2016 Reds

Bullpen sanity

From Zach Buchanan (Cincinnati Enquirer) today:

Price said more save opportunities could be in the future for Iglesias and even right-hander Michael Lorenzen, who returns from bereavement leave Friday.

“We’re also trying to get away from getting too cliché with the bullpen and saying we’re going to limit guys to an inning and get specialized,” Price said. “We’ve got a bunch of guys, most of whom can throw multiple innings. We’re not going to be afraid to use them in the sixth and seventh, seventh and eighth, or eighth and ninth. It should be an interesting finish.”

If only Bryan Price had been around for the past six-plus years.

40 thoughts on “Bullpen sanity

      • Price also put Billy Hamilton in the 9 hole when that was his best spot. He challenged him to earn the lead off role and Hamilton has. I am enjoying watching this team. They play hard and I think Price deserves some credit for the last 2 months.

        • I did like when he had Billy batting 9th, but Price started batting him leadoff on July 22 I believe, and he was hitting .251/.300/.352 at that point. He’s taken off since (.315/.390/.393), but I think it’s arguable that he “earned it” when he was given the job. He’s earned it since, but he wasn’t doing much before that.

        • I have been a critic of Hamilton’s offense so I don’t want to dissect his stats too much. He had a solid June and his last few weeks are dizzying in a good way. The point being is Price challenged him in the off-season and he has responded in a way all Reds fan can like. He is such a unique player.

      • Price has been around for quite a few years, though (don’t remember how many) as pitching coach, then manager. Might this be a case of necessity being the mother of flexibility?

        • Having read a little further down, I suspect that you were being sarcastic, which certainly works for me.

        • The new open mindedness occurred at exactly the same time the medical professionals told him that they couldn’t use Lorenzen or Iglesias on back-to-back nights. From there, you start pitching them two innings. I think you have this diagnosed exactly right.

  1. My fear is that Price will be willing to experiment during this our rebuilding, ‘non-contending’ stage. But that he might feel pressure to start defining roles when finally have a team that can contend for the post season.

    • Price won’t be the Reds manager when the Reds get to their next contending team. But your point is still a good one. Hard to imagine this ownership hiring a manager open-minded enough to consider breaking from conventional practices that engrained.

      • I do have a bit of hope that Dick Williams will consider managers who are open-minded to new ideas.

      • Steve,

        would be interested in yours and the boards take on what it would take for Bryan to come back for a one year deal in 2017.

        the team is playing well. tweaks to the coaching staff have occurred this year and we are seeing improvement in hitting (Billy, Cozy, Tucker) and in pitching as well. I can see the benefits of this years hitting instruction, guys are working counts more.

        And Bryan is winning here in the second half as this team has gotten healthy.

        That said, would you fire him if they play 600 ball for the second half? He could make this a tougher decision

        especially if he starts to do things like use his bullpen differently. We have seen him tweak lineups. now he just needs to play the bench guys more so that he does not wear down/out Phillips/Cozart and we know he has been bad there

        • I wrote a little bit about this yesterday in the Q&A thread. Generally, 1-year deals aren’t considered by either teams or managers. There may be a rare intersection of interests that makes it possible in this case. But I don’t think that the 2016 record will have a clear effect on that one way or the other. Barring an unlikely utter collapse, a 1-year extension for Price could be an explicit bridge to the next manager. I’m not sure Price would take it under those circumstances, but he might.

          If I were the Reds, I wouldn’t consider Price as the manager of the future UNLESS I was convinced he was a different manager now than he was three years ago. Does his experience as a professional manager make him different now than then.

          The fact that he’s had a come-to-Jesus moment on bullpen usage after working for the Reds for 6.5 years doesn’t mean much to me. It’s an experiment to him, nothing more. He could revert back to his previous ways quickly if the circumstances changed. He also doesn’t have an established closer to placate right now.

          It wouldn’t outrage me if they signed Price to another 1-year deal, although they shouldn’t do it without checking around to see if they could find someone who would be a great fit for 3-5 years.

          By far, the biggest problem with the Reds hiring in recent years has been their insularity. Hiring Price and not interviewing anyone else. Hiring old-school close confidents like Kevin Towers. Hiring the son and nephew of owners as the general manager. I fear they will do the same thing with Barry Larkin as the next manager.

          Look, it may be that Dick Williams, Bryan Price and Barry Larkin might have been/be the most qualified, best people to choose for their positions. But the Reds certainly didn’t know that. They didn’t look around or push themselves beyond their comfort level. That’s their fatal flaw right now.

        • I think a one year extension would be about the worst thing the Reds could do. They would be better off extending him for two years.

          If they extend him for just 2017, he’s in the same position he’s in this year; a lame duck manager managing for his job. That will mean more PAs from BP, and other various “vets (IDJ, Holt, etc.) at the expense of the young guys.

          He’s already shown he is either unwilling or unable to bench BP to give Peraza consistent playing time. If he’s back for just one year next year, how does that change? Extending him through 2018 would at least give him a bit of a stake in the future of the Reds franchise and give the manager an incentive to play the young guys.

          Whoever the manager is next year needs to be under contract for 2018 and possibly 2019. If the Reds look like they can contend in 2018 but feel like they need to change managers, they can always fire him. Seemed to work out well for the Cubs.

  2. I’m all for this… but we heard this at the beginning of the season didn’t we? Maybe the injuries made it impossible, so I can let that slide, but I fear he’s only growing bold because he’s a “short timer” at the moment with nothing to lose. I echo Pedro’s thoughts above.

  3. It seems a lot of people want to make the better pitchers in the bullpen develope into a starter. My thinking is that Iglesias and Lorenzen might be better suited based on how hard they throw and their inability to go deep into games. I think they can have better impact if used appropriately and looked back at successful Reds team as relief pitchers typically got 80+, sometimes over 100 innings a season.
    They just are not used that way anymore but does anyone know if there is a reason? I know guys like Williamson, Charlton, & Dibble all developed arm troubles soon after a few season of that duration

  4. Did Bryan Price just discover Redleg Nation?

    I’m glad to see Price saying things that make sense, but didn’t he say this about Chapman the first year he took over? In 2014 Chapman had exactly as many innings pitched as he did games pitched in, and in 2015 he pitched 1 more inning than game.

    Price is an enigma. He seems like a smart guy that can’t help but do dumb things, even though he knows better.

    • “We’re going to try to maximize his talents. If that means he’s coming in sometimes in the eighth inning to get an out or two and then take us through the ninth, then that’s what we’ll do,” Price said. “He’s a funny guy, he’ll come in sometimes and look at me and say, ‘today, I want to throw three innings.’ He loves to pitch. I think he wants to pitch more, not necessarily in terms of appearances, but innings. I think he really likes getting those last outs in the ninth.”

      From this article:
      http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/mlb/2013/12/08/aroldis-chapman-wont-be-a-starter/3909963/

      I generally don’t believe a single thing Price says until I see him actually doing it, mostly because of the Chapman debacle.

  5. I know we are not a humble group but Bryan Price is just as smart as the rest of us. He even has 30 years of playing, coaching, and managing experience in professional baseball. I also submit we do dumb things too and are sometimes mistaken in our views. No baseball man could have won with the Reds roster in the first half. He will probably not be renewed but he has done a nice job with this team once he got several pitchers back from injury. His team did not throw in the towel which often happens with teams with no hope.

    • Wow. Someone admitting the Reds staff are not just a bunch of Buffoons. Many around here truly believe they have more insight and knowledge than the Reds management. And if they looked at numerical figures our players would morph into contenders.

      • Agreed … The Reds staff are not a bunch of buffoons .. They are just not perfect .

  6. Only one thing missing with this strategy! 95% of all the baseball players I’ve ever listened to talk about their role and having a role! It is people that we’re dealing with and not fantasy baseball or Stratomatic from back in the day. Good closers get big money and the other guys….not so much. In theory I love it though!!!

    • Roles and routines. The first team(s) to break that mindset and in the pro ranks, pay accordingly, will have a huge tactical advantage. It’s not going to be easy though. Ballplayers are strange.

    • Well they’ll have a role still. It will be pitching 2 innings instead of 1. I’m sure they’ll adjust. There’s a long history of this practice so we’re not talking about new ground here.

  7. I would like the Reds to get back to prioritizing a dominant bullpen to shorten the game. It is certainly fun to debate who is a starter and who is a bullpenner. I don’t know ……other than to say if you take everyone who fails as a starter and assumes that qualifies them as a good bullpen guy…..I don’t think so….That just makes them a bad starting pitcher. For 2017, I’d love to see Dan Straily penciled in as a cheap effective #5 starter. Then Disco and Homer as 1/2 and then open spring training with tryouts for 3/4. I think an Iglesias, Lorenzen. Finnegan and Cingrani nucleus for the bullpen would be dynamite. Blake Wood and Wandy Peralta would give 6 promising young pitchers in the pen. I would favor Stephenson and Garrett as starters competing for the 3/4 spots as both are 24/25 and time to show what they have. Cody Reed ,Lamb and Moscot can pitch in AAA and earn an opportunity.

  8. Are you quoting the same Bryan Price who promised in 2014 and 2015 to use Chapman more in the eighth inning?

    • The whole thing with Chapman? I think there is more under the surface than meets the eye. My impression is that Chapman was more than a little bit of a prima donna about how he was used.
      Igesias and Lorenzen are totally different kinds of people. Both WANT to start, but are willing to do whatever is asked of them. Cingrani wants to start too, but I think he is in Price’s doghouse, and I think the organization is getting tired of Cingrani and frankly his inability to learn. I personally expect him to get traded in the off-season.

      • I have never viewed Chapman as a prima donna. I am not aware of any incidents where he was asked by management to do something and refused. Also, by expressing his preference to be a reliever he made his manager at the time (Baker) very happy.

        • We wouldn’t necessarily know whether or not he was a prima donna. I agree with David that it seems that there was more going on with Chapman than was apparent to us. Why on earth would Price have said publicly that he’d use him with more flexibility if he didn’t intend to? Have the enlightened Cubs had him pitch multiple innings?

        • I don’t remember Baker being very happy. I think he was on board to work him in as a starter. But circumstances were such (injury to bullpen and then injury to Chapman) that made the bullpen make sense…and he was so f____g good at it, why change it. Argue all the saber stuff you want…we don’t know what Chapman would have been like as a starter, but we’ve witnessed what he does as a closer.

        • StillRed, I remember the incident very well. Baker was almost euphoric when he announced that Chapman was going to be the closer. He said ithings worked out much better when a player was “on board” with what the manager wanted him to do.

  9. Chapman did not want to start. He wanted to close. He wants the one inning…9th inning role. He has had that with the Reds, Yankees, and the Cubs. He will demand it again as a free agent. The team that signs Chapman will have to accept his preference. This will limit his options but there still be several teams who will be willing to sign him on his terms and offer a big juicy contract.

    • This is probably the unasked and unanswered question. Starting requires a lot more work and preparation than relieving 60 innings a year. Chapman’s natural ability and the amount of work he was willing to do (and get paid very well for it) dovetailed into being the 9th inning guy.
      Baker and then Price have both been vilified for not using Chapman as a starter. I don’t think Chapman WANTED to start, and Dusty was wise enough not to make it a big public issue, by showing up one of his players. I think the Nationals under Dusty were interested in getting Chapman, but in the end, I think they realized that it was going to create some small problems that they just didn’t want.
      It will be interesting to see where Chapman ends up after 2016. Some team, somewhere will sign him. It’s possible the Cubs will keep him, but I have my doubts. I would bet by the end of the season, regardless of how far the Cubs go, that Maddon probably won’t want him back.

  10. Hmmm…if he saves a half dozen games on the way to a World Series I bet he might.

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