Posted on September 3, 2017, by Bryan Zarpentine
The Cincinnati Reds are likely heading for a last place finish, but they are determined to stay the course with manager Bryan Price. The Reds have reportedly picked up Price’s option for the 2018 season. Price’s contract states that he must be informed of the team’s decision by September 2, which was Saturday. However, Price was actually informed in July that he would be welcomed back to manage the Reds next season.
“Nobody wants to bail on this. We want this,” Price said Saturday. “First of all, I’m really fortunate to have the opportunity to come back for a fifth season at the helm. The win-loss with me is not great in my time here, my four years, but I think we’re handling adversity and handling it well. I think the players are responding to the staff and what we’re doing. They like playing together and they’re a good bunch. I think we have a lot better days ahead.”
Price has managed the Reds since the 2014 season. During that time, the Reds are nearly 100 games under .500. Cincinnati finished 4th in the NL Central in 2014 but last in the division in 2015 and 2016. The Reds are heading for another last-place finish in 2017 and are still 10 wins away from matching last year’s win total.
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However, the team’s struggles this year can hardly be blamed on Price. The Reds have been devastated by injuries to their pitching staff this season. Homer Bailey, Brandon Finnegan, and Anthony DeSclafani were expected to anchor the rotation this year. But those three have combined for just 17 starts this season. DeSclafani has missed the entire season with elbow trouble while Bailey has posted a 7.51 ERA in 13 starts.
The silver lining is that the Reds have used a slew of young starters and gotten a chance to evaluate some of their top prospects. The results haven’t always been good, but some players have emerged as building blocks for the future who can help the Reds win next season.
Before the rash of injuries to the team’s pitching staff, the Reds got off to a promising start this season. Cincinnati has continued to see promising performances from several young position players, giving the Reds a good core to build upon. Despite the Reds enduring another losing season, the Reds players place no blame on Price and support the team keeping him around.
“I think it’s really great because I think every year he’s been here he’s been dealt a really bad hand as far as injuries are concerned,” Bailey said. “It’s really hard to judge a guy and what he’s doing with a ballclub when he’s never gone a full season with any players that he thought he was going to have from the beginning. Whether that’s our fault as players or our medical staff not getting MRIs, whatever it is, I’d really like to see it for him to have a healthy squad at the beginning of the year and see what we can do going into a season.”
The Reds have shown a surprising amount of patience with regard to Price. But they are right to stay the course with him. The team’s promising start to this season was a glimmer of hope and evidence that Price is the right person to lead the Reds next season.