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?

About The Author

Jeff is Cincinnati born, Ohio University educated. Reds baseball has been a central theme of his family ever since his mom and dad helped him skip school to attend Opening Day. Jeff has been accused of having a "man crush" on Joey Votto and longs for the day that he gets to witness the Reds finally win a playoff series. You can follow him on Twitter @Gaaangs

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43 Responses

  1. Josh

    Gotta re sign price for all the points u made no reason to get a more expensive manager for another tough year next year.

    • the dude

      Someone must have never seen good management before. Bryan Price is worse than John McNamara was and he was pathetic. And if I hear what a great pitching mind he has l will puke my guts out! How many times has the pitching genius brought in just the right reliever to give up a first pitch homer or use the same guy to blow a game the same way he did the game before? He rests players as soon as they get hot at the plate and never trusts the guys who do deliver on a regular basis. I too wanted Dusty to go because he could not get the team to the next level, but Price can’t get to the first level. The best thing that has happened to the Reds is bringing up Ted Power. He has made the changes in the pen, and Price still doesn’t get how to use the new and improved tool he has. Bring in someone with what it takes to manage at the major league level and be ready for this team to win. They are very close to being a contender and with these players and a competent manager, they will be. They would be now! Go Reds!

      • Gene McLean

        The Dude: You are so dead on point here. Agreed.

      • Louisville Reds fan...not just throwin softball here

        I don’t agree with everything you said but I am leaning more in your direction that in the articles direction. If I was the owner I would be looking now for a manager who has experience and who you can hire now to a long term deal to start with these players now and grow with them so that he is invested in the team as much as each of them are. Someone who has managed to the next level. I think the biggest mistake the Reds have made is when they let Dusty go they got a manager who had never been a manger instead of a manager who had more experience.

      • Harvey Butler

        All i gotta say is the managerb of the Nationals, DUSTY BAKER has them in 1st place in the NL east and this after being out of the majors for a couple of years. I hear people talking about how he doesn’t inspire younger players and how he is to old school ect… BS he has that young Nats team playing ball. The people of Cincinnati wanted him gone and for reasons that had nothing to do with his managing but more his complexion. Well… He’s gone and winning somewhere else and it has been nothing but bad baseball and decision making in the red’s organization from top to bottom every since. Not to mention i can’t stand having that Cardinal reject Jocketty in my reds organization.

      • sixpacktwo

        Come on! I wanted him gone because I thought he over managed a very good team. It had nothing to do with complexion. That is a very poor out and I’m sorry so many people use it. No one chooses their parents.

  2. RedFuture

    I’d like to see Price come back next year. You can tell he has been far more comfortable this year, probably because of low expectations. Hopefully he has learned how to stay calmer under fire, because I think (with health) they should contend for a wild card next year. The pieces are coming together. Schebler made us hopeful for a few games but he needs time to reduce that big swing. So I’d like to see Winker come up even now (but for sure in Sept) and bat 2nd between Billy & Joey. Billy has improved a lot this year but even if his OBP is still short, Winker & Votto should provide lots of RBIs for Duvall, Phillips & Suarez. I was at the Charlotte/Louisville game Thursday and saw Jesse get his 3 hits and a walk and play a good RF. Looks like Finnegan is the only SP that truly needs to limit his innings. Reed had 145 last year and so still has 55 innings left in the tank theoretically. However I’d still like to see Reed and Finnegan take a seat in September to get a more sustained look at Robert and get our first look at Amir. Spring training competition will be extremely interesting next year that is for sure!

  3. Hotto4Votto

    I agree that the Reds likely won’t be in contention next year. I also agree that there’s no need to spend money hiring a manager that would command big money. The exception would be a long term deal for the right manager. But it’s hard to know who that is, and we certainly won’t know at this point in the year.

    The other side of the coin is that the fan base is frustrated with Price. 3 straight losing seasons will do that, regardless of how hard team is playing or the injuries that have contributed to some of the losing. But honestly they should be playing hard. Beyond the fact that they’re professionals getting paid a healthy amount of money to do so, most of these guys are trying to prove themselves. Beyond Homer, Votto, Phillips and Cozart (who is just now establishing himself), the main guys are all still trying to establish themselves in the Majors or as a starter caliber player. Phillips may be playing to extend his baseball career, and receive another contract past his current one. He certainly has external motivation to play well. In a less drastic sort of way, so does Cozart.

    The biggest reason there should be change is because I don’t think Price will change the befuddling way he manages certain situations. He is going to continue to run Phillips out there at the expense of playing time for ready prospects. I get that it is probably hard for him to sit Phillips as it would likely be at the expense of some short term value, and due to the fact that Price and Phillips have been together for quite some time. He will continue to use retread never-that-good veterans in high leverage situations out of pen and will allow prospects to sit on the bench while allowing the likes of Holt/DeJesus to take PH and fill-in days. He’s done it since he’s been here, he learned it from Dusty, why should we expect it to change?

    I don’t know who the answer is, but I’d like to see the candidates Dick Williams will drum up. It may be telling to see if Dick will be different, or if we’ll get more of the same. I don’t think Riggleman, DeShields, or even Larkin is the answer. Those seem to be the internal options most discussed. If I had a say, I’d ask Joe Madden who he thinks would make a good manager out of all the guys he knows/worked with that aren’t currently managing a MLB team. Find that guy, and if he’s largely unproven he shouldn’t be that expensive. See if a new strategy will work better. Price seems too much like Dusty redux, without the winning that helped offset some of the decision making. I’d like a change.

    • jazzmanbbfan

      I’m not convinced that the fan base as a whole is all that frustrated with Price. Many of the posters on Reds related internet sites are but they are a tiny fraction of the actual “fan base”. I also wonder what type manager the front office will look for. If it’s an “old school” guy (Riggleman, DeShields), no thanks.

      I have mixed feelings about Price. The C. Trent thing was a blip on the screen and doesn’t seem to reflect Price’s typical nature. Bad day at the office and now move on. However, his continued use of veterans in the bullpen in close games when they’re not going to be here when the Reds are good again baffles me. Why used Ohlendorf instead of Sampson as one example. Seeing how Sampson handles a high pressure outing is more useful. Almost completely ignoring Peraza when he was up rather than either playing him 3-5 times a week or telling the front office to send him back down just made no sense at all.

      There are a few other things but bottom line, unless they have someone in mind who will bring a whole new approach that meshes with the Front Office’s thoughts on how to move forward, I’m good with keeping him and seeing what happens. It would be interesting to know what the players REALLY think, not that they should have a say in the decision. I do think that, other than the Miami series just before the AS Break, the team has continued to play hard. They looked like they were sleep walking that weekend.

  4. james garrett

    To me its a no brainer in that Price must go even though I am beginning to be more and more convinced that a manager makes little difference in wins or losses.There are two things that convinced me last year and they haven’t changed this year that Pirice is not the man for the job.The first one is that he said he would hold his players accountable and I haven’t seen the first one benched or pulled from the field for terrible base running,throwing to the wrong base,forgetting how many outs there were or just plain lack of focus.The second one he is always a step behind in game management.The meltdown by Cigrani the other night is the latest example.If Tony is the closer he pitches until the ninth inning is over and if he isn’t then he gets pulled right after Carpenter hits the two run single because of the two right handed batters(Piscotty/Holliday).All of us know he let him face both of them then pulled him in favor of Ohly to face Moss.Granted players must execute when called upon but you have to be prepared for the next move if they don’t.Finally I don’t know how much control Price actually has on this team so its hard to blame him for everything.I was highly critical of the way Peraza was handled but to call him up to set on the bench and when he did play to put him at every position other then his normal position was just plain wrong.

    • RedAlert

      This , this a thousand times this !!! I agree – well stated James !

  5. Chuck Schick

    Unless things fall off a cliff between now and the end of the year, Price will very likely be back…..and rightfully so. The team is improving….and that is literally all that matters right now.

    I know many “fans” have this manager as czar view that really doesn’t exist anymore. Bryan Price, like most mangers, implements the strategy directed by the FO. He doesn’t unilaterally decide who plays…..he has limited input and no control over the roster….the FO isn’t going to do anything to improve the team short term that isn’t part of the long term plan.

    This hasn’t been a true rebuild….they went into the season with the 4th highest payroll in team history….albeit, most of that was due to large, untradeable contracts….so Price has had to deal with a cavalcade of rookies, mixed with guys in the middle and even the end of their careers…..without any real possibility of success. He’s done a good job of avoiding a toxic situation.

    • Hotto4Votto

      Ultimately he doesn’t have control over the roster, but I don’t buy for a second that he doesn’t make the majority of the decisions about what reliever to bring in, who to PH, and who to start (and in what order in the line up). It wouldn’t make sense for the Reds as an organization to micromanage that much. Why even pay a manager if he’s nothing more than a puppet? I also don’t buy that it was the FO’s desire to have Peraza up for the amount of time he was, and to not get regular ABs. If they truly wanted Peraza to sit on a bench for the better part of a month and a half then I’ve got bigger issues with the FO than I originally thought.

      • RedAlert

        I’m with you on these points. If front office gonna make all the decisions ,certainly don’t need a puppet in the dugout. Price does control in game strategy , which for the most part he’s been very inept at.

      • Chuck Schick

        Most managers are little more than puppets. They’re easily replaceable and the end results have virtually nothing to do with them. My God….how many times have we heard that Jim Riggleman is ready to “step in”. Is there a greater “failure” than Jim Riggleman? The game has evolved and most teams give very little power/control to the field manager.

        Does Joe Maddon have more power than Bryan Price….sure….but I don’t think Joe Maddon has as much power as most fans think he does. He implements what Epstein wants.

        Dick Williams doesn’t make “suggestions” to Price. Price understands that a Managers direct deposit is much more than a pitching coaches.

        The Reds have turned over managers roughly every 4 years since 1978. Why would you allow a “temporary”, middle management employee to make the decisions that will have long term impact on the organization? No actual company would do that and baseball teams are finally being run (to a degree) like real businesses.

        Bryan Price has no more power in deciding that BP plays than you or I. The Peraza situation was seemingly based on having him here and ready to step in immediately if Cozart was traded. Bullpen use is largely based on availability….which is determined by the FO..based on pitch counts and other factors.

        I think Price deserves to come back. However, he really doesn’t matter nor would just about anyone else.

      • RedAlert

        You are giving too much credence to the front office making decisions that a manager is hired to make. If that’s the case , just go ahead and put Jocketty in the dugout and let him run the game. My gosh , why would managers be necessary at all if that was the case . Price is what he is. a very good pitching coach and a very below average manager . Price DOES affect the outcome of games over the course of the year .

      • jaY jOHNSON

        I am totally in favor of dumping Price.In my opinion TODAY would be appropriate.The arguments that I am reading on this site are amazing.Why would anyone think that a managers moves arent HIS moves.Why have a manager if he doesnt make decisions?
        The only possible subject that he doesnt control 100% was Peraza.Other than that every decision is his and he makes very bad ones a majority of the time.Do you think for one second the FO calls down to him in the dugout and tells him who or when to make bullpen or pinch hit moves?Ive never seen him talking on a cell phone getting instructions.
        I dont think this team is nearly as bad as their record.A ton of 1 run losses,though many here argue thats not on the manager.I beg to differ.

      • redbonebuck

        Your assertion that managers have little bearing on their team is absurd. Who set’s the tone and the attitude of the team to develop winning ways.

      • lwblogger2

        It really depends on the manager Chuck. He is the one that fills out the lineup card and makes in game decisions. The GM can dictate what they want him to do but it’s up to the manager to actually do it. As far as Price, you are likely right in that he doesn’t have a lot of leeway to go away from what the GM is dictating. He has pretty much zero leverage. That said, would you want to manage where you had pretty much no say as to who you play? Wouldn’t you do all you can to actually win games, since that’s what your players care about and that’s what is going to make up a good portion of how you’re evaluated by potential future employers? Managers and GMs butt heads on this sort of thing all the time. Usually, when push comes to shove, the GM will move a player to keep the manager from using that player in a manner that the GM disapproves. There’s not much else to do aside from firing the manager. If I was Price and was being micromanaged like you believe he is, I think I’d tender my resignation at the end of the season and look for a pitching coach job. The pay isn’t quite as good but a top pitching coach doesn’t make much less than a low-level manager.

  6. Reaganspad

    I would like to see him back, bad moves and all for a year

    He is good working with young pitching. I get why Phillips is still playing and the guy is on a tear right now

    He would need to make fewer mistakes to be back in 2 years and winning can cover a few mistakes

    I do like the energy on the team now after a dismal first half

  7. TR

    I think the Reds are playing better ball because Votto has helped Hamilton, and the other hitters are taking note of why Votto is one of the best hitters in baseball because he works the count and waits for his pitch. And maybe the hitting coach has had something to do with this improvement also since the hacking has decreased. The return of DeSclafani and Bailey along with the outstanding work of Straily has strengthened the starting pitching, and the return of Iglesias and Lorenzen has stabilized the bullpen to a large degree. Price has not done a bad job considering what he’s had to work with until now, but I’m a believer in change and feel that the FO should let Price’s contract expire. But, if it’s their decision to extend him for a year, like the Dodgers used to do with Walter Alston, so be it.

  8. wizeman

    I agree with the premise of the article. The main reason is that the team is not under performing for the level of talent there has been at any point of the season.

  9. james garrett

    The reason the Reds are playing better ball is because of pitching.They got some guys back from the DL and they replaced some guys that didn’t belong here to begin with.They still have a roster full of low OBP players and guys that never saw a pitch they didn’t like.I will give props to Billy,Duvall and Suarez who are improving at the plate and I hope they continue.

    • Jeff Gangloff

      You’re saying the Red’s haven’t improved other than the pitching but then you go on to say that 1/3 of the lineup has improved…

  10. Gaffer

    Whatever the opinions on his ability to manage in general he is the last guy to be here next year. Heck where is Bobby Valentine? That’s a joke . . .

  11. Indy Redman

    They might as well bring back Price. 2017 isn’t the launching point for what we’re hoping for anyway! They are winning some games now and he’s been handicapped every year he’s been with the Reds with one thing or another! That being said….his in game and series strategy is just ridiculous sometimes! They had Thursday off so why burn thru Lorenzen in a 7-0 game? Tonite…he’ll probably have Ohlenlauncher or Jumbo in a 1 run or tie game in the late innings. Unbelievably to me…his biggest weakness has always been his management of the pitching staff.

    Also don’t tell me a manager doesn’t matter! Even if a good one only wins you 3 games a year (or a bad one = losing 3) that can easily make the difference in whether that team makes the playoffs or not. Once in the playoffs then the manager’s importance ramps us as well! If you couldn’t see Latos melting down in Gm 5 vs SF before Posey delivered the coup de grace on the Reds then it was just the 2 of you… and Dusty!!

    Jack McKeon throws Josh Beckett at the Yankees up 3-2 in the WS and on 3 days rest. He had Gm 7 to fall back on but he took a calculated risk! No doubt in my mind Dusty wouldn’t have done that. I doubt Price would’ve either.

  12. Mitch

    Add in 20 saves from chapman, remove the more than twenty 1 run losses. Hey! We are in contention!

  13. seat101

    If Brian Price is the manager next year it means that Riggleman, Larkin, and Deshields are not!

    When, win, win, and win!

  14. Dan

    Price is improving as a manager at least that is my perception. He is trying new things and also continues to fine tune those pitchng arms.

  15. vegastypo

    OK, look at it this way. If you have much faith in Price at all, you might actually consider giving him a two-year contract. … If he has a one-year deal, and he thinks he is managing for his job, then he might well stick with veterans trying to win as many games as possible rather than working in the younger players. But if Price had a feeling that he wasn’t a total lame duck next season, as he has been a lame duck this season, maybe he can manage with an eye beyond 2017.

    Having second that, I will shed zero tears if he is gone at the end of the season. Or tomorrow.

  16. Cincifan

    In my opinion, base on my experience as a former baseball player and the knowledge I have as a baseball fan watching the sport I love, the main reason wth the Reds its not the manager. In my opinion Brian Price is a good manager. The problem is that when the club ownership won’t like to spend money to sign a couple of veterans pitcher instead bringing players from the minors to experiment with them in the bullpen which is one of the biggest issues they have throughout the year.

    • Chuck Schick

      Wouldn’t everyone’s opinion be based on what they learned playing or being a fan? Also, why would a re-building team…that is heavy with pitching prospects….spend a bunch of money on veteran relievers? Why would they spend millions more to win a few extra games?

  17. Cincifan

    In my opinion, base on my experience as a former baseball player and the knowledge I have as a baseball fan watching the sport I love, the main reason why the Reds are last this year, its not the manager. In my opinion Brian Price is a good manager. The problem is that when the club ownership won’t like to spend money to sign a couple of veterans pitcher instead bringing players from the minors to experiment with them in the bullpen which is one of the biggest issues they have throughout the year.

  18. RedsFanForLife

    I would hope that Price is not the manager next year. Regardless of his low salary and 3 years managing the Reds, he should not be the one taking the Reds forward in the rebuild. I believe the Reds can be better than .500 next year with a healthy pitching staff at the beginning of 2017. An experienced manager with a winning track record is what the Reds need in the transition to being contenders again. My choice is Mike Sarbaugh, the current 3rd base coach for the Indians. He was a very successful manager in the Indians minor leagues until assuming his current role in 2012. He had a winning record every year he managed and was even manager of the year and managed multiple teams to championships. He is 49 and should get a 3-4 year contract initially. This takes him from latter part of rebuild to when the Reds should be contending.

  19. Tim A

    Hey Jeff, why do I have to wait 2 years for a .500 plus team? Nope disagree with your plan, Price AND Jockety need to go now. I am tired of waiting and tired of Jockety bad decisions.

    Thanks for allowing the fans to comment.

  20. Tom

    The issue I see is that the Reds didn’t replace Price with a better pitching coach. I see this in businesses all the time. A really strong manager is promoted and the organization replaces then with a far lower talent. So, now we have a new senior leader who was great in their previous position but who is now struggling at their new level. And, we have a lessor talent in the senior leader’s old position. If I were the Reds, I’d re-sign Price because I do see the young pitchers developing in the second half and because none of the position players are dialing it in. A winning record since the break helps a bunch. However, if I were the Reds, I’d also be looking at my pitching coach options and I’d hire the best pitching coach talent available. Lastly, the Reds normally steady defense has taken a tumble. This must be rectified ASAP.

    • lwblogger2

      That’s kind of like when the Reds first hired Price as pitching coach. He was a very highly regarded pitching coach when they brought him in. Good thought there.

  21. jessecuster44

    Price is not a good manager. team makes too many fundamental errors. Price said there would be accountability, and there never has been any under his watch.

    There’s a reason the Reds won a WS title with Lou Piniella. Need more of him, and less of the milquetoast Price.

  22. Michael E

    I will hold my vote on Price until I know what other candidates might be interviewed. If they go straight to the Recycle Bin of Failed Managers, then by all means, keep Price. Given that Towers came on board to the F.O. this year (a retread GM), I have my doubts they’d actually go and find a solid candidate.

    Given the struggles of most of our prospects in the minors (here and there some success stories, but mostly disappointments each year) I don’t think hiring within makes much sense, UNLESS a candidate states bluntly how the Reds are screwing up prospect development and then demands some changes before they take the gig… I’d be glad to hear someone call out the organization.

  23. lwblogger2

    My thought is that Dick Williams should be able to bring in the guy that he wants to manage. Price wasn’t “his guy”, but was Jockettey’s. Rather that happens after this season or after 2017 doesn’t really matter much I don’t think in the grans scheme.

  24. Eric The Red

    I’m terrified at who they might bring in to manage. Price would be a better choice than many of the “name” or retread managers the organization could bring in.

    One thing puzzles me: why did it take 3 years and Votto’s action to get Billy working with him and the hitting coach?