Clint Barmes signed a one-year, $1.5 million contract with the Padres on December 3, just before Padres GM A.J. Preller completely overhauled the roster. Here’s a look at what happened in San Diego after he signed, per MLB.com’s transactions page:
- December 18: Padres acquire outfielder Matt Kemp in a trade with the Dodgers, and catcher Derek Norris in a trade with the Athletics
- December 19: Padres acquire outfielder Justin Upton in a trade with the Braves, outfielder Wil Myers in a trade with the Rays, and sign free agent pitcher Brandon Morrow
- December 20: Padres acquire third baseman Will Middlebrooks in a trade with the Red Sox
- December 29: Padres acquire pitcher Shawn Kelley in a trade with the Yankees
- December 30: Padres acquire pitcher Brandon Maurer in a trade with the Mariners
- January 7: Padres sign free agent pitcher Josh Johnson
Barmes was aware the Padres were looking to improve, but not like that. Via MLB.com’s Thomas Harding:
“Being one of the earlier guys to sign over there, you hear from the GM that they’re going to try to make these trades and sign these guys,” Barmes said Saturday before working with a large group of boys and girls from Colorado, Wyoming and Nebraska at the Clint Barmes Top of the Nation Baseball Clinic in Greeley, Colo. “It happens every year. You hear a lot of that. But to have a guy do what he’s done has been pretty impressive.
“My agent said they were focusing on making some changes and bringing guys in. It’s definitely going to be exciting.”
As Harding says, Barmes joined the Padres before it was cool.
Barmes, 36 in March, will serve in a back-up role for the Padres. He hit a meager .245/.328/.294 in 116 plate appearances last season with the Pirates, but provides versatility with his ability to play any position in the infield.
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.