblack in Toronto did something douchey, but in this case it actually happened.
Yunel Escobar, ladies and gents, playing Jedi master to Jordany Valdespin’s padawan, strutting after a home run when he had gone 0-for-3 on the day and had a throwing error in a game his team was losing:
Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon said during spring training that he anticipated a time when he would have to call SS Yunel Escobar into his office to discuss some on-field behavior. That time has arrived.
Maddon wasn’t pleased with the way Escobar made the safe sign as he stepped on home plate while completing his two-run, ninth-inning home run during Monday’s 7-5 loss to the Blue Jays.
Escobar’s defense was that he does that every time he hits a home run.
Well, my son used a diaper every time he had to take a dump until he was potty trained. He eventually figured out that he shouldn’t do that forever because to do so reflected on his maturity level.
He doesn’t. But it’s one of those things that you tend to do better never actually saying. But Collins said it anyway yesterday, in response to the flap in which Mets players did not appear to have Jordany Valdespin’s back after he got plunked by a Pirates pitcher on Saturday night:
“I don’t answer to fans,” Collins said before the Mets’ 10-4 loss in St. Louis. “They don’t play this game. They have no idea what goes on. They have no idea what goes on in there. They have absolutely no idea what it means to be a professional teammate at this level.”
I don’t disagree with anything Collins said there. Nor do I disagree with the Mets not congratulating Valdespin on his homer Friday or retaliating for him being plunked afterward. He was showboating when the team was down by a substantial margin. And while I don’t much care for pitchers hitting guys on purpose, baseball players all knew that Valdespin was out of line per their unwritten rules and the Mets were acting in accord with those rules. Mike Francesa doesn’t like it? Cry me a freakin’ river. The guy is a clown.
At the same time, however, Collins has been around long enough, one would hope, to know that the response to this sort of flap should be to diffuse it with either wit or boring cliches. Not to be prickly about it and never, ever, to go after fans like that. By doing so he gave this little non-story new life — you can bet that Francesa and the yakkers will be all over it today — and has helped create a distraction.
Which maybe shouldn’t be all that surprising. Collins has been a better, more mature manager with the Mets than he was back in the day with Houston and Anaheim. But this prickly little thing is reminiscent of his mid-to-late 90s oeuvre.