Cleat Geeks

The “Price” of Being Last

PriceBeingThrownOutReds manager Bryan Price’s job security is “extremely tenuous,” and the organization could undergo other changes as well, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports writes. Walt Jocketty could leave the GM job, although there are indications that he will remain with the organization in some capacity, particularly since he’s close with owner Bob Castellini.

A source close to Jocketty tells Heyman that Jocketty “has yet to make up his mind” about keeping Price. As Heyman notes, though, it’s been a brutal year for Price in his second season on the job. The Reds are in last place and Price hasn’t impressed observers with his tactical ability, and he received headlines earlier this year for an obscenity-laced tirade to reporters.

From left to right, Walt Jocketty, Bryan Price and Bob Castellini.

From left to right, Walt Jockety, Bryan Price and Bob Castellini.

Castellini said late last month that he would not make a manager change during the season. “You look at everything after the season,” he said, via John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer. “But that’s not something we’re going to get into now. Bryan’s our manager.” The Reds organization clearly seems to be going in a new direction, having traded Johnny Cueto, Mike Leake, Marlon Byrd, Mat Latos and Alfredo Simon in the past year.

The Reds entered play Monday with a 56-79 record, dead last in the NL Central. They lost nine games in a row between August 14-23, and are poised to finish fifth in the division for the first time since 2008. Their .417 winning percentage would be their worst since 2001.

Price was the Seattle Mariners pitching coach from 2001–2006. Price earned USA Today Baseball Weekly ‘s Pitching Coach of the Year Award in 2001 after leading that staff to the American League ERA title with a 3.54 mark, an improvement of almost one run per game from the previous season. Price was the Arizona Diamondbacks pitching coach until May 7, 2009, when he resigned after manager Bob Melvin was replaced by A.J. Hinch. Price was named Major League Coach of the Year by Baseball America in 2007 after his Diamondbacks staff posted a 4.13 ERA, fourth best in the National League, on the way to the National League Championship Series. He also worked for the Philadelphia Phillies as a minor league consultant.

Price was hired as manager of the Cincinnati Reds on October 21, 2013, replacing Dusty Baker, and was publicly announced at a news conference on October 22. On September 26, 2014, the team announced that Price and Walt Jocketty would return for the 2015 season. On April 20, 2015, Price went on angry, expletive-filled rant to a gathering of the Cincinnati media before a 6-1 win over the Milwaukee Brewers over reporters leaking undisclosed developments about players that he believed would put his team at a competitive disadvantage. In particular, he was upset that a Cincinnati Enquirer reporter saw catcher Devin Mesoraco on his flight, and then tweeted the catcher wasn’t available to play during a game in St. Louis because of injury. In the rant, Price used the variations of a foul word that rhymes with duck 77 times.BarryLarkin

Price does have another year left on his contract. In his 2 year tenure with the Cincinnati Reds as their manager spanning 296 games he has compiled a less than stellar 131 wins to 165 losses.

As Heyman notes, there have been whispers that Reds great and Hall of Famer Barry Larkin could succeed Price. Since retiring, Larkin has coached in the World Baseball Classic, worked in the Nationals front office and served as an ESPN analyst. He was a candidate for the Rays’ managerial position last offseason. This year, he’s served as a roving instructor for the Reds, although he said in May that he was not yet ready to commit to managing a big-league team.

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