In what also included a significant overhaul of their major-league coaching staff, the Cincinnati Reds fired Bryan Price as their manager on Thursday morning.
The decision was made as the Reds started the year 3-15, with the team holding the worst record in Major League Baseball. As noted by USA Today, Price was hired as the team’s manager prior to the 2014 MLB season and ended his tenure with a combined record of 279-387. In four full seasons with Price in charge, the Reds never finished the year with a winning record or placed higher than fourth in the National League’s Central Division, with Price’s first-season record of 76-86 marking his best campaign with the team.
With Bryan Price fired, the Cincinnati Reds will be turning to former Washington Nationals manager Jim Riggleman, who was promoted from bench coach to interim manager. Cincinnati also let go of pitching coach Mack Jenkins, and further shook up their major-league staff by hiring Class AAA Louisville manager Pat Kelly and Class AA Pensacola pitching coach Danny Darwin as interim pitching coaches, according to Cincinnati.com. The Reds announced that they will be conducting a more “thorough” search for a long-term replacement for Price later in the season.
In a statement quoted by Cincinnati.com, Reds president of baseball operations Dick Williams said that the changes were made in an effort to get the team “back on the right track” while still in the early stages of the 2018 MLB season.
“We realize it is early in the season but feel it is important to be proactive. In addition to these staff changes, we will continue to examine all aspects of Baseball Operations to ensure we are doing everything we can to improve.”
In Bryan Price’s four years as manager, the Reds went through a slow, but steady rebuilding process as they traded away some of their best players, including the likes of Aroldis Chapman and Todd Frazier, and dealt with instability in their pitching rotation. According to USA Today, the Reds’ rotation featured “at least” 15 different starting pitchers in both the 2016 and 2017 seasons.
As further reported by USA Today, Bryan Price was nearly fired in the middle of the 2015 season and replaced with Reds icon and Baseball Hall of Famer Barry Larkin, but nonetheless remained with the team as they finished 64-98 and fifth in the NL Central Division. Earlier this year, Larkin had expressed interest in managing, but only if he could take over at Cincinnati; it wasn’t stated whether he may be in consideration in the future as Price’s full-time replacement. Meanwhile, Cincinnati.com speculated that Riggleman, who last managed the Washington Nationals in 2011, might indeed be a “placeholder” rather than a potential full-time manager, though it’s not sure when exactly the search for a permanent replacement will begin.