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Joey Votto: “Until [Mike] Trout came into the league, I thought every year that I would be in the conversation for best player in the game.”

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With a 1-for-4 performance in Sunday’s regular season finale against the Cubs, Reds first baseman Joey Votto officially ends the 2016 campaign batting .326/.434/.550 with 29 home runs, 97 RBI, and 101 runs scored in 677 plate appearances. It’s quite a good season, but Votto knows his place in baseball: behind Mike Trout.

Votto was complimentary of the Angels’ outfielder. Per Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer:

Personally, until (Mike) Trout came into the league, I thought every year that I would be in the conversation for best player in the game and he f—–d that up for everybody. Babe Ruth and Ted Williams included. He’s ruining it for everyone.

Votto isn’t wrong. Trout entered Sunday’s action with 10.4 WAR, easily the best mark in baseball and his second 10-WAR season according to Baseball Reference. Among position players dating back to 1901, Trout is one of only 12 players with multiple 10-WAR seasons.

Trout has 9.3 WAR according to FanGraphs and 47.6 total since he debuted in 2011. Miguel Cabrera has the next-most WAR in that span of time, at 34.8.

Thankfully, there’s enough room to recognize both how great Trout is and how great Votto is. Votto, by the way, was the first to hit over .400 in the second half since Ichiro Suzuki in 2004, as MLB’s Stat of the Day Twitter account notes.

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.