This week’s respondents are Jason Linden, Bill Lack, Chris Garber, Steve Mancuso, and me (I’m Chad Dotson).
Our Weekly Reds Obsession: How hot is Bryan Price’s seat?
Jason: I have no idea how hot his seat is. I really don’t think he’ll be managing the Reds next year, but if he isn’t let go in the next week or two, I think he’s a good bet to finish out the year as the Reds manager. I will say that, whatever happens, it’s hard to really lay this start at his feet. He’s definitely made some bad decisions, but no one is hitting and three of his everyday players and two of his main bullpen pieces are hurt. If he gets fired, it will be more because the Reds need to look like they’re doing something and less because he really “deserves” to be fired.
Bill: It’s blistering….if nothing changes, I wouldn’t be surprised if he was fired on the next off day.
The problem is, while I completely understand the thinking, this comes under the heading of “it’s easier to get rid of one guy than 25.” I can think of maybe one game this season where his moves cost them a game. He’s not the one hitting, fielding, or pitching (all of which have been horrible). He’s also not responsible for the injuries or for the composition of the roster.
Price makes many, MANY moves that are completely indefensible (but they’re also the same moves that 90% of major league managers would make), but I think one of the problems, for many of us, is that we’d hoped he’d be a different kind of manager, one that’s not afraid to go against the book. For the most part, he’s not been that guy.
Plus, firing him creates other problems? Who wants the job? Who gets the job? Jim Riggleman? John Farrell? Barry Larkin? One of the other “managers-in-waiting” already on the company payroll? What if you give this job to someone and the team plays better the rest of the season…is that someone you want handling the team long-term? If you have a long-term manager in mind (let’s say Larkin, though I’m not convinced he’s the guy), why would they want to take over now and get the stink of the way this team is playing on them?
I guess my question would be, what does firing Bryan Price really accomplish? Morale? PR? Sell tickets? Probably helps the fans morale, but I don’t think anyone outside the clubhouse can say if it’d affect player morale (positive or negative). Probably takes PR pressure off the team for a little while. I don’t think it sells tickets (unless Larkin gets the job, then maybe short-term). Does it help or hinder the rebuilding process? I honestly don’t know the answer to that one. I don’t think anyone does.
Chris: I think it’s white hot. This team is underperforming across the board, and it’s not a situation caused entirely by injuries and bad luck. Yes, the Reds have had to deal with those things, but Bryan Price has made some pretty dubious (to me) decisions, and the players are playing uninspired, mistake-prone baseball. Something has to give, and firing a scapegoat like Don Long or Mack Jenkins won’t make a bit of difference. Maybe Price gets another week, but if they don’t take 2 of 3 from Milwaukee, and/or at least look competitive in all 3 games, Price may be coming home from the road trip early.
Steve: Bryan Price is dead man walking. I’ll be surprised if he still has his job when this post is published Monday morning. One way or the other, Price won’t be the Reds manager by the end of the month. Yet, Price isn’t managing any different this year than he has the previous four. The bad lineups, bullpen management, in-game strategy, deference to veteran players at the expense of developing younger players — it’s all the same.
The case against Price is the same today as it was a month ago. But Bryan Price will get fired this month because the start to the season has been so impossibly bad the front office will have to do something and they can’t fire the players. They’ll install 66-year-old Buddy Bell as manager because they know he’ll accept the interim tag and not want the job next year. Losing won’t change until the injured players return and Nick Senzel gets called up, which would have also happened under Price. Everyone is frustrated. We all have different tolerance levels. I’m indifferent about firing Price now. But it will make a segment of fan happy. That’ll last about a week. That’s when it’ll become clear that Bryan Price wasn’t the main cause of the Reds losing record.
Chad: Price’s seat is very hot. I’m waiting patiently for a press release from the Cincinnati Reds. And that’s all I have to say about that.
Blame Chad for creating this mess.
Chad launched Redleg Nation in February 2005, and has been writing about the Reds ever since. His first book, “The Big 50: The Men and Moments That Made the Cincinnati Reds” is now available in bookstores and online, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever fine books are sold. You can also find Chad’s musings about the Cincinnati Reds in the pages of Cincinnati Magazine.
You can email Chad at firstname.lastname@example.org.