Red Sox

Valentine meets with Red Sox brass

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Valentine meets with Red Sox brass

BOSTON The Red Sox interviewed their sixth managerial candidate Monday. The question, though, is: Will he be the final candidate?

Bobby Valentine met with general manager Ben Cherington in what was called a formal interview setting. Valentine initially discussed the open manager's job with presidentCEO Larry Lucchino and Cherington earlier this month. Lucchino and Valentine were on the panel in Hartford at a forum on international baseball Nov. 3.

Larry left Ben and I together for a good part of that time, Valentine said. We did the discussion and basically Larry said, Hey, Ben thinks we could move forward with you. We might continue the process. Thats when I started thinking of it.

Valentine is the most recognizable candidate and the candidate with the most experience.He managed for eight seasons with the Rangers and seven with the Mets, compiling a record of 1117-1072. He also managed in Japan, and won the 2005 Japan Series with the Chiba Lotte Marines. He is currently an analyst for ESPN.

But Valentine is not without a share of controversy, including run-ins with former GMs and players, and a collapse with the 2002 Mets. He was fired at the end of that season.

Hes had really good experiences, Cherington said. Hes been to the top, and hes had other experiences that havent gone as well. But no one whos managed in the big leagues -- or very few, I cant think of anyone -- has had all good experiences. Thats not how the game works. Former manager Terry Francona hadnt had all good experiences before he got to Boston. He worked out really well.

Asked what hes learned since his last major-league managerial stint, Valentine replied:

I wish I had a good answer for that. One thing, you can't teach experience. If all your experiences could be good, wed live in thisfairylandthatFenway Parkis built around. You can't. Ive had bad experiences that I hope Ive learned from. Ive had good experiences that I hope I learned from. Some of those bad experiences I think I caused. Some of them were caused by the surroundings. Some of the good experiences, I had something to do with them and some of them I was just happy to go along for the ride. I hope like hell Ive learned from whatever experiences I had.

I hope I'll change for the better because I never won a world championship when I was inNew York.

Valentine said he could not consider managing without a balance of scouting and computer analysis.

We know we need to have people who see people and we also need to have people who can understand what those people actually do, he said. I was an advanced scout. I worked with scouts, with minor-league organizations . . . I was weaned on the concept of statistical analysis as a manager. I think they're both very important.

During the interview process he was asked to watch game video, offer analysis and determine what his in-game decisions might be.Valentine, 61, is a native of Stamford, Conn., where he still resides and is the citys director of public safety. He is currently in the process of hiring a fire chief for the city. Valentine joked that he would like to use a similar format in his interviews for the city.

Valentine, like most observers, is aware of the reports of unseemly behavior by Red Sox players in the clubhouse during the season.

Discipline is not 30 whacks with a whip these days, but I think everyone likes discipline, he said. I think everyone likes structure and everyone again likes to be acknowledged when they do things properly. When they dont do things properly . . . most people, and athletes in particular, like to be noticed that theyre not doing things right. So when you talk about discipline and rules and all that, its just about right and wrong.Its just about an expectation of a person whos representing a great organization like the Boston Red Sox, a passionate committed team like they have in the front office and in ownership, expecting them to know the difference between right and wrong, on the field and off the field and when they're talking to you and when they're living their life. Thats the discipline thing I try to bring to a team.

Valentine said he talked with a couple of his mentors, including Hall of Famer Tommy Lasorda and Lou Lamoriello, presidentGM of the New Jersey Devils who is also in the hockey Hall of Fame and Cape Cod League hall of fame. Lamoriello coached Valentine in the Cape League.

Theyd disown me if I didn't give it my best shot, Valentine said of his interview with the Sox. I sweat the whole day. I havent been as nervous for anything in a long, long time. It was invigorating, challenging and stimulating -- all those good things.

Cherington said while he had hoped to have a decision by Thanksgiving, that isn't likely. Cherington said he is now hoping to make a decision next week, before the winter meetings, which begin Dec. 5 in Dallas.

That hasnt happened, he said. But more important we need to get it right and take the time necessary. You never want to rush it.

MLB will institute rules to pick up pace, with or without players' agreement

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MLB will institute rules to pick up pace, with or without players' agreement

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Major League Baseball will change rules to speed games next year with or without an agreement with the players' association.

Management proposed last offseason to institute a 20-second pitch clock, allow one trip to the mound by a catcher per pitcher each inning and raise the bottom of the strike zone from just beneath the kneecap to its pre-1996 level at the top of the kneecap. The union didn't agree, and clubs have the right to impose those changes unilaterally for 2018.

Players and MLB have held initial bargaining since summer, and MLB chief legal officer Dan Halem said this week he would like an agreement by mid-January.

"My preferred path is a negotiated agreement with the players, but if we can't get an agreement we are going to have rule changes in 2018 one way or the other," baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said Thursday after a quarterly owners' meeting.

Nine-inning games averaged a record 3 hours, 5 minutes during the regular season and 3:29 during the postseason.

Corey Kluber beats Chris Sale for American League Cy Young

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Corey Kluber beats Chris Sale for American League Cy Young

Max Scherzer heard his name and thrust his arms in the air, shouting and smiling big before turning to kiss his wife.

Corey Kluber, on the other hand, gulped once and blinked.

Two aces, two different styles - and now another Cy Young Award for each.

The animated Scherzer of the Washington Nationals coasted to his third Cy Young, winning Wednesday for the second straight year in the National League. He breezed past Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, drawing 27 of the 30 first-place votes in balloting by members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

Kluber's win was even more of a runaway. The Cleveland Indians ace took 28 first-place votes, easily outpacing Chris Sale of the Boston Red Sox for his second AL Cy Young.

Scherzer yelled "yes!" when his award was announced on MLB Network, a reaction in keeping with his expressive reputation. He showed that intensity often this year, whether he was cursing under his breath like a madman during his delivery or demanding - also with expletives - that manager Dusty Baker leave him in the game.

Just a little different than the pitcher they call "Klubot." Kluber was stoic as ever when announced as the AL winner. He swallowed hard but otherwise didn't react, only showing the hint of a smile moments later when answering questions.

Not that he wasn't thrilled.

"Winning a second one maybe, for me personally, kind of validates the first one," Kluber said.

Scherzer's win moves him into rare company. He's the 10th pitcher with at least three Cy Youngs, and among the other nine, only Kershaw and Roger Clemens aren't in the Hall of Fame.

"That's why I'm drinking a lot of champagne tonight," Scherzer said.

Scherzer earned the NL honor last year with Washington and the 2013 American League prize with Detroit.

"This one is special," he said. "When you start talking about winning three times, I can't even comprehend it at this point."

Scherzer was 16-6 with a career-best 2.51 ERA this year. The 33-year-old righty struck out a league-leading 268 for the NL East champion Nationals, and in an era noted for declining pitcher durability, he eclipsed 200 innings for the fifth straight season. He had to overcome a variety of ailments to get there, and Washington's training staff was high on his thank-you list.

"Everybody had a role in keeping me out on the field," he said. "I'm very thankful for all their hard work."

Kershaw has won three NL Cy Youngs and was the last pitcher to win back-to-back. He was 18-4 with a league-best 2.31 ERA and 202 strikeouts. This is his second runner-up finish. Stephen Strasburg of the Nationals finished third.

Kluber missed a month of the season with back pain and still easily won the AL award over Sale and third-place finisher Luis Severino of the New York Yankees. Kluber led the majors with a 2.25 ERA, and his 18 wins tied for the most in baseball. He added to the Cy Young he won with the Indians in 2014 and is the 19th pitcher to win multiple times.

The 31-year-old Kluber was especially dominant down the stretch, closing out the season by going 11-1 to help Cleveland win the AL Central. He and Minnesota's Ervin Santana tied for the major league lead with five complete games - nobody else had more than two. Kluber also led the majors with 8.0 wins above replacement, per baseball-reference.com.

Kluber and Scherzer both had rough outings in the playoffs. Kluber gave up nine runs over two starts in an AL Division Series against the Yankees, and Scherzer blew a save in the decisive Game 5 of an NL Division Series against the Cubs.

Scherzer said he couldn't even watch the League Championship Series, although he did tune in for the World Series.

"That will eat at me this whole offseason," he said.

Voting for the awards was completed before the postseason began.

The final BBWAA honors will come Thursday when the MVP awards are announced in the AL and NL.

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