Hiring has generated buzz within division
CAP CANA, Dominican Republic - That the Red Sox selected Bobby Valentine as their manager has caught the attention of the players in the American League East.
“We have some serious managers in our division now, a lot of intelligence and a lot of ego,’’ Orioles center fielder Adam Jones said yesterday. “Bobby is going to be good for them, I think.’’
Jones, who was here to participate in David Ortiz’s celebrity golf tournament, spent time with Valentine last year when he visited ESPN.
“He’s smart, that’s a smart man right there,’’ Jones said. “He’s on top of things.’’
Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista thinks Valentine will help the Red Sox.
“They had a good manager before with [Terry] Francona. But Valentine has a good reputation,’’ he said.
Former Yankees star Bernie Williams played against Valentine for years.
“He knows a lot about baseball. He’s worn quite a few hats within the baseball industry,’’ Williams said. “He’s been a commentator, a coach, and a manager, and been associated with a lot of success here and obviously in Japan.
“One thing’s for sure, he’s going to keep them entertained. There’s not going to be a dull moment with Bobby there . . . The AL East is one of the toughest divisions in baseball. I don’t know if the Yankees are the team to shoot for now. There are so many great teams there, on paper at least. The competition will be very fierce.’’
Dave Magadan will return for a sixth season as hitting coach. Valentine spoke to him yesterday to confirm it.
The decision was expected. Magadan was under contract for 2012 and the Red Sox led baseball in runs last season along with on-base percentage and slugging percentage.
Third base coach Tim Bogar, bench coach DeMarlo Hale, and bullpen coach/catching instructor Gary Tuck also remain under contract.
Valentine said he reached out to the other coaches but had not yet spoken to them. He plans to connect with them today.
The Orioles have interest in Hale to be their third base coach. The Sox are expected to set their staff within the next week.
“Not so quickly that it won’t get us the right people,’’ Valentine said. “The winter meetings [next week] should be extensive. My phone is filled up and my messages are filled. We’ll try and pick the best and the right guys.’’
If the Red Sox fail to retain Ortiz, Jones is sure the Orioles would welcome the free agent designated hitter.
“I see him 18 times a year on the other side. I’d love to have him with us for 162,’’ Jones said. “It would be good. He adds that punch to your lineup.’’
Jones, 26, said Ortiz is one of the players he admires.
“He has that personality and that good temperament. When he invited me here for his event, I said yes in a second,’’ Jones said. “People have no idea the things he does.’’
Two years ago, Jones said, Ortiz sent him a bottle of Ace of Spades champagne for his birthday and signed the label.
“It was a $1,000 bottle of champagne. I still have it,’’ Jones said. “The next time I have something to celebrate, I’m going to pop it open.’’
Jones has run across a few Boston fans since the Orioles knocked the Sox out of the playoffs in the final game of the season.
“They were giving me a hard time. But the game is the game and people understand how it works,’’ he said.
Jones, in his second year of arbitration, is hopeful of signing a long-term extension with the Orioles.
“That part is not up to me,’’ he said. “That’s one thing I’ve learned. You can’t control everything. The ball is in their court.’’
Jones has yet to speak to new Orioles general manager Dan Duquette.
The end of the NBA lockout cost Ortiz a few guests for his tournament, which will be held today. Only free agent guard J.J. Barea, a former Northeastern star, elected to attend. But Bill Russell and Jim Rice are on hand again along with “Saturday Night Live’’ star Rachel Dratch and a host of current and former baseball players, including Robinson Cano, Barry Larkin, Sean Casey, and Tim Wakefield . . . Williams on the superlative season by Red Sox center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury: “I certainly appreciate it. It’s hard. In the past five or 10 years, center field has become more of an offensive position. But it’s primarily a defensive position. You’re the captain out there and supposed to take charge. That guys can put up offensive numbers like that is a great asset to your team. More power to them.’’