ESPN sets its Sunday Night Baseball booth: Shulman, Hershiser and Valentine

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This was suspected, but ESPN made it official today: Dan Shulman, Orel Hershiser and Bobby Valentine will be be the new Sunday Night Baseball announcing team.  They replace Jon Miller and Joe Morgan.  Hershiser was the third man last season.

I like Shulman. He’s a solid play by play guy and, most importantly for me, doesn’t act like the stuff happening on the field has never happened before in the history of baseball! Which was one of my only criticisms of Miller, by the way. He didn’t do it often, but sometimes Miller got a wee bit too excited.  I shan’t spend any more words on Joe Morgan because everyone knows what he was all about by now.  I don’t have a terrible problem with Valentine as a studio guy, but I’ve never liked a third guy in a baseball broadcast booth.  I just don’t think there’s enough ground to cover and it leads to chatty awkwardness. Or awkward chattiness. Sometimes both.

All of that said, it’s a good team, and for the first time in a long time, I won’t have to consider the broadcasters as a possible reason for me to tune in or not tune into the Sunday night game.

Ian Kinsler signs a two-year deal with the Padres

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Ken Rosenthal reports that Ian Kinsler is signing with the San Diego Padres on a two-year, $8 million deal.

A surprising multi-year deal for Kinsler, who will turn 37 next season, but it’s a pretty low financial outlay for the Padres. An understandably low one following a year in which Kinsler hit just .240/.301/.380 with 14 home runs and 16 stolen bases for the Angels and Red Sox. He can still pick it at the keystone, however, taking home Gold Glove honors there last season. He’ll turn 37 next June.

Kinsler will likely bump Luis Urias from second to short until top prospect Fernando Tatis, Jr. is called up to San Diego, at which point one presumes Urias will then, in turn, bump Kinsler off of second base into a bench role, at least if Urias performs. Given that Kinsler will not make much money on this deal, it’s not something the Padres are likely to sweat.