It has only been a few days since the Cincinnati Reds let go of their skipper Dusty Baker. Through just one weekend, there have been a plethora of names thrown around as possibilities for the next Reds manager.
Many believe pitching coach Bryan Price and Triple-A Louisville manger Jim Riggleman are the top choices for the Reds (per MLB.com). Both of them bring an interesting and familiar face to the clubhouse.
However, are the best candidates going to come from inside the Reds organization?
Let’s go ahead and breakdown the possibility of the Reds staying within their organization for the next manager position.
Who is Really Running the Team?
The last six games of the season for the Reds seemed somewhat fitting. The Reds never had control of the NL Central and they didn’t go on that large winning streak everyone hoped for in the season.
The Reds certainly appeared unstable, even with their 90 wins. With a very early postseason exit, someone had to take the blame for the disappointing season and it all quickly fell on Dusty Baker.
Last Friday, a few players were interviewed by 700 WLW’s Lance McAlister and admitted there wasn’t a true leader in the clubhouse. Some players mentioned the absence of Ryan Ludwick for the majority of the season and others talked about the void Scott Rolen left in the clubhouse.
One of the biggest worries is whether or not a current coach can take this club in a new direction. Will a current Reds player or coach be able to have the ability to fire this team up?
The Reds need someone fresh in the clubhouse. The years of Baker baseball are gone in Cincinnati and a new face could be exactly what this team needs to get deeper in the postseason.
Is Bryan Price the Answer?
Bryan Price is easily a front-runner for the open position. However, it’s fair to ask how this club will react to the former pitching coach as their manager.
If Baker and his coaching staff couldn’t put the pieces together, will Price be able to improve the Reds clubhouse as a whole after working five years with Baker in Cincinnati?
It’s not to say Price will coach exactly like Baker, but after many years on the Reds will he be the spark that gets this team going?
Without a true leader since Rolen left, it might be difficult for the Reds players to follow someone they’re so familiar with in the clubhouse. Price also has no managerial expertise in the majors.
Even though he has never been the skipper, a lot of teams will inquire on Price this season. Ken Rosenthal tweeted that the Seattle Mariners would consider Price as the 2014 manager.
The move is fitting since he was their pitching coach from 2001 to 2006. On the other hand, if the Mariners are serious on Price, his value might go up.
Since the Reds are forced to swallow between $3 and $4 million still owed to Baker (per SI.com), the organization might not have the money to outbid another team.
A Good Friend Is Not Hard To Find
John Fay of Cincinnati.com reports that the Reds are receiving a lot of calls on the open manager position. And in all honesty, the Reds have one of the top rosters for a new manager to take over.
The Chicago Cubs, Washington Nationals, Mariners and possibly the New York Yankees are all in search of a manager for 2014. What makes the Reds so unique is the abundance of people within the organization who are strong candidates.
A serious candidate for the new manager spot is current Triple-A Louisville manager Jim Riggleman. However, in his 12 years as a manager, Riggleman has never finished in first place or won over 90 games in a season (per baseball-reference.com).
Riggleman did improve some bad teams in his tenure, but he is now notoriously known as the manager who quit on the Nationals midway through the 2011 season. Riggleman would once again have a ton of adversity to overcome as a major-league manager, and he would have to prove he’s staying put.
However, should the Reds gamble on a coach who walked out on his team just two years ago? It's tough to put faith in someone who has such a poor rapport with his previous team.
Former Reds Double-A and Triple-A coach David Bell is another manager possibility. Bell was the Cubs third base coach in 2013 and has ties to the Reds.
Even though Bell was a minor league manager for many of the current Reds players, he could be a fresh face to the team. Bell is more of a firecracker manager than most of the other options and could give the Reds a solid leader.
Reds bench coach Chris Speier might be a possibility for the manager position, but what could be argued against Price could also be said of Speier. The Reds might need someone who hasn't been in the dugout for the past few years.
According to Paul Daugherty of Cincinnati.com, the difference with Speier is he's known to be more of a no-nonsense guy. Speier was the third base coach for the 2001 World Series Champion Arizona Diamondbacks and was with the Cubs from 2005 to 2006.
Should the Reds hire within the organization?
The issue with Speier and Price is that they will be out of the picture in 2014 if they’re not hired as the next manager.
Even though the Reds will likely choose someone within the organization, there are plenty of signs that could keep them from choosing in-house.
If the Reds are searching for someone who is the opposite of Baker, who could light a fire in the clubhouse—they might have to look outside the organization for help.