Bryan Price is in a tough spot. He’s currently managing one of the worst teams in baseball, is a lame duck manager, and has the obligation to help one of the younger teams in the league continue to develop and blossom until the fat lady sings in October. The Reds currently have 46 wins, second fewest in the major leagues. The lack of success the Reds have had this season can be mostly attributed to a lack of talent, but Price isn’t without fault. Some of his in game managing, challenge calls, and his management of the bullpen can be downright baffling at times. Price has also made questionable leadership decisions in the past (C Trent rant, anyone?)
Bryan Price won’t get fired by the end of the season and he shouldn’t. Despite the fact that some of his decisions can be questionable at times, I honestly think Price has improved as a manager this season. I think it says a lot about him as a manager with how well the Reds have been playing the second half of this season. The Reds are currently 14-10 since the All Star break after virtually trading away all of their talent. Sure, the starting pitching rotation has finally gotten healthy and the bullpen has come together, but you don’t see players mailing it in. You can actually see a young core improving as the season progresses. You can also see old veterans continuing to play hard. The Reds have been significantly better in pretty much every statistical category since the first half of the season.
Price’s contract is up at the end of this season and the Red’s front office will have a decision to make. Do you move on from Bryan Price and hire a new manager either internally or externally? Or, do you resign Price to a one year extension and let him continue to prove himself? I’m for the latter. At this point, I don’t think there’s really much downside in bringing Price back for another year. The Reds won’t be in contention next year, he’s comfortable with the young players (and has a fresh start with some of them), he’s cheap, and you can sign him to a one year deal. You also can’t ignore Price’s success with young pitchers and the fact that the Reds have a ton of young pitching coming up through the pipeline. Although not a pitching coach anymore, his knowledge and tutelage over these players could be a significant asset as the rebuild continues through next season.
Signing Price to a one year deal is a low risk option that could have significant benefits. If the Reds continue to improve next year and Price continues to improve as a manager, reevaluate him at the end of next season and make a decision about his future going forward. If the Reds completely tank next year and show no signs of improvement, then they can cut the cord and move on from Price in 2018.
Bryan Price has been a polarizing manager for the Reds since he took over in 2014. He’s had his quirks, mishaps, and mismanagement over the past few years. One of the problems with signing him to a one year extension is selling it to the fans. Will they understand and be patient enough to allow Bryan Price to continue to grow as a manager as this young Reds club continues to grow as a team?