The news on the Cincinnati Reds managerial front has been quick this week. Things broke yesterday that Joe Girardi removed himself from the running for the job. Earlier this afternoon Jon Morosi tweeted that a source confirmed to him that David Bell is the frontrunner to be offered the gig in the Reds dugout.

There’s certainly a lot of opinions on David Bell from the Cincinnati Reds fans. I’ve seen pretty much the entire range of reactions to his being among the candidates – from those who love what he seems to be bringing to the table, to those who point out his terrible minor league record as a manager who think that’s indicative to what he’ll do in Cincinnati, to those who point to his father working for the Reds and screaming “more nepotism, GREAT” at the top of their lungs.

And honestly, I think that two of those examples hold some water. There are things to really like with what David Bell could bring to the table. I like that he’s worked in the front office before. I believe that gives him a little bit of a different perspective than someone who hasn’t. And in todays game when the front office is trying to relay a lot of “new” analysis, strategy and ideas to the field level, I think that could be important. Maybe you don’t buy into that, and that’s ok, too.

On the flip side, there’s absolutely some validity to the nepotism thing. Fairly, or unfairly, the Reds President of Baseball Operations, and former General Manager Dick Williams is the son and nephew of two men who own a combined stake in the Reds that is far larger than that of Bob Castellini and man people look at that as a reason that he is entirely undeserving of the job he has.

So hiring a guy to manage the club who has a father, Buddy Bell, is a Vice President, Senior Advisor to the General Manager, would put off that same vibe. While David Bell has been working for the San Francisco Giants for years now. He used to work for the Reds. He was managing in their farm system for four seasons – but he wouldn’t be an internal hire, either. But being hired with a father in the front office certainly holds some validity to those screaming nepotism.

With that said, David Bell is certainly a hot name in baseball right now. The Cincinnati Reds aren’t the only team interested in him. Even his current employer, the Giants, seem to see him as an option for their head of baseball operations job according to Henry Schulman.

For now, though, this is all just rumor and speculation. Sources told different writers two weeks ago who the favorite was, and somehow there were three different guys names who all seemed to be the favorite. Only one of those things could actually be true. Different sources may have different favorites. Ultimately, one person or one side is going to win that battle. Ideally, there wouldn’t be a battle at all. And maybe there isn’t, and never was. With all of that said, it seems like the search for a manger is rounding third and headed for home. I’d venture to say that we will know who the manager is before the World Series begins.

Update

Jon Heyman just tweeted out that the Reds are beginning to call candidates to let them know that they didn’t get the job. So perhaps we will know even sooner.

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28 Responses

  1. GM Nep O'Tism

    “to those who point to his father working for the Reds and screaming “more nepotism, GREAT” at the top of their lungs.”

    Hello. Lol

  2. Colt Holt

    The collective greatness of Ken Griffey Jr, Cal Ripken Jr, Mike Trout, Vlad Guerrero Jr, Dee Gordon, Fernando Tatis, Peyton Manning, Eli Manning, and so many others would like to let you know that they were more than qualified for their jobs despite having a family tie

    • GM Nep O'Tism

      All the baseball players went through the minors, where they had to publicly perform with quantifiable statistics to show success. The football players had to do the same in college.

      -Peyton Manning threw for 36 TD, went 12-2, and was SEC Champ his senior year.
      -Ken Griffey Jr hit .313/.445/.604 in Low A as a 17-year-old and .325/.415/.557 in A and AA as an 18-year-old.

      Show me a stat that shows Dick Williams was ready to be handed the GM job. Thre is none.

      Show me a stat that says Bell is going to be a good manager. There is none. The closest there is to it is his minor league managing record, which he never had a single winning season in.

      Apples-to-oranges comparison by mentioning Manning and Griffey Jr when talking about Bell and nepotism.

      • Colt Holt

        Bell has experience. As Doug noted, both in the front office and the minors. Short of a guy like girardi who has done it in the bigs, what more experience are you looking for? If you can’t hire a manager without experience, they will all retire or die eventually…

      • Bill

        The nepotism concerns are well documented and valid—CEOs son runs the team’s business ops and the baseball ops are run by the relative of significant owners. Jockety also was infamous for bringing in former players with whom he had a connection, classic cronyism.

        The problem with your argument is there really no good stats that measure leadership. Girardi had success managing the best resourced team in baseball. How much of the Yankees success is attributable to Girardi’s leadership and how much too the organizations resources? Character, communication skills, intellect, work ethic, and the ability to relate to players are the traits the Reds should be after. With analytics rapidly changing baseball, field manager experience may be one of the least accurate predictors of success.

        Williams has clearly embraced a more analytical approach to running the baseball operations. Many would say, his banking background provides a pretty solid foundation for today’s game. David Bell (and several others that received interviews) have received widespread interest. It’s been refreshing to see the Reds cast a wider net for this hire.

        I certainly have liked most of what I have seen from Williams thus far and I can see Bell being a really great fit for the Reds or any team as a manager at this point. Given that the Reds have an active CEO, having leaders that can work within the organization’s context is likely another key trait that needs to be considered in this hire.

  3. Optimist

    I wonder about the negatives mentioned.

    1 – DW as GM clearly has an ownership role, which may or may affect his role as GM/Pres or Ops or whatever, but the bigger issue is the possible conflict amongst him, other owners (BC), and legacy FO-Jocketty. That all seems to be sorting itself out with the subtle changes this year.

    2 – As for Buddy/David issues, I suspect that doesn’t go farther than a minor influence on the pecking order for interviews. As noted D. Bell has plenty of favorable aspects independent of family, and once hired would Buddy really have any influence at all – by the time David has a track record to assess Buddy will likely be in emeritus status.

    With all that aside, this seems to meet the initial hurdles of getting out the old ruts. Now they just need to stay out of new ones.

  4. Joe

    I’ve always leaned toward wanting dick Williams to win th tug o war thing in th front office I feel he has a pretty good vision for us if his ideas are allowed to play out without push back from th other higher ups. I did not kno his relatives had that much more of a total share interest than bob tho..

    • Doug Gray

      Bob Castellini only owns 15% of the Reds. That is the largest stake. It’s also the controlling stake in the team. The Williams brothers reportedly each own 12%.

  5. SteveLV

    Two diametrically opposed thoughts on the nepotism thing:

    One, I thought Doug’s point that a top priority for the new manager is to be on the same page with the front office was smart. Seems like David would have some real insight into what he was getting into with Buddy having been involved for some time.

    And two, I’ve run some pretty good-sized organizations and, for a number of reasons, would never hire a relative into a situation like this unless there was a clear exit plan for Buddy. I don’t have a problem if the Reds do it, and I hope it works if they do, but I would not.

  6. Bred

    If the Williams brothers own more of the Reds than BC, then I think they are exerting their intrest to take control of the team and push BC to the side. Maybe contractually that can’t be done, but either way bringing in trusted allies is going to lessen BC’s influence. I like the move if this is happening because BC has a history of making bad decisions.

    • Doug Gray

      It can’t be done. Bob has the “controlling” stake, regardless of whether he owns the largest percentage of the team or not.

      • Michael Smith

        Currently it cant be. I am guessing there are clauses in the ownership contract that allow for a vote on who is the controlling partner.

  7. The Rage

    Bell may not want to manage. He he may take over as Giants farm director. Part of the reason things are quiet.

    • A

      I don’t think the Reds would be calling candidates if they weren’t certain about Bell.

  8. cinvenfan

    Bell was born and raised in Cincinnati. Played high school in Cincy and comes from a family with long tradition playing for the Reds. Probably his childhood team, so there’s surely a desire to win with his hometown team. Nothing wrong with that. That his father works for the Reds isn’t a bad thing at all IMO.

    But, he also comes with a plus learning from winning teams like the Cards and Giants, has experience managing in the minors, bench coach and front office and still a young man capable of relating to the millenials.

    From every perspective I certainly hope he’s the next Reds’ Manager.

  9. Norwood Nate

    I’d be happy if Bell were the choice of the reported three finalists. Seems like he’ll have a better chance of being on the same page as DW and Krall than what we’ve seen recently. His experience with clubs like StL and the Cubs will hopefully have benefited him in learning newer applications of information.

  10. Tom B.

    I don’t think it makes a bit of difference who the next manager is right now. My belief is that over the course of a season, the manager may affect the outcome of a dozen games. That would take next year’s team up to 79 wins, which still probably lands them in last place. Until the Reds find a way to raise the fences or move the stands back to make it a more pitcher-friendly park, and hire somebody that knows how to develop pitching, it really doesn’t make a difference who the manager is.

    • I-71_Exile

      Both teams swing for the same fences. The Reds can’t sign top-tier free agent pitchers because they can’t/won’t compete with the big market teams for arms. Top-tier pitching might be the most expensive item to acquire that way. The ballpark may play a tertiary role all other things being equal, but money drives the bus.

      If the ballpark size mattered, we’d see FA sluggers taking discounts to sign with the Reds.

      • Doug Gray

        And maybe we would see that if the Reds ever tried to sign free agents for more than $5M a year. But we don’t even hear them in the conversation for mid-tier guys, unless that guy is a reliever. I mean, seriously, who was the last non-reliever free agent that was halfway decent that the Reds went after, even if they didn’t get that player? I don’t recall them even being in the conversation for a guy that fits that description.

  11. REdsvol

    I think Bell will be more of the same we’ve had – a players manager who will not challenge players to a higher standard that is necessary to create a winning culture. I think someone with absolutely no ties to cincinnati but ties to an organization that often fields winning teams against all odds (Tampa, Oakland come to mind) could create something special in Cincinnati.

  12. Ribeye Medium Rare

    It seems like the “search for a manger” is rounding third and headed for home.

    What?

    Does that make Dick Williams, Bob Castellini and Walt Jocketty the three wise men? =P

  13. Doc

    I would say that Ohtani would qualify as a top tier free agent whom the Reds actively pursued, though didn’t get.

    • Doug Gray

      You’re not wrong. I guess I was more talking about guys that they had to spend actual money on. In terms of money, Ohtani was the price of a crappy reliever you are hoping improves. But because of the circumstances as to how he was available, the Reds sort of kind of believed they had a shot at him.

  14. DP

    Since this article mentioned the nepotism angle more than the Bell announcement article, it is here that I’ll bring up the fact that the Reds have Joe ‘Joey’ Jocketty, professional scout and formerly a non-drafted free agent, as a part of the team making decisions. His qualifications??? Maybe he read Keith Law’s book Smart Baseball.