So I guess people want me to weigh in on Bryan Price being named manager of the Cincinnati Reds. Do I have to?
It’s not that I am not happy or excited about the move, a move that was pretty predictable from the day Dusty Baker was fired. It’s just that I’m not yet ready to start talking Reds again. Like what happened a few weeks ago never happened.
My initial feeling on it is that Price is a guy who will not let the team relapse greatly into a third or fourth place team. If you go out and appoint a Barry Larkin (what I wanted) or a Paul O’Neill, there’s a chance that it takes the team to the next level. There’s probably an even greater chance that one of those guys puts you in a Dale Sveum tailspin and you finish in the bottom half of the division. Price won’t let them fall from grace too badly. That doesn’t mean they’re a playoff team next year automatically, either.
Of the available guys, Price knows this roster group as well as anyone on the planet not named Dusty Baker. That will bode well for future success. Other factors like how the man constructs a lineup and how he uses his bench, along with his in-game decisions will be important. I love what he’s done with this pitching staff in a hitter’s park. It’s clear he’s never going to have trouble in that area.
The most exciting part of the move is that Aroldis Chapman might actually finally become a starter (I knew hanging onto him in fantasy baseball keeper leagues would someday serve a purpose). All indications are that Price is on board with trying this. Whether Chapman ends up back in the bullpen at some point and the experiment gets ditched, it’s still something that needs experimented with if the Reds are ever going to take the next step. They need another dominant arm, and arms like Chapman aren’t available at a low cost. When you have one in your pen who could possibly start, you have to try it.
It’s not a sexy hire. It won’t have anyone selecting the Reds as the team to beat next season. They’ll still fight an uphill battle. But Price was probably the best guy for the job, and he seems to be a likable, genuine individual who the fan base will get behind. It’s also unlikely that the pieces get shuffled too much. He’s not an outsider. If you like the current nucleus of Reds, you’re in luck. They’re safer with Price at the helm than if a new guy was appointed and wanted to start bringing in his type of players.
I’m behind Bryan Price and wish him all the success in the world.