The Cincinnati Reds fired Manager Bryan Price in the midst of an MLB worst 3-15 start to the 2018 season. The final straw for Reds management may have been the back to back shutouts at the hands of division rival Milwaukee at home. The Reds are going to throw numbers out that “justify” the firing of Price at the end of the day they are using him to scapegoat what was always going to be a bad season.
Price leaves the Reds with a career record of 279-387, a winning percentage of just under 42%. During his tenure as manager Price watched as the Reds began a rebuild of epic proportion. Realizing that they had begun a fall of contention in 2014 the Reds began trading off long time pieces of the organization. Names like Todd Frazier, Jay Bruce, Brandon Phillips, Mike Leake, Mat Latos, Aroldis Chapman and Johnny Cueto were moved to try and rebuild an unimpressive farm system. As the big names left the fan base began to join them. The 2017 team ranked 26th in attendance, they currently ranked 20th in the league in 2018. This number will continue to decrease as the losing continues.
The Red’s front office has found a way to appease an angry fanbase by moving on from a manager that was never set up to win. By moving him they can deflect the blame of horrible moves made. For example, of the 4 players picked up in the Aroldis Chapman trade, 3 are no longer in the organization, while the 4th, pitcher Rookie Davis, has a torn Labrum. The Todd Frazier trade netted them current starting shortstop Jose Peraza whom has shown no ability to hit at the major league level. The only remanence of the Johnny Cueto trade, Pitcher Brandon Finnegan, has spent more time on the DL then the lineup card. The Red’s chose to clean house in an attempt to follow the trends of the Chicago Cubs and the Houston Astros. They have seen the success of these franchises by choosing to “tank”. The problem with the tanking method is that eventually it becomes a problem with your fans. The Reds have begun to realize that when you are a historic franchise you do not always have the time to wait out a rebuild.
On record alone the firing of Bryan Price was justified, but it has become a trend for teams to move on from a manager just to make a move. Price has been a strong leader for a team of young players. He will move on and find a job most likely as a pitching coach for a major league team, but the sting of a potential turn around over the next three years for the franchise will sting. The Reds have built their farm system up to 9th in the MLB. Potential franchise players, infielder Nick Senzel and pitching phenom Hunter Greene are working their way to the show soon to join Joey Votto and hopefully a healthy Eugenio Suarez.
When you look at who is to blame for the start of the season for the Reds, don’t let the front office fool you into thinking it was Bryan Prices fault. Management was never planning for him to win. He was never going to be succesful in Cincinnati.