Posted on April 19, 2018, by Bryan Zarpentine
Less than three weeks into April, Major League Baseball has its first managerial casualty of the season. Thursday morning, the Cincinnati Reds announced that they have parted ways with manager Bryan Price. Pitching coach Mack Jenkins was also fired. The Reds have won just three of their first 18 games. The decision comes one day after Cincinnati lost to the Brewers 2-0 for the second consecutive night, the team’s 10th loss in their last 11 games.
Replacing Price, at least for now, will be bench coach Jim Riggleman, who has been named interim manager. Danny Darwin will be the new pitching coach. He was previously the pitching coach for the team’s double-A affiliate in Pensacola. Pat Kelly will join the Reds coaching staff as the new bench coach. Kelly began the year managing at triple-A Louisville.
“At this time, we felt a change needed to happen in order to begin the process of getting this team back on the right track. We realize it is early in the season but feel it is important to be proactive,” Reds GM Dick Williams said of Price being fired. “In addition to these staff changes, we will continue to examine all aspects of baseball operations to ensure we are doing everything we can to improve.”
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In a statement, the Reds say they will conduct a managerial search “later in the year.” It’s unclear whether that means Riggleman will have the job for the remainder of the season or not. Either way, Riggleman should get a fair amount of time to right the ship.
Price ended up spending a little over four years in Cincinnati. He took over in 2014, one year after Dusty Baker led the Reds to 90 wins and a spot in the National League Wild Card game. The team’s best season with Price ended up being his first season in 2014. That year, the Reds went 76-86, finishing fourth in the NL Central. Cincinnati has finished last in the NL Central in each of the last three years. The club has won no more than 68 games in a season over that span.
Despite four straight losing seasons, the Reds actually began 2018 with renewed hope. The team showed enough flashes last season to make people optimistic they could take a step forward in 2018. But obviously, that has not been the case. Cincinnati is currently second-to-last in the National League in runs scored. Meanwhile, the team’s pitching staff has the highest ERA in the National League.
Of course, not all the blame can be put on Price. The Res have been hurt by injuries all season. Anthony DeSclafani started the season on the DL after missing all of 2017. Another one of the team’s key starters, Brandon Finegan, only recently returned from the DL. Meanwhile, Eugenio Suarez, the team’s opening day third baseman, and Scott Schebler, their opening day right fielder, are currently on the DL. Nevertheless, Price has become the fall guy for all of Cincinnati’s problems early in the year.
Naturally, Riggleman has his work cut out for him as he inherits a 3-15 team. Fortunately, he has plenty of experience with four different stints as a major league manager. However, Riggleman hasn’t managed in the majors since being let go by the Nationals in 2011. He has a .445 winning percentage and just one playoff appearance. Whether Riggleman can get the Reds turned around remains to be seen. But at 3-15, a managerial change was almost inevitable.