The Cincinnati Reds are set to name pitching coach Bryan Price as their next manager, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer, whose report has been backed up by Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal and USA Today's Bob Nightengale. The Reds haven't publicly confirmed the hire, but they're expected to at a Tuesday press conference.
Price, 51, has been the Cincinnati pitching coach since the 2010 season. Prior to that, he held the same job for the Arizona Diamondbacks and Seattle Mariners. He never played big-league baseball, but Price spent five seasons in the Los Angeles Angels and Mariners farm systems.
He takes over for Dusty Baker, who managed the Reds for six seasons, compiled a 509-454 record, but could never get past a first-round playoff hump. Baker was booted from his job after the Reds' wild-card loss this postseason to the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The Enquirer explained Price's impact on the Reds pitching during his tenure:
Price has turned the Reds' pitching around. In his four years, the club has finished seventh, 12th, third and fourth in the National League in ERA. In the three years before he arrived, the club was seventh, 13th and 15th.
Young pitchers -- like Aroldis Chapman, Mike Leake, Tony Cingrani, Sam LeCure, J.J. Hoover and Logan Ondrusek -- have developed on his watch. Johnny Cueto and Homer Bailey took the next step under Price.
According to the Enquirer's John Fay, Price and Triple-A manager Jim Riggleman were the two main candidates for the job. Price joins John Farrell of the Boston Red Sox and Bud Black of the San Diego Padres as the only former pitching coaches in the current crop of MLB managers.
Price comes well recommended from players and endorsed by the media — Enquirer columnist Paul Daugherty writes that Price is a good choice. Pitcher Bronson Arroyo, a free agent after spending the last seven years with the Reds, had previously said hiring Price would be a wise move:
"I think he'd be unbelievable," Bronson Arroyo said when asked about Price as manager. "He's as organized as anyone in the game, he holds people as accountable as well as anyone I've seen. He doesn't buy into stereotypical things in the game, things that other people buy into that I don't feel are relevant. Price looks at evidence. He's a freaking smart guy, he makes his decision on reasonable evidence. Sometimes in baseball we go by hunches, what someone else said or they way things have gone in the past. He doesn't do that."
Looking at things in a broader context, MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince wrote — before news of Price's hire, mind you — that many clubs are steering away from traditional hires and aren't afraid to look at managers will little experience. Our World Series teams this season, the Red Sox and the St. Louis Cardinals, are two that show that.
Indeed, experience is increasingly less a factor than the ability to integrate to the plans and personalities in place, and that's why some of the names being bandied about for these excellent assignments are not exactly household names.
When the Reds hire Price officially, it will leave the Washington Nationals, Seattle Mariners, Chicago Cubs and Detroit Tigers as MLB teams with open manager positions.
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