Good Evening
Good Evening

The Red Sox and Bobby Valentine and the Rangers and Joe Nathan

Bobby Valentine met with Ben Cherington yesterday, and as I wrote, even before the get-together, Valentine and Red Sox leadership had discussed potential dates for an introductory news conference at Fenway Park.

This is a serious pursuit, although it's worth noting that, just last year, we thought Valentine was all set to manage the Marlins - until that deal fell apart. Furthermore, the Red Sox announced that former White Sox and Pirates manager Gene Lamont would be brought back for a second interview.

I thought the Marlins were a better fit for Valentine in that they needed someone to galvanize an area about baseball. To sell tickets. And Valentine is a tireless salesman of the game and his team.

The Red Sox, I thought, just needed to take a deep breath, realize that - for all of the hilarious anecdotes about beer and fried chicken - they just missed the playoffs, and return to the system that got them this far.

They obviously don't feel that way, though. And it would be utterly fascinating to see what Valentine could do with the Red Sox's talent and resources.

Let's put it this way: If the Red Sox hire Valentine, the Yankees wouldn't be happy, because they have immense respect for Valentine.

--The Rangers' signing of Joe Nathan is characteristically bold for Texas. It means that closer Neftali Feliz will graduate to the starting rotation, providing coverage if C.J. Wilson departs (as expected).

The Nathan signing - two years for $14.5 million - seems pretty steep for a guy who turns 37 today and whose numbers were down across the board as he returned from March 2010 Tommy John surgery. There's much chatter this morning of Nathan's improved second half this past season, but if you look at the splits, it's probably more accurate to say - statistically, at least - that Nathan had a great July, a lousy August and a decent September.

What the Rangers have showed us these last few years, though, is that they always have Plans B, C and D ready to go in case Nathan doesn't live up to the expectations of his contract. Mike Adams, Mark Lowe and Koji Uehara are under control for next year, and Texas has a strong farm system replete with good arms.

--I'm going to MLB headquarters in Manhattan today for the official announcement of the  new collective bargaining agreement. If time permits, I'll post afterwards.

--Tomorrow, we'll have our annual Overrated and over-hated list, followed by a contest.

New York Sports