2016 Reds

Reds bring Sweet Lou back

The Reds have hired Lou Piniella as a consultant – senior advisor to baseball operations. Pinella managed the Reds from 1990-92 and compiled a 255-231 record those three years. Piniella managed for 23 seasons. His teams made the postseason seven times, including winning the World Series with the Reds in 1990. In case you were wondering, Piniella (72) hasn’t managed since 2010.

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69 thoughts on “Reds bring Sweet Lou back

  1. I would be excited about this if like the 1990 team, this year’s team had all the pieces in place…this team however, is far, far away….and Lou is not getting any younger…not sure he would be interested in managing in 2018.

    • ….”So you’ve got the cursing down, what you need now is some base throwing practice.”

      • Nicely done Matt. I spotted “Sweet Lou” in a bar in northern NJ (Allendale Bar & Grill, AB&Gs) in the early 90s, and made the mistake of trying to strike up a conversation. Told him I was a big fan of him and the Reds. He looked at me like I had 2 heads, or like I was an umpire. I ducked out of there towards the bartender before he could find a base to throw at me …

        Big fan.

  2. There are going to have to be some hard decisions made on some players when spring training comes to a conclusion. And for the next 2-3 years. Lou’s experience on the field and in management should be of some help in evaluating some of these INF’s, OF’s and P’s.
    This front office needs all the help they can get.

  3. If memory serves me right Lou always had a strong reputation for player evaluation. If this is true then it would be nothing but helpful. If Price gets snippy about following outside advice, then your interim manager is in the building.

    • Price was Lou’s pitching coach in Seattle. I’m just guessing but it is likely that their working relationship is just fine.

  4. I don’t think Lou would ever manage again at his age (I think he’s 72 now), but his advice to the Front Office on player personnel AND Brian Price would be valuable. And yes, I think he will be evaluating Price and his coaching staff (and I hope the minor league managers) for the Front Office.

    • Yes, Lou said he’s done with management, and no reason to think he’s changed his mind. I agree with you about Lou’s role. And as we know, Bob Castellini has a HUGE respect for Lou.

  5. Very interesting timing indeed. If memory serves, this is Price’s final year on his current contract.

    I got horribly sick of watching the team lose last season. But it wasn’t just that they were losing, it’s HOW they were losing: just rolling over, going through the motions, lapses that went unpunished, no fight or fire at all. Is this the kind of culture we want our young players developing in?

    Let’s see if managers believe in their own words of “someone gunning for your job brings out the best in you”. I get the feeling if Price doesn’t show big improvement as a manager this year (regardless of the team’s final record), he could be looking for some new employment at season’s end.

    • Or maybe this is what happens when Price starts contradicting Uncle Walt, which he did on a couple of points the other day… Specifically about BP being anointed the starting 2nd baseman when Walt clearly said Peraza could win the job and that BP fully understood what he was getting into by turning down those two trades.

  6. I’m glad to see Lou in the front office. I’m sure he’ll have no trouble in expressing himself. And the front office needs all the experienced help they can get.

    • He may end up expressing himself by throwing chairs since there are no bases available, but you can’t doubt his baseball smarts or passion.

  7. Something that no one has brought up yet: Does Lou prescribe to the modern evaluation model of players, or is he more of an old school, gut-feeling type?

    There are pluses and minuses to both, but with the Reds (ostensibly) going through a modernization of their front office, I’m curious to see how Lou fits into that culture.

  8. Why would Lou latch on to the ship wreck that is the Reds organization? Lou is awesome but even his greatness can hide the foul odor coming off the Ohio river from GABP.

    • Good one. Loved Lou during his time but talk about wanting to get some new school metrics for Reds….this isn’t it.

      • You have a valid point about Sweet Lou not being it for new school metrics. The thing is even if the Reds had a clue about some advanced technologies place in baseball it is only a tool just like the old school “eye test” guys and Sweet Lou has the experience and the smarts to be helpful even without advanced metrics.

  9. Great, a 72 year old Friend of Bob. I assume the Executor of Sparky Anderson’s Estate said no. The Reds are very good at the past.

  10. This could be a chance to inject some fire and passion into a team that doesn’t have any and it may also be with Pinella and Prices history that he has been asked to help Price get a clue.

  11. I’m fascinated with what Lou thinks of Dat Dude. On the one hand he plays hard everyday. On the other, well, I’m not saying he’s Rob Dibble, but…

  12. Did NOT see that coming.

    Im not sure what authority Lou will actually have, but for those of us asking for some accountability in this organization, this may be a good move. Hey, it should provide some help in the scouting department.

    Should provide some interesting quotes during the season as well. ’cause there aint no lovin like Sweet Lou lovin

  13. Former Reds manager (1997-2000), ‘Trader’ Jack McKeon, managed the Marlins to a World Series win in 2003 at the age of 72. Anything’s possible.

  14. The Old Cossack’s initial reaction to the news that Pinella was hired as a consultant and adviser to Baseball Operations was Price just had his short leash tightened in the final year of his contract as manager. Pinella would serve in an advisory capacity to player evaluations and in a support role for Price, but if Price failed to produce the results needed from the manager of their rebuild – reboot efforts, Pinella would finish the season as the interim manager in-waiting and Williams would hire his manager after the season.

    After dilgence and additional consideration, I’m not sure such an arrangement would even be considered by the parties involved (Pinella/Jocketty/Castellini).

    “He expressed an interest to me and Mr. [Bob] Castellini [Reds president and CEO] at Redsfest that he’d like to get involved and do what he can to work with the club,” Reds president of baseball operations Walt Jocketty said.

    “He’s just going to offer his personal insights on players, and the game itself,” Jocketty said. “If he has advice for Bryan, he can consult. He can use his experience, his knowledge and the success he’s had over the years.”

    Throw in his relationship with Price, and it looks like Pinella’s role is probably, just as advertised, another consultant/adviser position brought in on the old-boys network, just because they can. I’m becoming less and less enamored with the prospect of Willams running the show going forward and any possible positive improvement/change he might bring to the table.

    • A lot of business, any business (including baseball) is networking with other people. Lou Pinella does know a lot of people in baseball. You can say that is old fashioned, but I think one asset he brings to the table is giving Dick Williams the Younger another person to give him contacts in baseball. Sometimes those contacts/networking allow you insights into another organization, and may allow you to get a valuable minor leaguer that has fallen out of favor with the organization he is in. This is not something that advanced metrics can tell you.
      The next few years will be a time when the Reds will have to cast their nets wide to find valuable young players that they can aquire as cheaply as possible from other teams.
      I do not think the Reds’ organization is a trainwreck. They have a very good amount of minor league talent (a lot of pitching) that can be used to make the major league team a lot better in a few years. I think that 2015 was actually the “bottom” as far as the organization and personnel go.

      • Given the prior relationship between Pinella and Price, Pinella presumably would be somebody out of the immediate everyday loop Price could utilize as a confidante/ mentor. The setup also likely sets up a de facto conduit for Price to send and receive info directly to and from the upper levels of the organization with neither end officially on the organizational record. That can be a good or bad thing depending how it is used.

      • And yet our top prospect is a pitcher that for the past 2 seasons can’t finish a season healthy, walks 1 batter for every 2 he strikeout and can’t seem to pitch past the 6th inning due to high pitch counts. The Red’s farm system is terribly one dimensional, the hitting prospects have almost no power and aside from Winker none have a clue as to what plate discipline even implies. Our farm system is horrid.

        • Alex Blandino had a BB% of 9.1% and 13% in A+ and AA respectively. He K’d 16.4% and 15.2% in those leagues as well. That is really solid plate discipline. On top of that he posted a .144 and .139 ISO with a wRC+ of 148 and 111 in Adv. A and AA. And the Florida league is notoriously a pitcher’s league. So that 148 wRC+ really stands out there. HIs AA numbers were largely effected by a .261 BABIP (when he’s been around .340 otherwise in the minors) and small sample size of only 138 PA. There’s a reason why he just popped up on a top 100 list.

          Phillip Ervin posted a 11.2% and 19.7% BB% against a 17.5% and 22.7% K% in A+ and AA respectively. Those are fantastic BB rates. And while the K% in AA was creeping up on the higher side, it’s balanced by an incredible 19.7%. Also, small sample size in AA of only 66 PA, so you’d figure the K% would line up under 20% eventually as the rest of his career has shown. He also posted a .133 and .176 ISO in those leagues, and was leading the FSL in HRs when he was promoted. wRC+ of 120 and 143 in A+ and AA as well. He needs to hit for a better average consistently, but the power and plate discipline is evident, especially for someone who may stick in CF.

          Tyler Stephenson posted a 10% BB% as an 18 year old rookie in Billings. His power needs to show itself, but the bat usually develops slower for catchers as they have extensive work to do on the defensive side. But the plate discipline is there.

          Yorman Rodriguez posted a .159 ISO with a wRC+ of 112, and a better than league average .736 OPS in AAA last year. Yes he needs to walk more, but that ISO is legit. and he’s always been young for the league he’s played in.

          Eric Jagielo posted an outstanding .212 ISO with a 141 wRC+ in AA. The BB% was average-ish at 7.3% but the K% was on the high side at 23.4%. If he can find a place to play on the field, that power is absolutely legit and that plate discipline would be acceptable for that amount of power.

          Scott Schebler posted an 8.2% BB% against a 19.2% K% in AAA with a .169 ISO. Acceptable plate discipline with legit power.

          And then there’s Jose Peraza who won’t BB or K much but will make contact and use his speed to get on base. His GB/FB ratios and AAA numbers are better than Hamilton’s at that same level, so there’s a reasonable hope he’ll hit the way we all hoped Billy would.

          The farm system isn’t as devoid of bats as you would suggest. There’s a solid mix of plate discipline and power out of those hitters that will fall in the top 20 Reds prospects. 2-3 of those hitters are Top 100 prospects in baseball depending on the list.

  15. Good old hire by the good old boys network.Williams doesn’t have a chance at taking this team anywhere while Walt is still here and that is really a shame.

  16. It’s good PR with no tangible value. No one loves the past He’ll go around Goodyear in a golf cart…sign some autographs…talk about double switches with Price…..and hit Red Lobster by 5:15.

    Most of the players will have no idea who he is….he’s just another old guy in the owners golf cart.

  17. Great post Chuck.Had to laugh when I read it.Wonder if I could be his driver?

    • Hah…yes funny. But I doubt he was hired to give any advice to the players. He’s talking to Bob and Walt (maybe at Red Lobster) about how to handle this transition. And like mentioned above, to open some doors for Williams. Old school advice, maybe, but in earlier articles he talked about how putting the Nasty Boys together and adding Billy Hatcher. That patching together seemed to work out pretty good.

      • A Williams has been involved in Reds ownership for the better part of 50 years….Dick has been in the front office for 10. I am reasonably sure he doesn’t need Lou Pinella’s Rolodex of mostly dead people to make a trade.

        Lou: ” Kid…you should send a telegram to Buzzy Bavasi tonight. The Dodgers might be wiling to trade Ron Cey.”

        Williams: ” Buzzy is dead….Cey might be dead and telegrams only exist in North Korea.”

        Lou: ” Ok…..what about Enos Cabbel? Me and him got so drunk after the 1977 All Star Game that we highjacked a plane.”

        This is simply a way to grab a headline 2 weeks before Spring Training. It appeals to both the ” Things will never be as good as they were” crowd and the Ryan Freel Society (Motto…Fire matters in a sport with 162 games)

        • Perhaps you’re right in regard to opening doors. But, really just window dressing? Do you feel the same about Joe Morgan, Eric Davis, and Barry Larkin???

        • I believe that virtually all ” Special Assistant ” roles are PR driven and no actual value arises. The players don’t care that Joe Morgan was a great player 40 years ago. To them, he’s a 70 year old man in a golf cart who talks to the CEO’s of the teams sponsors about Steve Carlton’s slider.

        • That right there was FUNNY, doesn’t matter who you are… GOOD ONE. LMAO

  18. I wonder if the enigmatic Sweet Lou will suggest we put a package together for the enigmatic Puig. A controversial push sure, but I’d give up alot for that guy!

    What would it take? Winker and Stephenson?

    • Lou maybe old, but I don’t think he’s insane. Why would the Reds trade their 2 best prospects for a guy who gets worse each year and is despised by his teammates? Puig makes 7x’s more than Winkler and Stephenson combined and gives you 3 fewer seasons of control. It would be a good deal for the Dodgers.

    • Thanks but I will keep Winker and Stephenson.

      and the dodgers can keep puig.

      The Reds will be better with those 2, maybe even as soon as the second half of 2016, than if they had Puig.

    • They are supposed to be hiring 3 new analysts. I applied for one of the 2 Baseball Operations Analyst positions. The other open slot was for Director of Analytics as Grossman was promoted, I believe. Not sure if they’ve made those hires or not yet.

      Hiring 3 new analytics guys is a start. I don’t think Lou’s salary will be an issue as far as that is concerned.

  19. Speaking of bringing back, during the slow news cycle, I wish the editors here would bring back a couple of last year’s preseason articles on Joey Votto and whether he would return to form or not. Especially with the comments section attached. Those comments should be hilarious from some, now one year later.

    • “I told ya so!” isn’t very nice😉

      I’m sure those articles are in the archives. If I get some time, I may have to go see who’s eating crow.

    • Not too much controversy in the comments.

      Conclusion: “Joey Votto recently said he is completely healthy and that his legs will allow him to drive the ball as in the past. If that’s the case, Reds fans can expect Votto to put up numbers at least as he did in 2013, when he was second in the NL in offensive contribution, but with more power. Projection: Expect Votto to hit over .300 with an on-base percentage well over .400, and hit 25-30 homers and 35 doubles. In other words, one of the best hitters in the league and an MVP candidate.”

      Missed on doubles by two.

      https://redlegnation.com/2015/03/09/player-projections-joey-votto/

      • Yeah, pretty spot on. If only BHam would have gotten on base ahead of him the way we hoped…

  20. Another one bites the dust….. Reports are that Skip Schumaker has signed a MiLB/ ST invite deal with the Padres. Don’t know which is more amazing to me, that the Reds are finally letting go of these guys or that other teams are actually signing them (albeit to minor league/ ST invite deals).

  21. With so much on the line this year, grit should be the name of the game in spring training.

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