Given the recent additions of Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich, the Brewers are looking at a fairly crowded outfield as they gear up for the 2018 season. One solution, according to club GM David Stearns, might be to shift veteran left fielder Ryan Braun to the infield. It’s not a new idea — speculation that Braun could see time at first base surfaced as early as October — but one that seems to have gained more traction this weekend, as Braun is apparently also considering trying his glove at second base:
It’s probably worth noting that Braun hasn’t played middle infield since college, and he hasn’t seen a major league infield (or a minor league one, for that matter) since his rookie season in 2007, the first and last time he played a full year at third base. He didn’t exactly take to it, finishing the year with the third-worst defensive rating in the league and 26 errors in 112 games — more than any third baseman had accumulated in a single season since Casey Blake’s 26-error run with the Indians in 2004.
While it’s not yet clear how serious the Brewers are about stashing Braun at second base, Stearns said Friday that he doesn’t envision Braun’s move to the infield as a permanent or full-time change. The most likely scenario still seems to be one in which Domingo Santana is traded, freeing up space for Braun to retain his position in the outfield, but the club doesn’t appear to be entertaining any serious offers just yet.
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.