The Cincinnati Reds have announced that they are bringing back manager Bryan Price for the 2017 season and have a team option for the 2018 season as well. This move seems to have people on all sides of it. Some think it’s a good idea. I’ve seen others who seem to think this is the worst idea since skydiving without a parachute. More people seem to be at a place between those two reactions.
I believe the Reds thinking is more along the lines of this: The players are comfortable with Bryan Price and while they may say that they are looking to compete (and they probably are looking to), they probably don’t realistically expect to make a run at 88 wins in 2017 (my guess at what it probably takes to bring in one of the wild card spots). That means that the year is probably more about just taking another step forward for the team.
After an insanely injury-filled first half, the team has played much better in the second half. In April, May and June the team went 29-51 and was outscored 479-340. In July, August and September the team has gone 38-41 have actually outscored their opponents 362-357. With a relatively healthy team, though you can argue without Homer Bailey and Devin Mesoraco, the team certainly isn’t completely there, the Reds have played decently over the last few months.
When Bryan Price was hired as manager of the team I was a fan of the move. The things that he had said he was willing to do, how he was hoping to use players, be more analytical in his decision making – it all sounded like the right stuff I wanted to hear from a manager.
Unfortunately, once the games got going, the things he said didn’t exactly follow along with what he was actually doing. He seemed to move back to “the book” very, very quickly once he was actually the one making the decisions. That’s not to say he didn’t try out a few newer things here or there, but by-and-large, there wasn’t much difference between the things that Bryan Price was doing and the things the managers before him were doing.
The surprising part to me about the entire thing is that he got a raise, though how much hasn’t been specified according to the article at the Enquirer by Zach Buchanan. While I don’t have a problem with bringing him back, especially for just one year, it’s hard to sit back and justify a raise. He’s never sniffed a winning season as the manager. What is the raise for? No one is going to hire him as their manager for 2017 if you didn’t bring him back, and no one was going to pay him as much as he was making as a manager to be their pitching coach. The raise wasn’t to keep him around instead of leaving for more money.
There’s not much risk in a one year deal here. The Reds weren’t going to get a “big name” manager to come in and take over this team, at least not as things stand right now. Perhaps with the new front office taking over with a more analytic approach under Dick Williams they believe that Price can actually do some good with the information. This is just me talking out loud though.
All of the coaches on the team have also been offered contracts for the 2017 season, but none of them have signed on the dotted line yet.