Dave Sheinin of the Washington Post participated in a conference call with newest ESPN employee Bobby Valentine.
Since it's in the Post, it focuses mainly on the Nationals' managerial opening, though Sheinin graciously notes that Houston needs a manager, too. On that ESPN out clause though, Norby Williamson, ESPN's Executive VP of Production, says:
"Teams, at some point, would be crazy not to approach Bobby to manage their teams... I'm OK with that. People's aspirations change."
This "Norby" also says that he expects Valentine to be employed by ESPN through 2010.
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, "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."
That could, or could not, be Houston.