The rebuilding process, charts and graphs or not, was almost certain to cause unrest. But the Reds recent free fall has dialed up the decibel level on calls to fire manager Bryan Price. The Atlanta Braves sacked their manager Fredi Gonzalez last week. So it’s no surprise the vultures have flown north and are circling 100 Joe Nuxhall Way. With baseball president Walt Jocketty having announced his intention to retire at the end of the season, the manager becomes a convenient target.

To be clear, the case for letting Bryan Price go at the end of the season, also the end of his contract, is pretty strong. Bringing him back to manage this year was more asking him to fall on the proverbial grenade than giving him a fair audition.

With regard to Bryan Price’s hiring as Reds manager, I’ve always been agnostic. By the end of the 2013 season, it was apparent that Dusty Baker had done all he could for that group of Reds. Yet the core of the team was strong enough they could expect to make one or two more serious runs at winning the NL Central, health willing.

I didn’t like that the Reds jumped at hiring Bryan Price. Their culture of narrowness produced only one interview in choosing Baker’s replacement. Insider favor is a perilous practice. Walt Jocketty hadn’t gone through the process of  choosing a new manager in 19 seasons. And the common practice of using interviews for finalizing hiring decisions has been discredited by a raft of research.

On the other hand, the Reds had seen Price close up for several years as their pitching coach. Whether the skills that make a great coach are the same that make a great manager is an open question. But the theory that Bryan Price offered a different voice but also the needed continuity seemed plausible. Players spoke up strongly for Price.

Injuries and subsequent roster demolition have prevented Price from showing whether he’s an able manager in good times. Yet, we’ve seen more than enough over the past three seasons to conclude that Bryan Price has no special talent to keep the Reds competitive and playing well.

But whether Price should be fired at the end of the season is a different question than whether he should be fired now.

If we’re allocating blame for why the Reds are where they are right now, Bryan Price deserves no more than a tiny share. Most managers not named Joe Maddon affect wins and losses only at the margins. Half of their impact occurs in the locker room out of the public eye, not in the dugout.

Owners set payroll budgets and make roster demands. If the Reds were reluctant to make trades prior to last year’s All-Star Game, that’s on the ownership, not Bryan Price. Front offices make important decisions on trades, drafting, free agent signings and rosters. If the Reds roster is full of players with poor plate discipline, that’s on the front office, not Bryan Price. Bryan Price didn’t choose to rebuild or drag his feet on the start, making it deeper than necessary. The ownership and front office brought the situation to that point. Bryan Price didn’t choose the pitchers for the bullpen. The front office did.

Far more blame (or credit) rightly goes to owners and front offices than managers.

We second-guessed Price’s use of the bullpen for about a week. Then the extent of the horror was revealed. He didn’t have any good moves to make. Not a single pitcher in the bullpen was a reliable major league reliever. Not one. The Reds will get better when their starting rotation returns, regardless of who is managing. The Reds will get better when deserving pitchers get promoted from AAA, regardless of who is managing. The Reds will take steps back when Zack Cozart and Jay Bruce are traded in mid-season, regardless who is managing. The identity of the manager won’t determine if Jose Peraza and Jesse Winker become solid major league players.

On the other hand, if it becomes apparent that Bryan Price has lost the clubhouse in a way that discourages players like Peraza, Winker, Adam Duvall, Billy Hamilton and Eugenio Suarez from working hard to improve, that’s a reason to change leadership. Seeing improvement from young player is all that matters.

If the Reds dismiss Price, the FYRE PRICE NOW crowd will enjoy their bloodlust for a moment. The move might shake up the players for a half-second. But it won’t make the Reds better or easier to watch. Given the pool of interim replacement candidates will the new manager be a better human-whisperer? Doubt it. An interim manager will fall short of Robert Redford in the eyes of professional players.

The truth is, the trajectory of the Reds has almost nothing to do with who their manager is in 2016. It just doesn’t matter, either way. The front office has known that from the start, which is why they brought Price back in the first place.

Steve grew up in Cincinnati as a die-hard fan of Sparky’s Big Red Machine. After 25 years living outside of Ohio, mostly in Ann Arbor, he returned to the Queen City in 2004. He has resumed a first-person love affair with the Cincinnati Reds and is a season ticket holder at Great American Ball Park. The only place to find Steve’s thoughts of more than 140 characters is Redleg Nation. Follow his tweets @spmancuso.

Join the conversation! 93 Comments

  1. Thanks for the article. I might argue that close to 75% of a manager’s impact occurs outside the dugout but regardless, for whatever head-scratching moves Bryan Price has made, other managers make nearly as many, or more, including ones people might say are “good managers”. A few years ago some Tiger fans were screaming for Jim Leyland’s head after a move he made backfired, and the team was in first place by about 10 games at the time!!

  2. My instinct would be that far more than half of what managers affect is outside of a game situation. Is Joe Maddon viewed as a good manager because he plays Kris Bryant at every position and uses his best pitchers in the highest leverage situations, or because he is an incredible motivator and relates to the players and gets results from them? Probably both, but at the end of the day, what is more important.

    • Good article though, agree with everything else

    • Yeah, I’d say both. Understanding what you have an how to maximize it is only half the battle. From what we can tell, Maddon is great inside the clubhouse and outside.

      Also, you have to think that Maddon had a lot to do with the Cubs signing Ben Zobrist, who has been one of the Top 10 players in all of MLB so far. This would be an example of when “familiarity” worked. If only the Reds could get it to work!

  3. Some managers can be a huge negative, and some managers can be a huge positive.

    Look at what happened to the Phillies after they fired Ryne Sandburg (Hall of Famer!!!) who turned out to be a truly terrible manager, and have hired Pete Mackanin (who was also an interim manager for the Reds some years ago). For whatever is is that Pete is doing, he’s doing a good job.

    I am agnostic on Bryan Price getting fired and this helping the team (Jim Riggleman, really?), although I do think he is a poor major league manager. This dumpster fire of a team belongs to Bob Castelini and Walt Jocketty. And you will NOT hear Bob Castelini stand up and say that he owns this mess. Because he’s a winner, and not a loser.

    • I wish Pete would have been able to stay as Reds manager. He did the same thing in the 1/2 year with the Reds that he is doing with the phils

      • I agree with both of you. Brian Price does not need to be fired, but I believe he only has an option on his contract. I think they could just not pick that up. Price clearly seems overwhelmed (and has been since day 1) which has led to this atmosphere of helplessness. Even if he is not to blame, he sure isn’t the guy to reverse course with. Even if it’s just showing a lack of complacency, getting someone with some confidence and a new culture of winning attitude is a must.

  4. I like Price, he is not the problem. The blame is clearly on ownership and Jocketty. The fans in Cincy soon will not be buying what the Reds will be saying. The bullpen is on Price??? Say What?? We aren’t that stupid. I say keep Price and fire immediately Jocketty.

    • Jocketty is retiring…

      • Well, it is time Jocketty is ushered into retirement now on May 26, 2016 rather than wait until October 3, 2016. Do we really want his hands and fingerprints on anymore roster moves?

  5. What difference does it make? Fire him now or fire him later. It’s going to happen.

  6. The manager a team expects will; lead them through a rebuild and contention cycle should be one of the first pieces put into place. In fact for me, the actual rebuilding part of the process hasn’t really started until that person is on the job.

    Do I think Bryan Price is this guy for the Reds at this point? No, I don’t. On the other hand I am somewhat ambivalent concerning whether he should stay on the job until the end of the season. I don’t like the idea of an obvious lame duck muddling his way through the remainder of the season; but, I also don’t think “the next real manager” is put in the best position by being brought in during a season. I’d rather this person be named early in the off season and have several months to get his organization set up.

    Fortunately for the Reds, they have Riggleman on the scene; and, if things get too out of hand in the clubhouse or there are issues over guys playing for Price through the end of the season, the Reds can let Price go and install Riggleman as the interim guy to start instilling organizational principles and concepts that will put in place regardless of who the next “real” manager turns out to be.

    • I will say however that Price has won back some respect from me by standing up and essentially calling out his bosses concerning the benign neglect of the bullpen they seemed content to allow to continue. I also liked that last night he publicly zeroed in on the team’s deficient OBP skills. Perhaps it is simply self serving to point out why he can’t do a better job right now; but still, I like the honesty for a change.

      • I think the OBP thing had to some random lip-service. He identified Cozart as the leadoff hitter before the season began (I think?) and keep hitting Billy Hamilton 2nd, while batting Votto 3rd even though he isn’t hitting for much power.

        I really don’t think Price understands at all the relative value of OBP in comparison to other things.

        • Patrick–do you have any impression as to how many other managers have that understanding regarding OBP or is Price more the norm and he is just stuck with some really awful OBP guys (and probably doesn’t use Votto to his advantage)?

        • Jazz, tough to say since I don’t have everyone’s lineups memorized, but I’d say Price is more the norm, and yes, he is stuck with some bad OBP guys. So both your points seem correct.

          Regardless, there’s really no defense to batting Billy Hamilton at the top of the order. He’s got a large enough sample size that we can confidently say he’s a terrible hitter and will continue to be unless something major changes with his swing and/or physical stature.

          Cozart at the top of the order seems defensible, at least, because it appears Cozart has made some mechanical changes.

        • Agree, right on, as Price finally mentions OBP after years of downplaying it. The mark of lack of true understanding is to say one thing and act another.

  7. Hopefully a part of this rebuild plan is to start thinking about good managerial candidates for 2017 and beyond. Price seems to be an above average pitching coach and that’s nothing to sneeze at but he had never managed before taking the promotion here. Whoever comes in for 2017 should not be someone who is cutting their teeth on managing in the big leagues, it should be someone who has been to a rodeo a time or two and has experience dealing with younger players new to the show…I’m not sure who that is but hopefully the Reds already have a few people in mind.

  8. There’s really know way for us to know what the clubhouse culture is like unless a reporter writes about it (which is basically forbidden if that reporter wants to have access to the clubhouse) or a player talks about it in the media.

    I agree with Steve that Price’s in-game decisions are basically meaningless this year. Whether he wins or loses a few games for the Reds with a stolen base call, or a double switch, clearly isn’t going to make a difference.

    My concern is that it’s never seemed like Price really has a good attitude (from my obviously subjective position), and I really don’t see him doing much to try to get the players to play smarter, more disciplined baseball.

    • What would be evidence that he is trying to get the players to play smarter, more disciplined baseball? I don’t know if those are things that would be obvious enough for outside observers to really see but would love to hear what you think. I just really don’t know.

      • One of the biggest examples are the number of /tootblans this team has had over the last 3 years. Menatal errors. throwing to the wrong base. Bruce still hasn’t learned how to slide. I could go on.

    • My question is even with the sorry hand he has been dealt doesn’t it seem like he always makes a poor choice? This is an observation more from the 2 previous seasons than this. He gets a certain amount of appreciation for getting 25 players dressed and on the field this season. His career as a pitching coach and in my opinion quite a bit above average I cannot fathom him being 2 to 3 hitters behind having someone ready. The other side of that I am not trying to decide between my ineffective starter or a mediocre little league reliever!

  9. One thing I’ll give Price credit for is keeping a stoic demeanor during the first month or so of bullpen meltdowns. Only recently has he let the emotion begin to show on his face. He lasted far longer than I would have.

    • I was impressed with the “stoic demeanor” he showed during the potty mouth episode last year. He’s over his head.

  10. I’m actually a Bryan Price fan and feel kind of bad for him that he’s being left out to dry with this garbage. That said, when we make the necessary moves and begin the upswing to competitiveness again, I really think we need a complete and utter culture change in the clubhouse.

  11. Whether Price goes or stays, I really don’t think is a big deal. I’m not sure even Madden could do anything with this bullpen and free swingers. The biggest problem I see is that if they fire him now and they instate Riggleman as interim and then the kids come up and their is an upswing in wins. Stephenson and Reed pitch well as Starters. Descalfani and Baily come back and pitch well. Winkler and Peraza come up and hit well. Does Riggleman get credit for that and they sign him to a three year deal with no outside interviews. Maybe Riggleman would be a great manager but I would like to see the Reds look at a handful of good candidates before hiring the next guy.

  12. I’ve got a question for folks… need some help with my next column…

    In 2010/2011, was Chris Heisey considered a “prospect” in your eyes? If so, when did he stop being a “prospect” and become a “journeyman,” for lack of a better word.

    • I’d vote he was a prospect until 2012, his age 27 season. By that point, he never really brought anything else to the table he hadn’t already shown. But, until then, there was always enough of a fan base who wondered “what if he started more often..”

      Some definitely saw him for what he was sooner than others.

      • And I would add this, for perspective: Those like me who wanted to see what Heisey could have done with increased playing time weren’t advocating for benching a better player to do it, just looking for someone, anyone, to establish himself in left field. Left field has been a mess for how long now?

    • At first I hadn’t considered him a top prospect but as he moved through the Reds system, I thought there was something to be said for how he was performing. It made me think he’d be an excellent role-player on an MLB club with potential to perhaps start. I had started to consider him a prospect because of that. I never considered him star material though or even a good bet to be an MLB starter.

      I still don’t really consider him a journeyman. He hasn’t really been with enough clubs in my opinion for that label to be used on him. Right now, he is still an adequate role-player. As he gets older, his usefulness in MLB will continue to decline. His career line of .244/.302/.422 in over 1500 PA shows that he’s been a solid MLB role-player and should be recognized as such.

      • I agree with your assessment. A 16th round draft pick out of a small college who apparently was not drafted late out of HS as an afterthought to cover bets hardly qualifies as a solid prospect.

        I find irony in the fact that now he back with Dusty on a contender and having his best times since his early years with the Reds. The reason I see irony in the situation is that all along it has appeared that Dusty knew best how to use Heisey to both Heisey’s and the team’s best advantage yet many fans at the time and even today want to blame Dusty for Heisey never being a solid starter; yet, without Dusty Heisey could have well turned out to be a one or two year back of the bench long forgotten afterthought.

    • I think 2010 is the last year you could consider Heisey a prospect. He started at AAA, where he’d ended 2009, and then got the call and played in 97 games at the big league level. In 2011 he started as a major league player, played in 120 games and hit 18 homeruns. To me, that’s not a prospect, that’s an established major league player.

      • That’s fair… there was little doubt he was going to make the team at that point. Still, he only started in 54 games in 2011, the rest were as a sub, as Dusty was wont to do. But yeah, I guess most people stopped thinking of him as a “kid” after 2010, even if the jury was out on his overall potential. I suppose being a regular starter isn’t the same thing as no longer being a prospect, regardless of how he was used.

        • He was never a prospect in the eyes of the powers that be at the time. He was considered a fourth outfielder from day one, and ironically reinforced that by hitting a few PH homers. Stubbs was handed the starting job, and no one was going to play Heisey over him, period. Chris really hurt his case to start when he would either get hurt or get ice cold every time he was in line to get real playing time (usually injury to others). Other than by fans, the guy simply was never consider a prospect.

  13. The only reason to fire Price during the season was if it meant that was the only opportunity to jump on their dream candidate. Since Joe Maddon isn’t getting fired, nor, sadly, would he likely represent this front office’s idea of a dream candidate, let’s just keep on keeping on and see what winter brings.

  14. There is a silver lining. If by mid June, Jackie Bradley’s hitting streak extends
    pass 40 games and Arrieta still hasn’t lost a game and the Reds are still trolling
    losing mode, then the national media will intensely focus on Bradley and
    the cub pitcher and the Reds debacle will be our own little secret.
    Sorry, but thats about the best i can come up with for now.

    • Well we can check one of those off now.

      ❌ Bradley Jr.
      Reds BAD

      • And Arrieta had a bad start last time out, but was bailed out by the Cubs offense. I think he went 5 IP and gave up 4 ER. He’ll lose soon, I think.

        Strasburg, though… 24-0! Count it!

  15. Price lost this team last year yet was kept on for another year with the same players.It was expected him to fail miserably and he has based mostly what he has to manage.He hasn’t been able to motivate or change the culture of this team in any way because the players know he won’t be back.He has called out the front office some and his comment last night about guys not walking and the low OBP was right on but its the same players so what do you do.If he would start benching players for their poor performance expecially running the bases or things such as BP’S behind the back flip the other day then I would have more respect for him.Unless you can bring in the dream guy as MATT said or somebody that will be considered as the next manager its a waste of time because this team will not listen to him.

  16. I was very hopeful that Price would be the guy to help drag the Reds into the 21st century when he was hired. But it hasn’t panned out. While I don’t blame him for this season at all, I do think he has not always made the right decisions.

    My biggest problem with Price is that I thought he would be an upgrade over Dusty Baker, but he hasn’t been. In fact, he manages almost exactly the same way Dusty did, so much so you could call him Dusty Lite.

    • could not agree more, well said. the “lite” is in the personality, which at least Dusty had some.

  17. Sometimes firing the Mgr starts a fire under the players and sends them on
    a little win streak. Price might be canned, but they’ll give it to Riggleman
    The owner will not spend any $$ on a managerial replacement with a track
    record of accomplishments. The Mgr. change in Atlanta appears to have had
    no immediate effect on the team

  18. All the talk about Riggleman managing the Reds… Really? I know a little about his career as a manager but the one thing that I don’t forgive is how he left the Nationals when they were doing so well because he wanted an extension right away. He’s nothing but a selfish quitter in my book, and I don’t see myself changing on that. If Price gets fired and Riggleman gets promoted and drives the team in the right direction, fine.

    As for Price, I don’t know where I stand on him now but I don’t fully blame him for how the team is doing. His job is to solely manage what he’s been given by the front office, which really is a mess. I’d take an overhaul of the FO any day.

    • Riggleman would just the organization’s placeholder to the end of the season and know that going in,

    • Don’t like Riggleman and yes, it’s partly because of how he left his team in Washington. Bush league.

    • I don’t believe a single post on RLN has advocated Riggleman as the manager, even on an interim basis, for the Reds, just resigned to the fact that if Price is canned, Riggleman will move up to the hot seat.

      • For my part, resigned to Riggleman if Price goes before the end of the season. Somebody has to fill the seat. He’s there. Don’t see them bringing in anybody else tom play out the string.

  19. Firing Price now would be a simple PR move to placate “the fans”…..which is something that dumb teams do.

    As long as the starting pitchers continue to develop then he’s doing a good job. He doesn’t decide whether Votto should sit or if BP should play. Lame duck managers of rebuilding teams have a rather limited amount of say.

    Absolutely no manager wins with this roster. I know there are many who want Lou Pinella to ride in on the unicorn to whip these guys into shape with his “fire and intensity.” They tend to forget that Lou’s winning percentage in Tampa was worse than Price’s.

    Joe Torre’s time with the Mets was worse than Price’s time here. Bruce Bochey had a losing record 9 of his first 14 seasons. Tom Kelly won 2 World Series….and had 8 consecutive losing seasons. Joe Maddon lost 101 games and followed it up with 96 losses the next year.

    No one is successful with a bad team.

  20. Who do you bring in to replace Price for 2017? It will be Dick Williams move. Who now would be on the market? Who gets fired from their current job that would be attractive next year for the Reds? The pickins are slim indeed.

    • It doesn’t matter. Whether you hire Joe Torre, Dave Miley or the Executor of Vern Rapp’s Estate the results will be about the same.

      I would hire Kevin Mitchell because he’s crazy and it would be entertaining.

    • There is always a George Anderson or Joe Maddon looking to get the big break., Or a Pete Mackanin who got cold shouldered in Cincy in favor of a marque name but finally got a chance 8 years later. Who knew much about Jim Leyland before he got his shot?

      The slim pickins are for the most part the good ol’ boys who often are best avoided as they are typically the insular inside job type guys such as Steve often talks about.

  21. The Mets power hitting First Basemen, Lucas Duda, is out for at least two
    months, I thought maybe Bruce could be shipped to NY. for some pitching
    The problem is that once Duda returns, where would the Mets play Bruce.??
    The Mets outfield is already set with Cespedes, Conforto,Granderson

  22. This season is what it is. I’d let Price finish the season and make a real search for a manager in the off-season with the new GM in control. Riggelman as the interim manager would probably mean he would be there for the next few years with nobody else considered. Let him be one of the many candidates that want to manage the Reds and go from there.

  23. When (and I’m starting to wonder if) the real rotation emerges, it will be a good thing if Piece is still around to navigate the young arms and set roles for them. That’s what he does best. Let’s let the dust settle after the season before a change is made at the helm. It’ll become obvious by then what needs to be done.

    • Actually, that could be part of the problem. Managers have so much other stuff to do, media, lineups, player injuries, and on and on, that I wonder how much time Price really has to focus on individual pitchers. When he was pitching coach, all that other stuff was in Dusty’s domain.

  24. As said nobody wins with a bad team but regardless if Price goes or stays the next manager of the Reds will have to be better at everything.I think its safe to say that all the good ones lost a bunch to begin with but they learned and got better over time as the players got better.All I hope for is that we search far and wide for the next one and please don’t hire from within or bring back a guy that played here in the 70’s.

  25. A couple thoughts about this article…

    1) Why is Jocketty being kept around this season, when Williams will take control afterward? Given the debacle that 2016 has become already, why doesn’t Castellini simply come out and fire him and let Williams take over now? I would rather have Williams oversee any July trades made than Jocketty. Plus, it would demonstrate to fans that ownership actually still cares.

    2) In 2014, the Reds record at the All Star break was 51-44. The Reds were 1.5 games out of first. 2014 was the season when the Reds opened with six players on the DL. This was the season where Bruce had knee surgery in May and was rushed back too soon. Votto spent the season bouncing back and forth between the 25-man roster and the DL, and was finally placed on the DL for the remainder of the season on July 8. Phillips injured his thumb and was put on the DL July 11, and was out until August 18. Latos only made 16 starts that year. August 7 was Bailey’s final start that year. This is just a handful of the players who were affected by injury that year. While I agree that Bryan Price likely isn’t the manager in 2017 for the Reds, he has never been given a full deck of cards to play with.

    • That 2014 team was pretty well set to compete. Didn’t really replace Shin-Soo Choo’s bat, but Billy Hamilton provided defensive value. Front office didn’t do much before the season, but didn’t need to. Mesoraco had his great season. If Votto, Bruce and Bailey stay healthy, they’re in it to the end or win NLC.

      • I agree that the 2014 team was trying to win the division going into the season. It was pretty much the same team as 2013, minus Choo. So do you agree that the post All Star Game collapse in 2014 had little or nothing to do with Bryan Price and a lack of leadership and almost entirely to do with injuries and ineffective players?

        I simply believe that Bryan Price has never had a fair chance to show what he can do with a healthy, talented team. The Reds were decimated by injuries all throughout 2014. In 2015, Price went into the season with a rotation that included Jason Marquis because the Reds had foolishly only half-started their rebuild that winter when they traded away Latos and Simon. 2016 has the team in full-rebuild mode, even though the roster still consists of Phillips and Bruce, two players that Jocketty failed to deal away this winter. Joe Maddon or Bruce Bochy could be the manager of this current group of Reds and they might have one more win so far. When the batters including Joey Votto have stopped hitting and the bullpen is a dumpster fire, there’s not much any manager can do.

    • In response to #1, I think that Castellini wanted to allow Jocketty to leave on his own terms. He’s very loyal to his people, for better or for worse… What I don’t get is why it seems like Jocketty still has so much power when Williams is the GM? It sure seems like Jocketty is still calling the shots.

      • Didn’t the Reds imply that Jocketty would still be involved in decision making while Williams learned the ropes? It makes sense, in theory, since Williams has no experience as a GM, though the theory doesn’t account for who the mentor is.

  26. Good article, but there’s not better time to start to right the ship than present.

  27. Good article on Fangraphs discussing how awful the Reds have been

    Team has a -3.1 WAR

  28. Bring back Tony Perez!!!!

  29. Bryan Price is not the problem. The roster is one of the 2 worst in baseball. Atlanta is the competition for the awful award. The farm system is barren on position players. The bullpen may rank below any in history. The only players to exceed expectations are Cozart, Duvall, Finnegan,, Smily. The other 21 + the various replacements have been unproductive or worse. I never thought Votto would hit .207 over 7 weeks. There could be 8 more years of this. Say it ain’t so, Joey. Please make it only a slump and not the new reality. Suarez looks like the guy the Tigers traded…no defense and a K machine. Hopefully this will change. Bruce is Bruce. Phillips is nice defensively but would bat no higher thn 7th on a good team. No easy answers.

    • Yeah, I fail to see where the alleged offensive help is going to come from too. Winker and Peraza are most likely going to be taking the place of players who have actually been productive this year (Cozart/Phillips and Bruce/Duvall). I don’t see this team being competitive again for quite a while unless the front-office pulls a big rabbit out their hat while trading pitching for hitting.

      • Yeah, pretty much. When I think about it, I feel like for the Reds to be competitive soonish (2018?), some of the pieces they already had needed to pan out, such as Eugenio Suarez. If he turns out to be a bench player, then the Reds are back to the drawing board for that slot.

        And Billy Hamilton. He either needs to hit, or the Reds need to realize what he is and pencil him in permanently at the bottom of the lineup and move on.

        Agree with your assessment that FO needs to deal some of their pitching for some upside hitting prospects. (I’m taking some liberty with what you said)

    • The roster is bad and getting worse. Their just is not much takent in the minors. I watched Eric Jagielo the other night. I have seen posters on this blog conjecture him as someone who could help the Reds someday. Uh, no. He is a terrible prospect. He will never be a major league player, except perhaps on the AAA Cincinnati Reds squad that is masquerading as a NL team. The Reds got taken when they traded for a package that included him. He is hitting .180 at Pensacola.
      But having said that, Brian Price just is not a major league manager. He will never field a winner. Period.

  30. Who do you bring in that is going to make a difference? Who is available on the market (ala Maddon, Bochy, etc kind of manager)? Before firing managers — make sure there’s some kind of game plan. IE – the non-existent game plan when they let Cueto and Leake go as well as Frazier and Chapman before the start of this season. The Cubs took about 3 years to get their game plan into place (hiring the Theo Epstein as President and Jed Hoyer as GM — and now they’re reaping with they’ve sown. It cost $$$ — and dealing with the high contracts that the Reds are stuck with — either Castellini has to spend more — or wait the contracts out. Regardless — I’m waiting to hear about “the plan” first .. (and I hope there is a plan — not just sell tickets at rock bottom prices with bobblehead giveways)…

    • How have the Braves done since they fired their manager? They’ve gone 3-6. Firing Bryan Price will make no difference on how this group of Reds performs. What will make a difference will be players like DeSclafani, Iglesias, Moscot, Lorenzen, Adleman, and Bailey coming back from injury and correcting the rotation and bullpen issues. What will make a difference will be players like Stephenson, Reed, Peraza, and Winker getting a permanent call up to the majors. What will make a difference will be stars like Joey Votto getting back to form. What will make a difference will be solid returns for Cozart and Bruce in July or December. What will make a difference will be the Reds using their draft picks well in 2016 and 2017. The Reds must also go after talented international players, especially hitters.

      Bryan Price most likely will not be the manager of the Reds in 2017 and beyond. He could place some of the blame on himself (his 77 f-bomb tirade toward the media early in the 2015 season likely didn’t help his case). However, Price was put in a terrible situation due to injuries and delayed rebuilding.

  31. No point in firing him until we have a better replacement at that point it simply doesn’t matter. The Reds should be looking that much is obvious.

  32. Whether Price has been given a fair shot or not is moot. I’d rather Price manage this team than bring someone else in. What is he doing that is so awful, now? No one is hitting consistently. Normally we’re spoiled with JV and his average of greatness, but he’s not hitting. Cozart is doing okay, but I see him ending up at .265, with about a .300 OBP. Bruce will go on a long streak and flame. Essentially my point is Price is boxing with a hand behind his back and if he’s okay taking that abuse, why fire him and pay someone else to do it. This team on its current course won’t be good til 2018-2019 if that. We’ll fumble it somehow, we are cincy after all.

    • I only take issue with your last sentence. The Reds have been excellent many times.

  33. The issue of firing Price is moot at this point anyway, just as Atlanta did firing their manager. It would compare to changing the captain on the Titanic after it hit the iceberg. No point. I am not sold on Price being a decent manager, but he has never had a full healthy deck.

  34. 1. This is not all Bryan Price’s fault – agreed.
    2. Bryan Price may never be a successful major league manager – he does not seem to have the spark that motivates players nor a strategy/philosophy that he demands his teams execute on a game-by-game basis.
    If he did have these things, it would be evident in the maturity of his responses and execution of his players.

    This is life folks and the will to win starts today. If our current guy doesn’t have it, then we must make the change now. These are the times when the foundation is laid. The seeds of winning come from principled execution and teamwork and they are ingrained in an organization – especially a small-market one like ours. If you fall short, it’s because we didn’t adhere to those principles – not excuse making.
    The manager’s job is to get his team to buy into his philosophy – regardless of what players are at his disposal. And in this rebuilding time, regardless of wins/losses.

    Bryan Price is a man – he knew this would get hard. He understands the perils of managing a big league club. Did he develop a team philosophy going into this season that focused on game-by-game improvement or was he business as usual and let’s see how it plays out?

    It’s Foundation time! The next 4-5 years can be set in motion by a manager that instills some organizational discipline and philosophy.
    … or we can wait until the Winter and see who’s available.

    • Never mind a spark. Price could set off a dozen cherry bombs under the bullpen and they still wouldn’t execute. Philosophy has fine qualities, but it won’t turn bad players into good players. And, while Price may not be the long-term answer, it’s far from clear that the manager who is that answer is available now, if such an animal even exists.

  35. This situation can all be blamed to Jocketty, period. It’s been bad trade after bad trade, and bad contract after bad contract, giving away good players in exchance for peanuts and committing long term to the wrong players. I can remember the bad trades of Hamilton, Frazier, Chapman, Wood and Hanigan; plus the bad contracts given to Ludwick, Bailey, Meso, Votto and Philips. Very poor management.

    • Should the Reds FO be able to see into the future? Just curious how you can put Bailey and Meso in the same category as Ludwick.

      They got injured. It happens. Can’t blame the FO for that. It’s baseball. (Actually, I guess Ludwick got hurt at one point, too, but he just wasnt’ good to begin with)

      • Bailey had already a track of injuries, while Meso had only one full campaign on his shoulders, they could’ve waiter longer since still had two more years of team control.

        • Fair point about Bailey, I suppose, but he did come off two straight 200+ IP seasons. Injuries shouldn’t have been a concern. After all, just about every pitcher in baseball has been injured before.

          With Mesoraco, they could have waited, but then you run the risk of having to sign him for MORE money, if he has a good year, or let him go. The Reds took a gamble on a guy who had one of the best catcher-hitting seasons in history, and it didn’t pay off. Not sure that makes it a “bad” decision, just that it didn’t pan out.

      • Hmmm…Ludwick (and Frazier) saved the Reds in 2012 when Votto went down after the All Star break. 28 dbls, 26 hrs 80 rbis, .275 ba. Ludwick gets injured day 1 (torn cartilage in shoulder) in 2013, and never quite made it back. IMO Both Bailey and Meso had been too injured to have developed much of a track record justifying their contracts. Votto ? (over the top…maybe, but showed some guts on Castellini’s part…needed to keep it up with Cueto and Chapman). In re: to BP, I’m sure there are analysts on this site that can run the numbers but he certainly hasn’t been a total bust for the $$. Can’t blame him for wanting to leave on his terms and not the Reds (or Reds fans).

    • He’s made some good trades, too, and it is really too early to know how the other trades are going to turn out, since they were for prospects (the recent ones).

      • Jocketty has been an unmitigated disaster in his time as the Reds GM concerning the draft. The Reds have to draft well and have a good farm system. Under Jocketty they have not. It matters little to me that the Reds farm team was ranked 10th or 11th. It is based mostly on pitching prospects. There are few position players in the minors that are legitimate major league prospects and almost no future stars. Winker is not guaranteed stardom and he is the best of the litter. I will be glad to see Jocketty gone from the Reds.

        • I agree with your comments on WJ he has had some decent success with trades not enough to offset the draft bust and the lack of getting that one piece at the deadline. There are teams who have used the draft and been successful but the fails will always be there when you have rich teams and poor teams. The Dodgers eating 35 million dollars of Crawford’s contract without so much as a blink. There will be well ran teams that will have success but as long as there are teams that can do that, 25 teams have to make flawless decisions to compete.

  36. I went back and read what Price said about not walking and our low OBP which is 29th at .280.He also said we score when we hit homers.Its obvious he knows what the issues are and I suspect so does the front office.This is encouraging to me but the next step should be to do something about it within the organization.I am glad he is speaking out but this team doesn’t respond to him or hasn’t so far.It could be that he is being told who to play and where to play them.BRUNSFAM’s comment above is right on the money and is exactly the way success is achieved or not.He should be hired to run this front office.

  37. I think Price should go. He seems to be in way over his head and cannot motivate anybody. Yes, this is a bad team but he has proven that he is incapable of leading a team. He was a poor choice to begin with and I believe the players are no longer behind him. He is a better pitching coach than he is a manager. I would give the position to Delino Deshields.

    • That is my view of Price also- great pitching coach, bad manager. A manager is more than a technician.

  38. Any stats that can shed some light on who makes a good mgr?

    There are the tactical decisions…that I guess for the most part are a net zero over the course of the year…may + or – a game or two.

    Any measuring the creation of a team atmosphere. One for all and all for one. Are young guys learning? Little hints/tricks of the trade?? Helping someone get through a slump?

    It didn’t sound like any of the players felt happy that Dusty was fired. I don’t think of the Nationals players felt bad that Matt Williams was fired.

  39. “By the end of the 2013 season, it was apparent that Dusty Baker had done all he could for that group of Reds. Yet the core of the team was strong enough they could expect to make one or two more serious runs at winning the NL Central, health willing”.

    That thinking in the above Statement explains why this town is impatient , the media is clueless, and the ownership is dumb and blind. Tony Larussa was in St. Louis for 22 years. He didnt win every year, but the ownership understood that winning every year is a pipe dream. The hope is to be competitive for an opportunity to compete for the crown. The ownership had the proper vision and understanding in St. Louis.

    To think that Dusty’s “time” was up is the result of a poor understanding of the game. I challenge all of you to google reds managers. Look at that list hard. The reds lack of commitment to a manager long term is clearly evident even with a manager who has a winning team. The team almost immediately hires a replacement with little to no experience thinking that manager can do better for some dumb reason.

    In all cases even with bryan price, the new manager failed worse than the former winning manager. In every single case! The most experienced manger had more sucess. So the the thinking that dusty was at the end of his rope along with a general manager who has bet wrong often than not, is just irresponsible journalism.

    Since 1990, only Davey Johnson, Jack Mckeon, Lou Piniella. and Dust baker had taken this team to the playoffs. They all were fired with Winning records. The other 7 managers in between never had a winning season. For a fun fact, In his first five years as manager, Sparky Anderson won a whopping 581 games during the big red machine era with hall of fame players. Something Equally impressive, Dust Baker won an impressive 509 games with a bunch of underachievers. Yet Everybody felt dusty was a failure. Smh.

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About Steve Mancuso

Steve grew up in Cincinnati as a die-hard fan of Sparky's Big Red Machine. After 25 years living outside of Ohio, mostly in Ann Arbor, he returned to the Queen City in 2004. He has resumed a first-person love affair with the Cincinnati Reds and is a season ticket holder at Great American Ball Park. The only place to find Steve's thoughts of more than 140 characters is Redleg Nation. Follow his tweets @spmancuso.


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