Jim Riggleman is currently managing the Cincinnati Reds, but there’s little to no chance that he’ll be the team’s manager beyond this season. At least, that’s the kind of assumption I’m going to bank on to make sure that I don’t rip the rest of my hair out between now and when the Reds do hire their next full-time manager, since the concept of merely keeping the status quo at this point of the rebuild is enough to send us all into a screaming fit.
No, the Reds will look elsewhere to fully replace Bryan Price at season’s end, barring some miraculous turnaround to 2017 both in record and in team chemistry. And while the likes of Joe Girardi and John Farrell - both with World Series titles on their managerial resumes - are both currently out there on the market as potential hires, it sounds as if the Reds aren’t necessarily interested in making a big splash with their hire, as FanRag’s Jon Heyman reported over the weekend. More specifically, they don’t intend to spend big on their hire the way they did with Dusty Baker, Heyman relayed in the Cincinnati section of his notes, which might effectively price them out of an option the caliber of Girardi.
To those fans who are convinced that a manager makes a mighty difference in how the 25 guys on the roster perform, that could be quite disheartening. To those who worry that replacing Price - himself an inexperienced hire who’d never been a big league manager - with another inexperienced guy spells instant disaster, this news will certainly be fuel to your fires. However, it’s also quite apparent that many of the biggest clubs in the game have already felt quite comfortable in handing their duties over to younger, less experienced managers, and many have seen solid success.
Craig Counsell is a solid example, as the longtime infielder took over the Milwaukee Brewers in 2015 with zero managerial experience, but his lengthy playing days obviously have made him quite capable on the job. Similarly, the Boston Red Sox turned to Alex Cora while the Washington Nationals opted for Dave Martinez, and both of those clubs are combining to spend some $400 million on payroll this season.
Barry Larkin’s name will continue to get floated around, which is one part tantalizing and another part terrifying - since there’s a huge portion of me that doesn’t want to ever see one of my favorite players of all time set up to fail on his home stage. That said, I think it’s clear that former long-time players in the league are now being treated as having just as much ‘right’ experience to be managers as those folks who have actually managed with success, which opens up the deep end of the candidate pool.
In other news, The Athletic’s C. Trent Rosecrans broke down what the Reds might do with the #5 overall pick in June’s MLB Draft, spotlighting four hitters and one pitcher who seem likeliest to be picked if still around. Interestingly, they’re all college products, though that says less about the urgency to get immediate results at this point of the rebuild than it does about the nature of the entire draft, as Rosecrans explains further.
Over at Cincinnati Magazine, friend of the blog Chad Dotson dives deep into the promises made by Bob Castellini when his ownership group took over the Reds in early 2006, and it’s a great read. The obvious gist here is that things haven’t gone at all as planned, but I think the bigger issue at this juncture isn’t that they haven’t - it’s if and when they ever will.
Finally, Doug Gray took a look at which prospects have improved their stock so far in 2018 at RedsMinorLeagues.com, as well as which ones have seen their’s drop.