Bobby V. checks out Marlins

Standing among the observers watching the Marlins work out on the back fields at Roger Dean Stadium on Saturday was Bobby Valentine.

The former big league manager and current ESPN analyst took a few minutes to talk with a couple of Marlins beat reporters.

A topic that he answered directly was the speculation that he would manage the Marlins. Last October, a story broke that Valentine was being considered to replace Fredi Gonzalez.

On Saturday, Valentine said the rumors were not true and that he never spoke with Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria about managing the squad. Valentine and Loria have known each other for many years, and have spoken. But not about him guiding the club.

“How in the world would anybody [assume], because we have a connection [that a managing inquiry was made],” Valentine said. “We have a talk, and all of a sudden, the only talk was would I manage this team? Jeffrey is a passionate guy. I like his passion.”

Valentine has known Loria since the 1980s.

Asked if he were asked by Loria to manage the Marlins, Valentine said flatly: “No.”

“To manage the team this year? No,” he said. “We’ve talked on the state of the game, and the international state of the game. We didn’t talk much about his team.”

Valentine said the speculation was unfair to Gonzalez, who guided the Marlins to 87 wins and a second place finish in 2009.

“When someone has a job, and especially when someone does a good job, like Fredi, it’s an unnecessary nuisance,” he said. “It’s unfair for me to have to answer questions that don’t have an answer to them.”

Valentine is impressed with the amount of talent in the Marlins system. He was on hand Saturday to gather information about the Marlins and Cardinals for his job at ESPN.

He carried with him binded books with statistical data on all the Marlins.

How well the Marlins will perform, Valentine says, will depend on its pitching.

“I don’t think they’re going to surprise anyone,” Bobby V. said. “I think the Marlins have a reputation that year in, year out of being an organization that gives everyone fits. They’re always in it to win it, I don’t think they surprise.

“Whether or not they put the pitching together, I don’t know. I haven’t seen all the reports on them. It reads pretty well.”

He adds that Hanley Ramirez is one of the rising stars who will carry the sport into the next generation.

“He’s a special talent,” Valentine said. “He’s got a beautiful swing. He’s got a swing that can only produce.”

— Joe Frisaro



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