So who's on the trading block?

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Thumbnail image for Cliff Lee M's throwing.jpgJon Heyman runs down the big ticket trade targets this summer.  Heyman’s candidates:

  • Cliff Lee.  Makes sense to me on some level but I’m a bit skeptical. The Mariners are a disappointment this year, but I don’t think they’re a team that thinks it’s tearing down and rebuilding. If they have a chance to sign Lee, I have to think they’ll stick with him.
  • Roy Oswalt and Lance Berkman: Heyman has a hard time seeing anyone who both (a) can pick up Oswalt’s salary; but who is also (b) a team Oswalt wants to play for.  But we heard the same thing about Jake Peavy last year too, didn’t we?   I think that the longer the Astros suck and the more teams who express a moderate interest in Oswalt, the more flexible he becomes on his no trade.  It would not surprise me at all to see him in Queens or Los Angels sometime this summer.
  • Prince Fielder: Heyman is sharply pessimistic about the Brewers’ chances to sign Fielder. Given the agent involved, it’s probably worth giving such an impression more than the usual credence.
  • Ben Sheets:  Heyman quotes an AL GM who says Sheets needs to show more consistency before he’s a legit trade chit, but the deeper we go into the season the easier it is to make an argument for consistency. By mid July, the definition of consistency might be 2-3 decent starts.
  • Paul Konerko and A.J. Pierzynski: Konerko can veto a trade and Pierzynski will be able to within a couple of weeks due to his 10-5 rights kicking in.  Heyman thinks that people will be more interested in Bobby Jenks and J.J. Putz. I think he’s right.
  • Other candidates: Adam Dunn, Kevin Millwood, Jake Westbrook, Dan Haren, tons of Royals players, Adrian Gonzalez, Heath Bell.  From this list all I can note is how crazy it is that Adrian Gonzalez is only considered a marginal trade candidate this year.  One wonders if the Padres’ great run in the early going — which makes Gonzalez all but indispensable — isn’t hurting them in the long run.  They’re not going to sign the guy, right?  How worse will the prospects they ultimately get for him this offseason be than the ones they could have gotten this summer?

Anyway, it’s only Memorial Day weekend, but it seems like the trade winds are blowing stronger than usual for this time of year.  A lot of guys are going to be available.  It’s really going to be a buyer’s market, it seems.

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.