Joel Sherman of the New York Post is a reporter who Walt Jocketty and Bob Castellini will have in their old paper rolodexes. Either would be comfortable whipping open a flip phone and giving Sherman an off the record quote. 

This thinking would take the organization in the opposite direction of what I wrote about the other day — many successful teams have hired young managers who would be open to and good at communicating information from the front office to players. Instead, “face of the franchise” candidates like Girardi and Farrell tend to be set in their ways and want to run the show. 

Why would any faction in the Reds hierarchy want that? 

Maybe ownership wants a famous guy like Girardi in the mistaken belief it would sell tickets.

Or, the owner sees signing a famous manager as an ego-stroke, a notch on the organization’s belt, like when the Reds hired Dusty Baker.

Or, the former GM turned Castellini-whisperer is pushing the hiring of a veteran manager because that’s all he knows, and resists modern approaches to winning games. 

Take yer’ pick.

There’s no stinking way Dick Williams wants any of that. He wouldn’t be conducting this extensive of a search just to hire the guy whose Aqua Velva smells the strongest. Williams has signaled all along the Reds are looking for something new. External candidates he’s included in the mix indicate that. 

Obviously, this is guesswork.

But the leak to Joel Sherman has the whiff of resistance through counter-programming. It’s the Old School guys pushing back against a manager search they feel is veering too far in the direction of candidates who would cede ground to front office analytics departments.

Unfortunately for the Reds and their fans, the manager search now appears to be turning into a clash between the old way of doing things and the new. As I wrote two days ago, a divided voice at the top will limit the effectiveness of whomever is hired. 

More importantly — and it’s sad to even have to say the obvious — using ridiculous and obsolete notions like “face of the franchise” as a criteria for hiring a manager is exactly what is slowly, but surely killing the Reds. 

Steve grew up in Cincinnati as a die-hard fan of Sparky’s Big Red Machine. After 25 years living outside of Ohio, mostly in Ann Arbor, he returned to the Queen City in 2004. He has resumed a first-person love affair with the Cincinnati Reds and is a season ticket holder at Great American Ball Park. The only place to find Steve’s thoughts of more than 140 characters is Redleg Nation. Follow his tweets @spmancuso.

Join the conversation! 60 Comments

  1. Do you know who would make a good face of the franchise? Someone who leads the Reds to the World Series.

    No one is going to brag about their managers past World Series victories with the team that fired them. If Girardi is the best manger available sign him. Don’t sign because of name recognition

  2. A small market team like the Reds cannot outspend the Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers, etc.
    I think they need to use a diamond-in-the-rough approach to finding a new manager. He would be the type of manager you wrote about the other day, Steve.
    The old school way won’t bring success to the Reds against the better franchises in MLB.

    • Managers hardly get paid anything. Aaron Boone makes 1.1M bucks and Alex Cora makes 800k in Boston. Manager salary is a drop in the bucket.

      • You are correct.
        Sorry, I was not clear on what I was saying. Let me try again.

        A small market team like the Reds cannot outspend the Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers, etc., for free agents or long term contracts. The Reds have to draft wisely, develop successfully, find turnaround players and look for diamonds-in-the-rough.

        I think they need to use a diamond-in-the-rough approach to finding a new manager.
        They may be able to afford an old school, face of the franchise manager but that will not bring success to the Reds against the better franchises with money.

        The Reds have to come up with innovative ways to compete whether in the front office, field manager, drafting, trades, player development, coaching, communications, use of analytics, etc.

  3. My Spidey Sense keeps telling me that there is a dichotomy in Reds ownership. BC and WJ vs. The Williams Bros, other owners and DW.

    So called journalists like Fay only seem to accept the bones thrown to them by BC, instead of actually investigating and reporting WHY, after 13 seasons under BC’s control, the Winning Baseball that BC proclaimed to deliver hasn’t happened.

    • I remember his press conference well. Bob said he would bring a world series championship to cincy. The reds were coming off of 5 yrs of losing under carl linders ownership. Another disastrous ownership ! BC claimed if momma aint happy nobody’s happy. Well i must say after 13 yrs of his ownership his wife must be miserable.

  4. Aqua Velva, I get it.

  5. On another note…Sonny Gray 3.21 ERA away from Yankee stadium. Still throws worm-killers, nice contract, 29. Vandy product. I like Commodore pitchers.

    • It wouldn’t break my heart if the Reds went after him. I think he’s a good rebound candidate.

  6. Sonny Gray is only controllable for next season. He has trouble with homers at yankee stadium

    • How often would he have to pitch at Yankee stadium in a Red’s uniform?

      Red’s need to make trades, and if necessary flip players received in other trades in a timely fashion. Golly gee, sounds like a strategy that a guy named Billy Beane uses. His A’s won 97 GAMES this past season.

      Never say, never brother.

      The Reds front office needs to become players in the market place instead of sitting on their asses all the time waiting for some other GM to come begging. The ways of Walt Jocketty don’t cut it.

      • I think his point was that if he gives up cheap homers at Yankee Stadium, he’d probably give them up at Great American Small Park as well.

        • Possible. I don’t think I’d want the Reds to give up much for him but I could see him having more success next year. I’d say:

          – Ditch the cutter and throw his fastball more
          – Go back to throwing his change against LH hitters instead of that cutter

          He’s got a few things in his profile that suggest he could rebound. His HR rate and HR/FB rate weren’t that bad. His BABIP against was elevated. He’ll need to get his walk rate back down a bit.

          Biggest issue is he’s only under contract for 2019

    • Anyone with one year of control should not be a consideration for the Reds, unless it is like the Harvey trade and they actually intend to flip them at the deadline. Anyone with less than three years of control doesn’t make sense for a rebuild. One year rentals are for contenders

      • because they flipped Harvey at the deadline.

        • Hence the comment “and they actually intend to flip them at the deadline”. You might want to read the comment before replying with your witty retort

  7. By the way why is Dick Williams the man supposedly in charge. What the heck is his credentials other than his family owning the minority share of team. This whole thing stinks top to bottom.

    • DW has a real resume: good education, good jobs, and a good head on his shoulders. Additionally, multiple writers on here have had in-depth conversations with him and are impressed by his ability and like his approach. It is not fair (nor accurate) to assume that he stinks because his last name is Williams.

      • Just because someone has a education and is smart with a good head on his shoulders doesn’t qualify someone to run a major league franchise. Bottom line is the only way he’s got that job is he’s related to the owner. No other major league franchise would hire this man to run them. There are a lot of educated people who dont know what their doing in all walks. We will see. I hope he does well. The fans deserve better than what their getting.

        • The point isn’t whether he should or should not have been hired. The point is whether he’s in charge or just a figurehead put in there because Bob and Walt know they can maneuver under or around him.

          Been saying this for months: I’m still waiting for ONE sign that this franchise is going a different direction, which from my reading here, might actually happen if Dick Williams has a chance to do things. Instead, I suspect you have Walt whispering into Castellini’s ear, “You’re not really going to let Williams to THAT, are you?”

          Who the heck really knows.

        • Have to agree Ed. Truthfully, Dick Williams has no baseball track record at all. He is the minorities owners owners son. They moved him out of the GM role to president of Baseball ops to get the blame off of him and give them someone to fire. Comedienne Nick kroll is the GM just as a face. Walt and Bob call the shots from the fruit stand. Walt hasn’t eaten anything but Castellini green beans from a can for decade and will live to be 130, still calling the shots.

          No, but on a serious note. Ask yourself, would Dick Williams be objectively hired by any other org to be a president of anything? I highly doubt it. Nepotism is killing the reds. Maybe the reason no one seems to listen to him is his job is more ceremonial, like being named the prince of the reds.

  8. Agreed-time for the FO to “save face” and hire the best person for the job

  9. I’m interested in what this Girardi guy can do in Cincinnati! I know he is not a new school , metric, analytic guy and he doesn’t play nice with the front office at times but damn it I think our redlegs would play hard for him. If not him then I would like to see what Hatcher could do

    • Yeah, they would certainly play the game…The Right Way (said in George Grande’s voice)

      • And Bryan Price said he would hold the team accountable, and Jim Riggleman said he would clean up the Reds’ problems areas, and on and on. … The Right Way, yeah.

        Managing has to be about using the resources you have correctly. … If players are determined NOT to get better on defense or baserunning, etc., the manager can’t solve that singlehandedly.

        That’s on the front office to get players who want to play. And then for the manager to use them correctly.

    • I’m not buying this play hard for the manager narrative. They need to play smart and not screw up the fundamentals. If someone is not trying the solution is easy, bench them. For example watching your fly ball instead of running to first and then not getting to 2B when the OF drops it. On the other hand giving full effort and running into the wall to save a run when you are losing by 6 will look great on ESPN the next day, but the resulting separated shoulder does nothing but put you on the disabled list.

      They need someone to hold them accountable and make goodbin game decisions. “Playing hard” does you no good if you are playing stupid

  10. I think that this is really about “selling tickets”, especially season tickets, by generating a buzz about a hiring a top drawer manager. Season ticket sales have got to be down, because the Reds stink on ice. Four straight +90 loss seasons, and as Sparky used to say…”The natives are restless”. Castellini, ever the marketing guy, thinks that this is a quick fix.

    Bob Howsam, a pretty smart guy, hired a total unknown in Sparky Anderson. How did that work out?
    Seriously. the manager doesn’t win games by pitching or hitting (well, Pete Rose was a player manager for a few years), but he has to be in tune and on the same page as the Front Office. They have to share the same strategy.
    The campaign to get Girardi or someone like him is a slap in the face to Williams, because he obviously will not be on the same strategy page as Williams. If Williams is not President of Baseball operations (which he is) and setting the strategy for the Reds personnel (which he is supposed to be). then he should quit. And maybe that’s why they hired the son of one of the minority owners, was to put a shine on one fan faction and look like “Hey, we’re modernizing!”
    I think if Williams quit and made some noise about it, that would really embarrass Castellini. But likely, he won’t and Billy Hamilton will be our Opening Day CF.
    This is your 2019 Cincinnati Reds.

    If the Reds hire an “old school” guy like Girardi, then I almost feel like throwing in the towel on being a fan. Castellini is just effing with us, at this point.

    • It becomes more evident that the new manager will be chosen by a divided front office with the ‘old school’ group consisting of Castellini, Jocketty and perhaps Lou Pinella, and the ‘new school’ faction of DW and Krall who are trying to conduct a real search for the manager. Without a united front office, it’s going to be tough for the Reds to move forward.

    • I think the issue is that it would be very hard for Williams to quit. I think that’s one of the reasons he’s in the position he’s in. He has some family pressure to keep at it and he also is working in the front office of an MLB team. That kind of job is hard to come by. It would take a tremendous amount of resentment towards his employers for Williams to quit and basically say “I left the organization because I believed the Reds promoted me to President of Baseball in order to steer the organization towards winning. Ownership and some front-office personnel under me are not on bored with my ideas and not allowing me the freedom to sculpt the organization into a winning entity. Therefore I resigned.” Would make for a great headline.

  11. Charlie Montoya or Hensley Meulens would be my selections. One of them, I feel, would be highly motivated and innovative in their approach. A breath of fresh air so to speak.

    But the Braves and Cardinals had success with managers, older mind you, that had been in the organizations for years. Both teams responded well. Maybe in part because the players knew them previously and vise versa.

  12. My comment remains the same as it was to your manager search article a few days ago. The old regime needs to be purged so the new management can work on implementing their plan. Jettison Jockety, Riggelman, Farrell and Cashman.

    • Who’s the Cashman in the Red’s FO?

      • I kind of think he means Towers but Towers, rest his soul, passed away. Maybe he means Castellini but the owner isn’t getting purged.

  13. I’m still afraid this search for a manager is just a show, they have known all along who the next manager is going to be. Hope I’m wrong, but we’ll see.

  14. How do we get rid of Big Bob? Until that happens the Reds will continue to work against themselves and/or just plain suck. No name or manager will fix what’s wrong with the way this franchise is run. Nothing matters until Bob is ousted.

    • Bob is making to much money. Forbes article on teams worth is a eye opener. The reds are worth way more than what he purchased them for in 2005. I dont want to hear about the poor small market team anymore. The reds have plenty of money. They went all in on a rebuild so they could save money but it back fired because they have no direction and their player development has failed them. Any business that is bad is because the people at the top are bad.

      • He’s been a master at making money off mediocrity (at best) and holding the fanbase hostage to his horrible decision making. How do fans effect the bottom line? The attendance is down to the lowest mark in about 35 years. I hope that continues until he’s gone. I for one won’t be showing up at the ballpark until some real changes have taken place. How else do we vote our displeasure? Petition the league to stop revenue sharing? Demonstrations of protest at the front gates? Egg his car as he drives away mumbling about positive momentum? (those aren’t serious suggestions) I really don’t know, but I’m about as frustrated as I’ve ever been with an owner of a team I root for.

      • What the team is worth and what it is making are possibly two different things. The money in its increased worth can only be pocketed if he sells the team, in which case he’d be a fool to use it for signing free agents. But it seems true that ownership is violating the fans’ trust by owning the team and not spending what needs to be spent to make it competitive.

  15. Face of the franchise? The circus closed down. There should be plenty of clowns available.

  16. I’m sure the Reds have already made the choice for manager and they are following the unwritten rule of waiting until the WS is over before making the grand announcement. As we speak the new manager,FO and ownership are working diligently on the plan to return this franchise to glory. Many player moves are being talked about and failure isn’t an option. A new era of Reds domination will ensue…..Sorry…just being sarcastic.

  17. By the way, there was a report a few days ago that the Reds were going to interview one more candidate, no name given, before the second round. Was there word of who this final candidate was?

    I find it curious that with seemingly everybody else named, a final candidate would require some level of anonymity.

  18. Follow the money – is there a conflict in the ownership group? Is the timing such that it’s approaching the end of BC’s managing partner status? Who is next in line amongst the group – return to the Williams or another partner? How does DW’s position matter to the managing partner?

    Absent an external or unrelated financial squeeze to one of the partners, I suspect BC’s term has left the franchise in sound to excellent financial condition. IOW, the challenge is managing the bottom line 1st, and managing to contention 2nd. Finance won’t affect the managerial decision.

    All reports indicate DW clearly gets that, so the decision may come down to whether the next manager, or the one after that, is the one for the playoffs and beyond.

    What the Cubs did in the winter of 2014 is the template for upgrading field managers. The Reds aren’t there yet, but they do need to show action that they will be.

  19. Unless we get solid Starting Pitching for nearly a whole year, they could hire a chimp and it won’t matter.

    • Agreed. And I would add the manager, whoever it is, will not really matter unless the influence of Mr. Jocketty is gone from the front office and the DW/Krall team is given full control over baseball personnel decisions, and that Billy Hamilton is not the starting centerfielder.

    • The chimp might be good for a few laughs. The Reds certainly aren’t, unless you’re the opposing team. I agree that they need upgrades to the pitching, but also to the power-hitting and defense. Without those upgrades, the Reds won’t be post-season contenders. But I’m certainly coming around to what should have been obvious: The right manager sets some of the tone and gets more out of the players available than a poor manager will. The Reds have many areas that need improvement, and should neglect none of them.

  20. When your headline is a question, it usually signals the article didn’t need to be written. When the article is just negative spin on a vague tweet, it confirms the article didn’t need to be written.

    I love this website but lately Mancuso is like a dog with a bone when it comes to finding ANY reason to get down on decisions the Reds *might* be *thinking about* making. This site has been becoming a Castellini-bashing circle-jerk.

    • I hope you’re just trolling Ben because if you really believe what you wrote, I don’t know what to think. You certainly are entitled to that opinion but whew, you are likely in the vast minority of readers/posters on this site.

      • I’m with you, Jazzman. Steve’s critiques, alalyses, and insights provide some of the best reading found here.

    • None of the articles “need” to be written, but I’m very happy that they are. It’s in the nature of baseball discussion–particularly in the off-season–to be speculative. So what? And as for the Castellini bashing, the results of his tenure speak for themselves, don’t they? I don’t always agree with the writers at RLN, but I always find their work to be well-worth reading, thought-provoking and, often, extraordinary.

    • Bob “We will bring championship baseball to Cincinnati” Castellini has brought the bashing upon himself.

    • I disagree with plenty around here and dissenting viewpoints are always welcome by writers and commenters. That said, I think there is a pretty sharp distinction between disagreeing on the points presented and essentially slamming a piece and its author.

  21. A circle-jerk ! No ben he’s doing a great job. I’ll take another 13yrs of this bs. You must be a family member. He deserves all the criticism. It starts and ends with the boss. People are fed up.

  22. I was speaking about BC not steve. Sorry about the confusiion. I like steve’s topics. I dont like the Circle jerk reference because of criticism of BC. The fo has earned fans criticism.

  23. Rocco Baldeli is being reported as the 12th interview candidate. 2nd from the Rays organization. Too good to be true that the Reds would snag somebody away from the Rays? Would Big Bob let that happen?

  24. The Reds are starting to “Bengals” me. I left any fandom for the Bengals and the NFL behind years ago. While I can’t do the same for the Reds and MLB, I can stop investing my money in the Reds and my spare time in watching the club. I love baseball and the Reds at a much deeper level than I ever did the Bengals and football. That means I can’t abandon them but I sure can make them a much smaller part of my life. That’s where it’s headed.

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About Steve Mancuso

Steve grew up in Cincinnati as a die-hard fan of Sparky's Big Red Machine. After 25 years living outside of Ohio, mostly in Ann Arbor, he returned to the Queen City in 2004. He has resumed a first-person love affair with the Cincinnati Reds and is a season ticket holder at Great American Ball Park. The only place to find Steve's thoughts of more than 140 characters is Redleg Nation. Follow his tweets @spmancuso.

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