Ken Davidoff's baseball insider

Yankees, Mets, trade rumors, free agents, off-the-wall predictions and other MLB musings.


Sunday reading: John Farrell, Joba Chamberlain, Jose Reyes, fired GMs and Bobby Valentine

For my Sunday Insider, I wrote about the Indians and John Farrell, the Astros and Jim Fregosi and the Royals and Trey Hillman. Alas, as often seems to occur on Sundays, the column is nowhere to be found on the Web site.

So, the key info: Farrell is set to make $750,000 to be the Red Sox's pitching coach next season, and as we recently discussed here, he has a clause in his contract preventing him from managing in 2010. That salary is enormous for a pitching coach. What will Boston require as compensation to let Farrell go manage the Indians next year? Money? A player? I'm curious to see, once Boston's postseason ends.

Fregosi, meanwhile, appears a candidate to manage the Astros, who want an experienced skipper. Fregosi and Houston GM Ed Wade worked together in Philadelphia in the '90s.

And here's a comment that Hillman told to me this past week, during Kansas City's visit to Yankee Stadium, about the Royals' development and their difficulty in getting people to believe in that development:

“It’s challenging because most of the time, our local media and even our fan base, they don’t want to hear about the process. They don’t want to be educated on the process. But it is a process. ...People don’t want to take the time to learn, because we’re not bred that way, culturally. It was an easier sell in the other culture, in Japan (Hillman managed the Nippon Ham Fighters from 2003 through 2007) , because they’re very used to processes. And they don’t care how long it takes, as long as you get it set to last.”

I think Hillman will eventually prove himself to be a good big-league manager. But his GM, Dayton Moore, hasn't helped him with very questionable acquisitions like Jose Guillen, Mike Jacobs and Kyle Farnsworth.

 --Joba Chamberlain will likely pitch out of the bullpen for the Yankees today, Erik Boland reports, and it sounds like it'll be another "Prove to us you belong on the playoff roster" deal. As long as Chamberlain doesn't embarrass himself today, I think he'll get a spot in the bullpen for the first round.

And of course, the Yankees still don't know whom they're playing in the AL Division Series, as the Twins, remarkably, tied the Tigers. Here are your updated playoff seedings:

AL: Yankees (1) vs. Detroit (3) or Minnesota (3), Angels (2) vs. Boston (4)

NL (final): Dodgers (1) vs. St. Louis (3), Philadelphia (2) vs. Colorado (4)

You'd have to think that this Tigers-Twins suspense is only good for the Yankees, who now wouldn't see Detroit's Justin Verlander _ the best starting pitcher, by far, from either of the two clubs _ until Friday's Game 2. We'll see how much Verlander exhausts himself in today's start against the White Sox.

And if anyone had told me, a year ago, "Carl Pavano will be pitching on the last day of the 2009 season for the Twins - on short rest, because he'll be really good - with a chance to put them in the playoffs" - that person could've won a great deal of money from me in a bet.

--As the Mets finish their season today, David Lennon scrutinizes Jose Reyes' situation some more.

--The Blue Jays fired J.P. Ricciardi as their general manager yesterday, an expected move, and in the big picture, you could understand why. Ricciardi, over his eight years on the job, torpedoed his cause with too many bad, big-money signings (Vernon Wells, B.J. Ryan, Frank Thomas), not enough prospects developed in his early years and public comments that were often too honest for his own good.

Yet the Jays are an organization on the rise, with an improving farm system, and I'm still not sure why Ricciardi gets criticized for not trading Roy Halladay. Consider that any team that acquired Halladay back in July would've been labeled as trade deadline "winners." So why isn't the team that still employs Halladay a winner? 

Toronto entered the 2009 season knowing that, most likely, it wouldn't contend. It would aim toward 2010, Halladay's final year, when injured pitchers like Shaun Marcum and Dustan McGown would be back. That CEO Paul Beeston endorsed the full-time promotion of Alex Anthopoulos, Ricciardi's assistant, reflects that Jays ownership believes the team is headed in the right direction.

It would appear that Ricciard's firing, then, is as much about personalities as results. And, in accordance with that, about the way Ricciardi handled the Halladay sweepstakes back in July, rather than the actual decision made.

--Before the official news on Ricciardi came the Padres' dismissal of Kevin Towers, and this is about new CEO Jeff Moorad's desire to bring in his own person. Towers, for the most part, had very specific strenghts (trades, bullpen construction) and a very notable weakness in drafting and player development.

Granted, Matt Bush was not his fault. As Ken Rosenthal noted, dopey San Diego owner John Moores forbade Towers from drafting Stephen Drew or Jered Weaver, both Scott Boras clients. Yet for a low-budget team, San Diego just didn't use its amateur draft picks productively enough.

Still, Towers accomplished enough in his time in San Diego that he's sure to get another GM job down the line.

--Buster Olney reported that Bobby Valentine is speaking with the Marlins, and a Florida source confirms that the Marlins are interested in hiring Valentine as their manager. It's surprising, since Florida skipper Fredi Gonzalez has two years left on his deal and has kept the low-budget Marlins in contention this season and last.

Yet for a team that has a tiny fan base, Valentine is the sort of personality that would bring major buzz at a relatively reasonable prices. That so many transplanted New Yorkers live in the Miami area has to make Bobby V. even more appealing.

Have a great day.





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Who is the greatest postseason pitcher since 1995?

Madison Bumgarner Curt Schilling Jon Lester Mariano Rivera Andy Pettitte John Smoltz Someone else

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