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Report: Phillies sign Francisco Rodriguez to a minor league deal

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The Phillies signed free agent reliever Francisco Rodriguez to a minor league deal on Saturday, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reports. The deal includes an invitation to spring training and could pay up to $3.75 million with incentives if he reaches the majors. The club has yet to confirm the signing.

Rodriguez, 36, was released by the Tigers halfway through the 2017 season. He eked out just 25 1/3 innings with the club, posting a 7.82 ERA, 3.9 BB/9, 8.2 SO/9 and career-worst -0.7 fWAR in that span. Part of his issues stemmed from a lack of velocity; only a handful of his pitches were clocked above 90 m.p.h. and he struggled to stay effective in a limited-time gig with the Nationals, who saw him in five total appearances for Double-A Harrisburg, High-A Potomac and Single-A Hagerstown before releasing him in July.

More recently, however, the veteran right-hander has made a concerted attempt to revive both his velocity and what remains of his major league career. He can check at least one of those items off his list: he reached 93 m.p.h. in a bullpen session earlier this month and may yet break camp with the Phillies, provided he can find a way to stand out in a group that includes newly-signed veteran righties Pat Neshek and Tommy Hunter.

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.