Reds: Build A Lousy Team, Get A Lousy Record, Fire The Manager

Bryan Price and Mack Jenkins are out as the Cincinnati Reds manager and pitching coach after a 3-15 start. Granted, a start like that, if continued, would have resulted in a 27-135 record, which would have been the worst record in the modern era, but still behind the 1899 Cleveland Spiders. Rumor has it that team was different though. Because of the name, they insisted on playing only eight players.

Of course, the 2018 version of the Spiders couldn’t have ended that badly, but, it was never going to end well. And, really, what did the Reds expect? They put exactly zero decent starting pitchers on a squad with a bunch of guys who strike out a ton on offense and don’t produce all that much when they hit the ball, Joey Votto being the obvious exception.

So will Jim Riggleman, Pat Kelly and Danny Darwin really make a difference as the new manager, bench coach and pitching coach respectively? Nothing personal, but Riggleman’s tenure as a manager over 1400 games yielded one winning season as the full time skipper. And what was his reward for suffering through those mid 1990’s Chicago Cubs teams and having a winning season? Well, let’s say  he wasn’t there the next year.

As for the other two, I don’t know what Reds fans can expect when the players that came through the minors, and the veterans the team has added are 3-15.

The coaches aren’t the problem or the solution.n It’s higher up than that, in the talent evaluation and player acquisition sides of things.

That said, this whole thing I’m guessing went something like this:

CEO Robert Castellini called Price and Jenkins in and said “Holy crap! Did you know we have a .167 winning percentage? And Price and Jenkins said, “Yeah. This is what happens when you put a crappy team on the field. Thanks.”

So the owner goes to the general manager, Dick Williams, and says “Price and Jenkins say you suck at this and even though you have two family members who are minority owners, I am embarrassed so I recommend you do something.”

Which is when Williams says to himself, “Even though it’s been pretty obvious we are rebuilding, or trying to, and The Spitter picked us dead last, so it was pretty obvious we were going to stink, this guy is going to fire me if I don’t do something.”

And so we say goodbye to Mr. Price and Mr. Jenkins: the latest in a long line of managers asked to lead a lousy bunch of players who were then punished when the team architects looked at the newspaper and saw that the team they created produced lousy results.

Sometimes it’s pride. Sometimes it’s unrealistic expectations. Sometimes it’s the latest in a long line of bad decisions. Whatever it is this time, it’s unfair. Good luck to the Reds finding a manager who’s willing to work for a group that makes mistakes, but doesn’t take responsibility for them.

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