Jordany Valdespin: from flake to hero in one night?

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Doesn’t work that way I suppose, but last night’s walkoff grand slam probably covers for a lot of past transgressions by Jordany Valdespin.  Who I vaguely understood was unpopular with his teammates due to some immature antics and lackadaisical play, but I had no idea just how unpopular and how lackadaisical it was until I read Andy Martino’s piece on him in the Daily News this morning.

Some people may say “only on the Mets” to stuff like that, but for Valdespin I’d say “lucky it’s on the Mets.” Because there’s a decent chance that a guy like him never sees the light of day on a more talented team, as baseball just doesn’t tolerate knuckleheads like that. At least those who aren’t capable of superstar play.

The grand slam doesn’t erase all that stuff — if he has a rough stretch his weirdness and immaturity will be just as big a problem as it was before — but it’ll be interesting to see if growing as a professional and a talent go hand-in-hand.

Ken Giles: ‘I’m actually enjoying the game more than I did for my entire tenure in Houston’

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Blue Jays closer Ken Giles hasn’t exactly turned things around since joining the Blue Jays on July 31, when the club sent embattled closer Roberto Osuna to the Astros. Giles posted a 4.99 ERA in 30 2/3 innings with the Astros, then put up a slightly less miserable 4.58 ERA in 17 2/3 innings with the Jays. Still, he’s much happier with the Jays than he was with the Astros, even after winning the World Series with them last year. He said to Rosie DiManno of the Toronto Star, “I’m actually enjoying the game more than I did for my entire tenure in Houston. It’s kind of weird to say that because I won a World Series with that team. But it’s like, I just felt trapped there. I didn’t feel like myself there. Overall, I felt out of place.”

Giles also said “the communication was lost” with the Astros and it was something that came easy with the Jays. He said, “When I came here, they stayed patient with me. I said hey, I want to work on this thing till I’m comfortable. All right. OK, I’m comfortable, let’s move on to this next thing. Pitching, you can’t just try to fix everything at once. For me, I had to take baby steps to get my groove back. The Jays allowed me to do that. Yeah, the team was out of contention, but it doesn’t matter. It’s still my career. I still have to prove myself. Them being so patient with me, understanding what I want to do, was very, very big.”

Giles, 28, has two more years of arbitration eligibility remaining. He has shown promise despite his overall mediocre numbers. In non-save situations this season (with both the Astros and Jays), he has a 9.12 ERA. But in save situations, his ERA is a pristine 0.38. Giles could be a closer the Jays find themselves leaning on as they attempt to get back into competitive shape. Since it sounds like Giles is quite enamored with Toronto and with the Blue Jays, a discussion about a contract extension certainly could be had.