Just about once a month now it's popping up in the news. Chibba Lotte Marines' Manager Bobby Valentine, (who has publicly stated that he will be leaving his position with the Japanese Pacific League team he's managed since 2004 when the '09 season ends there, as it does here, in October), continues to be linked to the Washington Nationals, who have made no secret about their plans to conduct an extensive search before deciding who will manage the nation's capital's favorite baseball team in 2010. The first mention was in a June 15, 2009 article by SI.com writer Jon Heyman entitled, "Nationals could replace Acta with Valentine; pitching market thinning", in which Mr. Heyman wrote that "National League sources" had identified Valentine as a potential replacement for Manny Acta, who was then weeks away from actually being "relieved of his duties".
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Washington Post writer Dave Sheinin discussed the possibility of Valentine taking over the Nationals' job in a 7/14/09 article entitled, "Acta and Nationals Will Likely Have Options Beyond This Year", where Mr. Sheinin noted that when it comes to the 2010-skipper-talk, "Speculation in Washington is likely to focus on Bobby Valentine," but, Mr. Sheinin wrote, "...it is unclear if the Nationals would be willing to pay Valentine what he is making in Japan (about $4 million)." Elsewhere in the article, Mr. Sheinin mentions, (just to throw some other names into the rumor mill), the relationship Nationals' team President Stan Kasten maintains with Ned Yost, (who worked in Atlanta with Kasten and most recently managed the Milwaukee Brewers until he was "relieved of his duties" last season), Jim Fregosi and Terry Pendleton, as well as Bob Melvin who has ties to DC GM Mike Rizzo from the time the two spent together out in Arizona.
In late August, the 26th of 2009 to be exact, it was Ft. Worth Star-Telegram writer Jim Reeves who again tied Valentine to DC in an article about the manager leaving Japan entitled, "After winning over Japan, Bobby Valentine wants new challenge", wherein Mr. Reeves wrote that, "The Washington Nationals are expected to touch base(with Valentine) soon, right after they interview another former Rangers manager, Buck Showalter." So add Showalter to the list...No actual sources are cited for this speculation of course, but it's followed this month by yet another article which links Valentine to Washington with ESPN.com's Peter Gammons writing in his latest 9/5/09 blog post entitled, "NL West is better than you think", that, "Washington ownership mentioned Bobby Valentine in every GM interview, so don't count Bobby V. out of that job."
What's that supposed to mean? It seems to imply that the Washington Nationals asked every one of the GM candidates they interviewed, before simply promoting Mike Rizzo to the full-time post, whether or not they could get along with Bobby Valentine? What other conclusion is there to draw from Mr. Gammons unattributed rumor? Is Bobby Valentine behind the rumors that surface once a month in anticipation of his reentering the MLB job market? Is Washington seriously considering bringing Valentine in as the Nationals' 4th Manager in 6 years in DC? Is there anyone else to add to the list?
So far it's:
- Bobby Valentine
- Ned Yost
- Bob Melvin
- Jim Fregosi
- Terry Pendleton
- Buck Showalter
- Jim Riggleman
Who's your choice? Who's going to be the first person to say Kirk Gibson in the comments?
"Speculation in Washington is certain to focus on Bobby Valentine, the former Texas Rangers and New York Mets manager now in the final year of his contract for Japan's Chiba Lotte Marines, who appear unlikely to bring him back. Valentine has publicly acknowledged a desire to return to the United States, although it is unclear if the Nationals would be willing to pay Valentine what he is making in Japan (about $4 million), or if not, whether he would agree to a steep pay cut."
"Manny Acta appears to be on his way out as Nationals manager, and while respected ex-big league manager Jim Riggleman reportedly will be installed as the interim manager, team higher-ups also have begun internal discussions about permanent candidates. One of those candidates to replace Acta, according to National League sources, is Bobby Valentine, who is currently in his seventh season as manager of the Chiba Lotte Mariners(sic) in Japan."
"Washington ownership mentioned Bobby Valentine in every GM interview, so don't count Bobby V. out of that job."
"Meanwhile, there’s a sense that Valentine would simply like to keep doing what he’s doing with the Marines. But a scandal that affected team ownership brought new leadership for the baseball team, which is merely a small part of a $40 billion company. That new leadership wants to take the team back toward more traditional Japanese customs, rather than embrace the innovations and changes Valentine brought, even though the fans and players loved them."
"And most importantly, I came to feel that for me to leave the team at the end of the 2009 season is best for the Shigemitsu family and for the Chiba Lotte Marines, and so I wanted to make this announcement about the decision as soon as possible."
"* Class AAA Syracuse manager Tim Foli will join the Washington coaching staff on Tuesday, after the minor league season ends. Foli will be an all-purpose instructor."