- Matt Ehalt, ESPN New York contributor
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Seeing the Yankees trade their young catcher, Jesus Montero, didn't come as a surprise to new Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine.
"I thought that was kind of in their plans," Valentine said on Sunday at Rippowam Middle School in his hometown of Stamford, Conn. "He helped their plans come to fruition by the way he played that last month of the season. I didn't really ever think he was going to be their catcher of the future but maybe."
Valentine, who is never one to shy away from giving his opinion, previously didn't seem that impressed that the Yankees acquired touted rookie pitcher Michael Pineda from Seattle in exchange for Montero.
"Pineda, when I saw him in the first half (last season), he looked unhittable. In the second half, he looked OK," Valentine told reporters in mid-January. "I don't know. (Seattle) saw a lot of him, and they traded him."
While Valentine said the trade didn't surprise him, he did not elaborate on why. The Yankees also traded away reliever Hector Noesi in the deal and received a minor league pitcher.
"I don't know," Valentine said when asked if he thought Montero was going to be used as a trade chip in the future. "I don't know what the Yankees are doing, I think Brian (Cashman) is a real smart guy, one of the great managers in the game of baseball, and I don't know what his plan was."
Though the new manager has been making national headlines since taking over as Boston's skipper, he did not make any proclamations or take any shots at the Yankees. He was talking at his old high school as part of an Annual Hot Stove Report to sponsor Ed Randall's Fans For the Cure.
Valentine said he had no idea if Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez is still the same player he used to be. He also said doesn't know who is the AL East favorite and did not compare his pitching staff to the rest of division for lack of knowledge on other rotations as well as his own.
"Right now, it looks like it's really tough, the AL East, but the entire American League looks like it's incredibly tough," Valentine said. "I'll know a lot more about it when I see it up close and personal, that's for sure."
The former Mets manager praised former Yankees catcher Jorge Posada, who retired earlier this week after 17 seasons in Pinstripes.
"It means that he had a fabulous career, a guy with one team with that many rings, meaning that much to his community and his teammates," Valentine said of what Posada's loss will mean to the Yankees. "He'll be missed, his presence will be missed, that's for sure."
Since he's only in his first few months as the manager, Valentine said he does not believe that he has experienced the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry in full force just yet. The Red Sox will face the Yankees for the first time this season on April 20 at Fenway Park.
"But what I have experienced has been mind-boggling," Valentine said. "The knowledge, just to know what I look like, it seems like they know what car I drive and they're always there to say something special and right now everything that been said is 'Welcome to Boston and good luck with Boston' and I love that. I'm sure that will change a little. I hope what it changes to is 'Great job with Boston."