You had to know that the decibel level of the New York Yankees-Boston Red Sox rivalry was going to go up a few notches with Bobby Valentine now managing the Red Sox. Well, Valentine did his best today to pooh-pooh the Yankees' stunning acquisitions of pitchers Michael Pineda and Hiroki Kuroda on Friday night.
From the Providence Journal:
"They're probably an upgrade from [Bartolo] Colon and [Freddy] Garcia," Valentine said. "Probably. I don't know. It seems it."
He did talk about the potential flaws for each pitcher.
"Pineda, when I saw him the first half, he looked unhittable. Second half, he looked OK," said Valentine. "[The Mariners] saw a lot of him and they traded him.
"Kuroda is a good pitcher -- a year older than he was last year, pitching in the American League and not the National League, pitching in not a great pitcher's ballpark from a great pitcher's ballpark."
"Probably an upgrade?" C'mon! Even Bobby V. knows better than that. The reaction around baseball is much different, with the overwhelming acknowledgment that the Yankees pitching is far superior today than it was before the moves.
The quality of the rhetoric in the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry has also gotten better this winter.
-- 'Kudos' to ESPN New York for the find.