Does Cincinnati Have a Superman?
The Reds season has been… not good. So not good that only 18 games were needed to decide to let manager Bryan Price go. Out of the gates, the Reds have the worst record and worst run differential in the league. The team is second-to-last in OPS and bests no one on the pitching leaderboards. The offense that sat tenth on the leaderboard at the end of 2017 is now gutted by injury. Cincinnati has stumbled into a team ERA a few tenths lower than that of the White Sox. Who can save a team like this?
The Reds called the firing an attempt to be “proactive,” but seems much the opposite given the trend of managing hires. The Nationals parted ways with Dusty Baker after Baker’s completion of a two-year campaign, totaling 192 wins and two playoff appearances. Baker often received criticism for archaic decisions. He threw pitch counts to the wind. But criticism was met by equally as valid defenses. The Nationals fired him anyway and went with Joe Maddon’s understudy. The choice was a young, analytically-inclined manager, like the Phillies chose in Gabe Kapler, like the Yankees chose in Aaron Boone, or like the Red Sox chose in Alex Cora.
There is no telling who will end up taking the role back from interim manager Jim Riggleman. Barry Larkin is reported to be at the top of the Reds’ list. He fits close enough to the younger, little or no managing experience trendline. Price earned his keep as a leader, who some might call “a real baseball guy.” Managers like him don't look likely to last long under baseball’s current drive toward efficiency, and he probably couldn’t save the Reds. But, given the roster, can a younger, more analytically driven manager do the job either?