On his first day on the job for the Florida Marlins 80 year old manager Jack McKeon had some business to handle before setting foot back on the diamond. McKeon benched all star shortstop Hanley Ramirez in last nights games against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim reportedly for showing up late to the ballpark missing the team meeting.
When asked if there was a particular reason the star shortstop was not in the lineup, McKeon reportedly said, “Yeah, because I didn’t put him in there.”
Team sources said McKeon made the move after Ramirez arrived late for a 3:30pm team meeting which came just hours after the team officially introduced him as the interim replacement for Edwin Rodriguez who resigned Sunday.
The rocky road between manager and player is nothing new for Ramirez as he had previous run ins with former and now current Atlanta Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez but interesting it would start on day one.
I personally don’t understand why Bobby Valentine would be considered for any Major League Baseball managerial position but it appears that the former Texas Rangers and New York Mets manager might be back at the front of the line on a job that he was shot down for at the end of this past June.
The Florida Marlins, mainly owner and good friend Jeffrey Loria, considered on hiring this sorry excuse for a manager however decided to finish the season with bench coach Edwin Rodriguez after they fired then manager Fredi Gonzalez.
Marlins owner Loria wants Valentine, but team president David Samson and others in the front office are against it because they see the light and are not sold on Valentines interest in personnel moves. Back in June when Valentine learned of the news that he was out of the running for the spot he went on Baseball Tonight, where he is analyst, and blasted the Marlins search process as “disturbing, confusing” and “insulting at times.” Yeah and this is the guy you want running your organization three months later?
The Marlins have said publicly that the list for manger candidates is a short list and may only have four to five names on it. Besides Valentine and Rodriguez, those names are believed to be New York Yankees bench coach Tony Pena, Los Angeles Dodgers minor league manager Tim Wallach, Atlanta Braves scout Jim Fregosi and former Marlins third-base coach Bo Porter.
Valentine has been out of major league baseball since 2002 and it should stay that way.
Best In 09
Oh it’s postseason time in baseball and that means it’s time to hand out some awards on the baseball diamond here at Sports Grind Entertainment.
Starting off with the senior circuit, the National League MVP couldn’t have been any easier. Don’t get it twisted that since Albert Pujols plays for the only professional sports origination in all of sports that I truly care about, that this vote wasn’t hands down his. Yes, if the race was close and I went with Pujols I could understand your concern but the 2009 season produce no one within a mile.
- NL MVP Award: The Cardinals first baseman leads his league in on-base percentage and slugging percentage plus homers, runs scored, total bases, grand slams and extra-base hits. He’s second in batting average with men in scoring position. Third overall in batting average and in RBI’s. Crazy as it sounds Pujols lead the Cardinals in stolen bases. Pujols also has an NL-record 184 assists from first base.
- NL Cy Young Award: There was a three-way choice between San Francisco’s Tim Lincecum and St. Louis teammates Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright. They’re 1-2-3 in ERA and 1-2-4 in wins.
- Carpenter has been the most brilliant and dominant, but he’s not in the top 10 in the NL in innings pitched because of early-season health issues. Lincecum has the lowest OPS allowed, but he plays in a great pitcher’s park. Wainwright leads the league the league in wins.
- Carpenter still took the ball against the other team aces so he gets it by a hair over Wainwright.
- NL Rookie of the Year: Was loaded with fresh new propest that made a mark in the 2009 season, with Philadelphia’s J.A. Happ, Atlanta’s Tommy Hanson, Randy Wells of the Cubs, Milwaukee’s Casey McGehee, Florida’s Chris Coghlan, Colorado’s Dexter Fowler and Pittsburgh’s Garrett Jones and Andrew McCutchen.
- As far as position player Coghlan (229 total bases, 82 runs scored and .319 average) is as good of a choice as any but it came down to the two pitchers that came to show earlier and never fell off all season. Happ (12-4, 2.85 ERA) vs. Hanson (11-4, 2.89 ERA).
- While Hanson is a terrific prospect, Happ threw 164 innings and the Phillies would have been in big trouble without him.
- NL Manager of the Year: There are a few good candidates. Fredi Gonzalez kept the Marlins in contention for 25 weeks. Tony La Russa had little in his lineup other than Pujols for the first three months. Charlie Manuel got the Phillies back on top, as did Joe Torre with the Dodgers.
- But this award is a no brainier for Colorado Jim Tracy, they have gone 74-41 since he took over for Clint Hurdle. That’s the equivalent of a 104-win season.
- AL Cy Young Award: When the Cy Young is discussed many see a losing team and figure there is no way a pitcher from such team would win the award over someone on a contending team, but that’s not what the Cy Young is about. On any squad the best pitcher is not responsible on how well or bad the team plays on his days off.
- And that makes Kansas City’s Zack Greinke is the best pitcher in the AL. Period. He lead the league with a 2.16 ERA on a bad defensive team. He had 6 complete games, 3 shutouts and was second in strikeouts with 242. Greinke had a 15 strikout performance and on his next outing threw a one hitter. He was the best pitcher in both leagues. Period.
- Felix Hernandez, Justin Verlander and CC Sabathia are great. And if Greinke wasn’t around, it would be a three-way debate. But this year, that debate is about second place.
- AL MVP Award: Joe Mauer leads the American League in batting, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. And he’s a catcher. Mauer leads the AL in batting average at home, on the road, against right-handers and in night games. He is second in average with runners in scoring position, third in average in day games and fourth in average vs. lefties.
- If Mauer was playing in New York, he’d be everywhere. He would be on every billboard, every magazine cover.
- Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira, Kendry Morales had very nice years. Very nice.
- Considering the lack of protection in his lineup as compared to the others in the debate, it Mauer as the choice. Also since the only protection he had in teamamte and former MVP Justin Morneau is sidelined for the year. That forced Mauer to put the team on his back as they got back into contention of the AL Central Divison to force a one game playoff with the Detriot Tigers.
- AL Rookie of the Year: What a great season for rookie talent, in both leagues. The White Sox third baseman Gordon Beckham, who has hit well. Baltimore outfielder Nolan Reimold who leads Beckham in on-base percentage, slugging percentage and homers. Texas’ Elvis Andrus, meanwhile, has played all season excelling at shortstop with acceptable production at the plate for a 20-year-old.
- Comparing position players against pitchers is comparing apples to oranges. Oakland’s Andrew Bailey with his .168 opponents’ average, Detroit’s Rick Porcello, Toronto’s Ricky Romero.
- Tough call, but Porcello is 20, and he made 30 starts while pitching in a pennant race to the finish and he went 14-9 with a 4.04 ERA.
- AL Manager of the Year: Great job by Ron Washington to help make the Rangers relevant. But Mike Scioscia didn’t just guide the Angels to another division title. He kept the team from falling apart through a rough first few months, not only because of a rash of pitching injuries but also because of the death of Nick Adenhart. Managing a team is about managing people, and Scioscia did a great job this year. Joe Girardi managed his team to 103 wins and probably wont get a sniff at the award is tough but that how things play out sometimes.
John Smoltz apparently hasn’t watched videos of any of his pitching performances in a Boston Red Sox uniform. He was designated for assignment by the Red Sox after his meltdown against the Yankees last week,and has refused an option to the minor leagues.
The Red Sox have until Sunday to either trade him, or they can simply release him. If the Red Sox cut Smoltz, any team that chooses to add the future Hall of Famer would be on the hook for the pro-rated amount of the major league minimum. In addition, Smoltz, 42, would get the rest of his $5.5 million salary from the Red Sox. After eight starts, Smoltz was 2-5 with an 8.32 ERA. Including a miserable outing Aug. 6 against the Yankees, when he gave up eight runs on nine hits and four walks in just 3 1/3 innings that he has no memory of.
According to Juan C. Rodriguez of SunSentinel.com the Florida Marlins are probably among half a dozen teams that would take on Smoltz. He’s got a good relationship with manager Fredi Gonzalez from their Atlanta days.
He does know hitters in the National League East inside and out. In my opinion he’s lost that dominate slider and his split-finger fastball doesn’t fool hitters anymore as they just sat back and waited of his hanging breaking balls.