When Ken Rosenthal reports something, I usually perk up and listen closely. He’s reporting that the Cincinnati Reds are considering bringing back manager Bryan Price in 2016; and I’m telling you right now that it won’t happen because it can’t happen.
This to me has possibly been the worst season in my 32 years of life. It has never really ceased to be depressing and sad and feels like the end of a really nice era. I have really struggled to write about my thoughts on the Reds – watching them for nine innings is enough of a challenge. I mostly want to pretend that they aren’t there. I think that falls at the foot of the manager. This is a business, and he’s fielded a flat team for the entire year. Last year deserved to be thrown out; this year the cement has hardened and you see that Bryan Price is a pitching coach who is in over his head in a managerial role.
The Reds have lost 93 games and it’s going to be a miracle that they didn’t lose 100. I know it’s been a year that has seen them set a record for most pitching starts in a row by a rookie. I know there have been injuries to Mesoraco, Cozart, Homer Bailey, Billy Hamilton and such. I know veterans like Jay Bruce have been numbingly inconsistent once again. But I’ve seen some bad Reds teams in the past – 2003, 2004, and 2005 come to mind – and those teams didn’t feel this lifeless night after night. They also weren’t as talented offensively as this group and yet they still managed their hot streaks. They still managed to score runs. Their rotations were also abhorrent; albeit there were veterans, but it wasn’t this slaughter march we’ve seen from the 2015 Reds.
It’s been a never ending nightmare highlight reel of Bryan Price; from the things you’ve heard about like him berating an annoying beat writer who was just doing his job to getting tossed handing in a lineup card in Cleveland before the game even began. He’s failed to generate any creativity or spark to get this team to go on some type of a run where you say, ‘yes, this guy can figure it out’. This isn’t a guy who leads.
The one caveat in Price returning would be that the Reds would probably keep the core together for one more year, but that is no guarantee. It would probably hold off a full rebuild, which I don’t see happening. I think you’ll see some veterans go with only Votto remaining for certain because he’s been productive and his contract makes him impossible to trade. If the Reds bring back Price, it will be the same brand of uninspired baseball next year that just makes you want to change the channel or do something else. Bryan Price has made me long for the days of Dusty Baker. That’s really tough to do.
On the other hand, if you could land a Barry Larkin who was a rumored candidate, you immediately create a spark and a guy who commands respect from day one. I have no reason to think Larkin would be different than how terrific first year manager Paul Molitor has been in Minnesota. That’s worked out pretty well.
We need new life, we need new blood, we need a change. Another year of Bryan Price will have fans like me feeling sick to my stomach. The Reds’ brass knows that, they’re smart. They have some market research telling them the disapproval rating of their current manager. If it’s nothing more than the many empty Red seats and lack of television viewership, they know. Bryan Price won’t be back in 2015.