2014 Reds

A look at the Reds coaching staff

You may have heard that the Reds hired a new manager. His name is Bryan Price. He used to be Cincinnati’s pitching coach, but then the Reds fired their previous manager (that guy’s name was Dusty Baker), and Price was installed as the field general.

What’s that, you say? You already knew all this?

Well, let’s talk about the new Reds coaching staff that will be supporting Price in 2014. This week, the Reds made it official:

–First base coach Billy Hatcher will return.
–Bench coach: Jay Bell.
–Hitting coach: Don Long.
–Pitching coach: Jeff Pico.
–Third base coach: Steve Smith.
–Freddie Benavides is just a “coach;” he’ll focus on infielders.
–Catching coach Mike Stefanski will remain in that role.
–Bullpen coach: Mack Jenkins

John Fay has some of the particulars about each coach. Here’s the short version:

Jay Bell was a decent major league shortstop; he served as the Pirates hitting coach last season. He previously served as a bench coach with Arizona during Bryan Price’s stint as a pitching coach for the Diamondbacks.

Don Long was the Braves’ minor league hitting coordinator for the last three years, but he served as Pittsburgh’s hitting coach for three years before that. Interestingly, Long has been a manager in the minor leagues for eleven years. Also, his name isn’t “Brook Jacoby,” so that should immediately endear him to a certain segment of the Reds fan base.

Pico has been a minor league pitching coach and a pitching coordinator in the Arizona system for the last eleven seasons. He was also a pitcher for the Cubs in the late 1980s, which isn’t a good sign. Frankly, I thought Mack Jenkins would get this job, but the Reds named him bullpen coach. Otherwise, don’t ask me. I don’t know any of these guys personally. I’ll have to trust Price and GM Walt Jocketty.

There is actually a little bit of drama surrounding the new staff. As noted above, Steve Smith was named third base coach. Mark Berry, of course, has served in that role for more than a decade, and he’s actually been with the Reds organization since being drafted way back in 1983. Evidently, Berry declined an opportunity to join Bryan Price’s staff:

Berry was offered a chance to stay on, but declined, general manager Walt Jocketty said on Wednesday. Berry missed more than half of the 2013 season after being diagnosed with cancer of the tonsils and lymph nodes during spring training.

Although near the end of the season Berry had been told he was cancer free, Jocketty said Berry didn’t want to take a chance that he’d miss any of the 2014 season.

“I think he was a little uncertain of what his status would be and he didn’t want to be a distraction to the club like he was last year,” Jocketty said.

Jocketty indicated that he hoped Berry would return to the Reds organization in some capacity, and I hope that happens.

The other interesting tidbit involves Ronnie Ortegon. Ortegon became the Reds’ assistant hitting coach last December. Well, after the Reds stole Don Long from Atlanta to be the Reds’ hitting coach, the Braves named Ortegon to take Long’s old spot as minor league hitting coordinator. It’s a revolving door at the headquarters of the old boys network.

So there you have it. These guys have a lot of experience in the Arizona organization; clearly, that’s due to Bryan Price’s link to the Diamondbacks. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, except in one respect: it’s going to give former Arizona broadcaster Thom Brennaman an excuse to talk about the Diamondbacks even more than he already does.

Heaven help us.

21 thoughts on “A look at the Reds coaching staff

  1. First time I seen Don Long’s name, that movie with “Don Jon” popped in my head and I had to laugh.

    I concur with the statements made though, I hope Mark Berry does come back in some capacity. After beating cancer like he did however, I can understand if he declined because he wants to be with family. Having lost a friend to bone marrow cancer, I can relate to the importance of spending as much time as possible with family and friends.

  2. Not sure what the hitting coach is supposed to do. I suggest he makes the hitters better and find replies saying that’s not something hitting coaches can accomplish.

    Though the same evidently isn’t true of the pitching coach. Hitting, pitching … what’s the difference, right?

    So I give up on that. I did read once where somebody attributed Votto’s improvement to Jacoby, so why were we complaining?

    Votto? Jacoby? Oh, I get it.

    Anyway, I remain wary.

    I do have to say that it was a coup that we could retain Stefanski as the bullpen catcher.

  3. I know this doesn’t pertain to this article, but at this point in his career I view him pretty much as a coach for young catching talent. Anyways, MLB Trade Rumors has reported that the Louisville Bats have resigned Corky Miller. All Hail The Stache!!

      • @Johnu1: They had to DFA him to remove him from the 40-man. That effective made him a free agent since he decided not to accept the assignment to Louisville.

        There was probably a gentleman’s agreement. “He we’re going to DFA you so that we have room on the 40-man. You still want to be here?” “Sure. But can I see if I can hook up with another team first.” “Hey, we owe you that. You’ll have a home here if you want it.” “Ok, thanks. Love you guys.” “We love you too Corky.” (I took some liberties, but you get the point.)

  4. Chapman says he only wants to close. Closers are plentiful…..and more expensive than they’re worth. We need to trade him and use those dollars in a more sensible fashion. My only qualifier to that would be to say that Chapman would only come close to earning his salary if Price does what he is hinting about and pitches Chapman 100+ high leverage innings. He needs to be our Pedro Borbon.

    • @Sultan of Swaff: Agreed. Which is one of the reasons I believe he should be traded if any of our pitchers are traded.

      So spitballing here. The Yanks need a 2B. And they aren’t really settled at all with a closer. Seattle has excess in the middle IF with Cano now signed on and Ackley, Brad Miller, and Franklin all there as well. Seattle needs a big power LF bat, and C help as well (and P help in general).

      What if the Reds send Phillips and Chapman to the Yanks, and Ondrusek to the M’s
      The Yanks send Roberston and Garnder to the Reds, and Soriano, Gary Sanchez, and either David Phelps/Adam Warren to the M’s.
      The M’s send Nick Franklin/Dustin Ackley to the Reds.

      The Reds can plug Gardner into CF for a year while Hamilton seasons. Robertson steps into the BP and helps close out games with Hoover, LeCure, and Marshall. And the Reds get a young controllable 2B.

      The Yankees get a highly marketable closer, and a cost-effective highly charismatic 2B with excellent D.

      The M’s get their C of the future, some cheap BP help, a power bat for LF, and someone who can slot in their starting rotation.

  5. We send Chapman and BP to the Yanks and that pretty much settles it … we finish 2nd in the World Series.

  6. I will be suprised if BP or Chapman go anywhere. I think a little tinkering will be all that’s going to get done. Don’t see any big splashes this year.

  7. With no major offensive moves this offseason/spring training, the Reds are commiting to 2014 without their 2nd most productive hitter and hoping Ludwick will come back to 2012 production after being lost for the entire 2013 with a serious shoulder injury. That’s one definite huge hole for 2014 combined with a big leap of faith for 2014 after fininshing a dismal 3rd in the NLCD last season. C’mon WJ, say it ain’t so.

    • @Shchi Cossack: I agree with you, Cossack: 2014 looks, if not bleak, questionable at best. The big splash may happen yet, of course, or it may be out of WJ’s control. Or it may happen and prove to be a small ripple.

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