• According to an ESPN.com Rumor Central post this morning entitled, "Mattingly has plenty of choices", LA Dodgers' hitting coach Don Mattingly, "...is on a list," of managerial candidates that the Washington Nationals are considering, along with, "...Bobby Valentine, Bob Melvin, and current interim GM Jim Riggleman," but ESPN.com's Buster Olney's quoted in the post warning:
"If the Nationals want Don Mattingly to be their manager, they appear to have serious competition from the Indians; Mattingly, a Midwest product, is among the frontrunners to be Cleveland's next manager."
• Tony LaStoria has an opinion piece up at Clevelandfan.com entitled, "Acta Impresses, Valentine Bombs" where he discusses the differences between the two candidates who interviewed for the Indians' job last week, Manny Acta and Bobby Valentine, writing that Acta was clearly the more prepared of the two:
"When Acta was asked in his interview about the Indians, he knew everyone and named players and what he'd like to see. When asked why he knows so much about the Indians, he said he knows all 30 teams inside and out because he needs to know that as a manager. Meanwhile, when Valentine was asked in his interview about the Indians he said he didn't know anything about them nor about the Central Division or the American League in general."
• After his interview with Cleveland...
• After his interview with Cleveland...Valentine was quoted in a Columbus Dispatch column by Paul Hoynes entitled, "Baseball notebook: Valentine says he needs a refresher", saying that, "...after managing in Japan for the last six years," he needs to become more familiar with, "...a whole generation of major league players that i've only seen on tv," and Mr. Valentine readily admitted to the press that in his own opinion:
"I don't know as much about Cleveland as someone interviewing for the manager's job probably should."
• That doesn't stop Washington Times' writer Stephen Whyno from offering, in an article entitled, "First Down: Reasons to root for Nats to hire Valentine", a list of the "Five Reasons To Root For The Nationals To Hire Valentine":
- He has led a team to a World Series. Go ahead, Nationals fans, envision your team in a World Series.
- Remember that mustache? He can break out the disguises and be any manager you want him to be.
- The curse of Don Mattingly is something to avoid like the plague. No team with Mattingly has ever made a World Series.
- He could give Bruce Boudreau a challenge for the city's most charismatic coach. Big yawns for Jim Zorn and Flip Saunders.
- He's not Manny Acta. Which means he may not be as nice a guy, but he'll help the Nationals win more games.
(ed. note - "I'm down with the Valentine mustache jokes, but why is all of DC so angry with the fact that Manny Acta was a nice guy? I've heard of the Curse of Mattingly a lot recently, aren't there already enough curses on this franchise? Who's Jim Zorn?")
• What Does Jim Bowden think? That's what I always ask myself. Luckily for me there's the Jim Bowden Twitter Feed, where Mr. Bowden wrote in the last few days:
"LaRussa coming back to STL for 2010, so is Duncan, although the latter will be interviewing for Nationals Managerial opening."
"Phil Garner has inside track to be Astros MGR; Mattingly leading candidate in WSH; Mattingly & Acta leading candidates in Cleve; Hoyer SD GM."
• Strasburg on Strasburg:
MLB.com writer Barry M. Bloom was in Peoria, Arizona yesterday to see Stephen Strasburg's second AFL start and he quotes the Nationals' '09 No. 1 overall pick talking about the rough outing he had against Peoria's second-favorite Arizona Fall League team, the Javelinas. According to the 21-year-old right-hander, he, "...couldn't remember the last time he was struck for three homers in a single game," but as Strasburg explained, his early "struggles" if you can call them that, are not a surprise:
"I haven't faced professional hitters my entire life...I'm sure there were times in college when my stuff wasn't very good and I got away with it. These guys can hit mistakes. This isn't college baseball. These are Double-A, top prospects in each of their organizations. They can all hit and all have a plan out there."
• Bill James' Projections:
What can Washington Nationals fans expect from Nyjer Morgan over a full season in 2010? 23 doubles, 3 HR's, 44 RBI's, 52 stolen bases and a 70% success rate on the base paths, which is good enough to make running worthwhile according to Mr. James' own standards. A .302 AVG, .356 OBP, a .376 SLG and a .732 OPS...That's right, Bill James' Player and Pitcher Projections are back, and over the next few days, we'll be previewing what the Bill James' Handbook predicts for the twenty-ten Nationals. (ed. note - "The Bill James Handbook 2010 is available from Actasports.com on Nov. 1. Full disclosure: I agreed to plug the book for a look at the projections before the book was available, seems like a fair trade.")