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Manny Machado will start at shortstop in 2018


Orioles third baseman Manny Machado will get the nod at shortstop this season, club manager Buck Showalter said Saturday. While a last-minute trade hasn’t been completely ruled out at this point, nothing appears to be imminent and it looks like the Orioles will push forward with plans to begin the season with their star infielder.

Machado, 25, got his start at shortstop during his days in the Orioles’ farm system, but has yet to play a full season there on the big league level. He racked up seven games at short in 2015 and another 45 in 2016. Earlier this offseason, there were rumors that Machado wanted to make the switch to shortstop again in 2018, and it looks like the club will do all they can to accommodate that request in advance of his impending free agency in 2019.

While the three-time All-Star tries his glove up the middle, Orioles shortstop Tim Beckham is slated for a move to the hot corner. The 28-year-old was acquired via trade from the Rays last summer and finished the year among the top ten most valuable shortstops, though the bulk of his value was wrapped up in his .278 average and 22 home runs. There may be something of a learning curve for Beckham on this field this year, however, as he’s logged just 16 games at third base during his career, only nine of which have come in the majors.

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.