Utley to miss eight weeks as a result of his surgery

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When we passed this along yesterday the word was that Chase Utley was going to miss five or six weeks as a result of his thumb surgery. Now the team is saying that it’s more like eight weeks.

Can a team can survive the loss of one of baseball’s best players for that long?  If anyone can it’s probably the Phillies who have firepower elsewhere in the lineup, but this is simply a devastating blow. Phillies assistant general manager Scott Proefrock said yesterday
“I don’t think it’s necessarily a situation where we have to go get
somebody,” but with Utley and Placido Polanco out, I’m not sure how they can avoid looking for infield help.

But who’s available?  Maybe the best choice is Ty Wigginton, who is reportedly being shopped by the Orioles. He’s been hitting well this year and, while he’s a defensive falloff from Utley, so too is just about every other second baseman in baseball.

Of course, the Phillies could just slide Polanco back over to second base when he returns — it was basically his only position for the previous four years of his career — and look for a third baseman instead. I heard people talking about Mike Lowell yesterday, but he’s not healthy either right now and I doubt he’s going to be terribly effective even when he comes back.

Hank Blalock is out of a job too and probably still remembers how to play third base.  No, he didn’t hit at all in Tampa Bay, but neither did Pat Burrell and he’s bounced back nicely since coming over to the senior circuit.

Nothing too inspiring out there, I don’t suppose, but it strikes me that Philly needs to do something to stay in the tight NL East race. 

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.