“Dempster will have to answer some tough questions if he’s still a Cub after the deadline”

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Ill will in Chicago?  Dave Kaplan of CSNChicago.com reports that (a) the Ryan Dempster to Los Angeles trade is at a stalemate; and (b) Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer are not likely to take less than what they feel is fair value for the guy.  So, if the Dodgers — who, according to Kaplan, believe that the Cubs have lost their leverage — don’t pony up, it’s all going to be on Dempster:

“Dempster will have to answer some tough questions if he is still a Cub after the deadline,” one executive told me. “That will be one press conference I would want to see. He will have to explain to the fans why he chose to stay on a team that is going nowhere when he could have been in Atlanta and possibly pitching in the playoffs. That will be interesting to hear.”

I have poked fun at Dempster throughout all of this, but I do agree that he does not owe it to the Cubs to see that they get the best absolute haul for him in a trade. That’s their job, not his.

But it’s inescapable that the whole aborted trade to the Braves thing has killed the Cubs’ leverage here. So from where I sit, it will be more interesting to hear why, exactly, that trade to Atlanta breaking down went public than it will be to hear anything else. Because depending on that answer, Dempster may or may not be the one who has to sit uncomfortably in a post-deadline presser answering questions.

If Dempster did flip flop on his desire to go to Atlanta, he’ll deserve some heat. If, however, the Cubs went forward with the Braves to the point where the deal got leaked without a strong indication that Dempster would be cool with it first, it’s the club’s fault that their leverage got torpedoed.

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.