Bobby Valentine and the Yankees? Sure, why not?

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Jon Heyman has a lot of managerial speculation in his latest column. One of the fun ones: while it’s highly unlikely Joe Girardi won’t be back in New York, if he does bolt, “Bobby Valentine likely would be one candidate to replace him in the Bronx.”

I just love this because it proves that we cannot go a single week without hearing some Bobby Valentine speculation. At this point I wouldn’t be surprised if his name came up for vacancies with the Seattle Pilots, the Baltimore Terrapins and the Cleveland Spiders.

In other news, Heyman says that while Ken Macha is likely out as Brewers’ manager, Willie Randolph is not a candidate to replace him.

None of us can know what happens on the inside of a major league clubhouse, but I’d be curious to hear the reason why he’s not considered a candidate. While he left the Mets under a cloud, history, I think, has shown that the people who ousted him — Omar Minaya and Jerry Manuel, who reportedly snitched about Randolph’s alleged shortcomings to management — were perhaps a bigger problem.

Personally, I thought Randolph was a decent manager in a bad situation. While he probably did need to go because of all the craziness that was surrounding the Mets at the time, I also think he deserves another chance to manage someplace.

Matt Carpenter hit a standup bunt double

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The wave of defensive shifts we’ve seen over the past few years has led to a lot of armchair hitting coaches demanding that players bunt to beat it. This is easier said than done, however.

The shift happens because certain hitters tend to pull the ball. Certain hitters tend to pull the ball because pulling the ball is what happens when one gets a strong, quick swing on a pitch one identifies early and which one endeavors to send as far away from home plate as possible. Which is to say that pulling is a skill that is good to have and which is strongly selected for among hitters.

In light of that, “why not just bunt to beat the shift” takes are kind of lazy. Bunting is hard! And it is not a thing guys who get shifted a lot are good at. Most of the time asking a player to do a thing he is not well-equipped to do is a bad idea. Indeed, a hitter voluntarily going away from his strength is something the defense would much prefer.

Most of the time anyway.

Last night Matt Carpenter made those armchair hitting coaches happy by laying down a bunt to beat the shift. And he laid it down so well that he ended up with a standup double:

One batter later Carpenter scored on a Starlin Castro error.

The shift giveth and the shift taketh away.