Editorials / Former Reds / Reds - General / Where Are They Now?

Searching for the Next Sparky

Any venture capitalists out there? Somebody with some spare cash burning a hole in his pocket? Hey. Charlie Sheen’s a huge baseball guy and a serious Cincinnati Reds fan. He’s got wads of cash to invest in a project that would surely be a big hit with the young up-and-coming sabermetric minds currently upsetting the apple cart in traditional baseball circles. Hey, Charlie? Call me. We need to find a baseball geek near you out in Palo Alto who can write some code for a new Google-like endeavor. Call it the MLB Magical Managerial Search Engine. It would work like this:

A button for choosing your search venue: NL; AL; AAA; AA; plus choices for current and out-of-work managers.  Multiple fields with dropdown lists containing valued managerial attributes. Additional fields for choosing important situational qualities that might be of value to the desperate GM. Once the various menu of choices were entered, hit <GO> and a map would display flagged at the all the places the potential skipper fitting the above criteria would be found. It might look something like this:

manager-search

Whoa. Methinks I’m on the right track.

The talk so far has centered around what we think is probable choice Bryan Price, then Jim Riggleman and a handful of others that people have fallen in love with because they once wore the uniform, were great players, were fan favorites—or all of the above.

Of all the opinions we have about the Cincinnati Reds, how they’re run, how they play, how they’re managed, etc., this topic leaves us the least equipped to carry on an intelligent conversation at the old water cooler. Thus the need for our Magical Managerial Search Engine.

And although it’s not on store shelves yet, I’ll go there for a moment without it because, as you well know dear reader, I can’t help myself.

 

Whatever happened to Pete Mackanin?

Mackanin is a 62 year old former middle infielder who broke into baseball in 1973, bounced around with four different organizations and was done playing by age 30. He managed the Pirates for a very short stint in 2005, but because the higher-ups were more interested in sampling from the very boring and very safe managerial carousel, he lost the job to ex-Dodger manager Jim Tracy. He wore the Reds’ wishbone C in 2007, taking over midway thru the season from Jerry Narron and as I recall, did a terrific job with a fairly bad team, leading them to a 41-39 record the rest of the way. His big flaw once again was name recognition. Owner Castellini wanted to make a splash and this time his name not only wasn’t Jim Tracy, it wasn’t Dusty Baker, either.

That’s how most Reds fans remember Pete Mackanin, if they remember him at all. But, in fact, Mackanin had been with the organization more than 20 years ago, managing the Reds’ AAA Nashville Sounds. It was there he was promised a managerial shot by then Scouting Director, Jim Bowden, before being let go after a disappointing season.

Since leaving the Reds, Mackanin has traveled to Philly, where he was a valued voice as bench coach alongside Charlie Manuel, then went off to be a scout for the New York Yankees. Now, he is back with Philadelphia, having just signed on as their third base coach. He interviewed for the Red Sox job of cleaning up the Chicken & Beer mess in 2011 and according to the NY Daily news, is greatly admired by Yankee GM Brian Cashman and was a dark-horse favorite for the job had Girardi left.

Really.

I know nothing about Mackanin’s managerial style or philosophy. However, the fact that both the Red Sox and the Yankees—two big money clubs heavy into advanced metrics—would be interested enough in Mackanin to interview the fellow, tells me he’s either a sabermetric guy or someone who at the very least is open-minded to the advancing wave of the new metrics. More importantly, it tells me how highly regarded he is around the league. Teams like the Yankees and Red Sox don’t hand the keys to the Mercedes over to just anybody.

Yet Mackanin, whom the Reds have a real history with, appears to have been nowhere on Bob & Walt’s search map. At the very least, you would have liked to have seen him considered for a position, perhaps as Price’s bench coach, were Price indeed to get the job. There are certainly worse choices than having an accomplished and admired MLB guy sitting next to a pitching coach who has never managed before. Especially one who would relish a shot at getting one step closer to proving—after all these years—that all those GMs were oh so very wrong.

111 thoughts on “Searching for the Next Sparky

  1. I was disappointed when Baker got the nod over Mackanin. I liked him and felt he deserved a chance. Heck, posting a winning record with a not-so-good team impressed me. Some guys just don’t have the name or moxy I guess. I’d take him over retread Riggleman.

  2. Dunno … I seem a bit overwhelmed by the conversation lately. I’d guess the Reds already have their man and are waiting for the right moment to announce it. I suppose we can all speculate if we want.

    • @Johnu1: You may be right that the Reds already have their guy; however I’ll stick to my assertion that every day that goes by without an announcement (or leak) of who it is increases the likelihood it is not B.Price (or any other known or perceived to be serious candidate).

      • @OhioJim: You know for sure that there will be no announcement during the WS, as Selig has disapproved such news during the WS. At this point it’s doubtful there will be any announcement before the WS ends.

  3. I had a mixed impression of Mackanin. Overall he showed a high baseball IQ and common sense and was open (as opposed to stubborn). I didn’t see that he was much of a metrics guy. Had a good sense of humor and rapport with the players.

    He’d make a good bench coach. Don’t want him as manager, more later.

    • @Bubba Ho-Tep:

      It’s killing you that you can’t make fun of Maddon and the Rays for losing anymore isn’t it?

      Not sure why you feel the need to, unprovoked, poke at people who want to look at ALL the data rather than some of it.

      • @prjeter: I actually am looking at the data. Jim Leyland despite not embracing “advanced” metrics, won last night. I’m not poking at people who want to look at all the data, just the silly notion that somehow that makes for a better manager, when the facts don’t back that up.

        A good part of the article above, “I know nothing about Mackanin’s managerial style or philosophy. However, the fact that both the Red Sox and the Yankees—two big money clubs heavy into advanced metrics—would be interested enough in Mackanin to interview the fellow, tells me he’s either a sabermetric guy or someone who at the very least is open-minded to the advancing wave of the new metrics.”

        I was merely pointing out Leyland’s accomplishments. (Better than the Yankees this year and tied with Boston thus far). It seem is statistical analysis is King, Leyland’s winning percentage in the playoffs this year is better than the Rays or Yanks. What is the managerial equivalent to On Base Percentage, maybe that’s what we are reaching for instead of playoff wins?

        • the silly notion that somehow that makes for a better manager, when the facts don’t back that up.

          Some data to back that up, please. Heh.

          Leyland’s winning percentage in the playoffs this year is better than the Rays or Yanks.

          Someone should introduce you to the concept of “Small Sample Size.” Tiny sample size, to be precise. Not to mention the fallacy of correlation equaling causation.

          It never ceases to amaze me how upset people get over the idea of having more information at your disposal when making decisions.

        • @Richard Fitch: I agree with you about the value of more data–no reason to exclude consideration of any factors, but it is interesting to consider whether, in the real world of baseball (something distinctly wrong with that phrase), running a team based on precepts of advanced metrics results in winning baseball. I know the Sox have been so identified, but I notice them bunting, swinging at first pitches, stealing bases and growing beards. Use of metrics is at least a two-part proposition, anyway: player selection being one, game strategy being the other. The point is to win, so the question is: does employing metrics in some fashion result in more wins?

        • @Bubba Ho-Tep: I think everyone will agree the players on your team determine ultimately whether you win or lose a higher percentage of the time. Cabrera, Fielder, Hunter, Jackson, Martinez, Peralta (cough cough), et al., on offense, with Scherzer, Verlander, and Sanchez pitching. I think it’s safe to say that Leyland is going to win a lot of games even if he were comatose in the dugout.

          Perhaps that argument is more your speed?

          The main thing we “stat folks” like to point out is that sometimes managers can get MORE than expected from players (and $$ spent). Leyland is not getting more than expected. He is expected to win the WS every single year with the team he has. If he doens’t it is failure, a la Erik Spoelstra.

          I would submit that Maddon (or similar) would likely get more out of the Tigers than Leyland does/is/will/would/could.

          It has nothing to do with Maddon being “better,” but if Manager A has more information to make decisions in a baseball game than does Manager B, I think even you would admit that Manager A is more likely to make a good/correct decisions than Manager B. If this is not a concept you understand, then I suppose there’s nothing else I can say. More information is NEVER bad. It’s good. All the time.

        • @prjeter: you can submit that Maddon would do better than Leyland, but absent hard evidence (the meat and bones of metrics, by all accounts), that is baseless speculation.

    • @Bubba Ho-Tep: “Old school Jim Leyland” also at least had the chops to recognize some urgency and flipped his lineup around in an unexpected and unusual way right in the middle of the playoffs. See: Baker, Dusty- Defined roles

    • @Bubba Ho-Tep: Also, worth noting: Guess which two teams had the highest OBP AND SLG, respectively in all of the major leagues? Red Sox and Tigers, #1 and #2 respectively in each category. So, one would expect that a lineup of such attributes would do pretty well.

      • @Matt WI: Exactly right. Leyland is oldschool but he understands lineup construction a bit better than did Baker.

        Jackson/Hunter/Cabrera/Fielder/Martinez for most of the year. Some might say batting Cabrera 2nd would have been optimal because of his ML-leading OBP, but his high ISO makes him a candidate for moving down. So 3 is probably the right spot.

        If this is Dusty’s team, he likely bats Torii Hunter 5th and Martinez (if he had to actually catch instead of DH) 6th or 8th, and inserts someone else into the 2 spot.

        • @prjeter: Seems like this has degenerated into a discussion about whether Leyland is better than Baker, not whether Leyland uses advanced metrics.

        • @Johnu1: It did and I did not intend to do that. I hope my apology will suffice. I think “old school” being tossed around in regards to Leyland was bound to draw some comparisons to Dusty. As such, I will apologize for my piece of not staying on topic.

  4. I think they need a younger guy with some fire yet who is even keeled and consistent. And this guy has to be able to stand up not just to Phillips if he is still around but also to Votto.

    Votto needs to be told in no uncertain terms who runs the team and decides what is in the best interest of the team.

    It needs to be made clear to him that his defense is unacceptable. He also needs to be told that the Joey Votto who led or nearly led the league in OBP and also OPS in 2010-11 is the guy they want to see at the plate and not the guy who led the league in OBP in 2013 largely by walking while his OPS fell off along with his average.

    If Joey Votto cannot accept this type of constructive guidance, then he is as much of a “me firster” as B.Phillips has been labelled to be by folks on this site.

    • @OhioJim: I’ll try to politely disagree on Votto.

      Yes. I want Votto to not make outs and to hit the crap out of the ball, i.e. be the best hitter in MLB. If he cannot do that, from a physical standpoint…I would much rather he sacrificed SLG than OBP. OPS is a silly stat because it evenly weights SLG and OBP. OBP is waaaaaay more important. If in fact Votto continues to exhibit a OBP heavy OPS, then his incredible abilities need to be maximized by moving him up in the order, not ridiculed or deplored.

      I don’t think BP is a “me firster”. I love the guy. Unfortunately, he was encouraged to be a worse player by the media and his coaching staff this year.

        • @TC: I’m kinda with you on that, TC. Not completely off the radar, but not something I care deeply about. Do you find yourself asking, WAR, WAR, what is it good for sometimes?

    • @OhioJim: I’m with you on D though. Votto has never been a great, or even good fielder in my eyes, despite the GG. I’ll settle for average D if we can get it.

    • @OhioJim: I don’t know what to think about this post.

      Votto needs to be told who runs the team? When did he ever publically disagree with Baker? When did he ever say anything negative about Baker or the front office? I think he knows who runs/ran the team.

      However, he’s also stated he isn’t going to take advice from people who don’t know what they’re talking about. If a manager tells Votto to swing at pitches out of the strike zone to attempt to drive runs in, I hope JV keeps on ignoring them.

      You have a point on the defense. Someone needs to help him out with that. I think the most likely case is that his Gold Glove year was a 3 sigma positive outcome and this year was a 3 sigma negative outcome. He’ll probably be better next year because, face it, he couldn’t have been much worse (for Votto). He’s still has a significantly better defensive season than Prince Fielder and other portly 1st basemen who can’t get to any balls not hit directly at them.

      • @prjeter: “If a manager tells Votto to swing at pitches out of the strike zone to attempt to drive runs in, I hope JV keeps on ignoring them.”

        And this doesn’t amount to blatant insubordination? If your boss told you to do your job one way and you decided you’d ignore him (or her) and do it a different way, you’d likely be disciplined or even fired.

        At this point it isn’t about which approach is better. It is about organizational discipline. The manager is the boss. If Votto can ignore him, why should anybody else have to obey him? And isn’t this exactly how the Reds looked much of the time this season, like the inmates were running the asylum with everybody going their way doing as they pleased????

        • @OhioJim: Baker doesn’t sign JV’s paychecks. He is Votto’s supervisor, not “boss,” if we want to use business jargon. Baker’s direction, in that case, would amount to the supervisor being insubordinate of the real boss, Bob Castellini. BC wants to win games. Swining at bad pitches does not help you win games. Therefore, in my mind, Votto is in the right for ignoring his supervisor’s instruction and following the instruction of the man signing his paycheck.

          I get your ultimate point. I work in a military shop and understand the need for organizational discipline. When the result of a given at-bat is ultimately up to the player, however, there is no way to prove if a player is not following direction or not. I think we’d both agree Baker likely would have told Joey something like “Hey, be aggressive! Let’s get this run in right now” or something like that. Votto, after taking a called third strike or a walk, could have gone and told Dusty “Hey, I was trying to be aggressive, but I was fooled and I really didn’t think I could have hit that pitch even if I swung.”

          I think Baker never wanted his players to “swing at pitches out of the strike zone” as I originally stated. I was attempting hyperbole to suggest that players should not knowingly do things to lessen the team’s chances of winning even if their manager tells them to do so. Baker likely wanted his player to swing at any pitch they think they could handle.

          I guess that’s ultimately where the disagreement comes from. Baker and Votto likely have very different definitions of “swing at pitches you can handle.”

          I guess to sum up my poorly made point, all players should do what their manager wants until is directly contriverts direction from their REAL boss, the man who pays their paychecks. What if Baker said “Hey, Joey. Try hitting from the right side of the plate against lefties. We need that platoon split.” Obviosuly, that would never happen, but Votto should definitely ignore that. It’s not always black and white. Perhaps in the military it is, but definitely not in baseball.

        • @OhioJim: Another way to think about this is that a good boss recognizes the strengths and attributes of his staff and works to maximize what he has given the talent in front of him instead of stifling said talent with micro-management. Many, not not all, people flourish in environments that support the idea of “you go do what you do best” and that usually is rewarding for both the individual and ultimately the organization. It gets really complicated when someone’s own well being and position in the organization is threatened by the performance of another.

          There are some very specific circumstances in any environment that doe require some rules to be followed, and Votto may or may not be guilty of this. But, there’s a fine line between looking for ways to get the most out of people and trying to make somebody something they are not… in that case one of the two people aren’t a good fit for the organization, and maybe it’s best that one of them is gone.

          Also, there’s the popular narrative that it’s “about the team” in sports, but the game itself intrinsically rewards the individual play with the contracts. Until someone starts attaching incentive clauses for SF attempts, and “productive outs,” … well, the Scott Boras’s of the world could give a care. Quite an incongruence.

        • @per14: On what factors is runs created based? If you combine runs and rbi and subtract homers, you get what I would think to be an approximation of runs created. By that measure, BP had a better year than did Votto.

        • @dmr11: Not a fact, the Reds had several games this year where bases were loaded and no one scored. It’s a simple opinion, not fact. If getting on base equaled more runs, the team with the most people on base would win every time. It’s not the case.

        • @Bubba Ho-Tep: If you get on base, the chances that you will score goes up a lot. If you look at the stats, I will bet you that most teams score more runs when people are on base than when people are not.

        • @dmr11: It’s obvious that having more runners on base increases a team’s chances of scoring. But it’s no guarantee, just a tendency. A sprinkling of hits–preferably extra-base hits–among the walks will certainly facilitate scoring. The hits also make the game more exciting. A team that takes an enormous number of pitches and walks a great deal (leading to frequent 3 1/2 hour games)would likely be quite successful and virtually unwatchable.

        • @greenmtred: I’m gonna say that if a team is really successful people are going to watch them. It doesn’t really matter how long the game is.

        • @dmr11: You are probably right: success usually leads to more fans in the seats, but it is STILL boring baseball, and as a trend, perhaps not in the best interests of the game as far as creating a new generation of fans is concerned.

        • @Bubba Ho-Tep: Look up team stats for base runners, men left on base, runs scored, and RBIs. They are all correlated.

          The Marlins and Astros are probably near the bottom of the league in men left on base. Bubbo Ho Tep would likely say that’s good. It’s not. All it means is they had less men on base to leave on.

          In a game where hitting success is based on 30% success and getting on base success is based on 40% sucess, you’ll have a larger number of men left on base when you are a good offensive team.

          Also, you really need to start thinking about sample size. You say “if that’s true then the team with the most men on base would win.” Not true. You are looking at a sample size of 1 game. Take a larger sampel size and teams who get more men on base WILL score more runs and WILL win more baseball games.

        • @Bubba Ho-Tep: Ok, I tend to lean more advanced metrics inclined, especially when it comes to offense but I have a healthy respect for old-school thinking; having played the game at a fairly high-level and having lots of friends who played the game at a fairly high-level. In other words, I clearly don’t feel that metrics are everything. Bearing that in mind, you are wrong about OBP in this case. No, the team that has the most base-runners on base doesn’t always win a particular game. The team with the most runner on base in a game does win a significant majority of the time however.

          As for OBP as an indication of run-scoring, there have been many, many studies that show it does. Even researchers setting out to prove the opposite have been thwarted by the evidence. The research has been duplicated enough that it can’t be plausibly denied.

          Here’s a tiny study of my own just showing the small sample of the 2013 season. Here are the top 15 (half) teams that lead MLB in runs scored along with where they ranked in OBP for 2013:

          1) RedSox (1)
          2) Tigers (2)
          3) Cards (3)
          4) A’s (8)
          5) O’s (19)
          6) Indians (7)
          7) Angels (5)
          8) Rangers (10)
          9) Jays (15)
          10) Rockies (12)
          11) Rays (4)
          12) Reds (6)
          13) Braves (13)
          14) D’Backs (11)
          15) Nationals (18)

          Notes:
          – 12 of the 15 teams also were in the top 15 in OBP
          – Only the O’s at 19th had a statistically odd spread in OBP and runs. This was due to them hitting 24 more HR than any other MLB team.
          – The top 3 teams in runs scored were also the top 3 teams in OBP

          Statistics provided from http://www.fangraphs.com

        • @LWBlogger: Thanks, LW! This is part of what I was trying to get at in my post above yours.

          I decided to check out the men left on base stat, too, just to make sure I’m not making stuff up.

          Here are the “BEST” (meaning the fewest) teams in the MLB at not leaving men on base

          1) Houston
          2) Baltimore (The whole HR thing again, as stated by LW)
          3) Philadelphia
          4) Yankees
          5) Toronto
          6) Washington
          7) White Sox
          8) Milwaukee
          9) St Louis (Historically high Team RISP)
          10) Miami
          11) Cubs

          Soo, ignoring St Louis, who had a historically high Team RISP (i.e.-it won’t continue next year), none of the Top 10 “BEST” teams at not leaving men on base made the playoffs.

          Who LED THE LEAGUE in leaving men on base? Meaning they must be the worst, right?

          30) Detroit
          29) Boston

          It’s child’s play, really. Open your eyes, look at the data. Men on base = runs (over the course of a large enough sample size) and leaving men on base is not BAD. It means you HAVE more men on base and you score more runs to begin with.

        • @Bubba Ho-Tep: If you fail to see the correlation between Runs Scored (not even talking Runs Created here) and OBP, I don’t know what to say.

          Matt Carpenter led the league in runs scored, which is, as you say, what wins games. He batted leadoff and had a high OBP. THAT is why he scored a lot of runs. If he doesn’t do that, the hitters behind him have no one to drive in and the Cards score less runs and win less ballgames. Honestly, man, do some research.

      • @CP: In 2013, Votto was the worst positional defender on the team. He was among the leaders in TOOTBLANs. He was basically a Dave Kingman type who walked at a record pace versus hitting a lot of homers but did little else well to help the team.

        If he seriously deserved to be thought of in the same breath as the likes of Bench, Morgan, Larkin, Perez, Rose et al, he would have found a way to step up and lead this the team like every one of the aforementioned did in addition to their statistical contributions.

        • @OhioJim:

          He did break two team records this year, one held by Morgan, the other by Rose…and all those guys got to play together….

        • @OhioJim: Votto was bad, but he was much better than Choo, I think.

          A lot of folks hate defensive metrics, but even if you don’t like the numbers they produce, they give a consistent methodology to evaluate players against each other, given a consistent baseline. So, Fangraphs has a “Def” stat which attempts to roll in everything; errors, runs saved, etc.

          Here’s the Reds’ players. Some are surprising, others are not. Based on anyone playing 700 innings at the position, but LF is based on 250 innings to make sure Luddy got in there and C is based on 550 innings to make sure Hanigan got in there.

          Mesoraco (11th of 18 catchers)
          Hanigan (13th of 18 catchers)
          Votto (9th of 11 1st basemen. Only above Helton, LaRoche)
          Phillips (2nd of 15 2nd basemen. Barney)
          Cozart! (2nd of 14 shortstops. Simmons)
          Frazier (3rd of 14 3rd basemen)
          Bruce (2nd of 11 right fielders. Gerardo Parra)
          Choo (11th of 11 center fielders. This wasn’t even close. He was nearly 3 times worse than the guy in 10th)
          Hesiey (4th of 29 left fielders)
          Robinson (10th of 29 left fielders)
          Ludwick (19th of 29 left fielders)
          Paul (21st of 29 left fielders)

          So you probably could argue Votto was the worst positional defender this year for the Reds, but I’d say Choo was worse and Xavier Paul was equally as bad. The small sample size of innings of our left fielders leads to much more variation, but it passes the eye test. Heisey is better than Robinson is better than Ludwick is better than Paul.

          Whether or not you like defensive metrics or not, these rankings meet my eye test. Phillips, Cozart, and Frazier were good. Bruce was good. Everyone else was average to bad.

  5. Let Joey be Joey

    We will find out next year that it took him longer to get healthy from his knee surgery and will be driving the ball in the gaps for 50 doubles when the ball is pitched in the strike zone

    Reminds me of the critics of Adam Dunn who had a very good understanding of the strike zone until certain people asked him to swing at balls to drive in more runs

    How about we get more base runners who know how to run the bases, hit and run, and let Billy steal

    I am really tired of the Earl Weaver ball we play at GABP

    Makanin was coaching creatively to create runs when he was here. He did not have the talent to wait for 3 run HRs

  6. seriously.

    Earl Weaver was the three run home run.

    That is the way the Reds are currently built. We score a lot of runs in bunches when we hit home runs. We are too dependent on HR’s to score under Dusty ball.

    maybe hit and runs, hitting behind runners and moving runners station to station only works against the Reds.

    I mean why would you have Jay Bruce try to hit to left when every defender is standing on the right side of second base?

    Hope we hit a 3 run HR otherwise we be shut out is not a way I want to go through 2014 regardless of what the percentages say.

    I will take the Joe Morgan style of walk steal second, move to third on a ground out and score on a sac fly. He said that was his favorite, scoring a run without an official time at bat.

    But I guess Joe Morgan is like Joey Votto and should not have taken so many walks. As the #3 hitter, he should have been swinging more because he only hit 27 home runs

    • @reaganspad: If you play for one run you will get one run. Unless you know that that one run is going to win the game, why would you give up outs to score one run? The game is measured by outs. why give them up? The three run homer worked for Earle Weaver.

      • @dmr11: I never said anything about playing for one run. I am talking about being able to score one run like Joe Morgan did versus putting up a 0.

        I am also talking about rallies to score runs, hits, singles, doubles, putting guys in motion to create holes in the infield where double play balls become seeing eye singles through vacated spots. by taking what the defense gives. I would like to see Jay Bruce reduce his 185 strike outs by hitting. We all played over the line as kids, Jay would increase his average 20-30 points by bunting to the vacated 3rd base hole until the defense changes their alingment.

        Some people only get excited with Home Runs. I get excited when runs score, but unfortunately the Reds are not good at scoring runs outside of hitting home runs.

        It would be like we only celebrate the outs we get that come by strike out

        • @reaganspad: I’m not saying that Bruce should not hit to the opposite field (actually I agree) but small ball is not a good way to go.

  7. Has anyone brought up the name Bob Brenly as a potential manager? I know he hasn’t managed in sometime, but he did have some experience when he did manage. He won two NL West championships with the D-Backs and even won one world series. So he has experience in an area where the Reds are trying to go! Which, IMO being in a situation like that is very valuable, and something the Reds could use.

    I used to live in Chicago, so I have had my share of listening to Brenly announce Cub games. More often then not I am pretty impressed with the depth of knowledge and understanding of the game that Brenly has. I feel like I lean more about baseball listening to him then any other announcer.

    So I’m not quite sure if this name has been brought up in any threads yet, but I feel like he could be an interesting fit for the Reds.

    • I know he hasn’t managed in sometime, but he did have some experience when he did manage.

      He did have some Winning* experience

    • @DreadtheRed91: I like a lot of what he has to say as far as his analysis. He seems like a good blend of traditional baseball thinking and more analytical baseball thinking. He probably leans towards the traditional but doesn’t ignore evidence when it’s there. I think the Reds could do a lot worse.

      As far as I know however, he isn’t under consideration.

  8. wow, just looking at Joe Morgan numbers are amazing.

    The year he hit 27 HR’s, he had 114 walks and 41 strike outs. Rose had twice as many walks as strike outs in 76 also. Griffey was about 1 to 1

    That is amazing strike zone discipline. I can still picture Pete after every pitch looking back at the umpire to see if the ump got the call right.

    Votto has that kind of strike zone discipline as he was almost 1 to 1

    Imagine how smart the new manager will be when Jay Bruce stikes out 150 times instead of 185 and Todd Frazier strikes out 120 instead of 155

    • @reaganspad: The game today is very different than 25 or so years ago. Strikeouts are up. Guys don’t try to shorten their swings with two strikes. There really isn’t much “plate protection” anymore. 100-K used to be a bad thing but now it’s pretty normal. Not sure it’s a good thing. A lot worse things can happen than a K but there are times when a K just kills ya.

  9. Some of you folks seem to think a super nerd in a baseball uniform is going to trot out from the Reds dugout and start telling us about BABIP and xFIP and OPS-plus and all that … I got news for you … the smartest manager ever is going to answer at a press conference … “the guy is clutch with men on base.”

    Trust me. That is what they will tell you and that is all you will know. What they KNOW about baseball is that they will have the numbers crunchers tell them what they have to have … and if the guy has a pulled hamstring, he ain’t gonna hit that day.

    Too much hand-wringing over whether the Reds are going to ruin it all and hire some old-school grumpkin who still spits terbakky juice.

    • @Johnu1: I’d put myself squarely in the “folks” you mention and I think we aren’t being understood. I don’t care about getting a super nerd; I care about someone who understands batting your worst hitter 2nd is a poor decision. It doesn’t take a super nerd to understand that. We (I) understand that all managers, for the most part, are old school. None (most?) of them have advanced degrees in a technical field that would make them something akin to a statistician in the dugout. We (I) know that isn’t the case. However, it would be folly to get another manager who ignores mountains of data when it’s presented to him in an easy-to-understand fashion, in my humble opinion.

      In a few (5+) years I think all teams (front offices, most likely) will embrace some form of analytical approach and all of this debate will go away. It will no longer be an advantage for any team because everyone will be working with the same data and market inefficiencies, essentially, will not longer be exploitable.

      • @prjeter: Whoever they hire, I doubt the guy is going to draw names out of a hat to set his batting order. He’s also going to say, when asked, “I plan to put my best lineup out there.”

        That will be all we know about the guy and to assume that he’s “old-anything” is true … he’s not going to be somebody who retired last Friday. This seems to be getting back to the benchmark of despair is Baker and everything is measured against that.

    • @Johnu1: That’s not necessarily true. Manny Acta has had some very sharp interviews in which he expressed a sound understanding of the “new school.” Immediately after a game, yeah, you might get the fill in the blank quotes, but if a guy cares enough about something, we’re bound to hear about it in some form another.. if even second-hand via the players.

    • @Johnu1: Also, the real issue is that even a “new school” manager will only work best when paired with a front office that is on the same page.

  10. Pete Mackanin? Jim Riggleman? Manny Acta? Wow we are discussing on some crappy managers here.

    • @gschiller13: Really? I have not seen one mention of dusty baker in this thread.

      Pete did a lot more with a lot less.

      Dusty has done a lot less with a lot more. but at least he has save Chapman to make sure he is fresh for off season bocci ball tournaments.

      and for gosh sakes, do not hit Jay Bruce in the 4 spot.

      Pete didn’t have either one of those talents to mis-use

    • @gschiller13: Crappy managers? Did you ever hear of Walter Alston, the unknown farm boy from Dartown, Ohio, who became one of the Dodgers greatest managers.

      • @TraviXDM: Engaging in straightforward, honest conversation instead of contrarian digs defeats the purpose of trolling. Best not feed in.

      • @TraviXDM: I am not trolling. i just am disgusted with each candidate I have heard mentioned. it is my right as a fan not to like any of these names. I dotn want a pitching coach who hasnt managed in Price. i do not want a quitter who has never won in Riggleman. I do not want a flat out bad manager in Acta. I dont want an old guy with no experience in Mackanin. I was not impressed with him when he was with the Reds before.

        i would roll the dice on Paul O’Neill. he is a proven winner, whom the Reds should never have traded. his Yankee experience would be valuable.

        • @gschiller13: So, how do you reconcile the “who hasn’t managed” knock against Price with your vote for O’Neill? Further, how do you reconcile “proven winner” as a player on some excellent teams vs the job of a manager which is to facilitate the growth and talent of the team?… of which someone like Price has some demonstrable and and positive evidence in his role as a pitching coach of staff that has been getting better and better?

          I understand sometimes we just have hunches about people… and that’s fine and good. But don’t otherwise go blasting other people’s opinions and hunches if your own pick betrays your own concerns about the other choices.

        • @Matt WI: I just want to win. I do admit that I am becoming more comfortable with the idea of Price, though if I were to hire him I would just go ahead and hire O’Neill. Something about Price, I am uncertain about and pitching coaches dont have a long history of success. I do think Acta, Riggleman or Mackanin would be complete disasters. I am not saying it to attack someone else’s opinion, just a strong belief I have.

        • @gschiller13: I’d submit there isn’t a large enough sample size of pitching coaches turning manager to get an accuate idea if something about being a pitching coach makes you a bad manager. It’s not as common as some might think.

          Either way, “good” managers manage good teams. Thus, they keep getting work. If Dusty would have started managing a bad team rather than managing a roided-out Bonds/Kent combo, do you think he would have gotten the Cubs job? I doubt it.

          I think a manager’s perception as a managerial candidate is largely (mostly?) based on his past success, which is largely (mostly?) based on the talent of the teams he’s managed in the past.

          Anyone who is able to manage personalities (business-wise), has been around baseball for a long time (10+ years), and understands the ins and outs of lineup construction, bullpen management, and things like that, has the POTENTIAL to be a good major league manager. Experience is the WORST predictor of future success, in my opinion. :)

  11. I grew up in Los Angeles in the late ’60s and early ’70s, and I remember what a great manager Walt Alston was— not nearly as fiery as Sparky. Alston was calm and plotting. He was a great manager and man. Is he in the Hall of Fame? If he isn’t….. He belongs there! We Reds fans can only hope that our next manager at least approximates Walter Alston’s abilities.

  12. The thing to remember is, if I recall correctly, Sparky came from a minor league coaching background with one season of major league coaching to the Reds, with only one unsuccessful season as a major league player. I can’t help thinking that if we take a manager like that today, he may not survive scrutiny even before the first pitch is thrown.

    As far as I am concerned, Baker being out is a positive first step. Whoever we bring in, they are going to need time to work with these players, staff, and club. It would be an entire new roster he is working with, possibly an entire new coaching staff. For all we know, he and his attitude could gel with these players rapidly or could only add fuel to the fire. But, we won’t know until given the chance. Remember, even Joe Torre had pretty much a average or even poor managing career before catching on with the Yankees.

    I would also be worried about whoever we bring in, the players may not play for them. I would be worried about statements like, “Dusty didn’t have us do things like that” or “You’re not as nice to us as Dusty is”. I’ve taken over for coaches like that before, and in all cases, I could certainly tell that even though the old coach was gone, their attitude never really did leave. It made coaching those players an absolute pain. Nothing never really did change, if not got worse, due directly to the players lack of acceptance that there was a new coach, not until those players were gone and we got in an entirely new group of players.

    • @steveschoen:

      I would also be worried about whoever we bring in, the players may not play for them…Nothing never really did change, if not got worse, due directly to the players lack of acceptance that there was a new coach, not until those players were gone and we got in an entirely new group of players.

      Been there…done that, and it’s not fun to manage a situation like that, but those were some of my best professional accomplishments. I was usually brought in specifically to handle those situations. I don’t see such a situation evolving with this Reds team. I can’t see a single player on this team lacking the professionalism to move forward, but I do anticipate some significant roster moves on this team during the off season.

  13. I certainly hope the new manager/hitting coach is part of an overall shift in hitting philosophy throughout the entire organization. I’m thinking he just needs to be the first wave of change. I was reviewing the minor league prospects trying to come up with a top 10 list of hitting prospects. I’ve determined only 7 are interesting.

    (My top seven prospects in no particular order other than who interests me)

    1.) Phillip Ervin CF A+ (projected level next year)
    2.) Jesse Winker LF AA
    3.) Billy Hamilton CF AAA
    4.) Seth Mejias-Brean 1B/3B AA
    5.) Steve Selsky RF AA
    6.) Juan Silva LF A+
    7.) Bryson Smith LF AAA

    Those are the only hitters in the system. Perhaps Henry Rodriguez could be added, so 8. EIGHT in an entire system. They need better hitting up and down. The new manager can set the tone and the new hitting coach could change the philosophy. But both will be an indication of the direction the organization is taking.

    • @TC: I had Joe Terry on my list but thought other minor league prospect hounds would question it, so I left him off. (But I see something in him.)

    • @TC:

      I certainly hope the new manager/hitting coach is part of an overall shift in hitting philosophy throughout the entire organization.

      Yes, THIS :!: The recent (last two seasons) drafts have also appeared to indicated a shift in hitting philosophy related to the draft process. We can only hope this holds true and includes the hitting development along with an organizational shift in hitting philosophy. That has to come from the very top(hello WJ, that’s you) and would require a close examination and evaluation of the entire organization. Those individuals who can and will adapt should be retained and those individuals who can’t or won’t adapt need to be removed.

      • @Shchi Cossack: Oh, and WJ must quit with the love affair for over-priced, over-paid relievers. That model works in the big markets with major league payroll to waste on such a luxury, but not in a mid-market like Cincinnati.

        • @Shchi Cossack: You just can’t overpay on relief pitching if your a small or mid-market. You can maybe bring in one guy like a Marshall, Broxton, or Cordero, but never more than that. Last year the Reds had $12+ million tied into Marshall and Broxton and both were hurt. You just can’t take that kind of risk by signing these relief pitchers to long-term, high-dollar deals.

    • @TC: you know TC, in looking at Winkler and Ervin, they are both projected to be in Cincy in 2015. I can see one of those guys breaking out sooner just because of their ability to see the strike zone, probably Ervin as playing in college anymore is worth a few years in the minors for the best players.

      Mike Leake was ready for the bigs. Ervin looks like that same talent.

      With these 2 pushing the bigs in the next 2 years, and Billy Hamilton, I am not really looking at Choo or any long term outfielder. We do need some good 1 year or 2 year options for the outfield.

      I am really excited for Ervin and Winkler, guys who know the strike zone and can get on base in front of Joey, Jay, Todd and Devin

  14. I want to thank everyone for educating me on advanced metric managers. Here is what I learned today.

    1)If an old school manager has more playoff wins that an advanced metric darling, it’s a small sample size.

    2)If an advance metric manager makes the playoffs often but never wins the big series, he overachieved, if a traditional manager reaches the playoffs often but never wins the big series, he has squandered his chances.

    3)If a traditional manager with a big payroll wins a lot in the playoffs it’s due to payroll, even if the largest payroll team in the majors that espouses advanced metrics didn’t make the playoffs.

    I think I am ready to jump on board this bandwagon. It sounds like it’s all based on numbers and not personal opinion at all.

    • @Bubba Ho-Tep: I agree Bubba. According to people here advanced metrics managers are the only quality mangers. Old school managers should go work at Home Depot. Also experience is never necessary as long they believe in advanced metrics.

    • @Bubba Ho-Tep: By getting on this bandwagon you will no longer be accused of being out of touch, less knowlegeable about the game, and have a general disdain thrown your way regarding your fandom. Well done sir. Welcome to the dark side, er, light…..I sometimes get those confused. Must be all that exposure I had to baseball early in life causing some premature statistical senility on my part. Please forgive me. I have to have my scrip refilled to increase my sample size.

      • @preach: It’s awesome, I’ve applied it to everyday life.

        I have decided to contact my credit card companies, and tell them I don’t need to make any more payments, I make x-amount of money a year, money is what pays bills, as long as I have money the bill should be considered paid, it should not have to be sent into their account by my bank. Money being paid into their account is an outdated stat. It should only matter the amount of times I have money in my personal account, not how many times I get the payment to them.

        Anxiously awaiting their response. If they refuse to accept, I will call them a Luddite and act smug.

      • @preach: exactly preach, reds fans who were actually fans of the team like me when they actually won in the 70’s and. 1990 are out of touch and should not be counted. 1990 hatcher batted lead off a lot he wasn’t the reds best hitter. Myers was a High priced closer oh my goodness.

  15. If the Reds can get a decent hitter in the two hole and a batter in the four hole that is capable of scorching the ball, you will see Votto’s production go up. This year they could pitch around him because there was no one behind him that brought fear to the pitchers. The Reds’ lineup was a huge contributing factor to Votto’s power numbers and RBI’s. As for the hitting coach, we know that Brook Jacoby is gone. That was allegedly the reason that Dusty was fired so he is on borrowed time. I am apprehensive about Price but if Mr. Jocketty thinks he is the man, he has a great track record with managers. I hope they bring in someone that is not affiliated with the Reds’ organization for a new approach. What does everyone think about this possibility and we know how Mr. Jocketty pulls “rabbits from the hat”. I find it to be very strange that they have not named a manager especially if Price is the man. I believe that if they believed that, they would have named him at the same time as Baker’s termination. That is not really a vote of confidence if they want to interview other candidates. That tells me that the Reds know something that would indicate that he is not the man. If Price is not named manager, I have to believe that the Mariners are going to want to talk with him. Would it be strange if Tony LaRussa and Dave Duncan joined forces again and came to the Reds? LaRussa said he is not interested in managing again but you have to wonder if he was playing his cards “close to the vest”. As bad as I hate the Cardinals, it would be hard to embrace them but hey if a new championship banner is hanging at GABP, no one would complain.

  16. Jay Bruce as #4 hitter is just fine for a manager who wouldn’t mind having his 2 best players hit back to back

    I see no reason to believe that the Reds would announce their new manager prior to the completion of the World Series.

    Price can be hired and know that he is hired. Might just bother fans who want news yesterday

    • @reaganspad: You are crossing the streams having back to back leftys in the middle of the order. Now, if Joey hit second…but who could hit third? And if somehow we did re-sign Choo, that sure would be a top heavy southpaw lineup.

  17. It was just lunacy I thought that they never kept Votto and Bruce batting together in the lineup. If you are going to walk Votto nearly 150 times in a year, make them face the next best power hitter on the club. JB has also improved quite a bit hitting against lefties.

    • @earl: It’s weird, I totally got the impression from watching games this season that Bruce had made great improvements versus lefties. Looking at his year-to-year splits, he’s honestly been pretty stable in his numbers against lefties for the past three seasons or so.

      Either way, batting those two big bats back-to-back should really help out the offense. Also, Bruce’s groundball percentage is a solid 10-15 points lower than Phillips’ GB%, which should avoid some more double plays.

      Guys like Choo need to be carefully managed and utilized due to massive lefty-righty splits. Guys like Votto and Bruce can hit them both well enough that the handedness of the pitcher should be mostly irrelevant in terms of lineup construction.

  18. From Dave Martinez/Tampa Bay Times interview with Dave Martinez…

    “I thought it went well,” Martinez said Saturday. “I thought it went really well.” Martinez, 49, talked extensively during his visit with baseball operations president Theo Epstein and executive vice president/general manager Jed Hoyer and other members of their staff, and also met briefly with team chairman Tom Ricketts. In addition to the standard topics, Martinez said they had detailed talks about lineup construction and game preparation, and watched some video sequences after which Martinez was asked what moves he would make in those situations. “Game-in-progress kind of stuff,” he said.

    This is how the selection process for a manager should work. I really hope that WJ takes a similar approach to selecting the next manager for the Reds. The Cubs are going to be a significant factor in the NLCD competition, probably not in 2014, but look out in 2015 and going forward.

  19. From Ken Rosenthal, via Twitter…

    Told that Leyland informed #Tigers players after end of ALCS that it was time for someone younger to do the job. He is 68.

    That makes 3 premier manager position now open. FIFO … LILO

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s