Friday, April 20, 2018

The Fallout from the Bryan Price Firing - Part 2 of 2

If we continue where we left off in part 1 of this discussion regarding the firing of Reds skipper Bryan Price, we'd find ourselves talking about his shortcomings.  Many instances where Price made faltering decisions that ultimately determined his fate with this organization.

So far, we've discussed on-field managerial decisions that work in cohesion with the offense, defense, and pitching.  Such decisions aren't going to be the be-all and end-all to winning or losing a baseball game, but they can aid in either direction.  Let's go in a different direction, though, and take a look at one of the weirdest things Bryan Price did in his tenure with the Cincinnati Reds.


Bryan Price's Profane Laden Rant at C. Trent Rosecrans

My initial reaction to Bryan Price going off on a 77 f-bomb laced tirade (yes, there are actually that many) at C. Trent Rosecrans, who happens to be a very tame and easy going beat reporter for the Cincinnati Reds, was "Huh?"  This is a guy who rarely gets into any confrontation on the field with umpires, but he's going off on a beat reporter because he was asked about Devin Mesoraco not being used as a pinch hitter?  What?

Do you understand the confusion?  Based on the rant, Price didn't feel he should have to answer anything about his managerial decisions on the field.  Not only that, but he didn't feel anyone needed to know whether Mesoraco was available to be used or not during that specific game.  Everyone, including those trying to provide news and updates on our hometown team, are apparently just supposed to sit there, shut up, and watch.  Now you see why in part 1 of this discussion I said, "Bryan Price was clearly in over his head with this job."  If you don't like or can't take the responsibility of answering questions to the media about baseball when you're the manager of a baseball team, then you probably shouldn't be the manager.  Just a thought.

What also confused me, is that here's a manager that seemingly never makes decisions based on poor play.  But yet, he's now a hard-ass with a beat reporter?  A manager is the direct in-person motivational factor for any ball club.  He's the one that can make a player "ride the pine" for not running out a dropped third strike, swinging bunt, or ground ball.  He's the one that can jump a player's behind for not hustling around the base paths or on defense.  He's the one that can suspend a player for repeated offenses of not following instructions.  Or, he can be the one to reward good offense and defense with more playing time.  Clearly discipline is not the only motivational factor for a sufficiently run baseball team, but it's a good chunk of it.  To say "It's not the manager's fault because the players aren't performing" is complete insanity.  If players aren't performing after the proper motivation, then that manager needs to find those who will.  Do you remember when Jay Bruce was sent to the minors in 2009 because his on-field play stunk?  Whatever happened to that?  Why can't Billy Hamilton be sent down to learn how to get on-base and actually lay down a bunt?  Why can't Jose Peraza be sent to Triple A to learn how to play SS properly?  This is where Bryan Price (or any manager) can make a difference.  Of course, you also have to have a competent General Manager who is an actual baseball guy and not just a minority owner's family member, but that's beside the point.

As far as the "It's not the manager's fault he's been handed a lackluster team" argument, I'll give you one name - Billy Beane.  That guy has literally taken turds from a heaping pile of dung that no one else wanted, and made it into gold.  He didn't do it just once, but multiple times.  So this notion that a team is "lackluster" is just nonsense.  Besides Billy Beane, there have been plenty of GMs and Managers that have started with nothing and made something from it.  Could Bryan Price have a better record with a team full of All-Star caliber players?  Who the heck wouldn't?  That's like saying, "I could be richer if I had more money!"  Duh!

Right now, baseball has metrics out the wazoo.  There's a metric out there for nearly every aspect of the game that can give you an idea how every player will tend to perform in nearly every situation possible.  So why not utilize them?  Why stand and continue with the typical baseball modus operandi?  As a people and society we continue to progress, so why shouldn't the game of baseball?  Lots of questions, I know, but these are questions that a professional competent front office should be asking themselves.  If you told me that the Cincinnati Reds are looking in the mirror and asking themselves these questions, I'd say "Oh, bull puckey" and give you as big raspberry.

The Fallout

Okay, we're here.  We've went through and outlined key points that led to Bryan Price's demise with this organization.  Well, at least from my perspective.  I'm sure there's more, but this organization gave Mr. Price over 4 years, 666 games, to prove something.  That something could have been motivation.  That something could have been discipline and a meticulous approach to the game.  That something could have been molding young players and prospects under a complete rebuild.  And we're not talking just any normal type of rebuild, folks.  We're talking about the rebuild where players tend to not pan out on a regular basis.  Every rebuild is different, and sometimes they simply don't work out.  For example, we traded Cueto, Bruce, Frazier, Leake, Phillips, lost Cozart and basically got Brandon Finnegan.  He is literally all that has panned out from those trades, and that's questionable considering he can stay health.  You may list Schebler and Peraza in there too, but even so, none of them are All-Star caliber players yet.  Cueto, Bruce, Frazier, Leake, Phillips and Cozart were/are.  And, unfortunately, we didn't get even one of those "somethings" with Bryan Price. 

With every manager firing, there tends to be a period of adjustment for the players.  How long of an adjustment is the key factor.  Do the Reds continue to under perform and lose, or lace up their spikes, dig in, and play some competitive baseball?  As interim manager, Jim Riggleman will have to provide those "somethings" that Bryan Price simply didn't - motivation, discipline, and production.  Danny Darwin, the new pitching coach, will need to pull this basement dwelling pitching staff up and bring them back to basics - pitch selection an pitch command.  Starters barely pitching 5 innings and having 4-5 ERAs is simply not going to cut it, regardless if they're rookies or not. 

Reds fans, we may be in for a few more bleak years, or we may not be.  As with any sort of managerial change, the future seems and feels uncertain.  Heck, we've been getting that for the last 4 years with Bryan Price, so we should be accustomed to that by now, right?  But, sometimes uncertainty isn't a bad thing, so let's keep our hopes up.  It's the only thing we can do, right?  Uncertainty?  No problem!  We've got this!

2 comments:

  1. We got Duval for Leake. The 4-man OF rotation (before injuries) was one of the dumbest ideas ever. Duval is arguably their second-best hitter, and he was getting 1/4 of his AB's taken away?!! Rotate the other 3, maybe, but Duval needs to play every day.

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    1. Why Duval completely slipped my mind I will never know. He's been on a skid since last year that's troubling. I do hope he starts to heat up though. We could use a hot streak from him.

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