Shortly after Dusty Baker was fired as Reds manager, I was asked what I thought of Bryan Price. I responded that he’s an excellent pitching coach, and there is definite interest in him around the league as a future manager.
The next question was an obvious follow-up: as a manager, would he be an improvement over Dusty? I answered truthfully: I didn’t know. Without having an opportunity to speak with him, and inquire as to his managerial philosophy, I’d have to remain neutral on this question.
Enter Bronson Arroyo to allay any fears I may have had.
As for the next manager, Arroyo said he thinks Bryan Price would be an excellent choice.
“I think he’d be unbelievable,” Arroyo said. “He’s as organized as anyone in the game, he holds people as accountable as well as anyone I’ve seen. He doesn’t buy into stereotypical things in the game, things that other people buy into that I don’t feel are relevant. Price looks at evidence. He’s a freaking smart guy, he makes his decision on reasonable evidence. Sometimes in baseball we go by hunches, what someone else said or they way things have gone in the past. He doesn’t do that.”
Read that paragraph again. What were the criticisms of Dusty in the end? He didn’t hold players accountable. He was set in his ways, and wouldn’t deviate from “the book.” He wouldn’t look at the evidence, the research (who needs a high OBP in the #2 spot?). Is Arroyo making the case that Price would be the Anti-Dusty?
Joel Luckhaupt and I discussed this a bit at length in our recent Dusty-focused podcast. We don’t know if Price wants to manage, but if he does, he’ll have an opportunity sooner rather than later. He turned down the Marlins job last year, and he’s reported to be near the top of Seattle’s wish list this year. If the Reds want him, they’ll have to move quickly, and the powers that be have said they want to move quickly anyway. This could happen soon.
I don’t know how Price would perform as manager. His pitchers seem to love him, and they speak highly of his ability to manage personalities. At the very least, Arroyo’s quotes above give me hope that he’s open-minded about tactics and new ideas. (Plus, we know that Price wanted to make Aroldis Chapman a starter last off-season, so he has that going for him, in my mind.)
So yes, I’m at least a little hopeful that Price would be a good manager. And “hope” has been in short supply around Redleg Nation headquarters recently.