Bobby Valentine (Wikimedia Commons)
The Boston Red Sox have named Bobby Valentine as their franchise manager, replacing the fired Terry Francona.
The Red Sox are coming off a disastrous September where they blew a nine game lead over the Tampa Bay Rays in the American League Wildcard chase and failed to hang on.
Valentine, who most recently was an analyst for ESPN Sunday Night Baseball, has extensive managerial experience in the past–eight years with the Texas Rangers and seven years with the New York Mets. Valentine also spent seven years managing in Japan.
In other recent baseball news, the Tampa Bay Rays signed Jose Molina to a one year deal worth $1.8 million this past weekend. Molina doesn’t have a lot of power in his bat, but did hit a career high .281 this season, and has worked very well with younger pitchers on Major League Baseball rosters in the past.
In two other key free agent signings so far, the Texas Rangers signed closer Joe Nathan this past week to a two year contract worth $14.5 million from the Minnesota Twins. Nathan, who is now 37 years old, only had an earned run average of 4.84 last season after missing 2010 due to Tommy John Surgery. From 2004-2009, Nathan was one of the most elite closers in baseball, collecting 246 saves over six years.
Also, the Chicago Cubs signed David DeJesus to a two year contract worth $10 million from the Oakland Athletics. DeJesus batted .240 with 10 home runs and 46 runs batted in last season.