After dealing Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna and Christian Yelich this offseason, the Marlins’ outfield situation is up in the air as they gear up for the 2018 season. Club manager Don Mattingly said Saturday that veteran infielder/outfielder Derek Dietrich is “penciled in” as the starting left fielder, though no other decisions regarding the outfield appear to have been made yet.
Dietrich, 28, agreed to a one-year, $2.9 million deal to avoid arbitration with the Marlins last month. This will be his sixth consecutive season with the club, and just the second in which he’s expected to get the bulk of his starts in the outfield. He racked up a career-high 103 starts at third base in 2017 and slashed .249/.334/.424 with 13 home runs in 464 plate appearances.
While the rest of the outfield is “wide open,” per Mattingly’s comments, there are any number of rookie outfielders who will get the opportunity to make a favorable impression in camp. Center field prospect Lewis Brinson has just 16 major league games under his belt, but impressed in Triple-A Colorado Springs last year and has the versatility to play all three outfield positions. Magneuris Sierra and Braxton Lee could also fill in center and right field, respectively; Sierra has the proven speed and defensive chops needed for a full-time role in the outfield, while Lee showed promise after breakout performances in Double-A Montgomery and Jacksonville.
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.