Bobby V's proclamation

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Bobby V's proclamation

"I am so proud of this group of guys. I know it's an overstated line, but those men played 20 days of hard baseball, hard travel, hard competition . . . We play like this the rest of the season, we're going to win the championship."

OK, so let me be the 1,500th person to freak out over Bobby Valentines postgame comments.

Just hold on a second. I have to get into character:

Ahem . . .

What?! Is he serious?! Theyre at .500 and hes talking about a championship?! Please . . . more like a . . . not-last-place-anymore . . . -ship! Am I right? What a joke. What a LOSER! What a . . . "

OK. I really don't care.

Honestly, how is anyone affected by what he said here?

Is Bobby Valentine a ridiculous person? Yes.

Did he say something ridiculous? Yes.

But why does it matter?

Does it affect his relationship with the players? I can almost guarantee that there isn't a player in that clubhouse who would have even heard about that interview and still probably haven't if it wasn't blown out of proportion. (Except for David Ortiz, who DVRs every episode of Extra Innings to make sure everyone's being nice).

Do you even think he meant it? Do you really think that Bobby V. believes that the Red Sox with an outfield of Daniel Nava, Marlon Byrd and Linsanity 2 can win a championship? I don't know. I guess there's maybe some little demented chance that he does.

Or maybe he's actually just proud of his team. Maybe he looks into that clubhouse and sees a group of guys however unlikable as they may come across who just finished the best stretch of their season. Who played 20 days in a row in four different cities. Who have lost every outfielder in the organization to injury. Who have still managed to win 10 of 13 games and finally once again get back to .500. And maybe he just wanted to say something nice.

And it was a poor choice of words

In a throwaway line . . .

During a one-on-one interview on the team's propaganda news channel . . .

After a mid-May, Wednesday afternoon game . . .

In Baltimore.

All together now: "WHO CARES?!"

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Market for Encarnacion is shrinking, yet Red Sox still don't seem interested

Market for Encarnacion is shrinking, yet Red Sox still don't seem interested

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- As the annual winter meetings get underway today, the market for arguably the best free-agent hitter may be -- against all logic -- lessening.

Edwin Encarnacion, who has averaged 39 homers a year over the last five seasons, should be a player in demand.

But in quick succession, the Houston Astros and New York Yankees, two teams thought to be in the market for Encarnacion, opted to go with older hitters who required shorter deals -- Carlos Beltran and Matt Holliday.

Further, the Toronto Blue Jays' signing of Steve Pearce to a two-year deal Monday, coupled with their earlier acquisition of Kendrys Morales, closes the door on a potential return to Toronto for Encarnacion.

Seemingly, all of that would position the Red Sox, in search of a DH to replace the retired David Ortiz, to swoop in and land Encarnacion for far less than they could have imagined only weeks ago.

And yet, it appears as though things would have to change considerably for the Red Sox to reach agreement with Encarnacion.

While the first baseman-DH is known to be Ortiz's first choice as his replacement, for now, the economics don't work for the Sox -- even as Enacarnacion's leverage drops.

Encarnacion is expecting a deal of at least four years, with an average annual value around $20 million.

The Red Sox, industry sources indicate, are very much mindful of the luxury tax threshold. The Sox have, however modestly, gone over the threshold in each of the last two seasons, and even with a bump due to last week's new CBA, the Sox are dangerously close to the 2018 limit of $195 million.

Should the Sox go over for a third straight year, their tax would similarly ratchet up.

That, and the fact that Encarnacion would cost the Sox their first-round pick next June -- for this offseason, compensation for players given a qualifying offer comes under the old CBA rules -- represents two huge disincentives.

It's far more likely that the Sox will seek a cheaper option at DH from among a group that includes Pedro Alvarez and Mike Napoli. Neither is in Encarnacion's class, but then again, neither would cost a draft pick in return, or the long-term investment that Encarnacion is said to be seeking.

Boomer Esiason witnessed Pete Rose hire people to sign autographs

Boomer Esiason witnessed Pete Rose hire people to sign autographs

Boomer Esiason tells Toucher & Rich a story from his early days in Cincinnati when he witnessed Pete Rose overseeing five guys he paid to sign a stack of photographs for fans.