The Reds interviewed Tampa Bay Rays coach Rocco Baldelli (37) this week, according to sources from the team. Baldelli’s major league career as a player spanned eight seasons, 2003-10, mostly as a centerfielder for the Rays. He has worked in the Rays organization since retiring, including three years as the first base coach and last year as the Field Coordinator. Baldelli has been linked to managerial searches by the Minnesota Twins and Toronto Blue Jays. 

Baldelli’s assignment as Field Coordinator with the Rays in 2018 was a new, innovative position for the Rays coaching staff. It sounds like a valuable experience for a future major league manager. 

“There’s no set-in-stone manual for Baldelli to follow, which understandably falls directly in line with the unique position the Rays elected to create. From Baldelli’s understanding, he’s been handed a creative license that will empower him to place the ideas coming from the Tampa Bay coaching staff into action. He also expects to serve as a valuable liaison between the coaches and players.” [Brendan McGair]

Baldelli spent several years in the Rays scouting department before joining the dugout staff. That’s where he became familiar with and began to appreciate all the new data available to baseball managers. 

“How much of your work over the past four years was focused on scouting and/or data analytics?

One of my favorite things about my former role was being able to observe and take part in all areas of what we do in Baseball Operations. At the onset, there was no specific, intended direction for me. It grew into a lot of player evaluation. Amateur scouting took up a big block of my year, along with some pro scouting and occasionally some International work. I’d also try to see our own system as much as possible. Getting out and seeing the players, along with the respective player discussions, did take up the majority of my time.  It took some time for me to acquaint myself with the data/analytics that we use, but the more I understood the more I began to appreciate the importance of having it. And now, I feel more than comfortable enough with it to integrate it into my opinion and decisions.  I like possessing information that I believe gives us a competitive advantage, and we’ll continue to work hard to get that information.” [Daniel Russell]

Baldelli makes a total of twelve candidates the Reds have interviewed, at least ones we know about. 

Look for a second round of interviews this week. 

If nothing else, the Reds are conducting a much more thorough process this time. 

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! 48 Comments

  1. Maybe it was his idea to use an “opener” lol… j/k I know that was the manager’s decision… but I liked it as soon as I heard of it… all those times Iglesias appeared in meaningless innings just to get his work in, he could have been used as an opener, it makes a lot of sense to me. Basically I think a bad team like the Reds should use their closer in a swing role between opener and closer… on days with a weak starting pitcher or a guy who has been struggling, let the guy start the game instead of close it out, since in all liklihood he would never get the chance to finish it anyhow,, but as an opener, who knows maybe he keeps it close and the team manages a couple runs, takes some pressure off the starting pitcher who comes in for the next inning. The Rays were scoffed at by Thom when they used that approach and they ended up with 90 wins. Thom should be reminded of that as often as possible, if anyone sees him around lol.

    • If Thom doesn’t like something that’s enough of an endorsement for me that the Reds should try it.

    • Anything Thom scoffs at deserves further and serious consideration. Baldelli sounds like a very god candidate, and it’s encouraging that they are interviewing him. The proof will be in the pudding.

    • That’s kind of my thought on what a “long man” is and how he should be used versus a “mop up” guy. I want a long reliever that can give me 3 IP and can get guys out. I wouldn’t throw my worst bullpen arm in mop up situations. I find that using a long man in this way can sometimes give a team’s offense the chance to make a game out of things when a starter gets yanked early. What we see too often is the long man being the worst bullpen arm on a team and a 5-0 or 5-1 game turns into a 9-0 or 9-1 game in short order. That isn’t relief at all.

  2. Baldelli sounds perfect for the job. Young enough to relate to the players, scouted and evaluated players for several years, integrated analytics into his evaluations…let’s sign him before Toronto or someone else grabs him.

    • He could play center in a pinch, too.

      • Sadly, his career was ruined by injuries. He was pretty much done as a CF by age 26. He was done playing at 29. It wasn’t lack of talent holding him back. The guy could play ball.

  3. i really like this interview

  4. Oh, the mayhem that would ensue if they choose Riggleman. Hope to hear soon that he’s been reassigned.

    • Reassigned or signed/hired? I think if he’s the hire the entertainment value of all of us hear losing our collective minds over it might be fun … Well, that would be if it wasn’t so sad we’d cry the Ohio past flood stage.

  5. Outside the Box Thinking. Way to go DW!

  6. This interview process for the Reds manager is becoming a joke. There is no direction or consensus regarding the decision-making process. This falls right along with every decision the Reds have made during the entire BC regime.

    Riggleman, Farrell, Kelly, Hatcher, Benavides, Girardi, Bell, Ausmus, Meulens, Montoyo, Prince and now Baldelli…

    Where’s the consistency? There appears to be a dozen voices in the decision making process with no consistency or direction to the process. Everyone picks a name then everyone throws a spitball against the wall to see what sticks. No matter who is hired for the next manager, there will continue to be discord and inconsistency within the Baseball Ops organization going forward making any real improvement a pipe dream.

    • I think much like the NFL they have to make an appearance of considering minority candidates… which explains Hatcher and Benavides, but let’s be serious here, we aren’t hiring our 3rd base coach to be the manager, that would be insane… but its a good interview experience for them so it is what it is.

    • I take your point, Cossack, but I’m still pleasantly surprised that they’re intervieing more than a few people, including guys like Baldelli who would not be what we’d expect from them.

      • I’m still holding out hope for the Baseball Ops to make like a Reds Phoenix rising from the ashes, leaving WJ and BC as toasted remnants of bygone days.

        I’m actually pleased with some of the managerial candidates. The only name that blaringly stands out by it’s omission is Espada, although there are other names I wish would have been included in the initial interviews.

        The Reds could have completed interviews with every one of the identified interviewees months ago. The waiting and then leading with Riggleman, Girardi & Farrell just demonstrates how much of a mess the Reds Baseball Ops has been.

        Hiring a new manager is a meaningless exercise, but combined with a completely redefined Baseball Ops roles and responsibilities that does not include WJ and BC et. al., would by a significant leap forward toward renewed competitiveness.

        I’ve been marveling at the Brewers dance thru the playoffs. They have been a joy to watch and Counsell has been leading that parade.

        • Hey I wasn’t really a Yelich guy but so many here were, and it is just so fitting the Brewers of all teams are taking a legit shot! Let’s face it RLN. the Brewers our are team for this post season, we called this long ago.. and now that I think about it I was advocating for Lorenzo Cain in CF… but even bettter Arrietta as ace of staff… but really this team was still in sorting mode, maybe the best thing was to jockey for draft postion. Hopefully next year is the new era.

        • Yes. Watching the playoff teams has been a dose of reality for me.. They probably held off on interviewing because they wanted to see how the Reds finished the season, but this does suggest a lack of a unified approach from ownership/FO and, perhaps, conflict about how to proceed among the same bunch of people.

        • Espada is still participating in the postseason. They probably can’t interview him right now.

    • Opening day 2018 had a 100% chance of sustained soaking rain. Phil Castellini proudly boasted they had a 4 hour meeting with over 30 people…. And then decided to contact mlb and cancel it. This is Reds decision making .

    • Schi, often love your comments, but have to disagree with your perspective here. Sure, the Reds’ direction (or lack) has been well discussed in other recent posts, so I’ll leave that to those threads. In this case, what’s the rush? Why not interview and try to find new candidates – not just for manager, but for every position in the organization? These folks will talk about a lot in their hours of interview discussions, and nuggets of info and networks of leads for scouts, coaches, coordinators, nutritionists, and much more can be developed. The interviews take a lot of extra time and work, but can yield a lot of fruit.

      We can’t clamor on this site for new ideas, creativity, and broad thinking, and then complain when DW and team do something that can be a building block for those traits. If Baldelli – or anyone else – thinks it is a joke, they just refuse the interview. They only invest in the process from their end if they see something to gain. These extra interviews do not necessarily prove that the search is a good one, but they certainly do not demonstrate that the search is poor. And I, for one, am happy they are doing the extra wide net-casting.

  7. I agree with you guys this is the most intriguing candidate so far… he actually had a really nice career going as a player before getting derailed with injuries.

  8. Hiring someone from the Rays could be a good move. They’ve only been around for 20 years and the tough ALE division doesn’t take them for granted. The hiring of an analytics knowledgeable manager could be an indicator that DW is taking charge of the FO.

  9. Oh BTW another big post season name associated with the Reds is Justin Turner of the Dodgers. Did you know he was a Reds farm hand before we traded him to the Mets for chump change? He can play SS from what I understand lol. Maybe in an alternative universe…

    • Turner wasn’t traded to the Mets, and wasn’t traded for chump change.

      Traded along with Ryan Freel and another minor leaguer to Baltimore for Ramon Hernandez, who was the Reds starting catcher for several years.

      Turner was a late bloomer. Reds traded him to the Orioles in 2008. They waived him in 2010 and the Mets picked him up then.

      btw…..he’s never played shortstop.

      If you want to complain, that’s fine. But get your facts straight. This stuff is easy to look up.

  10. I think the reds may be over thinking this. I got to think they would go with Girardi or Ferrell. 2 experienced winners with World Series experience. There is no need to go with someone inexperienced. Last thing the Reds need is another Price experiment at this time

    • We aren’t even close to remotely contending in this division… we need outside the box thinking, not corporate lackeys, thank you very much!

      • Agree 100%! We are a long way away from competing for a title. We need to think outside the box when choosing our next manager. There are also some trades to be made. Hopefully Hamilton wins the gold glove so he can finally be traded. Trade Iglasius, Votto to Toronto? We need to move some players while they have value. Our farm system should be loaded because of all our top picks based on our lousy record.

  11. Rocco Baldelli is an interesting name added to the bunch. They promised casting a wide net and I think they have done that. What they reeled in with the net though has been mostly meh. There have been 3-4 good possibilities in to interview however. There was a report that Eduardo Perez was going to interview, but I have not seen anything that he actually did interview. I would have liked to seen him at least considered. Can’t really get too excited one way or the other until they we see who they bring in for second interviews. That will be more telling in which direction things will look to go. I would like to see a manger hired before the World Series commences. There seems to be a new unwritten rule now that no big management hires being announced by teams during the World Series. That could last up to a week and a half. So it would be nice to get the new manager on board first before the WS begins and not waste those 7-10 days. The new manager could have his staff hired in that time and ready to go with team and player evaluations when the WS ends.

    • MLB generally frowns upon team news coming out before/during the WS as to avoid watering down the product on the field. I wouldn’t expect to hear about the Reds hiring someone until after the WS is over even if they know how they want.

    • I am a fan of Eduardo Perez, as well. He has been working the playoffs for ESPN, so who knows where the Reds are with him, if anywhere. His morning show with Steve Phillips on MLB Sirius XM Radio is superb.

      I also think Baldelli would be an excellent hire. Baldelli grew up in Rhode Island as a Red Sox fan, and was the sixth guy taken in the draft. He was extremely fast, and could be thought of as a Drew Stubbs who could actually hit. Baldelli had been an excellent student in high school, but signed with Tampa Bay, only to have his career derailed by a connective tissue disorder. I don’t think he ever went back to college, but has been a very popular, bright and well-thought-of career baseball guy.

      Like Perez, Baldelli checks a lot of boxes in what the Reds should be looking for.

  12. My guess on 6 second interviews; Riggleman, Ferrell, Ausmus, Montoyo, Meulens and Baldelli.

  13. I still think it’s going to be Farrell, Bob C.’s choice. All the other stuff is just window dressing.

  14. I like the sound of Rocco, just like say Sparky. When its all you have to go on i suppose run with it.

  15. Rocco Baldelli will be the front runner because he’s BC’s nephew twice removed?

  16. Something that Big Bob ought to think about is that Sparky was an unknown name when Bob Howsam hired him. If memory serves me right, he did a pretty good job.

    • A lot of talent matured when Sparky took over from Dave Bristol in 1970. The current Reds, minus a couple proven starting pitchers, have talent not to be compared to the BRM, but a young manager with a couple years leeway could get the Reds moving in the right direction. The Reds are in need of new school instead of old school. The Phillies and Braves this year proved that point.

  17. I am glad they have taken the time and looked at so many candidates, not just the usual suspects. I think the expansion of the search last week if nothing else shows the baseball ops people were hearing ideas which intrigued them and decided they wanted to hear more. Let’s hope they aren’t forced back down the rabbit hatch at choosing time.

  18. As usual its pretty hard to see a plan in all of this.One side of me says they are doing their due diligence in casting a wide search while the other side of me says it just something for them to do and have already chose their guy from within.Can’t imagine anybody from within that doesn’t already know the company line along with all the answers they are to give to all of the questions they maybe be asked.This is a wrong choice of course but it sure makes it easier vs. hiring someone who may rock the boat or actually use modern day tools to do his job.Time will tell.

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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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