Gordon Edes talks managers. Among the tidbits:
* Eric Wedge is almost certain to be fired;
* Dave Trembley is going to be gone and Jim Riggleman may very well be too;
* Ken Macha is probably safe for now;
* No matter how much the Wilpons talk about Jerry Manuel being safe, Bobby Valentine is being considered in Queens;
* Ed Wade needs to hire someone to clean up the mess, and based on the names floated — everyone from retreads like Jim Fregosi to newbies like Jeff Bagwell — he hasn’t yet figured out what he’s going to do.
Take all of this with a grain of salt, however, because based on what Edes says about Bobby Cox and the Braves, he may not be as plugged in as he would have you believe.
Citing “a major league source,” Edes claims in the piece that Cox and Braves’ GM had a big falling out last spring over the way John Smoltz’ situation was handled and that the poor relationship between the men could very well mean that Cox won’t be back in 2010. On the surface that sounds plausible, but according to both Cox himself and Mark Bradley at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the report is bunk. Cox says “everything is fine” and that Wren has been “outstanding.” Wren is a little more reserved, but calls Edes’ report “inaccurate.”
I’m guessing Cox and Wren aren’t big pals like Cox and Schuerholz were, but Cox is a pro who has been around forever. He survived Ted Turner for crying out loud, so I can’t feature a couple of personnel decisions by Wren causing such a rift.
If Cox isn’t back in 2010 it’s because he’s tired of managing, not because he can’t get along with the boss.
The Orioles have re-signed outfielder Michael Bourn to a minor league contract with an invitation to major league camp, MASN’s Roch Kubatko reports.
Bourn, 34, joined the Orioles last year in a trade from the Diamondbacks on August 31. Though he compiled a meager .669 OPS with the Diamondbacks, Bourn hit a solid .283/.358/.435 in 55 plate appearances with the O’s through the end of the season.
Bourn, a non-roster invitee to camp, will try to play his way onto the Orioles’ 25-man roster. If he does make the roster, Bourn will receive a $2 million salary, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports points out.
Diamondbacks starter Shelby Miller had about as bad a season as one can have. He was the headliner in the trade that sent 2015 No. 1 overall pick Dansby Swanson, All-Star outfielder Ender Inciarte, and highly-regarded pitching prospect Aaron Blair to the Braves. It was a trade that was pilloried at the time and continues to be pilloried to this day.
Miller didn’t do then-GM Dave Stewart any favors with his 2016 performance. He went 3-12 with a 6.15 ERA and a 70/42 K/BB ratio over 101 innings. That included a bout with mechanical failure, as he kept hitting the mound with his follow-through. He went on the disabled list. And after that, he was demoted to Triple-A. After getting fired, Stewart expressed remorse over acquiring Miller — or, more accurately, giving up Swanson to do so.
So, the 26-year-old Miller heads into 2017 without any momentum. To his credit, though, he’s going into the new season with a very positive perspective. Via Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports:
I’m just in a really happy place, away from the field, on the field. […]
Maybe it’s just the way I go about everything, trying to be positive in every single aspect of life. Baseball’s not perfect. I’m not perfect. I know bumps in the road are going to happen. Last year was obviously not just a bump, but a huge mountain. Right now, that’s completely behind me. I’m not worried about any of that.
I’m really ready for this year, ready to redeem myself so much.
Even pitching coach Mike Butcher sees the change in Miller’s mentality. “He’s not a different guy. But you can see there’s a presence in him. That’s what we need. Just be Shelby Miller. You don’t have to live up to anything. Just be yourself.”
Manager Torey Lovullo, too, praised Miller. “I saw a guy who had spent a lot of time taking care of his business in the weight room — he looks fantastic, in fantastic shape,” he said.
It sounds like Miller is not only in great mental shape, but great physical shape, too. Is it the “best shape of his life”? Only time can tell.