Bobby Valentine isn’t exactly going to rule with an iron fist

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Given how the Red Sox fell apart late last season under the light touch of nice-guy manager Terry Francona, it would be natural to assume that Bobby Valentine would come in wearing steel-toed boots, ready to stomp on any player who even thinks about calling Colonel Sanders.

That assumption would be wrong. From the sound of things, Valentine isn’t going to be like that at all. In fact, the new Boston manager is going to leave the players alone to police themselves. Surprised?

In an interview on the MLB Network, Bob Costas asks Valentine if something similar to what happened last season could repeat itself under his watch.

“I certainly hope not,” Valentine said. “And I hope that it’s not because the big bad policeman’s standing on the corner and monitoring everything that’s going on. I hope it’s a conscious effort of players, coaches, clubhouse men, trainers all being on the same page, all understanding the difference between right and wrong. And I think they all know.”

So basically, Valentine is going to treat the players like adults, which sounds scary on the surface. He’s going to let ownership and GM Ben Cherrington warn the players at the start of the season that past behaviors won’t be tolerated, then step in as the new guy and do his thing.

It might actually be the correct way to handle a veteran team, but given that Valentine oversaw a Mets team that was involved in plenty of clubhouse shenanigans, it’s got to be a bit disquieting for Red Sox fans.

You can watch a clip of the interview here, and Art Martone of CSN New England has several more goodies from the interview here, including Valentine’s take on the infamous mustache he wore in the dugout after being ejected from a game in 1999. (He blames Robin Ventura). Good stuff.

You can follow Bob on Twitter here, or if Facebook is your thing, be his friend here.

Padres may have more interest in Dallas Keuchel than Bryce Harper

Dallas Keuchel
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An interesting tidbit today from The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, who noted that ongoing talks between agent Scott Boras and the Padres have focused more on starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel than slugger Bryce Harper. Earlier this week, there were conflicting reports on the Padres’ level of interest in Harper — MLB Network’s Jon Heyman heard the club had not ruled out another big signing after getting Manny Machado, while Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune talked to multiple sources who believed otherwise — but any agreement between the two is looking unlikelier by the day.

As for Keuchel, Rosenthal cautions that a potential deal is still a “longshot,” especially as the team has other, cheaper options in mind. The 31-year-old southpaw turned down a qualifying offer from the Astros last year and is likely angling for something north of the five-year, $90 million contract extension he rejected from the club in 2016. He’s coming off of another solid performance in Houston, where he went 12-11 in 34 starts with a 3.74 ERA, 2.6 BB/9, 6.7 SO/9, and 3.6 fWAR through 204 2/3 innings in 2018.

While Keuchel has failed to garner substantial interest around the league this offseason, Heyman points out that the Phillies are looking to establish themselves as frontrunners for the lefty — and they’re far less likely to have hang-ups about his asking price, too.