October 2013

Reports: Price gets the gig

Multiple reports have surfaced Monday night that pitching coach Bryan Price will be formally promoted to Reds manager on Tuesday. Click here for the story on MLB.com.

Some of the questions I got during the last couple of weeks when Price became a candidate to replace Dusty Baker as manager were what kind of manager might he be and would he hold players accountable.

On Sept. 24, we ran a story I wrote on Price and assistant pitching coach Mack Jenkins. The subject of accountability came up.

A quote from Homer Bailey:

“One thing I can say about them that’s helped not just the starting rotation but the bullpen is the fact that we are held accountable,” Bailey said. “We demand certain things out of everyone here, whether you’re the No. 1 starter on the team or the mop-up guy — it doesn’t matter. Our expectations are held so high. Some things are just unacceptable. Our starters are expected to go seven innings. We are expected to keep our team in the game. We are expected to put up quality starts.”

And here is a quote in that story from Price himself about how things changed after he became pitching coach for the Reds:

“This team hadn’t been in the playoffs for 15 years,” Price said. “There was room for improvement and room for change. I think for a guy like me, with 16 years of player-development experience as a player and coach, one thing you get when you’re in the Minor Leagues is the importance of fundamentals and accountability. I don’t have any idea what it was like here before, and I don’t imagine it was that much different. I do know that if somebody does something they shouldn’t do, we’ll call them out on it. Don’t cover first base or don’t hold runners close, don’t back up bases — when they come back into the dugout, they’re going to hear about it.”

Five spots open

With Monday’s news that Jim Leyland stepped down as manager of the Tigers, it created a fifth managerial opening in the Major Leagues.

Does this news affect the Reds very much? Probably not, unless Detroit is interested in Bryan Price or Jim Riggleman. But suddenly there is a new top spot in terms of open jobs. The Tigers are a big-market, big-pocketed team that has won the American League Central each of the last three seasons and reached at least the AL Championship Series all three times. The Tigers went to the World Series in 2006 and 2012. They have Miguel Cabrera powering the lineup and that great rotation, aced by Justin Verlander.

Here’s how I would rank the managerial openings:

1. Tigers
2. Nationals
3. Reds
4. Mariners
5. Cubs

Washington goes ahead of Cincinnati because it’s a big-market, deep-talented team that if it makes wise decisions, can stay competitive longer and spend its way out of issues. The Reds have the talented, ready-to-win-now roster but it’s unlikely that a big Trade Deadline move will be made each summer nor will there usually be a giant free agent splash made each winter. Sure, the Mariners have been a mess and I know the Cubs are planning big renovations at Wrigley Field to make them more competitive in the long run — but no manager has seemed to be able to make it work in the North Side of Chicago long term and I’m not sure there is anyone out there who can satisfy the demands and limitations of that job.

I’m sure my list is open for debate, so have at it.

Hey, it’s me.

Today for MLB.com, I did a quick phone interview that was posted in the multimedia section of the web site. Honestly, it’s probably nothing you haven’t read here or on the Reds site already. But this version of news tidbits has my voice over moving pictures … so there you go. Enjoy.

Latos has bone chips removed

Reds starting pitcher Mat Latos had surgery Oct. 11 to remove bone chips from his right elbow. It was an arthroscopic procedure and Latos began physical therapy the following day.

Latos is expected to make a full recovering in time for Spring Training 2014.

Latos reported feeling elbow soreness in the final week of the regular season and was replaced as the starter for the National League Wild Card Game vs. the Pirates by Johnny Cueto.

Below is a photo of Latos tweeted out by his wife, Dallas Latos.

Reds in the AFL

It’s about a week into the Arizona Fall League season and several Reds prospects are participating with the Glendale Desert Dogs. You can click here to follow their progress.

Here are some of the guys that are off to a pretty good start…

*OF Yorman Rodriguez: 5 games, .333/.348/.571, 1 HR, 4 RBIs
*C Tucker Barnhart: 3 games, .300/.462/.400
*3B Travis Mattair: 3 games, .300/.462/.600, 1 HR, 1 RBI
*RHP Chad Rogers: 2 games, 3 1/3 ip, 0.00 ERA, 2 H, 0 BB, 4 Ks
*RHP Drew Hayes: 2 games, 2 ip, 0.00 ERA, 1 H, 0 BB, 4 K

Playoff stuff

Contrary to what some of you might think, I have no rooting interest for the Reds as a reporter. I cover the team, hope for the best stories and try to bring them to you the best way I can. That being said, it was still disappointing that the Reds went out in the Wild Card because it prevented me from the opportunity to write what I would have expected to be some compelling playoff stories and features.

When MLB.com covers the playoffs, we send extra writers on the scene of each series and some really good content flows as a result. We were able to do some of it over the five-game NLDS last year with the Reds and Giants. This year — it’s happening elsewhere as some really good stories have come from our writers in October.

Some examples:

*Steve Gilbert did a piece of the 2003 trade that brought Adam Wainwright from his hometown Braves organization to the Cardinals. Along with Wainwright, the Cardinals also received pitchers Jason Marquis and Ray King in exchange for outfielder J.D. Drew and catcher Eli Marrero. Walt Jocketty has a quote in the story and it’s really been one of the better trades made in the decade, at least for St. Louis.

*Ian Browne wrote a game story late Sunday on the Red Sox fantastic finish to beat the Tigers.

*On Saturday, Jenifer Langosch rocked a game story from another nail-biter, where Carlos Beltran, aka “Mr. October 2.0” beat the Dodgers with his bat and his arm.

*And Alden Gonzalez has the story on Tigers RF Torii Hunter being OK after flipping over the outfield fence trying to catch David Ortiz’s game-tying grand slam.

*As an aside, I had the pleasure of covering both Ortiz and Hunter on the Twins beat for MLB.com. Ortiz wasn’t yet near the player he became in Boston — mostly because of injuries. But he was a blast to be around and always very candid. Hunter was one of the best players and interviews I’ve ever covered regularly. When he was younger, he owned center field and was never afraid to give up his body to make plays — something that once again showed last night.

Since Hunter is OK, I have an official reinactment of the play at the fence at Fenway Park.

torii 1


No news (yet)

I’d love to send you all off for the weekend with some exciting scoop on the Reds managerial search. The day is still young but I truthfully have nothing very exciting.

That doesn’t mean nothing is happening, of course. Reds GM Walt Jocketty is out in Arizona right now for organizational meetings and to watch the Arizona Fall League. Pitching coach Bryan Price lives in Arizona. Reds CEO Bob Castellini has business dealings in Arizona. It makes too much sense that if an interview for Price is going to happen, it would happen in … Arizona.

*It’s not a big deal that the Reds haven’t moved faster on this. The playoffs are going on and teams generally try to avoid making news so not to take the light off of the postseason. None of the other clubs with vacancies — the Cubs, Mariners and Nationals — have done anything either.

*Former Reds and Yankees star Paul O’Neill just went on the Dan Patrick Show this morning. O’Neill reiterated his desire to manage the Reds.

“Every once in a while, you see opportunities that just seem like ‘boy that would be really, really cool.’ I don’t know where this is going to go, but sure, if it was talked about or I had an opportunitiy to sit down with Mr. Castellini, I would definitely be interested in managing this team because I think this team can win and that’s basically what it’s all about.”

Have the Reds contacted O’Neill?

“I’ve talked to some people in the organization, obviously, I live here in Cincinnati. But I don’t think they will do anything — this is kind of the prized time in baseball for fans to sit back and watch the playoffs and try to keep other things out of the news.”

*Finally, I had to post this video link of an umpire who called a strike three with “whoomp, there it is!” It’s courtesy of the instagram account of former pitcher Mark Mulder, currently an ESPN analyst. He got it from ex-teammate Bobby Crosby’s brother I believe. I can’t stop watching this five-second video and maybe you won’t be able to stop either.

Click here to watch

Paul O’Neill?

YES Network and Yankees play-by-play voice Michael Kay tweeted this out a short time ago on Wednesday:

@RealMichaelKay: Breaking news: sources say Yankees announcer Paul O’Neill has spoken with Reds owner Bob Castellini about the Reds’ vacant managerial job.

Obviously, Kay works with O’Neill, who is a former Reds right fielder and member of the 1990 World Series winners. The Reds have kept the external candidate list quiet, but this is certainly interesting. O’Neill has no managerial experience on his resume.

Click here to read my story on MLB.com.

UPDATE: Through a team spokesman, the Reds deny that they have contacted O’Neill about their managerial vacancy.

Riggleman, Bell and misc.

*Besides Bryan Price, two of the other names most mentioned for the Reds managerial opening have been Jim Riggleman and David Bell. I will have a full story soon up on MLB.com/Reds.com, but neither have been contacted as of yet by Cincinnati.

UPDATE: click here for the full story

Bell declined to comment because he remains under contract with the Cubs as third base coach through the end of October. Riggleman, of course, is an internal candidate already mentioned by GM Walt Jocketty.

“If I am on the list, it would be flattering in itself. I would look forward to talking to them,” Riggleman said on Tuesday.

Price told me on Monday he was contacted by the Reds and is interested in the job. But he declined further comment.

*In a story that posted on Monday, I provided an outlook towards 2014 and included the list of potential free agents and arbitration eligibles.

Free agents: OF Shin-Soo Choo; RHP Bronson Arroyo; LHP Zach Duke ; INF Cesar Izturis ; LHP Manny Parra ; RHP Nick Masset

Arbitration eligible: RHP Homer Bailey (third year), LHP Aroldis Chapman (first year) C Ryan Hanigan (third year) OF Chris Heisey (second year), RHP Mike Leake (second year), RHP Sam LeCure (first year); C Corky Miller (first year); OF Xavier Paul (first year); RHP Alfredo Simon (second year).

Other news:

*Other teams are also searching for a manager, including the Cubs. Click here for a story on two of their candidates — Manny Acta and Rick Renteria.

*Former 2007 Reds interim manager Pete Mackanin is returning to the Phillies as a third base coach under manager Ryne Sandberg. Mackanin spent 2013 as a scout for the Yankees after he was let go from Charlie Manuel’s coaching staff after the 2012 season. Former Phillies skipper Larry Bowa will be the team’s new bench coach.

All quiet from Reds with Arroyo

One thing I didn’t get to on Friday when Dusty Baker lost his job was a part of my conversation with Bronson Arroyo. The longtime Reds pitcher knew that his last start of 2013 vs. the Pirates — where he allowed five homers — was possibly his final start with the club.

Nothing has changed since the season ended to have Arroyo thinking any differently.

“I’ve heard not a word,” Arroyo said on Friday. “The sense I have, I don’t think they’ll make me a [qualifying] offer. They would have to offer me $13-14 million for me to stay anyway.”

Arroyo has maintained that he looking for, at minimum, a two-year contract on the free agent market. With Tony Cingrani on the scene and a much cheaper option, Arroyo knew this time was coming.

“I haven’t had one conversation with them,” Arroyo said. “They could be taking care of other things or other issues. The sense I get is by not having any conversation with me, is they’re going in a different direction. [Assistant GM] Bob Miller usually likes to get a leg up on these things and have a conversation.

“It’s a question of whether they want a $28 million rotation or a $42 million rotation. They have Cingrani and probably don’t want to push the envelope money-wise.”

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