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Bobby Valentine had his formal interview with the Indians and his sitdown with the local media today.

Watching from afar here in Anaheim, I am scratching my head at the quotes he gave reporters. (The full story is here.)


valentine2.jpgOn his interest in managing a rebuilding ballclub: 
 
“I’m not sure that’s what I want to do. But again, I haven’t been offered a job, so I don’t have to decide whether or not I definitely want to do this.”

On his knowledge of the American League, the Central and the Tribe:

“I can tell you I don’t know about the American League, I don’t know about the (AL) Central, and I don’t know about the Indians, but I sure as hell am willing to learn and spend about 28 hours a day, if necessary, to know everything I could possibly know.”

The Indians are likely to lose as much as, if not more, than they win next season, and Valentine admitted he’s a “lousy loser.” He said he was in Cleveland because he’s a baseball manager, and that’s what the position is.

All righty then.

Look, I’m not privy to the interview process, and I only know Shapiro’s general sketch of what the Indians are looking for with this hire. There is, obviously, much more to Valentine than what is being presented here. He’s a proven winner who commands respect.

But these arranged meetings with the media are the Indians’ effort to see how their candidates present themselves in public and how the public reacts to them. If the formal interview was anything like the public one, then you’d have to imagine Manny Acta is the clubhouse leader right now, wouldn’t you? 

Torey Lovullo, you’re up.

Note: Thanks to MLB.com contributor Steve Herrick for the above quotes.

45 Comments

Yikes.

Sadly, none of that really surprises me, which is why I thought Valentine was an odd choice to begin with. I know we want someone different than Wedge, but that’s a little TOO different.

This guy is weird. Acta seemed like a good dude, and I am looking forward to Lovullo and Mattingly’s interviews. There is no way I dish out a few million for this character. Acta, Lovullo, and Mattingly all have potential. We have seen what Valentine can do already. But I trust that Shapiro and the Dolans will get the right guy.

No, no – we couldn’t afford CC, couldn’t afford Cliff Lee (one is the Ace of the NL WS contender, the other probably will be for the AL contender) so we are spending money on a manager!!?? We have managers that seem to be doing well on the farm, get them!

Your comparing a Manager’s salary to a $20 Million per year salary (Sabathia’s), NOT even close. The front office is screwed either way.. If they don’t pay the Big money to Valentine they will be called cheap, but if they do sign Valentine people like Banana will say hire from with in.

Shouldn’t he know by now whether he wants the job or not? You don’t go into an interview NOT knowing if you want the job or not.. Obviously he wants the job or he wouldn’t have applied.. You would think if he didn’t want the job he would have turned it down like John Farrell..?

He only had 2 hours of sleep. Give him a break.

I’ll take his honest answers over Wedge’s grinding lines any day.

AC’s right, though: the meeting with the media was to see how he’d handle it. Just because he didn’t use Wedge’s line doesn’t mean he was any better.
And “amen” back at you, 09 — the idea that someone would compare a manager’s salary to what Sabathia is getting is incredibly stupid. They appear to be coming out of the woodwork lately.
Speaking of which, did anyone follow the thread on Facebook after this post? It stuns me how little research people do about these things. Multiple people posted that Valentine was the man to pick because he knows how to win, even though the man has a career winning percentage of .510, as opposed to Wedge’s .495. Wow, big difference.
No, I want someone who WANTS to be here, and even on little sleep Valentine should be able to express that — if he really feels it.

like everyone else I am quite confused by Valentine’s comments. If anything, his media demeanor opens the door for Lovullo, Mattingly, and/or perhaps the other unnamed candidate(s). Btw, if one of them is Clint Hurdle as reported then I say pass. Thanks but no thanks.

I still think Acta is the guy despite my intrigue with Mattingly. I’ve given up on the Showalter idea (sorry to abandon ship LACF). With the Dodgers out there is no reason to rush this decision. Mattingly has been linked to the Nationals and Acta to the Astros, we all know this. Perhaps the FO thinks that they have to rush in order to get the guy they think is best. Maybe their biggest fear is that Mattingly goes to D.C. and Acta to Houston.

Uninspiring, to say the least.

Well, if Acta follows his heart, he’ll likely wind up in Houston. Other than being one game away from the World Series in ’07, we don’t have much to offer as far as fame and fortune go. At least not for a year or two. With his history in the Houston system, it just seems a better fit to me. On a related note, I’ve heard from multiple sources that Acta is seen as potentially being one of the next “big” managers in baseball. I don’t know exactly where they are basing their argument, but it is an interesting thought. Also, regarding the finalists, I’m trying not to personally invest too much hope in a “favorite.” With Mattingly, I would think the threat would be him staying in LA. I don’t see how Washington would be in a better position to get Mattingly over us, honestly. I’ve heard very little, and the article on their website is mostly built around recycled quotes from our site and the CPD.

jk, I think the “McCourt Saga” along with the paltry candidates for the Nationals job (Valentine, Bob Melvin and interim coach John Riggleman) have me thinking that Mattingly is the top candidate for the Nationals. It would afford him the opportunity to get away from Torre’s shadow if he so desired and lets be honest, having a core that involves Ryan Zimmerman, Ross Detwiler, Drew Storen, and then Bryce Harper (likely 2010 top pick) is a good spot for a young, struggling team to start over with a new manager.

Can we please, please, please find a way to interview Tony Pena? Valentine’s a joke, and would drive everyone insane as a manager. Proven winner or not, he’s not the answer for a rebuilding club. We don’t need a me-me manager in Cleveland.

Good Luck Torey Lovullo! You are a manager who knows how to get the best performance from your players and you’re the man who can make a difference for this club with this team. You know them and how to motivate them to be successful. Cleveland’s management is listening, now convince them to make the best choice in you and Scott Radinsky! You are my choice; you have always been my choice–winners breed winners!

Five bucks says “mags” is Torey Lovullo’s mom.

Okay, on a more serious note, I just read ESPN’s article on the Lovullo interview. Here is a key excerpt:

“Some players sent down told Lovullo they had lost confidence after being yanked in and out of the lineup or moved from position to position.

“I like to get a lineup and try not to change it,” Lovullo said. “I’m big on team chemistry. I want players to know I have their back, that they can play relaxed and comfortable. … But I expect an effort every day. This team can look different, act different and play different.””

That is a phenomenal point. He gets where these players lost their confidence. He knows the young guys, he knows the system, he knows the market. He can take what we had going and improve it. He may just be my favorite so far.

“I like to get a lineup and try not to change it,” Lovullo said. “I’m big on team chemistry. I want players to know I have their back, that they can play relaxed and comfortable. … But I expect an effort every day. This team can look different, act different and play different.””
SOLD.
No, seriously, I don’t care what anyone else has to say. In fact, this should be a stipulation for getting this job — they have to agree to this as part of the terms.
And not for nothing, but this is the smoking freaking gun we’ve all been waiting for. It’s a clear indictment of Wedge’s practices and how they negatively affected the players.

“I like to get a lineup and try not to change it,” Lovullo said. “I’m big on team chemistry. I want players to know I have their back, that they can play relaxed and comfortable. … But I expect an effort every day. This team can look different, act different and play different.””
SOLD.
No, seriously, I don’t care what anyone else has to say. In fact, this should be a stipulation for getting this job — they have to agree to this as part of the terms.
And not for nothing, but this is the smoking freaking gun we’ve all been waiting for. It’s a clear indictment of Wedge’s practices and how they negatively affected the players.
That article is also great for his comments about starting the season. I like Lovullo A LOT after reading this.

yep, Lovullo talked about the two aspects of managing that I view as Wedge’s biggest failings, the lineup shuffle and bullpen management. Personally I’d take Lovullo over Acta … I just don’t trust Acta’s leadership ability. Of course I know nothing of what Lovullo brings to the table in that regard … right now I’d still lean towards Mattingly, because of the hitting instruction aspect he’d bring to the table … Has it actually been confirmed that Mattingly is indeed one of the guys getting a second interview? How do we know that Roenicke wasn’t always the fourth candidate? “Other responsibilities” applied to Roenicke as well as Mattingly

I think everyone is impressed that Lovullo said ALL the right things to the media. Not only were they the right things but he assessed the issues that were at the core of the fans’ problems with Wedge. Honestly, the comments about the lineup shuffling and the feedback from players was AWESOME. Talk about an indirect, albeit necessary indictment on Eric Wedge’s managerial tenure in Cleveland. I am with mags, pigeon, and LACF. I’m sold and ready to ride the Torey Train.

Additonally, I would have to assume that Lovullo would like to keep Andy Marte around considering how he performed last year in Columbus. Maybe even Jordan Brown if LaPorta starts off on the DL. I know LaPorta’s injury status would extend Marte’s services but still, one would have to assume that Lovullo would give those two guys a shot in the arm of confidence.

AM, you might want to rethink “ride the Torey Train.” I’m just sayin’.
ST, the press out here has been reporting Mattingly as interviewing with the Tribe, so I think that’s a done deal.
Nothing about Roenicke really screams out at me, but I guess the assumption is that he’s picked up some things from being on the bench of a winning organization, but beyond that, I don’t know. I would place beneath Mattingly on the rankings at this point.
It’s unfortunate that I think there will be a large and loud percentage of the Tribe fan base who will complain if they hire Lovullo. And given how disappointing the last few years have been, that’s probably going to work against him.

LACF, that alliterational joke was on purpose if only to make people think exactly what you did

Well, I am as pleased as punch. You are all correct about him saying all the right things. I think confidence was a HUGE factor in regards to many of the players performances. I think we all saw this throughout the season as players (pitchers especially) would excel in Columbus, but would inexplicably lose it when they got back to Cleveland. R. Perez, J. Lewis, and Marte were the biggest three that came to mind.
One thing that had been bothering me about the other applicants, is that they seem to all have places they’d rather be. Acta said Houston would be “too good to be true,” Valentine all but came out and said that Cleveland just happened to be where a managerial job was, and if I were to guess, I’d say Mattingly sees the job as a stepping stone to bigger and better things. Lovullo clearly wants to be here.

jk, I would agree that Valentine treated our process like a mandatory opportunity screening simply to get his name back in the market, waving his hands to all the little people on his way up to bigger and more lucrative jobs. Does he really think that Shapiro would offer him the job NOT knowing if he’d be willing to accept it? “I’m not sure that’s what I want to do. But again, I haven’t been offered a job, so I don’t have to decide whether or not I definitely want to do this.” Please. That statement alone voiced his true feelings.

I would assume Valentine would treat the Washington vacancy in the same manner. It looks as if he only wanted to get his name out there. Some may call it honesty. I call it unwilling and unable to manage in a smaller, and currently losing market.

And back to my earlier point: if Acta chooses Houston, Valentine stays at ESPN for a bigger market opening in the future, Ron Roenicke is an unknown to me so forgive me as I bypass his candidacy as a non-contender, that only leaves Lovullo and Mattingly. I have to be honest, despite my curiosity and affliction for Donnie Baseball he would REALLY have to impress the FO and provide some quality lines to the media to overtake Lovullo as the favorite.

LACF, your take on Lovullo’s status as an internal guy working against him is a point that AC made here in Cleveland on a local radio show. AC expressed his opinion that under different circumstances Lovullo might be a perfect fit for the Indians.

I find it interesting that the internal guy we all thought the FO would/should shy away from b/c of the “meet the new boss, same as the old boss” mentality has been thrown out the window by a subset of fans (Castronauts) simply because he uttered a philosophy that is in stark contrast to Eric Wedge. Granted, no one was picking Wedge apart in 2007 on our way to 96 wins but this is a “what have you done for me lately” industry and you can sugarcoat poop all you want, just don’t call it candy then feed it to the fans.

seeing as I just ripped Wedge I wanted to share the statistics I’ve come across in the past 20 minutes since my last post. Below are the 7 years of Wedge’s tenure including his overall record, April record, and # of lineups used in a season. I think I have posted this before but nonetheless, perhaps Lovullo is on to something here:

2003: 68-94, 7-20, 123 lineups
2004: 80-82, 9-13, 88 lineups
2005: 93-69. 9-14, 67 lineups
2006: 78-84, 13-12, 97 lineups
2007: 96-66, 14-8, 81 lineups
2008: 81-81, 13-15, 110 lineups
2009: 65-97, 8-14, 134 lineups

Now, the Wedge supporter can and would point out the inexplicable number of injuries and trades that brought in position players (as these lineups do not include pitchers), but in 7 years when you have an April record of 73-96 and eclipsed 82 wins only twice having used 700 different lineups for 1134 total games… that’s asinine. Having heard the comments from Lovullo about the players’ psyche and mentality about being shifted around so much its clear why 2005 and 2007 were so successful.

To be fair, it would make sense that ’07 and ’05 would involve the fewest lineups because they were competitive to the end so weren’t throwing prospects into the mix for the last month. I never had a problem with Wedge’s lineups until ’08. Certainly the injuries to Hafner and Martinez were initially to blame, but it was like he became addicted to lineup shuffling, which then progressed to defensive position shuffling. I think it’s fair to put some of the blame on Shapiro, who for example kept Martinez, Shoppach and Garko … I would have hoped that Wedge would have talked about this with Shapiro before the season, and pushed him to trade one of those guys, but Wedge never seemed to question Shapiro, or Shapiro Wedge, so we had Garko-in-the-outfield and the rotating catcher monstrosity. Or when they stuck with Kobayashi at the start of ’09 because they were paying him so much money, when Wedge clearly had zero confidence in him and refused to use him in any meaningful situation, did Wedge go to Shapiro after spring training and say, “Look Mark, I don’t care what we’re paying the guy, he’s worthless and I can’t use him, keeping him on the roster means we’re starting the season short a reliever, let’s call someone else up.” My one worry about Lovullo, having grown up in this organization so to speak, is whether he’d be more willing to take on Shapiro than Wedge was

I would be interested to see the number of lineups used by a successful team, or just any team not managed by Wedge. Where did you get your stats, AM? baseball-reference.com?

jk, Baseball Almanc. Give me some time and I will look at some other teams and post the results.

baseball-reference does have them as well, for example http://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/CLE/2009-lineups.shtml … the 67 and 81 lineups in ’05 and ’07 would appear to be fewer lineups than what are normally used, with 67 being very low, checking a few other teams, it usually fell somewhere between 85-105 … the Twins used 118 this year and made the playoffs so whatever, the Yankees used over 100 last year, 86 this year … I don’t think the number of lineups or batting orders really gets the level of Wedge’s insanity, batting Jhonny Peralta 4th in 43 games, where he hit .241 with a .296 .OBP, is undeniably nuts

jk, my bad. I used Baseball-Reference for the lineups, Baseball Almanac for the records by year for Wedge.

I looked at 9 teams in both the NL and AL (BOS, NYY, LAA, PHI, LAD, ATL, WAS, DET, KC) over the past 3 years. I chose 3 years so as to include Wedge’s 2007 season. Wedge’s total over those 3 years was 325 lineups out of 486 games. The lineups are listed in decreasing order from 2009 to 2007 with a grand total over those 3 years for each team.

Boston: 84, 108, 72 (264)
NYY: 86, 102, 81 (269)
LAA: 81, 126, 120 (327)
DET: 94, 110, 92 (296)
KC: 119, 113, 121 (353)
PHI: 54, 49, 59 (162)
LAD: 50, 85, 88 (223)
ATL: 90, 93, 63 (246)
WAS: 115, 122, 75 (312)

take from it what you will… mostly that I am a statistical nerd.

But they weren’t a contending team the past two years, and actually that % seems to be about the normal. I was curious after you posted that so I googled “number of different baseball lineups” and an article came up from baseball prospectus where someone studied the correlation of wins and lineups, and there wasn’t really any, and it looks like the Wedge years fall right into the statistical middle as far as number of lineups: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=1339
2009 was obviously an extreme outlier for the Wedge years, with 131 lineups, but the rest of his time here he fell right in the average … Don’t get me wrong, I definitely think Wedge was crazy with his lineup shuffling the past 2 years, I just don’t think that “number of different lineups” is where you’ll see the insanity … the reason the Phillies would have a stable lineup is due in part to LH/RH makeup, the infield goes LH, S, LH, RH, and outfield L, S, R, with a RH and LH catcher, plus they have Howard, Utley, Rollins, Werth, Ibanez, Victorino, guys who’re going to play every day … My problem with Wedge is batting Peralta 4th, when he should be hitting 8th or 9th for most of the year (5th in July), batting Choo 4th for half the year, when he should be hitting 2nd or 3rd … Sizemore, Cabrera, Choo, Martinez, Derosa, Hafner/Garko would’ve made a lot more sense and likely scored a lot more runs compared to what we were subjected to at the beginning of the year … Choo got on base 40% of the time, so why wasn’t Martinez batting behind him?

ST, I would consider using a different lineup 66.87% of the time over the course of 3 years for a so-called contending team to be extreme let alone 61.73% over the 7 seven he managed. That suggests too much platooning. In a three game series he only had a consistent lineup once.

ST, I think you are knit-picking about Peralta’s stats for 2009 in the 4-hole. But I guess you could say the same thing about me with my lineup stats.

In 2008 Peralta had 340 ABs in the 4-hole. He hit .300 with 63R, 28 doubles, 12 HR, 58 RBI, 30 BB, 69 SO. He had a total of 48 BB and 126 SO for the year. Granted those aren’t American League DH type of numbers but still productive.

ST, I guess my argument is that they were ‘supposed’ to contend. I wasn’t trying to make a case for # lineups-to-wins but I understand your point. However, evaluating their W-L record in conjunction with their record is somewhat revisionist history.

Actually, I think the two of you have a middle ground that covers everything. It IS a matter of him using so many different line-ups, but the problem is that he wasn’t using a lot of different line-ups intelligently. If it was simply a matter of using a lot of line-ups because he was giving Hafner a day off or using a successful platoon at first, then that would be fine. Sadly, though, he’s using so many different line-ups because he’s making bad choices. Yes, I’m beating a dead horse, but the fact that no line-up exists from last year with DeRosa at second still blows my mind.
So, yeah, he made bad decisions which resulted in multiple line-ups.
I have to echo ST’s earlier point about Lovullo’s relationship with Shapiro. That really IS a concern. I would imagine it would be easier for a guy like Mattingly to tell Shapiro to shove it with regards to roster moves but, I don’t know that for certain — it’s just a concern.
I do wonder if Lovullo will have more leeway with regards to the roster than Wedge did, simply because Lovullo knows the players better.
Also, if I had to make predictions, I’d say that Valentine ends up in Washington for a large sack of cash, Acta ends up in Houston, and Mattingly stays in L.A. after being promised the manager position for 2011.
And, as AM said, I like the idea that Marte and Brown might get at least something of a look at their real positions next year if Lovullo is brought in, as opposed to an outside candidate who might just get told the situation by Shapiro.

Jhonny Peralta wasn’t the same player in 2009 as he was in 2008 or 2007. He was the Jhonny Peralta ’06 version, and this was fairly obvious from the get-go, Jhonny has played 5 full years now, and never hit above .230 in April, so a smart manager would bat him 8th or 9th to begin the year, and move him up when he heats up in the summer, like he always does, .290 with an .831 .OPS in July … The thing about the Indians is they do have a screwy lineup, the all LH outfield, Hafner, it actually does call for SOME platooning, as terrible as that word is to us fans, because you’re dealing with these .OPS numbers:
CHoo .911 vs RH, .781 vs. LH
Sizemore .911 vs. RH, .719 vs. LH (.235 BA)
Hafner .949 vs. RH, .836 vs. LH (.696 in 2009)
That’s three of the first 4 or 5 hitters in the lineup, against right handers they’re Hall of Famers, throw a left hander out there and they are very average. Not to mention Brantley and Valbuena (Brantley actually hit .462 against LHP this year, but that’s only 26 ABs, so who knows, Valbuena hit about the same in his limited exposure against LHP) It does call for some day to day adjustments, depending on what pitcher you’re going against, but do it smartly, not with the seeming randomness of Wedge’s changes

SI.com is reporting that the Indians have hired Manny Acta

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