Former Mets general manager and current SiriusXM sports radio host Steve Phillips joined Mut & Merloni (with Kirk Minihane in for Lou Merloni) on Friday to talk about Bobby Valentine, the World Series and performance-enhancing drugs.
Valentine broke his silence following his firing when he appeared on Bob Costas' NBC Sports Network show on Tuesday night, and he made some negative comments about his time in Boston.
“I’m not surprised,” Phillips said. “Having been fired, you get defensive. When Bobby was fired in New York, he had cultivated relationships with members of the media who were able to do his bidding. … He didn’t have the time or the relationships to develop that sort of collateral with the media in Boston, so he’s doing some of that on his own. It’s a natural tendency to defend yourself when you feel like you’ve been wronged.”
Valentine, in the interview, cast doubt on a story he had told WEEI concerning a sarcastic comment to rookie Will Middlebrooks. Phillips said he thinks Valentine could be making things up based on his own perception.
“The answer to that is probably, yes,” Phillips said. “I can’t recall a specific item [in which Valentine made things up]. What happens is, we make up our own reality. What we understand took place may not necessarily be what actually did take place. … I think with Bobby, he does experience things differently. Certainly did to me. I think he does that more than most other people. And I think some of what you’re hearing right now is exactly his reality, which is different than others.”
Asked if Valentine got a fair shake in Boston, Phillips said: “What’s fair? I think that the [Kevin] Youkilis situation blew up on Bobby. It was difficult for him after that to overcome. … They wanted him to be a changer … and in doing that it was going to rub some people the wrong way.”
Phillips said if he were a general manager again he would consider hiring Valentine, just not immediately.
“I would consider Bobby to manage again, probably not this year.” Phillips said. “I think the dust needs to settle. … I think that as time goes by we start to better understand who is responsible for what and stuff that we attach to somebody that might not have been their stuff. The facts become little bit clearer, so I think somewhere down the line I would consider Bobby to manage. I think he’s a brilliant baseball man. I think it has to be the right situation.”
Following are more highlights from the interview.
On new Sox manager John Farrell: “I’ve crossed paths with him both from a front office perspective and when he was Red Sox pitching coach. … I know he is very well-respected, a very mature baseball guy. I followed some games up in Toronto with him when they were decimated by injuries, so the one thing I’ll say is that with all the injuries the Red Sox had, you’ve got a manager coming in who at least have knows how to handle some of that situation because he dealt with that himself this past year. … Where he’ll have an impact is that he’s not Bobby Valentine. And I say that with respect to Bobby, but he’s more like Terry Francona and he will be much more readily accepted and won’t have to start from scratch earning the respect of the players, of the fans, of the front office, and of everybody else.”
On the Giants taking a 2-0 lead over the Tigers in the World Series: “I had Tigers in 6. So, I think the Tigers have got them right where they want them right now. Hasn’t gone quite how I thought it would’ve. [Justin] Verlander would’ve won Game 1 and maybe even split the series in San Francisco. That being said, I do think that the Tigers are not out of this series. So many people are discounting them right now. They’re going back to Detroit with a fan base that is really behind their team; they play really well there. … I think they can bounce back in this series, it’s not going to be easy. This is a Giants team that is playing inspired baseball, to say the least. Overcoming six elimination games is nothing to laugh at. … I believe the Tigers will find a way to bounce back.”
On the Giants not being punished as a team for having a player, Melky Cabrera, test positive for PEDs: “There’s nothing that’s taken into account with the fact that the team that you’re playing on gets a dramatic benefit in your performance from the fact that you were cheating. ... He was the centerpiece of their offense. So from my perspective to say let’s dock him 50 games but not in any way acknowledge the fact that the San Francisco Giants benefited from his performance, I don’t know what that exact number is. I personally believe that it could be anywhere from eight to 10 games, that if they had some other guy there or if it was the Melky Cabrera who was a Yankee and Brave who was like a .265 hitter with eight home runs on the season, knocked in 48 and scored 50, if that were the guy then they would be eight to 10 games less than what they were. But he was their best offensive player.”