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Bryan Price to return as Cincinnati Reds manager in 2017

That ends that speculation.

David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Reds announced on Friday that Bryan Price, whose previous contract ran only through the end of the 2016 season, would return to manage the team in 2017.

Price obviously hasn't had much success in the win column since taking over as the team's manager prior to the 2014 season, but that's also coincided with the front office's decision to massively overhaul the roster in an effective and thorough rebuild.  After making the playoffs in both 2012 and 2013, the Reds have gone just 207-276 since Price was promoted from pitching coach to manager, but there have obviously been ample reasons beyond just his managerial ability that have fueled that slide.

Since he took over, the club has traded away the likes of Mat Latos, Mike Leake, Todd Frazier, Johnny Cueto, Jay Bruce, and Aroldis Chapman, and debilitating injuries to key cogs like Joey Votto, Devin Mesoraco, and Homer Bailey have also repeatedly kept Price's hands tied.  It seems the front office weighed those extenuating circumstances heavily in their decision to bring back Price - and his entire staff.

Price came through the ranks as a pitching coach both in Seattle and Arizona before coming to Cincinnati during what may well have been the best stretch of sustained pitching in team history, and the likes of Cueto, Leake, Bailey, Latos, and Bronson Arroyo have all said as much.  Perhaps the burgeoning young pitching core on the current roster led Walt Jocketty & Dick Williams to decide they'd like Price to usher in the new core, too, with each of Amir Garrett, Cody Reed, Robert Stephenson, Raisel Iglesias, Anthony DeSclafani, Dan Straily, and Brandon Finnegan set to be under team control for many years to come.

No word yet on the length of the new contract, but I'd be shocked if it was anything less than 2 years, since the concept of bringing him back and the concept of him again being a lame duck don't exactly go hand in hand.  With the bulk of the team's trades now out of the way and an army of MLB ready players now in the fold in return, it's clear Price will have the chance to lead this new group of Reds out of the NL Central cellar and back, we hope, to playing competitive baseball.

Congrats, Bryan, and best of luck.  Just don't read the Facebook comments.