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Valentine: I'm 'Committed' to ESPN -- For Now

From Dave Sheinin:

New ESPN baseball analyst Bobby Valentine, speaking via conference call Tuesday from Japan, said he is "totally committed" to his new job as a Baseball Tonight panelist, beginning with the upcoming postseason. However, he acknowledged his interest in eventually returning to managing -- under the right circumstances.

"I've come far enough and done this thing often enough to understand the everyday grind of a major league season has got to be aided by the working relationship with the people you have around you," Valentine, 59, said.

The Washington Nationals, currently managed on an interim basis by Jim Riggleman, are believed to have at least mild interest in Valentine, who spent the past six years managing Japan's Chiba Lotte Marines. Asked whether he would be willing to step into a rebuilding situation, such as that of the Nationals, who have lost 100-plus games in back-to-back seasons, Valentine said he was more interested in a team's future direction than its past mistakes.

"I don't know about 100-loss seasons," said Valentine, who managed in the U.S. for 15 years with the Texas Rangers and New York Mets, taking the Mets to the 2000 World Series. "But I do know about a No. 1 draft choice [pitcher Stephen Strasburg] that was signed.

"I don't necessaily know about the baseball culture of many cities, other than the ones I've worked in. But I can tell you what would draw me to any job would be the people I would be working with day in and day out, who would have to be on same page, pulling in the same direction."

Valentine's ESPN contract is believed to contain an "out" clause that would allow him to accept a managing job in MLB, although the specifics of that clause are not known. During the same conference call Tuesday, ESPN's executive vice president of production, Norby Williamson, said the network assumes Valentine will remain onboard through the 2010 season.

"Teams, at some point, would be crazy not to approach Bobby to manage their teams," Williamson said. "... I'm OK with that. People's aspirations change."

Aside from the Nationals, the only other team with a managerial opening are the Houston Astros, although several other teams, including the Baltimore Orioles, could be considering changes.

By washingtonpost.com Sports Editor  |  September 30, 2009; 12:29 AM ET
Categories:  Astros , Nationals , Orioles  | Tags: Baseball Tonight, Bobby Valentine  
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