The Cincinnati Reds are falling apart quickly. In an uncharacteristic move, Reds team president Walt Jocketty showed a rare glimpse of his emotions. Pitching coach Mark Riggins was fired, on Monday. The move came amid swirls of rumors that something was going to happen. With the Reds in the midst of a horrendous season, Riggins’ firing could be the start of more changes. Could manager Bryan Price be next?
It’s no secret that the Reds have been struggling. The 2016 season has been one that the players and fans would like to forget. The removal of Riggins was surprising but not unwarranted. Something had to be done. The Reds pitching staff is in utter disarray. The dreaded word “rebuilding” has been the saving grace for the Redlegs, since the 2016 campaign began. With performances getting worse, it seemed like the logical move to make.
The problem goes deeper than just the pitching staff. The Reds have been floundering along, since Bryan Price replaced Dusty Baker as manager. In his stint with the Reds, Price hasn’t led the team over the.500 mark. Cincinnati posted a 76-86 record in 2014. The 2015 team sank to 64-98, amid rumors of Price’s dismissal. But Reds brass kept him aboard. That decision has the Reds facing a record number of losses, to end the season.
The prospect of an embarrassing finish leads to the obvious question of Price’s return.
“Right now, we’ve just got to go into the second half and keep improving as best we can and developing these young players,” Jocketty explained via Fox Sports. “We have seen improvement throughout the season. We’ve just got to continue to do that and take a positive approach and keep guys from losing confidence.”
The Reds are going through multiple changes on all fronts. The starting rotation was supposed to be the gem that helped right the ship. But, Reds faithful have been severely disappointed. Both the starters and bullpen are on par to shatter the Major League record for homers. Per the Cincinnati Enquirer, the Reds’ arms are threatening to give up 288 home runs. That mark will destroy records set by the Detroit Tigers and Colorado Rockies.
If the Reds aren’t moving towards firing Price, it’s a serious message. Seeing that the Reds are halfway through the season, the inevitable may be delayed until the final out of the year. Usually, the manager gets the blame for anything negative. In the case of Price, the majority of the slide is on him. Reds fanatics have seen a contending team transformed into the third worst team in baseball.
Just over two years ago, the Reds finished 90-72 and were a sound unit. Under the direction of Price and Jocketty, the Redlegs are no better than a sub.500 team. With Price faltering as the pitching guru, what other recourse does the Reds organization have? Part of the rationale for keeping him as manager was the development of the young arms. Suddenly, that burden may be on shoulders of bullpen coach Mack Jenkins.
“Unfortunately, the pitching on our big league staff has not improved over the course of the season as we had hoped,” Jocketty said in a statement.
“It is time for a new voice.”
With the performance of the Reds on the field and on the mound, the next new voice may be in the form of manager. Price has taken the Redlegs from division contenders to bottom dwellers. The confines of Great American Small Park could be graced with a new leader, after the dust settles on 2016.
[Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images]