The Reds have fired pitching coach Mark Riggins, according to a report from Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer. Here is the report:

The Cincinnati Reds have fired pitching coach Mark Riggins, the team announced Monday morning. He will be replaced by bullpen coach Mack Jenkins, with Triple-A pitching coach Ted Power taking over Jenkins’ old role.

Riggins was hired as pitching coach prior to the 2016 season after previously serving as pitching coordinator for the minor-league system. But the 2016 season has been worse than expected from a pitching standpoint.

The Reds have a team ERA of 5.51, far and away the worst in the majors this year. The bullpen is on pace to be one of the worst in baseball history by some measures. Cincinnati’s pitchers are almost a lock at this point to set a new record for home runs allowed.

Various player development staffers are expected to fill Power’s shoes with the Triple-A Louisville Bats.

Riggins was hired by the Reds last October. You proably don’t even know much about him because of his short time in the queen city. Here is what I wrote about Riggins back in October:

  • He was the Reds minor league pitching coordinator for the last four seasons.
  • Riggins was the Cardinals pitching coach for just one season in strike-shortened 1995 (Cardinals went 62-81 in the 1995, but was 7th in the MLB with a team 4.09 ERA). The Cardinals fired Joe Torre during the 1995 season, and hired Tony La Russa for 1996. La Russa brought in Dave Duncan who was his pitching coach when he was with the A’s.
  • Riggins remained in the Cardinals organization in 1996, and was their minor league pitching coordinator from 1996-2007. He then moved on to the Cubs and was their minor league pitching coordinator from 2008-2010.
  • He was hired as the Cubs pitching coach in 2010.  The Cubs had a team ERA of 4.18, which was 22nd in the MLB. Lou Piniella retired during the season in 2010, and Riggins didn’t return to the Cubs in 2011.
  • Riggins pitched in 183 games in the minors, but never made it to the big leagues.

This certainly feels like a move of firing a guy in a lose-lose situation, but we never know the full story. The Reds might not have liked the way he has handled the young pitchers in terms of their development. I highly doubt this move was based on results alone.

Ted Power, who will be coming up from Louisville to be the new bullpen coach, is apparently well liked. Jason Linden interviewed Power last week, and Chad Dotson and Jason discussed him in the latest Redleg Nation Radio podcast.

Nick is a lifelong Reds fan who was born and raised in Cincinnati. He acquired his love of baseball from his late grandfather. Nick moved to the Cleveland area in 2014 with his wife, and his currently fighting to convert his beautiful baby daughter Emma to Reds fandom. Nick has been writing for Redleg Nation since 2013. Follow Nick on Twitter @nicholaspkirby.

Join the conversation! 37 Comments

  1. Maybe somebody noticed that just about everybody pitches well at Louisville then comes to the Reds and gets kicked around, including Cody Reed, and decided all those guys can’t be 4A types.

    • As I just told you on twitter, I’ll share it for everyone else too: Cody Reed and Robert Stephenson were the only Top 20 Reds prospects called up from that roster. Everyone else is a fringy swingman/reliever type – expecting something from them wasn’t a good plan.

      • And now this from Jocketty via a tweet from @zachENQ “Jocketty said team failed by not getting more veterans to stabilize the staff: “Part of the blame rests with us in the front office.”

        Curious and curiouser.

        • Yeah, a few more Ohlendorfs and the ‘pen would’ve been just fine. I’m sure of it. Really.

        • A few more vets would have made a big difference…the first pick in the 2017 draft would have been locked up by now…sigh.

        • Did Jocketty not realize that a young staff would struggle. I have seen good prospects ruined by being rushed and suffering humiliation. On the other hand, I never have liked the veteran pitchers Jocketty has signed.

      • since any veteran WJ would have brought it would have been a) washed up or b) decent but not good enough to carry us into playoffs, it’s money saved. this team was already an eyesore, and injuries made it worse. on to 2017.

  2. Interesting. I thought they would wait till the end of the year and get rid of everyone then. They must feel he is doing something to impede progress

    • Or they needed a fall guy to take some of the heat for right now so it looks like they are trying to do something an appease a small faction of the fanbase.

      • Exactly

        • I second that !! -The real problem is and has been Price. Making a move to appear they are doing something. Joke of a front office.

        • Firing Price this year would be just the same sort of eyewash: The team still wouldn’t go anywhere this season and would be stuck paying two managers. Price does some strange stuff, but to say that he’s “the problem” is to ignore everything else that is going on.

      • My first thought. Wonder how much had to do with Price being a formerly well regarded pitching coach?

      • What heat Doug? This team had/has no expectations. No one can be going to a game thinking “this team should be contending, fire the coaches”.

        It is hard to read anything into it except that Riggans was doing something that others found less-than-helpful. Heck, maybe it was even the oxymoron of trying to make pitchers BETTER in the future and not worrying about results in 2016? You never know, it might not be what is assumed, that he is coaching badly, but instead our ancient GM, who’d rather have mediocre “mlb ready” players in trades, instead of high-ceiling prospects, is mad we are approaching worst record in the league. I am the fan most dislike in that I am rooting for the first pick. I figure two drafts in a row can’t be missing a sure-fire #1 player.

  3. This is good news. Agree with OhioJimW

  4. Its all about the message,who delivers it and more importantly is it the same throughout the minor leagues.As minor league pitching coordinator that was his job so it should have been easy to carry that to the majors.All aspects of the game should be taught the same at all levels so there is continuity.I never got the feeling everybody was on the same page anyway so the problem goes mush deeper them Riggins.

  5. It makes no sense to keep a guy around developing your young pitchers if you have already decided he will not be there next year. Hopefully his replacement will be, whether Jenkins or Power. Power looks to be pretty good at working with young pitchers. My only concern is whether he is more valuable in Louisville or with the Reds for the remainder of 2016.

    • I agree with you about Power. With all the pitching talent in Louisville who will be coaching them? It seems like that could slow their development.

  6. Happy 4th of July Mr. Riggins. I seriously doubt much will change. Maybe we need a pitching coach change but we also need a new manager.

  7. He’ll forever be the guy that couldn’t turn Adelman, Wright and Melville into All Stars

    • Or Reed, Lamb, or Finnegan. True he was dealt a bad hand, but it didn’t really do anything with any of it.

    • Well, sometimes you have to shake things up. Things weren’t working out. Several records of futility are being set. Easier to fire one than thirteen. Same with pitching strategies. Throw inside and make them uncomfortable at the plate. Oh, I’m sorry that is old school. We should just keep throwing meatballs over the plate and let them dig in and smash!

  8. I am still confident that some of these young pitchers that have been referred to as AAAA types will help this team in the future. I stated last year these kids were going to get knocked around this season ( I did not think it was going to be this bad). Then Disco and Iglesias doing the first half of the season on the DL and you get some ugly outcomes. I am of the opinion this guy is the fall guy because without fall guys then it is obvious Walt Joke….ty was well a joke a bad one but a joke! They fired Riggins because he couldn’t make chicken salad out of chicken…………….um feathers! This team has been a better offensive team than I thought they would be, even then their offense takes spurts of being offensive! Why would you fire the pitching coach and not give the pink slip to the IF and OF coaches at the same time? The pitching has been extremely bad but the lack of defense ( I can’t bring myself to call it a defense) almost5 as bad!!!!!!. I have stated for the last season and a half that BP’s defense was losing a little bit but that fall off the cliff curve hadn’t happened, well it has now. He is average to below average and his bat and base running are mediocre so with out that great leather he is boat anchor.

  9. CUBS….6

    REDS….0

    So far, so good!!

    • Come on, give the new pitching coach at least 24-48 hours to right the ship…

  10. Not only is this like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic, this guy really had very little to work with. It all got traded away since it might’ve left in free agency. And that’s just wonderful, except they didn’t shore up the bullpen at all with the money they had saved. Unless there’s something more to the story, for God’s sake, SHOW JOCKETTY THE DOOR!

    • Jocketty is gone after this season. That’s been the plan all along. Get used to Dick Williams.

  11. So they promote the bullpen coach to pitching coach. Wasn’t the bullpen the WORST part of the pitching staff this season?
    And then “Various player development staffers are expected to fill Power’s shoes with the Triple-A Louisville Bats.” ?
    It almost seems like Pitching Coach is an afterthought in this organization.
    I’m sure these moves are just stopgap measures till the end of this season, but with all the young pitching talent at all levels of the organization right now, the coaching of those pitchers on all levels should be a matter of great importance IMHO.
    And Jocketty thinks he should have brought in more veterans to pitch? Does he mean like he did last season? Uh. . .OK.

  12. Looked like 100 loss team in offseason.

    Looks like a 102 loss team midseason.

    Might well be a 105 loss team by end of season.

    A dismantle rebuild takes years, not months. Reds need more hats for bats. Keep bats warm. The young arms are the least of the ballclub’s worries…

  13. I’ll post this again…
    Commenting on the struggles of his young pitchers, Price says “The part we’re coming to terms with in large part, we’re [the coaches] preaching a lot of the same stuff you preach to young pitchers in the early stages of player development.” So we have elevated guys that have not learned or have not been able to execute the basics. No one we’ve elevated are major league ready…that includes Cody Reed. It does not seem that we have picked guys who can’t live up to their potential…or we’ve misjudged their potential…or our planners have forced the team to elevate these guys too soon. Good luck Ted Powers…you’ve probably taught had many of these guys already.

    • I think Power may be there to work with specific guys on some very specific things. And I would doubt that his work is going to be limited or even mostly even with bullpen guys. They want and need the starters to perform like just about every guy they’ve handed the ball to in Louisville this year. If he can’t get them approaching the performance they had in AAA, then maybe the talent just isn’t there.

  14. good decision/

  15. This reminds me of a lawyer joke:

    What do you have when throwing 1000 lawyers to the bottom of the ocean ?????

    A Good start !!!!

  16. Somewhat unrelated…

    Just saw that, through Sunday, Brandon Finnegan had thrown the most balls in MLB. 664 balls. He’s only 24th in total pitches thrown.

    • The pitch efficiency has been bad for these young Reds starters. Every single one of them. That might have been the #1 reason that Riggins was let go. That is on Riggins. Now the players the team supplied Riggins with is on the front office.
      Jocketty admitted that “some” of the blame lies on the front office. Some?? How about, “most” !!
      Where is the accountability?? The whole front office needs a cleansing. Not a white-wash.
      Send Jocketty into early retirement. Fire Dick Williams, fire Phil Castellini, and fire all the assistant GMs now. Bring in new blood, a new direction and a new beginning.
      The atmosphere around our Reds grows more stale by the day. Grim.

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About Nick Kirby

Nick is a lifelong Reds fan who was born and raised in Cincinnati. He acquired his love of baseball from his late grandfather. Nick moved to the Cleveland area in 2014 with his wife, and his currently fighting to convert his beautiful baby daughter Emma to Reds fandom. Nick has been writing for Redleg Nation since 2013. Follow Nick on Twitter @nicholaspkirby.

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