Joe Torre on being done in 2011: "I've lied before so it doesn't matter"

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That’s what he said immediately after saying yesterday that 2011 would be his last year. I like it when baseball people allow themselves to be honest like that.  The L.A. Times’ Bill Shaikin spoke with Torre on a bunch of other topics as well:

  • He expects that Manny Ramirez will be back as “a middle-of-the-lineup guy” this year and thinks that his post-suspension struggles were all about mechanics and rust as opposed to human chorionic gonadotropin withdrawal or something.
  • He reminds us that Clayton Kershaw is only 21 and that “We can’t all of a sudden hook our wagon to him and say, ‘Take us there.'”  He expects the Dodgers to get another pitcher.  For what it’s worth, L.A. has been linked with Joel Piniero, may be watching Ben Sheets on Tuesday and, of course, is probably going to bring back Vicente Padilla.
  • He doesn’t know why the Dodgers didn’t offer Randy Wolf arbitration and says “it just didn’t seem reasonable to me he would come back for a year.”  This kind of thing is always interesting. I mean, if you asked Torre “hey, do you think Ned Colletti screwed up in not offering Wolf arbitration,” he’d always say no, he trusts Ned and The Plan and blah, blah, blah. But his dead-on assessment that Wolf wouldn’t take a one year deal to stay in L.A. makes the decision dumb by definition. No, I don’t expect Torre to slam his boss, but still.

If he had any comments about the McCourt divorce they were presumably off the record.

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.