The Cincinnati Reds are bringing back manager Bryan Price for the 2018 season. C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer broke the news earlier this evening right before the game started.

The winning simply hasn’t happened under Bryan Price as manager. His first season was easily the best he had, when the Reds went 76-86. That was the only time he had what resembled a “full team”. He had a good pitching staff that year. Johnny Cueto, Mike Leake and Alfredo Simon all performed well and made 32+ starts each. Homer Bailey and Mat Latos both missed some time, but combined for 39 starts and an ERA around 3.50 between the two of them. That, however, was the year in which Joey Votto only played in 62 games and Jay Bruce had the worst year of his career. The offense was terrible that year.

Ever since then it has been a real struggle for Bryan Price and the Reds. The last two seasons have been especially tough as the team has had essentially an infirmary of starting pitching injuries. Since the start of the 2016 season they’ve had 10 starting pitchers, all of whom they were counting on in one way or the other, spend prolonged periods of time on the disabled list. That’s led to the team going with young pitchers who likely needed more time in Triple-A to work on things, but had no choice but to pitch them in the big leagues.

That’s not to say that Bryan Price should be given a pass. He’s made some questionable decisions along the way. He’s stated publicly, ideas that sounded good, but then never really followed through with them in the dugout. His struggles at times to find rookies playing time and having them rot away on the bench for a week before they were sent back to Triple-A has always been questionable.

For the most part, Bryan Price simply has not been provided the horses to win the race, or anything close to it. The love-child of Joe Torre, Joe Maddon, Sparky Anderson and Connie Mack wasn’t going to post a winning record with what Bryan Price has been given. The talent simply hasn’t been there. As we sit here on September 2nd, we can squint enough to see that maybe 2018 is the year where the talent could possibly be there for a big step forward from past seasons.

The offense looks like it’s got a chance to be good, especially if the team can add Nick Senzel to the lineup. But it’s the pitching that could finally be stable enough to put more victories in the win column. Since the start of August the Reds have gotten a 3.66 ERA out of Luis Castillo, Robert Stephenson, Sal Romano and Tyler Mahle in 127.2 innings. The team will hopefully be able to count on some of Homer Bailey, Brandon Finnegan and Anthony DeSclafani, too. That doesn’t include other pitchers who could contribute to the rotation or bullpen like Amir Garrett, Rookie Davis, Jackson Stephens or Cody Reed.

There’s still plenty of questions for the Cincinnati Reds looking at 2018. While we are seeing hope from the rotation, the team will still be relying on veterans coming off of injuries and long layoffs mixed in with rookies/2nd year pitchers without long track records of success. This team is only going to be as good as their starting pitching is, as we’ve seen this year. But, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel that you can see in the distance. Hopefully Bryan Price is the right guy for the job – he’ll be on the final year of his contract once again.

31 Responses

  1. Brad

    Happy for Price. Just hope he and Dick Williams are on the same page for 2018. Seems at times this season they had two different visions and it hurt individual player development.

  2. Mike

    Well I guess we need to look at the top prospects for 2019,you aren’t winning with him as manager.

    • Doug Gray

      Sounds a lot like what Rays fans were saying after 2007 and Joe Maddon. Or Braves fans with Joe Torre when they hired him despite a significantly worse winning percentage than what Price has with the Reds.

      It’s the talent on the field, not the guy filling out the lineup.

      • Cinvenfan

        I doubt Maddon or Torre let a rookie rot on the bench for a week un a rebuilding season, stubbornly insisted on playing under .300 Obp guys at the top – after the pitchers!- bring their overused closer in a 9-3 game, …oh Doug the list is long enough.

      • Hingle McCringleberry

        Please don’t compare price to those great managers. He is awful. Flat out awful. Meanwhile dusty is winning.

        Keep in mind dusty didn’t inherit a winning team either. But is gift of motivating players who need it the most played big. The reds blew it like they always do. They’d rather have a no name manager with no experience because They don’t say much or ask for much.

        I challenge anybody to research the years the reds won a division or made playoffs. Was it a good veteran manager? Or a inexperienced manager? You would think they would learn from history.

      • Norwood Nate

        Hingle, I agree with you on Price. It’s not the record that bothers me at all. I get it, the starting pitching has been decimated by injuries for most of this tenure. No manager was going to polish that turd and sell it as a diamond. It’s the way he goes about the things he can control that makes me think he’s in over his head as a manager.

        As far as Dusty goes, while the Reds weren’t a contender when he took over but they were far from being a team with no talent. They were a team on the verge and Dusty created an environment to push them to take the next step. Dusty’s greatest value as a manager is that he doesn’t get in the way of winning with a good team. You give him a WS contender and he won’t derail them (before the playoffs). When it comes to the intricacies and nuances of actually trying to out-manage the opponent, he gets exposed in the playoffs. The one exception for Dusty, when he won a pennant, is when he had the game’s greatest hitter (at the time) on his team in SF and he still fell short of the WS championship.

      • Greenfield Red

        While I also question some of his moves as a manager, I agree with Doug that BP has had little to work with… and I have seen improvement in individuals on the team this year.

        Suarez and Barnhart have become real assets. Peraza has improved his plate discipline in the second half. Gennett is having a career year.
        While most of the pitching problems are related to youth and injury, there are serious strides being made by several guys that are available. Romano, Castillo, Mahle, and Stephenson can become a force to be reckoned with in 2018. Somebody is coaching these guys up.

        The jury is still out on Garrett, Reed, and Davis, but isn’t it nice to have that many options? BP doesn’t deserve all the credit for the improvements, but he also doesn’t deserve all the blame for the shortcomings.

        After three years with a poor roster and tons of injuries, we don’t know how good BP is or is not. I’m not a fan of bringing up rookies with a future with the team and letting them sit, and I’m not a fan of some of the pitching changes, but what was he supposed to do with what he has?

        I think the Reds have bigger problems than Bryan Price. The botched Chapman trade and the possible upcoming botching of Disco’s arm have hurt the Reds more than Bryan Price sitting Jesse Winker for a week at a time.

        I’d like the Reds to lose a lot in the last month, and I believe they will be a playoff team next year (I’m calling my shot). We’ll see how he does then.

  3. Wes

    I gave price benefit of doubt last resign bc 2017 was still a rebuild year and I was cool w him getting one more shot. 2018 is when I was hoping to see reds make a move back up from bottom of NL and not sure what he has done to keep his job?!? The reds have a loosing atmosphere plaguing the whole organization and that’s a direct reflection of leadership. Keeping price is a terrible decision!

    IMO prices first season was his worse. Reds were suppose to be good. Reds were suppose to contend and they really didn’t much at all that whole season. Price has had very little/if any success as manager.

    I have also gave Dick Williams a pass as gm for first several moves he’s made wanting to believe in his vision and direction but I can’t back this decesion at all. Terrible move. I’ll be more skeptical of him moving forward as well. seems like reds are willing to invest but lack the complete understanding on what it takes to build a competitive team.

  4. Jasonp

    Why

    Again we are going to have the same thing over and over again. This was our chance to move on from him and be the first to interview any head coaching candidate. Last year we waited to long and a number of teams signed new managers before we decided to bring Price back.

    I don’t know what he has show that would make someone say he is a good or even average manager. He is not a good option for a rebuilding team. He doesn’t play young players unless he has to.

    It’s like he is unable to to change from the plans he made. Bruce a year or two was in like a 2 for 30 slump. He goes 4-5 and then Price sits him the next day because he had already planned that he would sit that day.

    Been 3-4 times this year where a pitcher gives up 3 runs in an inning. Then gives up another 3-4 in the same inning and still we don’t get any up in the bullpen to start pitching. Played Kivlehan in center way to much with other players on the team that can play center better. Putting Gennet in the outfield. Lorenzen then Iglesias in games we were already up by 5. Iglesias in 3 games in a row and none of them were save chances. Rookie added to the team for 3-5 days and never plays. I could go on but these choices he makes just annoy me and every year I hope that he learned from last year not to do something like those examples and then does them or something else like them again. I have never been more ready to move on from another coach like I am with him. We have had bad ones before but they didn’t keep resigning them.

  5. Jim t

    Bringing him back is not a problem for me. The young arms seem to be taking a step forward and pitching is his strength. If the offense produces like it has this year going forward I think we have a good shot at turning this thing around. Im not saying we still don’t have work to do like adding a couple more bull pen arms but with what I’m seeing out of some of the young arms I like our direction.

    • Norwood Nate

      Not a critique of your comment, just a follow up discussion.

      Who should get the credit when a particular function of the team does well? Who should get the blame when they fail? Is the manager ultimately responsible for how players develop or does that fall more squarely on the coaches, the minor leagues, the GM and scouting for bringing those players in?

      On RLN there was a discussion on how well the offense has improved this year. A lot of commenters noted that Don Long should have been given credit in the article. Then again, when I see Cozart and Suarez talk about improving this year they cite learning from Votto, not Long. I don’t recall anyone suggesting Price should get credit for the improved offense.

      If there was an article about the pitchers, would Price get more credit for that due to his former position? Would it not be the pitching coaches, Mack Jenkins and Ted Power who deserve some of that credit. Price got the lion’s share of the credit over Baker for the Reds pitching staff during that time. As a manager is Price really that involved with the pitching side more than the coaches paid to do that, rather than focused on running the team as a whole? Similarly to hitters giving Votto credit, last year Finnegan gave Straily credit for developing a new pitch, as I’ve seen others give Arroyo props this year.

      Then there’s the law of averages. The Reds in the last two seasons have debuted Stephenson, Reed, Garrett, Castillo, Romano, and Mahle. All, with the exception of Romano, have spent time as a top 100 prospect in all of baseball before their debut. All have very good stuff and came highly touted. Weren’t some of those guys bound to work out, simply based on the sheer number of prospects? Is that what we’re seeing now? Or did Price find the right formula for the later three but couldn’t find it for the former three (yet)?

      • Jim t

        Nate I don’t disagree with that. Players make the manager. Putting the players in the right position to have success is the mangers job. That includes handling all 25 personalities. In my opinion the team plays hard for Price. He benched Peraza in favor of Scooter and he responded positively. His handling of some of the young pitchers has got good results. Overall the injuries and developing the youth has been difficult.

  6. Gaffer

    There is no silver lining here. What a joke. I don’t care what his record is, but whether he has any chance of improving these young players. He has shown time and again an ignorance of modern baseball and the unwillingness to have a plan to develop players. Have we really seen much light at the end of the tunnel? Any improvements we have seen this year are likely attributable to Votto (lead by example).

  7. MK

    Williams did not have a very good end of hisweek. His top two multi million dollar prospects had a rough week. One is ill and out for the year the other had about as bad a second pitching outing as is possible, then the Price move.

    I wonder how much the Price move was dictated from the top. Castelini has shown that he really does not like to replace people. He has proven to be slow pulling the trigger on Dusty, Jocketty and a few others. Don’t know if it is extreme loyalty or not admitting he could be wrong about something.

    • reaganspad

      I think the latter MK is spot on. I see Castellini as a players (managers) owner.

      I think I like that better than firing Billy Martin each week. Price has not been great but if he can somehow get Billy to improve or move him to a replacement role and get any health in the pitching staff, the players could right this thing with or without Price

  8. Michael B. Green

    The one encouraging sign is that in August, the Reds ranked among average teams in pitching statistics. If that continues, when mixed in with good hitting and great defense, you have rebuilding momentum.

    • Wes

      That’s not encouraging to me. Our best 2 prospects in past decade came from picking 2. A good September means a worse pick. Like difference between 3 and 9. That’s a big deal. Difference between senzel and corey ray. Reds need that top pick this year!

      Reds also had a decent second half in 2016 and that went no where for 2017

      • Greenfield Red

        As always Wes, I totally agree about losing a lot in September. Good for the franchise. Winning in September of 17 is bad for the franchise.

  9. Bill

    I’m good with the extension. A lot of what should drive a decision like this is not apparent to those of us that don’t have exposure to the clubhouse. From what I can see, our players play hard and as a team. Price deserves credit for fostering this kind of atmosphere.

    While some say he lets prospects rot on the bench, others could point to Duvall, Suarez, Barnhart, Iglesias, Lorenzen, Peralta, and Schebler that have all developed under Price’s leadership. In fact, several have far exceeded expectations. The recent returns on Castillo, Romano, Stephenson, Mahle and Winker are promising as well. It is quite reasonable that the Reds have a good, repeatable process for acclimating young players.

    I do question whether our daily lineups are optimized. I also think our usage of Stephenson and Reed in the bullpen was questionable at the very least. Certainly, there are other legitimate criticisms as well.

    This was likely not a slam dunk decision for the Front Office, but it is understandable.

  10. Tampa Red

    The Reds poor record is not Price’s fault. The roster, which isn’t his call, has been a mess, the sheer volume of injuries has been devastating and as a result the pitching staff has been AAAA level, for the most part.

    That being said, I think the Reds need two things in 2018. Good health and a new voice in the clubhouse and a new philosophy in the dugout. Can’t really control one, and it looks like the other isn’t going to happen.

    I hope the Reds make some moves this offseason. And instead of acquiring more prospects, let’s package them in a deal. First and foremost, and assuming Cozart isn’t going to be retained, the Reds need a legitimate big league SS with at least a few years of team control. Then I’d like to see moves to strengthen the bullpen and secure another catcher. And then pray for the health of the pitching staff. God knows there are enough arms if most of them can stay healthy.

    • Greenfield Red

      Disagree on packaging prospects. Look at the Latos trade. One good year of starting for 4 really good prospects who have panned out. No thanks.

      Maybe they could spend a little on the free agent market for a starter if they think it’s needed. Personally, I don’t think they need to.

      I’m really concerned they’ve messed up the Disco situation. Hope I’m wrong.

      Continued development of the young guys and better health in 2018 will put them in the playoffs next year (in my opinion).

      • Norwood Nate

        I did actually look at the Latos trade, and it seems to have been a good one for the Reds. For the three years Latos was with the Reds he was a very good pitcher. He posted xFIP’s of .379, .356, and .399 from 2012-2014. In 2012/13 he started 55 games and pitched over 200 innings in both years. He was arguably the Reds second best pitcher during that time after Cueto (he put up more fWAR than Bailey with similar xFIP’s during that time). Then, the Reds traded him at the perfect time for DeSclanfani (and Chad Wallach), which has also been a nice trade.

        The Reds did give up a lot in talent. But, Volquez needed a change of scenery by that time and it was good for the Reds to move on. Volquez made almost $6m dollars over the next two seasons through arbitration. The Reds had an increasing payroll and saved some money on this deal as well. Alonso had no where to play, and honestly neither did Grandal as the Reds had Mesoraco ready to take over the reigns. It would have been nice to keep Boxberger, but you have to give talent to get talent.

      • Patrick

        I think you are a little off on your assessment. Latos was traded for 3 prospects and Volquez who was a 4 year veteran at the time. (4.14 and 5.71 era for the two years after he left the Reds)
        Alonso was barely above replacement level until this year (3 war total in 5 years)
        Boxberger has been hurt a lot the last two years. Has been worth .4 WAR total in his career relievers by themselves have little value
        Grandel has been a decent player 11.5 WAR so far in a little under 6 years

        Latos was 9.6 war in 3 years with Reds
        Disco has been 5

        WAR is about equal but the Reds got that from 1 roster spot while what they gave up took up 3-4 spots

  11. Rick in Va

    Looking on the bright side, there is a silver lining here: its only for one year. That suggests that Williams & the Reds brass are not really sold on Price long-term. It also gives them the flexibility to pull the plug on him if he fails to produce without incurring the monetary loss a multi-year contract would entail. It looks to me like they think Price hasn’t really had a chance to show what he can do with a healthy and competent set of ballplayers, so they are (with luck) giving him that chance with a limited extension. I agree with all those who particularly dislike his disinclination to use young players, but this suggests that may not last forever.

  12. Burg Red

    I think we have many problems with our coaching both at the Ml and the MiL level. No one can throw a change up and B Ham can’t bunt a beach ball!

    • Doug Gray

      Luis Castillo has one of the best change ups in baseball. One he learned in the Reds system. Homer Bailey and Robert Stephenson both picked up the splitter instead of going with a change and both are plus offerings.