Milton Bradley: 'Everyone gets him wrong'

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Larry Stone of the Seattle Times found some people to say some nice things about new Seattle Mariner Milton Bradley, and it seems the man Lou Piniella called a “piece of s***” might not be so foul after all.

“Everyone gets him wrong, man,” said reliever Eddie Guardado, who was a Texas teammate of Bradley’s during his best (and least disruptive) season, when the switch-hitter led the American League with a .999 OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) in 2008.

“To the media, he’s not very outgoing, very quiet. But by no means is he a distraction in the clubhouse. He’s ready to play every day. He’s different, no doubt. I got along with him great; a lot of guys got along with him great. He’s a good asset to that team [the Mariners]. Milton can flat-out hit.”

I was thinking of making a crack about Tiger Woods hiring Guardado to handle his PR, but the story doesn’t end with Guardado.

Former Padres GM Kevin Towers, Padres manager Bud Black, and former A’s manager Ken Macha all praised Bradley, too.

Even Piniella concedes that Seattle might be a good fit for Bradley, especially with Ken Griffey Jr., a player Bradley admires, on the team.

Of course there are plenty of people around baseball not buying any of this. So where do you fall? Can Bradley turn over a new leaf, or should we just start the meltdown clock now?

Follow me on Twitter at @bharks. For more baseball news, go to NBCSports.com.

Cincinnati Reds fire Bryan Price

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The Cincinnati Reds have fired manager Bryan Price. He’ll be replaced on an interim basis by bench coach Jim Riggleman. The team also fired pitching coach Mack Jenkins. The club also added Louisville manager Pat Kelly to the staff as the new bench coach and Double-A pitching coach Danny Darwin as the new big league pitching coach.

It was only a matter of time for Price, whose Reds have begun the season 3-15. This was Price’s fifth season at the helm and the Reds never won more than 76 games in any of his previous seasons, doing so in his first year, in 2014. They won 68 games in both 2016 and 2017 and 64 games in 2015. While that’s far more attributable to the Reds talent level than anything Price ever did or did not do, at some point the manager will take the fall for a team that makes no progress.

Price’s tenure will likely be considered largely forgettable in the view of history, but he did have a pretty memorable moment as Reds manager in April of 2015, when he went on a profanity-laced tirade at the media because they reported the availability or lack thereof of certain players for an upcoming game. Which is part of the media’s job, even if Price didn’t fully grok that at the time. The tirade itself was pretty epic, though, with then Cincinnati Enquirer reporter C. Trent Rosecrans reporting that “there were 77 uses of the “F” word or a variant and 11 uses of a vulgar term for feces (two bovine, one equine).” 

Taking over will be Jim Riggleman, who last managed in the big leagues with the Washington Nationals, resigning in June of 2011 because he was unhappy that he did not get a contract extension. It was a weird episode, the sort of which a lot of guys couldn’t have come back from, perhaps being considered quitters. Riggleman took a job managing the Reds’ Double-A team, however, then moved on to Triple-A and then the Reds’ big league coaching staff. There’s something to be said for persistence. And for being a big league lifer.

Anyway, Price’s exit is not likely to change the Reds’ course too much in 2018. But, as it is so often said in baseball, sometimes you gotta make a change all the same.