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.