Posted on October 21, 2018, by Bryan Zarpentine
The Cincinnati Reds have become the first major league team to fill their managerial vacancy. On Sunday, the Reds announced that they have hired former big league infielder David Bell as their new skipper. He has signed a three-year deal to manage the Reds. There is also a club option for the 2022 season. The team will hold a formal press conference on Monday to introduce Bell as their new skipper.
Technically, the Reds have had a managerial vacancy since late April. The team fired Bryan Price just 18 games into the season after Cincinnati began the year 3-15. Jim Riggleman took over as the interim manager, and while he was able to steady the ship a little after a disastrous April, there was only so much he could do. The Reds ultimately finished the season 67-95, one game worse than the 2017 season. It was the fourth straight season Cincinnati finished last in the NL Central.
It’s now up to Bell to take the reigns and turn the Reds into a competitive team in his first chance as a major league manager. Bell most recently worked with the San Francisco Giants as the vice president of player development. However, that year in a major league front office came after years of either managing in the minors or being part of a big league coaching staff.
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Bell’s 12-year major league career came to an end following the 2006 season. He was hired as manager of Cincinnati’s double-A affiliate prior to the 2009 season. After three seasons, he was promoted to manager of the team’s triple-A affiliate in Louisville. Bell then had one-year stints as the third base coach for the Cubs and assistant hitting coach for the Cardinals. From 2015 to 2017, he was the bench coach for the Cardinals before leaving for the San Francisco front office last winter.
While Bell never played for the Reds during his big league career, he grew up in Cincinnati and is the son and grandson of Reds legends Buddy and Gus Bell. Bell’s father, Buddy, played in the majors and managed three different teams, most recently the Royals from 2005 to 2007. Buddy recently joined the Reds as a senior advisor. David and Buddy will soon become the fifth father and son tandem to both serve as major league managers.
Obviously, Bell has his work cut out for him as Reds manager. Cincinnati is in a division with both the Cubs and Brewers, the two teams with the most wins in the National League this season. The Cardinals and Pirates also finished 2018 with winning records. Needless to say, the Reds have a lot of ground to make up inside the NL Central.
On the bright side, the Reds have some promising young position players to build around. The likes of Jose Peraza, Eugenio Suarez, and Scott Schebler are all building blocks for the future. However, the Reds continue to have one of the worst pitching staffs in the National League, as their rotation has been devastated by injuries the past couple of season. Injuries or not, Bell has a lot of work ahead of him as he tries to build the Reds into a respectable and competitive major league team.