I've noticed for a while that Gardy throws Valencia under the bus at every opportunity. In a game where Valencia hit a home run but also failed to advance the runner from second to third in a later at bat, Gardy will mention said failure in the postgame press conference. In a game in which the bullpen collapsed and threw away a big lead, Gardy will point out that Valencia didn't bunt, or muffed a hard grounder down the line, or something.

This has seemed to me like another example of one of the main problems I have with Gardy's managerial style -- that he seems to be very highly critical of his talented (but not highly talented) young-ish players, in a way that he isn't of players who are either old or bad or both.

But check out this quote, courtesy of Phil Mackey:

"I think he enjoys it, to tell you the truth," Gardenhire said, regarding Valencia handling criticism. "I think it makes him feel like he's a part of stuff when people are getting on him. Because he's constantly saying, 'How come these guys are getting on me about this, Gardy, and not getting on this guy about this?' So I know he likes it. I really believe he likes that stuff."

Evidently, Gardy is deliberately trying to find ways to criticize Valencia, because he thinks Valencia likes it.

Of course, when I hear that Valencia says "How come these cuys are getting on me about this, Gardy, and not getting on this guy about this?", I don't think that sounds like he likes it. It sounds like he thinks it's bullshit.

And even if Gardy is right, that Valencia does like being criticized more than all the other players even when he's not doing anything wrong, I imagine he doesn't appreciate it when Gardy says he needs to start producing more or he's going to be sent down to Rochester.

What do you think? Have I misread Valencia's feelings? Is Gardy out of touch? Or is this much ado about nothing?

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