Al Behrman/Associated Press
When Joey Votto went on the disabled list indefinitely in early July, it left the Reds without a primary first baseman. The team had a few young players in the minors who could play the position, but those bats weren't ready for the majors.
The lack of a primary first baseman put Price in a tough spot. Todd Frazier had played some first base in the past, but it doesn't make sense to move him from his primary position when his replacement would be Ramon Santiago. Price, for whatever reason, decided to give Gold Glove-caliber right fielder Jay Bruce a shot at first base for a couple of games. That experiment went exactly as one might expect.
In the end, Price has pretty much given Brayan Pena—who had very limited experience at the position before this year—the majority of the playing time at the position.
When it came down to it, this team could sacrifice a little bit of defense (Santiago at third) for more offense (Pena at first). The rest of the defense is so good that the Reds could afford to have an inexperienced first baseman. However, Pena has looked fairly strong at the position.
Pena has only one error in 34 games at first base. He may not make every play, but he doesn't botch many plays. He has also shown the ability to pick low throws out of the dirt with ease, which has been the biggest surprise.
The switch-hitting veteran is hitting .277 with five home runs this season. When the Reds lost Votto and Brandon Phillips to injuries in July, Pena stepped up his game. He hit .294 in July and is hitting .444 in August. With a couple of key players out, Pena's bat has to be in the lineup.
Price didn't have many great options for the position. He experimented for a bit and could have continued to rotate players at first base, but he made the right decision in putting Pena there on a daily basis.
*All stats are via MLB.com.