Dustin Pedroia told Rob Bradford of WEEI that he doesn’t think Bobby Valentine should be fired:
“I don’t think Bobby should be fired,” he said. “Listen, we haven’t played well. I mean, that’s the bottom line. I’m not going to blame anything on Bobby, and I don’t think anyone else is. It’s on the players. Last year wasn’t on Tito [Francona]. I know he took it hard. We all did. I mean, jeez. It’s on the players.”
Obviously this clashes a bit with Jeff Passan’s report that Pedroia, along with Adrian Gonzalez, led the “Fire Bobby V” charge last month. Of course you wouldn’t expect Pedroia or any of the players to admit that publicly.
But he is right: the losing is on the players. Say what you want about Valentine, but he’s not the one failing to pitch worth a tinker’s damn most nights.
Still: there is not anything necessarily inconsistent with the on-the-field performance being the fault of the players and the in-the-clubhouse strife being so intolerable that the players want the manager gone. Even great teams can hate one another. Just ask the late 70s Yankees. As such, Pedroia alluding to the team’s performance is something of a red herring.
First baseman/outfielder José Martínez agreed to a two-year contract extension with the Cardinals on Saturday, per a team announcement. MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reports that Martínez will receive $3.25 million in the deal plus incentives if he earns a more stable place within the starting lineup.
Martínez, 30, played 887 games in the minors before making his major-league debut with the Cardinals at the tail end of the 2016 season. The veteran first baseman has been nothing but productive in the three years since his debut, however, and turned in a career-best performance in 2018 after slashing .305/.364/.457 with 17 home runs, an .821 OPS, and 2.3 fWAR through 590 plate appearances. While he brings some positional flexibility to the table, he’ll be forced to compete against Dexter Fowler and Tyler O'Neill for a full-time gig in right field this year, as Paul Goldschmidt currently has a lock on first base.
According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the extension wasn’t solely precipitated by Martínez’s productivity in the majors, but by a competing offer from an unnamed Japanese team over the offseason. Goold adds that Martínez would have earned “significantly more than he would in the majors” had the club sold his rights. In the end, they ultimately elected to ink him to a more lucrative deal themselves. He’ll be eligible for arbitration in 2020.