Jim Leyland is a funny guy

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I’ve learned to more or less ignore the managerial availabilities here at the Winter Meetings because, let’s be honest, they’re 30 slightly different exercises in saying nothing. At least they are now that Ozzie Guillen is gone. Just the offseason version of “we gotta take ’em one day at a time” ManagerSpeak.

I went to Jim Leyland’s just now, though, because he makes me laugh.  And he didn’t disappoint.  The highlights:

  • Leyland was asked about Miguel Cabrera playing in the World Baseball Classic. Leyland said he’s not a fan of the WBC but “I support it because the Commissioner gets mad when I say I don’t support it.” Mr. Leyland, Commissioner Selig is on line two. I think you had better take it.
  • He was asked about the Tigers’ closer situation and didn’t tip the Tigers’ hand, but he did say “One thing you can say about Jose Valverde, he knows how to turn the page.”  After watching him pitch late in the season, I think that book is “Fifty Shades of Grey.”
  • Asked about the future of the Tigers, and how long until Avisail Garcia or Nick Castellanos may become regulars, he said “you know, that’s a very good question.” He didn’t answer it, but he did acknowledge that it was a good question.
  • Leyland asked who the team to beat is in the AL Central: “Hopefully the Tigers.”
  • On an actually substantive topic, he was asked about Gene Lamont becoming the bench coach. He said that Lamont’s knees were going and it’d be easier on him to be in the dugout rather than couching third. Color me dubious. Leyland has never had a need for a bench coach and you don’t move an effective third base coach if you can avoid it. Gotta figure this was devised to get a better third base coach without firing Leyland’s longtime compadre.
  • Leyland, when asked about getting over the World Series, said “you can’t chew yesterday’s breakfast.” People who follow Leyland closely are mostly surprised that he only used that phrase once.
  • Leyland apparently just attended his 50th high school reunion. He said he had a good time. He was asked about the women at the reunion: “They looked pretty good to me. I wonder how they thought old Jimbo looked.” When people laughed he noted that, back in high school, he was voted “Most Popular Boy” and said that if we didn’t believe him we could go look in his yearbook.
  • Finally, as Leyland’s presser was ending, Terry Francona walked over and hovered, waiting to sit down for his own press conference. The reporters flocked to Francona, leaving old Jimbo with a much smaller crowd than he started with.

“Most Popular Boy” my foot.

OK, back to the rumors and stuff.

Marlins announce signing of Victor Victor Mesa, Victor Mesa, Jr.

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The Miami Marlins have been stockpiling international bonus money of late and now that has paid off, as they just formally announced the signing of top international prospect Victor Victor Mesa.

They have also signed his brother, the less-regarded prospect Victor Mesa, Jr. It was, presumably, a package deal. Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com reports that Victor Victor, 22, will receive about $5.25 million while his 17-year-old brother gets a $1 million bonus.

Victor Victor was ranked as the No. 1 player in this year’s international signing class. He’s a plus outfield defender with a strong arm and he has serious wheels as well. He played for Matanzas in Cuba’s Serie Nacional when he was only 16 and was 3-for-7 with two doubles for Cuba during last year’s World Baseball Classic.

Victor Mesa Jr. is a switch-hitting outfielder with potential, but unlike his brother, he’s like to spend considerable time in the minors. Most scouts believe Victor Victor will debut with the Marlins as early as next season.

The Mesa brothers are the son of Victor Mesa, who played in Serie Nacional from the 1970’s into the 1990s and starred on the Cuban national team. He has also managed in Cuba, in Mexico and for Cuba’s 2017 World Baseball Classic team.