Charlie Manuel goes off on a reporter during post-game presser

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Charlie Manuel lost his cool during his postgame press conference last night, snapping at a reporter:

For those who can’t see the video, a transcript of the conversation can be read over at CSNPhilly.com. He ends the presser when the exasperated reporter asks him “when are you gonna score ten runs?” and Manuel says “when I knock you out, that’s when.”

In defense of Charlie Manuel, the questions he was asked leading up to that exchange — is the lineup “going to be fine” and what will he do if it isn’t? — were kind of dumb questions. they’re the sort of things a reporter asks not because he wants or needs information, but because he’s writing a story and needs to insert a quote from Charlie Manuel to put in right after “Manuel is not worried, however, saying …” or “Manuel sounds worried …”

I mean, really, how on Earth does Manuel answer that in any way that provides information and insight? What’s he gonna say? “No, I think we’re all doomed. I think the only thing any of us has to look forward to is the inevitable march to the grave.” Please.

That said: Manuel has been in this game a long time now. And he knows that an essential part of a manager’s job is to answer dumb questions in a way that doesn’t create controversy. It’s sad that so much time of ballplayers and managers is spent doing this and I know that if we were inventing the whole relationship between baseball teams and fans anew the current role of the press would be radically different than it has come to be, but that’s not where we are. Manuel knows this and the fact that he lost his cool about things is now a much bigger deal than the dumb question ever could have been.

Now it’s part of a talk radio and newspaper narrative in which the Phillies aren’t only underachieving, but they’re out of control in some way and Manuel has lost his patience and all of that. Bad times.

Seattle Mariners to make a “full-court press” for Shohei Ohtani

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Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto said in a team-sponsored podcast the other day that the M’s will make a “full-court press” for Shohei Ohtani. To that end, Dipoto said that the M’s would be willing to let the two-way star to pitch and to hit, which is something Ohtani is interested in doing in the United States. Not all clubs are likely to let him do this, with most likely seeing him as a starting pitcher only.

Ohtani, who is expected to be posted by his Japanese team, the Nippon Ham Fighters, possibly as early as today, can sign with anyone he wants. He is, however, subject to the international bonus pool caps, so the bids on him will be somewhat limited. The Texas Rangers and New York Yankees have the most money available: $3.535 million for the Rangers and $3.5 million for the Yankees. The Twins ($3.245 million), Pirates ($2.266 million), Marlins ($1.74 million) and Mariners ($1.57 million) are the only other teams with more than $1 million left. Twelve teams — including the Dodgers, Cubs, Cardinals and Astros — are limited to a maximum of $300,000, having met or exceeded their caps for this signing period already.

Ohtani, however, is said to be less motivated by money than he is by finding the right situation. While a lot of guys say that, the fact that Ohtani is coming over to the U.S. now, when his financial prospects are limited, as opposed to waiting for two years when he is not subject to the bonus caps and could sign for nine figures, suggests that he is telling the truth. As such, a team like the Mariners that is willing to allow him to hit and pitch could make up for the couple of million less they have in bonus money to spend.

As for how that might work logistically, Dipoto said that the team would be willing to play DH Nelson Cruz a few days in the outfield to accommodate Ohtani, allowing him to DH on the days he’s not pitching. That might be . . . interesting to see, but given how badly the Mariners could use a good starting pitcher, they have an incentive to be creative.

Ohtani, 23, suffered some injuries in 2017, limiting him to just five starts and 65 games as a hitter. In 2016, however, he hit .289/.356/.547 with 22 homers in 342 at-bats and went 11-3 with a 3.24 ERA, and a K/BB ratio of 146/51 in 133.1 innings as a starter.

Five clubs have more money to spend on Ohtani than the Mariners do. None of those teams are on the west coast, which some Asian players have said in the past they preferred due to faster travel back home. The Mariners, owned for a long time by a Japanese company which still retains a minority interest in the club, and long the home for high-profile Japanese players such as Ichiro and Hisashi Iwakuma, likely have a better media and marketing reach in Japan than most other teams as well, which might be a factor in his decision making process. Is all that enough to sway Ohtani?

We’ll find out over the next couple of weeks.