Report: Ken Griffey Jr. to retire or be released sometime this month

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Ken Griffey Jr. swing.jpgA pretty major story from Larry LaRue of the Tacoma News-Tribune in which it is reported that the Seattle Mariners will soon urge Ken Griffey, Jr. to retire, and if he doesn’t they’ll release him, most likely this month.

LaRue says “the end is near” for Griffey.  The reasons: For one thing, obvious lack of performance. He’s at .205/.265/.234 in 77 at-bats this season with only two extra-base hits
and zero home runs. The man simply can’t hit anymore, as it’s plain to anyone who can read a stat sheet or watch a baseball game. This, of course, is not shocking. More shocking: 

Last week, when some members of the press corps asked
manager Don Wakamatsu why he hadn’t used Griffey as a pinch hitter for
Rob Johnson late in a game, Waskamatsu was vague.

Two Mariners players, however, weren’t. Both are younger players,
fond of Griffey. Neither had an ax to grind.

So why didn’t Wakamatsu go to Junior off the bench.

“He was asleep in the clubhouse,” one player said. “He’d gone back
about the fifth inning to get a jacket and didn’t come back. I went back
in about the seventh inning – and he was in his chair, sound asleep.”

For a man whose value at this point in his career was supposed to be his veteran presence and stability, that’s shockingly poor behavior.

The Mariners just fired their hitting coach. If they insist on keeping Griffey around they could offer him that job. If not, they should make him an ultimatum: quit or be fired.  Because there is no place on a Major League roster for someone who pulls crap like that.

Even a Hall of Famer.

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.