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A look at one team’s wooing of Shoehi Ohtani

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Shoehi Ohtani is a member of the Angels now, but for a brief moment, every team had at least a theoretical chance to sign him. Most of those teams made some sort of effort to woo him before he pared down the list and started taking meetings. Today Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer shows us the effort of one team, the Cincinnati Reds.

The Reds gave Buchanan and an MLB.com reporter a look at the materials it put together and presented to Ohtani. They made a video highlighting the city and the club, presented to him on an HD tablet. They made a gigantic coffee table kind of book with scouting reports of Ohtani himself from Bryan Price and the coaching staff, complete with schedules of when he’s hit and when he’d pitch and how they’d assemble his spring training regimen. It contained a message from Joey Votto, and references to how long Votto was under contract and how team ownership and management are locally-based, so as to emphasize the team’s stability. All of it was in Japanese and English, and even the English stuff mentioned distances (e.g. how far the team has to travel, the size of the city, etc.) in kilometers, which is kind of a nice, subtle touch.

I doubt the Reds truly thought they had a serious chance at Ohtani, but the effort put into it seems strong. And, of course, the fact that this is being shared publicly suggests that the Reds want their fans to know how hard they tried.

Definitely fascinating reading.

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.