November 2011

Teixeira weighs in on Bobby V.

Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira is among those who think it’s good for the game and good for the rivalry that Bobby Valentine is about to be named the next manager of the Red Sox.

Speaking at an event in New York, Teixeira said, “I think it’s great. This rivalry is great for baseball, I’ve said it a million times. It’s great for both cities, but baseball as a whole, it seems like everyone stops just to watch those 18 games. Bobby Valentine is a great manager and he’s a funny guy. He’s got a great personality. I think the interviews either before or after games are going to be a little more interesting, and that’ll be good for both teams.”

But Teixeira thinks his relationship with Valentine will have to take a new twist.

“I was joking around on Twitter and Facebook, I don’t know if he’s going to let me hit at his facility anymore in Stamford. I’ve been hitting there for two years now at Bobby V’s academy and he’s there a lot. He’s a very busy guy obviously, but we’ll go and we’ll talk about hitting, we’ll talk about baseball. I don’t know if those conversations are going to be kept to a minimum now,” said Teixeira.

Still no word on when Valentine’s official unveiling will be, but Thursday seems logical.

Agent: Cespedes ready for bigs

Once he declares residency in the Domnican Republic and becomes eligible for Major League free agency, Cuban defector Yoenis Cespedes figures to be one of the most sought-out position players on the market.

Agent Adam Katz is confident that his client is ready to play in the Major Leagues this season.

“I’m not an evaluator, but I’m told by people who evaluate, he is [big league ready],” said Katz from baseball’s General Managers meetings.

Even Katz admitted it’s hard to know quite what the value will be for Cespedes.

“It’s really touchy feely,” Katz said. “He’s an unusual guy. He’s 26. He’s major league ready. People are going to be evaluate. A value will be established. People will bid competitively, and it will be what it will be.”

While Katz sees his client as a center fielder, he would be willing to play the corner positions, something that would help a team like the Boston Red Sox, who have a vacancy in right field.

The Red Sox will look at Cespedes later this week in the Dominican Republic. The Cubs are also scouting him this week. Several other teams have also expressed interest in Cespedes, who has become a bit of a sensation since the posting of a highlight video on Youtube.

“I’ve never seen anything quite like it since ‘Spinal Tap,’” Katz said. “At the end of the day, it was compelling. As quirky as it was, it ended up being very compelling.”

Papelbon unveiled in Philly

How strange did Jonathan Papelbon look in that white pinstriped Phillies uniform late Monday afternoon?

Papelbon, the all-time leader in saves for the Red Sox, is officially gone.

Here is a sampling of what he said at his unveiling today:

“This happened pretty quick, it really did. I was on the phone with my agents for a couple of days and it happened pretty quick. Quicker than I thought. For me and my personal decision, to come here was solely based on the guys showing interest in me here and Ruben showing interest in nme. Im the type of guy, I’m loyal to those who are loyal to me. It really didn’t boil down to going back to the Red Sox and seeing if they wanted me back. I knew these guys wanted me so there was no hesitation.”
Did the Red Sox lack loyalty? “No, it wan’t that at all. it was just the simple fact that the Phillies showed they were interested in me. I wanted to make this d ecision quick and get it over with. The Phillies showed the utmost loyaslty to me. I didn’t want to sit there and debeate whether I should go back to Boston or come here. the Phillies showed they wanted me, so I showed the same respect.”
The 58 at the end of his contract? “I don’t know, you’re going to have to ask Cinco Ocho that question. I can’t give you that. I can give you his phone number if you need it.”

Why the Phillies? “The Phillies were very high on my list. They were probably the number one team on my list for the simple fact is’t an environment that meks me tick. The fans are into eveyr pitch, the fans are knowledgeable about baseball. The fans aren’t going to expect anything more than what I’m going to expect out of myself.”

Fans similar to Boston: “I don’t think I’m looking to preare to come to pitch here. I don’t think anything is going to be different. I’m not going to try to come here and be a pitcher that I’m not or excced expectations or guarantee expectations. I’m going to show up every day and work and prepare the best way I can and the way I’ve done the last seven seasons in the big league.s that’s all I can do.”

Talks with the Red Sox? “To answer the first part of that question, there were no talks with the Red Sox, as far as getting something done and both of us agreeing on. There were talks but I don’t think anything kind of evolved.”

Tito and Theo leaving: “I don’t think that really played much part in my decision. That’s part of the nature of this game. players come and go every year. Coaches come and go every year.”

Any other offers, “We discussed a few other options but for me, my agents called me every day with what could possibly happen. I think one day, I finally told them, listen, I want to go play for the Phillies. Let’s make it happen. they called me two dyas later and they made it happen.”
“There’s something in my heart that feels like I was meant to be here in this city and play for this organization.”

Changing leagues, “Actually I was just talking to Charlie a little bit about that. In the American league, ther’s no looking on deck. In the National League, there’s a little bit more of a cat and mouse game. I don’t think for a closer and in my role, there’s that much of a difference. I have to go out there and preserve wins for the ballclub. That’s the bottom line. As far as the way the season ended last year, I’ve always felt if it doesn’t kill you I’ts going to make you stronger. There’s plenty of situations and plenty of ups and downs. I’ve had my fair share of ups, my fair share of downs. Those experiences, hopefully they make you better.”

Why did Ruben Amaro, Jr. want Papelbon so bad? “I think more than anything else, probably a few things. Obviously his durability,” Amaro said. “His consistency. The fact he’s had postseason experience in a very high-pressured situation. All those things were important to use because he’s kind of gone through the wars. He’s made the last pitch when it’s been necessary. Any time you’ve had someone who’s made the last pitch, that means a lot.”