Charlie Manuel

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.

Phil Bickford suspended 50 games for drug of abuse

SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 10:  Phil Bickford of the U.S. Team pitches during the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at PETCO Park on July 10, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
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Brewers’ right-hander Phil Bickford received a 50-game suspension after testing positive for a drug of abuse, per the Los Angeles Times’ Bill Shaikin. This is the second time Bickford has been suspended for recreational drug use, as he was previously penalized in 2015 after testing positive for marijuana prior to the amateur draft.

Bickford was selected by the Giants in the first round of the 2015 draft and was later dealt to the Brewers for lefty reliever Will Smith at the 2016 trade deadline. He finished his 2016 campaign in High-A Brevard County, pitching to a 3.67 ERA, 10.0 K/9 rate and 5.0 BB/9 over 27 innings.

Two other suspensions were handed down on Friday, one to Toronto minor league right-hander Pedro Loficial for a positive test for metabolites of Stanozolol and one to Miami minor league outfielder Casey Soltis for a second positive test for drugs of abuse. Loficial will serve a 72-game suspension, while Soltis will serve 50 games. All three suspensions are due to start at the beginning of the 2017 season for each respective minor league team.

Brewers’ GM David Stearns issued a statement after the Commissioner’s Office announced Bickford’s suspension (via Vince Lara-Cinisomo of Baseball America):

We are very disappointed to learn of Phil’s suspension, but we fully support the Minor League Baseball Drug Prevention and Testing Program and its enforcement by the Commissioner’s Office. Phil understands he made a mistake, and we fully anticipate that he will learn from this experience.

Diamondbacks sign Fernando Rodney to a one-year, $2.75 million deal

PITTSBURGH, PA - AUGUST 21:  Fernando Rodney #56 of the Miami Marlins pitches during the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates on August 21, 2016 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***
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Confirming a report from Tuesday, the Diamondbacks officially signed right-hander Fernando Rodney to a one-year, $2.75 million contract on Friday. The 39-year-old stands to receive up to $4 million in incentives, per Jack MacGruder of FanRag Sports, with $250,000 kicking in when the veteran reaches 40, 50 and 60 appearances and $500,000 if he reaches 70.

Rodney came three games shy of the 70-appearance mark in 2016 during back-to-back stints with the Padres and Marlins. He put up a cumulative 3.44 ERA on the year, which effectively disguised the extreme split during his performances in San Diego and Miami. The Diamondbacks aren’t anywhere close to contending in 2017, but Rodney should stabilize the back end of their bullpen while providing Arizona GM Mike Hazen with a potential trade chip during next year’s deadline.

Hazen issued a statement following the signing:

With Fernando, we’re getting an established Major League closer and a veteran presence in the bullpen. It is helpful to have someone with his experience on the back end to slow the game down and get the final three outs.