Tag:Bobby Valentine
Posted on: March 28, 2011 11:25 am
Edited on: March 28, 2011 11:40 am
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Managers on the hot seat for 2011

By Evan Brunell

Managing a team is a tall task. Not only do managers have bosses to answer to, but they are responsible for overseeing a coaching staff, promoting good relationships with athletes who will earn far more than a skipper can dream of, winning games and knowing at the first whiff of trouble, the ax will fall not on the player or the GM, but the manager.

Even coaching legends Bobby Cox, Joe Torre and Tony La Russa have multiple teams on their managerial resume, some stops which ended in being let go. Which managers are in similar danger this season?

GerenBob Geren, Athletics
Fifth season
Athletics record: 307-340
Contract: 2011 team option picked up after one-year extension

Geren is just sort of ... there. He doesn't make waves, which is good. He hasn't had any run-ins with players or made headlines, all good things. On the flip side, however, he gets next to no praise for his job done piloting the A's.

Sure, part of that has to do with his tepid success, as the team is 33 games under .500 with Geren at the helm, dropping from 93-69 in Ken Macha's final season of 2006 to 76-86 the next year. In 2010, Oakland split 162 games, marking the first time Geren did not have a losing record in Oakland. That's not the kind of stuff that gets you attention.

But there's another aspect to it, and that's the belief that Geren does what the front office wants. One would think this would be a good trait, as it's often smart to listen to your superiors. But when you're largely considered a placeholder with all the important decisions coming from above ... well, that's why there hasn't been much praise for Geren.

Geren is replaceable, even if he's functional. In a season with increased expectations after moves made that have some believing the A's could win the division, Geren will need to perform. If he doesn't, the front office will have to weigh whether the effect of letting Geren go could improve the team. There's a school of thought that sometimes replacing managers can be responsible for a bump in play. This is where Geren's perceived "yes-man" role could come back to hurt him as he wouldn't have other intangibles -- such as his skilled mastering of clubhouse dynamics or in-game management or player evaluation -- to fall back on to compel Oakland to retain him.

LeylandJim Leyland, Tigers
Sixth season
Tigers record: 424-387
Contract: Final year of two-year contract extension

Leyland burst on scene in 2006 after a six-year hiatus and took Detroit to the World Series before eventually falling to the Cardinals. He would win seven less games the following year, but repeated a second-place finish. 

However, Leyland's Tigers would drop all the way to fifth place in 2008 with a 74-88 mark before rebounding with 86 wins before last season's 81-81 finish. As Leyland has pronounced, it is time for him to show that he can put Detroit in the playoffs as his job is on the line.

Leyland doesn't really deserve blame for the Tigers' slide back into mediocrity these last few years as Detroit has battled injuries to key players along with undeserving players making far too much money when the club had to convince free agents to come to town following 2003's 119-loss debacle. But after an offseason in which the club imported Victor Martinez, Joaquin Benoit and Brad Penny, among others, the expectation in town is to contend for the division title and certainly finish over .500.

If that doesn't happen, Leyland could easily take matters into his own hands and simply walk away. But if the Tigers are flailing early on, management would likely not hesitate to make a move despite Leyland's stature in the game. 

QuadeMike Quade, Cubs
First full season (second overall)
Cubs record: 24-13
Contract: First year of two-year contract plus 2013 team option

Quade had a rough start to his managerial career, even if his record stands at a sterling 24-13. Quade had the luck of replacing Lou Piniella after Sweet Lou's sudden departure from Chicago. Quade then battled his way from being an unknown to beating out franchise icon Ryne Sandberg for the permanent job, causing Sandberg to leave town in a huff.

Quade's reward? Attempting to bring a World Series to the North Side for the first time in over 100 years and already having to manage a clubhouse fight between Carlos Silva and Aramis Ramirez. Good luck!

So why is Quade on the hot seat, especially since he has two guaranteed years on his deal? Because if the Cubs don't perform, the money allocated to Quade will be little enough to not be of concern. If Chicago is careening toward 100 losses, the public backlash will be too great for GM Jim Hendry to ignore.

On Quade's side is a relative luxury of uncertainty surrounding the team. The Cubs could feasibly land anywhere between 75-85 wins, and both 90 wins and losses can't be discounted either. Quade would have to really bomb to get cut, but what's worth monitoring is how the front office stands up to what could be an irate fan base should Chicago dip under .500.

RigglemanJim Riggleman, Nationals
Second full season (third overall)
Nationals record: 102-135
Contract: Final year of two-year contract with 2012 team option

Riggleman is a manager who is just sort of there. The Nationals didn't harbor any illusions that Washington would contend, so Riggleman has essentially received a free pass on the Nationals' record since taking over.

It certainly helps that Riggleman is thought to be among baseball's lowest-paid skippers. However, given the Nationals' increased expectations of winning, starting in 2011, Riggleman could be considered a lame-duck candidate -- especially given GM Mike Rizzo just received a contract extension through 2015. Given Rizzo picked Riggleman both to be interim manager and to remain as permanent skipper, it speaks volumes that the long-time manager does not have more job security.

A strong showing will certainly force Washington's hand in picking up the team option or negotiating an extension, but given nothing has happened to this date, it's clear that management is waiting to evaluate Riggleman's performance on the field.

The Nationals are unlikely to reach .500 this season, even as they talk game about making improvements to the team. A .500 record is a more realistic goal for 2012, but given the pronouncements and optimism of the front office, Riggleman could end up taking the heat if the team plays slightly worse, if not to, talent level.

RodriguezEdwin Rodriguez, Marlins
First full season (second overall)
Marlins record: 46-46
Contract: First and final year of contract

The Marlins wanted Ozzie Guillen, that's no secret.

Edwin Rodriguez ended up being the consolation prize to finish out the season after Fredi Gonzalez's dismissal. But even his 46-46 showing wasn't enough to land him the inside track on being Florida's permanent manager.

Florida certainly tried to find a new manager, but no one -- at least, no one they wanted -- was biting. So Rodriguez became a consolation prize and agreed to a one-year deal with Florida, which positions him for a quick exit should the Marlins fail to start the year with anything less than a .500 record. Owner Jeffrey Loria has always had idiotic expectations (as Joe Girardi and Gonzalez can attest to as well), and the positioning of the Fish as a "sleeper team" will only pressure Rodriguez more to get off to a fast start.

A trigger-happy owner with unrealistic expectations for his team, which searched far and wide before settling on bringing back Rodriguez, who agreed to a one-year deal -- which certainly has to have a low salary attached to it -- is a recipe for landing on the hot seat. In fact, of all the managers listed, Rodriguez is the best bet to be handed his walking papers.

Potential replacements

It's rare for a team to make an outside hire in midseason to pilot a team. Most teams opt to go with interim managers, filling from the bench or third-base coach spots (like Quade) until they can better evaluate at the end of the year. There are exceptions, as Buck Showalter can testify to. To that end, it's tough to predict with any certainty who would fill managerial spots in season. However, Bobby Valentine has been a hot name and given his repeated linking to the Marlins vacancy would have to be the prohibitive favorite to take over Florida should Rodriguez be handed his walking papers.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: February 28, 2011 10:38 am
 

Pepper: Bunting fit for a Prince


Posted by Matt Snyder


For years we've seen teams shift their defense greatly toward the right side of the infield for left-handed sluggers like Ryan Howard, Adam Dunn, Jim Thome and Prince Fielder. Just as often, you'll hear someone -- be it a fan, blogger or announcer -- mention the hitter at bat should drop a bunt down the third base line. If placed properly, it should be an easy base hit. Yet we rarely see the sluggers actually try it.

This year could be different for Fielder. In fact, he successfully did it Sunday during an intrasquad game.

"They've always encouraged it, I've always been a little stubborn," Fielder told MLB.com. "I've given it a half [hearted] try, maybe. Not that I'm going to be [former big league speedster] Brett Butler, but why not? ... Especially against a tough pitcher. When you have a tough pitcher on the mound, and you have a shift, and you smoke a ball to the right side, you get defeated at times. If I can help the team, I might try [bunting] a couple of times."

The 26 year old also noted he's been getting help on his bunting from speedster Carlos Gomez. (MLB.com )

EXTENDED POWER OUTAGE:
James Loney hit 15 homers in 344 at-bats in 2007. Since he took over as the everyday first baseman for the Dodgers, however, his home run power has disappeared. In the three following seasons, he's hit 36 home runs in 1,759 at-bats, and never more than 13 in a season. He actually regressed back to 10 last season. The Los Angeles Times notes manager Don Mattingley is not going to push Loney to hit more longballs, but Loney himself wants to. He's even slightly altered his swing and put in some extra work with hitting coach Jeff Pentland in order to increase his power. (LA Times )

HE'S BACK ... AGAIN: Josh Beckett was good in 2005, bad in 2006, outstanding in 2007, mediocre in 2008, great in 2009 and awful last season. So, if the pattern is to be followed, we're looking at a lights-out season from the 30 year old -- yes, he's still only 30, though it feels like he's been around forever. Early reports from spring training show Beckett as being determined as ever this season. It's a pretty good bet he's going to have a great year. (MLB.com )

CONFLICTING REPORTS: Adrian Beltre has gone down with a calf injury. Early indications were that he would miss around two weeks, but then there were some reports saying it would be much longer than that, even up to month -- which would have put the start of the regular season in jeopardy. Those reports are false, he says. The third baseman also said he'd be playing through the pain if it was the regular season. (Star-Telegram )

THREE HOLE: Adam Dunn has prodominantly hit fourth or fifth in his major league career. Over 4,000 of his roughly 6,000 plate appearances from come from those two spots. He's only garnered 689 at-bats from the three spot, but that is where Ozzie Guillen will be hitting him for the White Sox. Here's why I like it: Dunn is one of the most consistent power hitters in baseball. He's hit at least 38 home runs in each of the past seven seasons. People may have been reluctant to hit him third in the past due to his high number of strikeouts or low batting average, but his OBP over those past seven seasons is .381. He's patient enough to take pitches, and with a cleanup hitter behind him, there won't be tons of bad ones to avoid. In a launching pad like U.S. Cellular Field, that's huge. Look for him to challenge his career high (46) in bombs. (Chicago Sun-Times )

ZOOMIN' AGAIN: Joel Zumaya has had a rough time keeping his dynamic throwing arm healthy, including last season when a fractured elbow ended everything in late June. He was able to throw a scoreless inning Sunday and says he feels "great." That's music to the ears of baseball fans everywhere, because it's quite exciting to see Zumaya light up the radar gun and incredibly sickening to see how often his arm cries uncle. Hopefully that doesn't happen again anytime soon. (Detroit Free Press )

VALENTINE'S DAY: We all know the Mets (and Dodgers, but that's a different conversation) ownership situation is a mess. In a bit of a surprise, former manager Bobby Valentine is reportedly looking into buying a stake of the Mets. The team is looking to sell up to a quarter of the ownership, so Valentine's stake would certainly not be a majority, but it would still be quite the popular move among Mets fans -- many of whom still love the man. (ESPN New York )

ARIZONA COVETS YOUNG: Michael Young has not withdrawn his request to be traded, but he's not talking about it either. So it's still a possibility the Rangers retain his services -- especially if the spring injury to Beltre is an eye-opener as to Young's value. But there are still a few teams after the All-Star. The Rockies, Dodgers and Marlins have previously shown interest and we can now add the Diamondbacks to the mix. Young would be a good fit there, as the DBacks only have Melvin Mora at the hot corner. Of course, the Backs would need some financial help and Young's OK to get the deal done. (FOXSports )

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Posted on: January 27, 2011 2:02 pm
Edited on: January 27, 2011 3:49 pm
 

Valentine helps direct traffic in snowstorm

ValentineIf you saw a former major-league manager directing traffic amidst the snowstorm that blew through Connecticut Thursday, you could be excused for doing a double-take.

"It's my job," Bobby Valentine said simply when asked by CBS2 what he was doing out in the weather in the video attached to the story. Valentine was recently named Stamford's public health and safety director and as a result, had been directing traffic since 3 a.m.

The problem began when a disabled tractor trailer brought traffic to a standstill and required four hours work to free. Once clear, the storm had wreaked havoc on the idling cars and trucks that became stuck. The highway was closed in six different spots and traffic was backed up around 10 miles.

"This has been a problem since early [Thursday] morning," Valentine said. "We don’t have enough men to close this ramp and try to get people to understand what they’re doing."

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Category: MLB
Posted on: January 13, 2011 2:00 pm
 

Bobby V's surprising new gig

Bobby Valentine
Bobby Valentine has a new job.

Managing a baseball team? Nope.

Baseball analyst? Nope.

Shilling for Japanese meat products (pictured)? Nope.

If you guessed "city director of public health and safety," you're right (and frankly a little strange).

Valentine was named to that job Thursday by the mayor of his town, Stamford, Connecticut, as reported by the Stamford Advocate. The job used to pay more than $100,000 before funding was cut, and Valentine will get $10,000 a year, which he says he'll donate to community causes.

Mayor Michael Pavia cited Valentine's leadership skills as well as his work on a task force to reorganize the city's fire department (during that effort, his famous temper flared a bit).

"I'm going to give this my best effort," Valentine said during a news conference. "The thought of trying to do good in a very public way is a very exciting challenge in my life. ..."I'm going to be learning on a daily basis, all of the things that my job will entail. [The departments] run, as I said, extremely well in the city and the mayor, I think, that I'm going to try to help coordinate the flow of information both ways, from him to them, and from the different services to the mayors office."

There is the issue that Valentine already has a job as an analyst with ESPN, a job that is expanding with his new role in the booth for Sunday Night Baseball. But he said his network job is mostly at night and on weekends, and during the day he will work for Stamford.

"I get up early, I go to bed late," he said. "There's plenty of hours in the day that I get to do the things that I need to do."

-- David Andriesen

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Category: MLB
Posted on: November 3, 2010 4:32 pm
 

Marlins give Rodriguez a 1-year deal

Edwin Rodriguez Does it seem like the Marlins management doesn't like Edwin Rodriguez very much, but just can't seem to get anyone they like better?

After getting what was called a "one-day tryout" when the team fired Fredi Gonzalez in June, Rodriguez was named interim manager while the team flirted with Bobby Valentine, before naming him the manager for the remainder of the 2010 season. On Wednesday, the Marlins gave him a one-year contract.

"It doesn't bother me at all," Rodriguez in his news conference on Wednesday, who must be happy to have a job right now.

Unfortuately, when there are only 30 such jobs in the country (well, one of those is in Canada), you can't exactly say "screw you, I'm not taking it" when offered -- unless you've managed and failed somewhere else before and people come lining up for your services.

The Marlins open their new ballpark in 2012 and in what Jeffrey Loria could find more appealing than spending money on a big-named players, he may spend it on a big-named manager -- because, you know, people come out to the ballpark to see managers manage.

The Marlins were turned down by Valentine (again) and asked permission to talk to Ozzie Guillen, but never did, writes Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald . They may wait until next year to make a run at Guillen, a former Marlin.

Rodriguez seems to be taking it in stride.

"From the business standpoint, I completely understand," Rodriguez said, according to the Miami Herald . "I think I still have a lot to prove regarding how I will handle spring training, how I will handle a 162-game season. Being in this situation, where I know for a fact that I have to prove what I have doesn't bother me at all."

Rodriguez certainly gets good soldier points for saying all the right things and seems like a good dude, so good for him for getting a paycheck for the next year. Hopefully he gets a shot to be a manager with a little bit of rope somewhere down the line.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: November 2, 2010 2:43 pm
Edited on: November 2, 2010 8:36 pm
 

Report: Brewers pick Roenicke

Ron Roenicke The Brewers have hired Angels bench coach Ron Roenicke for their open managerial job, Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times reports (via Twitter ).

Several other outlets had written that Bbbby Valentine  was the "front runner" and the team's "first choice," but tabled those reports by saying he may be too expensive for Milwaukee.

Roenicke has served as the team's bench coach since Joe Maddon left in 2006 to manage the Rays. Before serving as the bench coach, he was the team's third-base coach.

The other finalists for the Brewers job were White Sox bench coach Joey Cora and former Diamondbacks manager Bob Melvin.

UPDATE: Tom Haudricourt of the Journal Sentinel writes he "has reason to believe [Cowley] is correct."

Haudricourt writes Cora and Melvin have been told they didn't get the job.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.



Posted on: November 2, 2010 2:43 pm
Edited on: November 2, 2010 8:36 pm
 

Report: Brewers pick Roenicke

Ron Roenicke The Brewers have hired Angels bench coach Ron Roenicke for their open managerial job, Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times reports (via Twitter ).

Several other outlets had written that Bbbby Valentine  was the "front runner" and the team's "first choice," but tabled those reports by saying he may be too expensive for Milwaukee.

Roenicke has served as the team's bench coach since Joe Maddon left in 2006 to manage the Rays. Before serving as the bench coach, he was the team's third-base coach.

The other finalists for the Brewers job were White Sox bench coach Joey Cora and former Diamondbacks manager Bob Melvin.

UPDATE: Tom Haudricourt of the Journal Sentinel writes he "has reason to believe [Cowley] is correct."

Haudricourt writes Cora and Melvin have been told they didn't get the job.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.



Posted on: November 2, 2010 9:44 am
Edited on: November 2, 2010 9:44 am
 

Brewers still deciding on manager

The Brewers are still doing their homework on their four managerial candidates, owner Mark Attansaio told Tom Haudricourt of the Journal Sentinel .

In an e-mail Attansio said the Brewers are "finalizing the collection of information and discussions" about their next manager.

The Brewers are down to four candidates, Bobby Velentine, Bob Melvin, Joey Cora and Ron Reonicke.

Haudricourt writes that general manager Doug Melvin is a "backer" of Valentine, but he'll cost the most.

Also, Journal Sentinel business writer Don Walker wrote that Valentine's contract with ESPN stipulates he must give the news to ESPN first if he accepts a managerial job.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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