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Valentine joins candidate list for Rays job
By MARC TOPKIN
Published October 31, 2005
ST. PETERSBURG - After a two-plus hour informal and informational telephone conversation Sunday, Devil Rays officials heard enough to make Bobby Valentine the ninth official candidate for their manager's job.
But how much more they have to talk about could depend on how aggressively Valentine is pursued by the Dodgers, who are rebuilding their organization after firing general manager Paul DePodesta on Saturday, as well as how much money Chiba Lotte offers him to stay in Japan.
The Rays also appear ready to move ahead in their search for a senior front office official, seeking interviews with former Angels general manager Mike Port, who works in the commissioner's office; Blue Jays player personnel director Tony LaCava; and possibly Mariners player personnel executive Dan Evans, a former Dodgers GM. They are also considering DePodesta.
Before Sunday's phone call, Valentine said in an e-mail that "things are happening quickly" and that the Rays were "behind in the process."
Valentine, who managed the Rangers and Mets before leading Chiba Lotte to the Japan Series title, does not necessarily seem like a good fit for the Rays, given his high profile and likely hefty salary. They were interested enough, but if the Dodgers are heavily interested, and some reports suggest Valentine will be their top choice, it could be a moot point.
Timing is key as the Rays plan to cut their field of candidates to two or three by midweek.
Los Angeles could impact the Rays another way. If the Dodgers hire Pat Gillick as general manager, it could clear the way for Gerry Hunsicker, whom the Rays have talked to about the front office position, to get the Phillies GM job.
The Rays, meanwhile, are expected to talk again soon with A's player personnel director Billy Owens, who interviewed Saturday in Tampa for an assistant GM-type position.