Price on Piniella

Former Reds manager Lou Piniella arrived to camp on Wednesday and was in a full uniform for Cincinnati for the first time since 1992. Piniella, who was clearly happy to be in his element again after retiring in 2010, also wore his 1990 World Series ring around.

You can read my story on Piniella from the other day here.

Manager Bryan Price, who worked as Piniella’s pitching coach for the Mariners from 2000-02, was thrilled to have Piniella’s input this season as an advisor. What does he bring to the table?

  
“Forty-some years of coaching, managing, general managing, playing experience is the obvious answer,” Price said on Friday. “There’s huge benefit with our familiarity. It goes back 20 years from the time I started doing major league camp as minor league coach to the three years we were together in Seattle.

“He doesn’t have to feel like anything he says is implying anything. He can be very candid. He’s extremely willing to share. He has great perspective. He matured in every aspect. He matured as a hitter. He matured as a student of the game. He matured as a manager. He grew to be just an exceptional Major League manager. He understands exactly where I am in the process of developing, as we all continue to develop as managers. His perspective has been terrific.”

17 Comments

Price better be careful or Pinells will take his job.

Hope it’s the plan.

I would like to hope that Piniella would take Price’s job, I’d feel better with him running this club than Price. But I would like for Price to resume his role as pitching coach because he’s a very good pitching coach. But I don’t think it’ll happen because Lou is enjoying his retirement. But I will say this…it is my opinion that Price doesn’t really know how to manage a club. So I think that Jocketty brought Lou in to serve as an advisor, so Price can draw on Lou’s knowledge. I think that’s a desperate move on Jocketty’s part because I think he realizes on some level that Price needs help being a manager, but is desperate for Price to succeed. Let me tell y’all something, if a manager needs his organization to bring in someone to help him be a better manager, then he shouldn’t be a manager in the first place.

Larkin in to help Bruce re-learn consistency, and Piniella in to help Price learn how to manage a MLB club. The timing is not all that bad as we arent going anywhere in 2016. I am hoping that in this final contract year for Price, he will return to pitching coach in 2017 and Piniella will, after this season, realize he misses baseball and agrees to sign a healthy contract for at least 2 seasons, preferably 3. The pictures of Lou leaves me with the impression that he is in pretty good shape for his age. It is obviously up to him if he would or would not return; opportunity to once again manage in MLB coupled with a healthy contract coupled with a new young group of players coupled with a no-interference management group may well be the get-r-done ingredients. You know full well the thought of managing again has blurred through his mind already; the scenario of being manager of the Cincinnati Reds if and when Price is relieved of his duties has been at least thought about. However, with all that said, he has turned down the Mariners in 2014, so maybe I am trying to force open the door. Lastly, I cannot believe there is a fan in the stands or watching by the computer or listening by the radio that would not be in favor of having Piniella manage the team again. Hope springs eternal!

In a recent talk with MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon and other media about the Reds’ trades of pricey veterans over the last year, Cincinnati GM Dick Williams stressed that “we’re not saving to create a profit, we’re saving to invest in the future, for sure. We’ve got the biggest amateur signing pool this year, when you combine domestic and international….I talked about investing in the analytics and sports science. We’ll be investing in personnel, scouting personnel, new player development initiatives. I’ll be talking a lot about that over the course of this year as we roll things out, but we’ll put that money [to] work for sure.”

You see, what Williams comments tell me is that the Reds don’t plan on signing any big name players anytime soon. Definitely not this year for sure, but it sounds as if this “not signing any big name players” may last well into the immediate future. My guess is that for the next 2 or 3 yrs based upon Jocketty’s comments that he thinks we’ll be competitive again around that time. I personally think the Reds will be losing for a lot longer than the next 2 or 3 yrs. But every move the Reds are making (that started with Baker’s firing) has been like a slap in my face and has dragged this club through the mud. If we still had Baker and that club we’d still be winning. It’s like they are purposely committing to losing, they honestly aren’t trying to win right now or anytime soon, and that just makes me steaming mad!!!! I thought that this current Reds ownership was all about winning NOW!!! Not several years down the road!!! I guess that makes them a bunch if liars.

The game plan from the Reds (consistently) is that they will sacrifice 2016 with the rebuild, and start competing in the following year…2017. With the rebuild thus far they have shaved off approximately $30M per year.
The plan appears to me to be valid…
* they will not compete in 2016
* they will evaluate/develop their players and identify positions in 2016
* the contract of Price will cease at the end of 2016
In addition to their saving salary dollars during the rebuild, they will also renegotiate
their TV/Cable deal at the end of 2016.
In summary, they will have a great deal of money to re-invest in the program at the start of 2017.
The timing of the game plan is perfect, imo; pulling off the game plan is what is tantamount to the success of the Cincinnati Reds post 2016.
In summary, every move, every contract, every choice is all important to this team and to the fan base. We can live with another disappointing year…but only if the results are for the team to compete at a high level starting in 2017, as is the plan of management.

Jocketty himself has said that we’d be competitive again in 2 or 3 years. So that means 2018/2019 at the earliest. But here’s why I think we’ll lose for more than 2 or 3 years. For the simple fact that, even if the Reds do start to show some promise in 2 or 3 years, all our current veterans will be getting a little up there in age and/or be getting near the end of their contracts (or maybe even retiring). So, Jocketty and/or Williams will start doing what they’ve done this past year and a half and that’s start trading who we got left for more stupid prospects. Those new batch of prospects will detract from the clubs performance because they’ll likely be thrust into the starting lineup like this coming season. And, even if those prospects take another 2 or 3 years to reach their full potential, we’re looking at a total of 6 to 8 years at the very least of losing Reds baseball (counting the last 2 seasons as the start of this period). The only way I see us avoiding this fate is if they do indeed go out and get a nice big name free agent or two who could maybe speed up the process of becoming a winning team again. If the Reds start going after big name free agents next season, then maybe the Reds will be contending again in 2 or 3 years. I have no faith in all these damn kids and I just flat out don’t care for them. I will root for the Reds to do well as always but I will not give a damn about the kids that we potentially do it with. The only players left on the Reds that I will continue to cheer on and root for are Votto (my main man, so to speak) and Phillips. I haven’t made up my mind yet if I’ll cheer for Mesoraco and Cozart. By the way, in 2 or 3 years, the only 2 current veterans that I see being left on this club is Mesoraco and maybe even Votto (but I think Votto will be getting close to retirement at that time). I definitely think Phillips will retire by then (if he doesn’t agree to a trade before then). I also think Bailey will be either retired or traded by then as well.

Cheer for Phillips, who screwed up the the beginning of the rebuild???? You have got to be kidding.

Yes, Cheer for Phillips. After all he’s done and given to this club, he deserves more respect and deserves the opportunity to retire a Red. WHEN, the Reds start getting their asses kicked this year, it won’t be Phillips fault, it’ll be because we got a ton of freaking kids on the team who don’t know there butts from a hole in the ground. I say screw the rebuild!!!

By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com | @m_sheldon | 3:14 PM ET
GOODYEAR, Ariz. — Right fielder Jay Bruce may not know how much time he has left with the Reds, but he’s not wasting it. Despite a near trade last week to the Blue Jays, and living with an uncertain future, Bruce has continued to go about his business in camp — which includes working on his hitting.

To go about that, Bruce participated in some sessions with Hall of Famer Barry Larkin, who is at Spring Training as an instructor. Larkin has been helping Bruce with a drill that could help him do a better job of hitting pitches on the outside part of the plate.

“It’s being more linear with your bat path than being rotational,” Bruce explained on Sunday. “I think it’s gone well. Obviously, we haven’t played any games yet. I like how it feels. What the drill helps is something I always work on. It’s just something else that can help.
“We talk all the time. We have an open line of communication. He’s someone who has always been very gracious and honest with me.”
Larkin’s work with Bruce has been done in concert with Reds hitting coach Don Long.
“Don is involved. That’s who all of this goes through,” Bruce said.
Bruce has had down years of hitting the past two seasons. In 2015, he batted .226/.294/.434, but he still had 26 homers and 87 RBIs.
Historically, Bruce has struggled with his pitch selection on the outer half of the plate. According to zone profiles by BrooksBaseball.net, when he chased outside the strike zone to the middle or lower half of the plate last season, he was 20-for-133 (.150). He had his highest swing-and-miss rate low and away, whiffing on 49 of 74 pitches or 66 percent of the time.
The drill Larkin suggested helped take Bruce’s hands to the ball instead of his body.
“I’m just a little quick with my front side,” Bruce said. “This helps with not being so quick with my front side and trusting your hands. It works on literally both sides of the field. It works on the left-center-field gap and it works on pulling the ball correctly, too. The best way to explain it is it works to clean up your bat path.”
Bruce appreciated having a Hall of Fame player like Larkin to help him improve.
“I’m all ears. He’s someone who has a lot of experience,” Bruce said. “I’m always open to listen to get information from anybody who is willing to give it.”
………………………..
Bruce is still very young, considering…at minimum, he (Larkin) may well be increasing value at the dead-line in July 2016. In any event, I still think this guy (Bruce) has a number of good years ahead of him in MLB; his time with the Reds is cooked; we literally do not need him in the 2016 rebuild year and 2017 is his last year of his contract. Trade em before the start of 2016 and save the $$$; he is in the way of rebuild player playing time.

“It’s being more linear with your bat path than being rotational,” Bruce explained .
…………………
Encouraging…maybe we will not see as much 5-11 swings…but then again…

Took the staff long enough. What a joke it is.

I just wanna say that I didn’t mean what I said earlier about “screw the rebuild”. I do hate rebuilds with a red hot rage bcuz that means lots of losses and I hate losing. I just can’t understand how a clubs upper mgmt can just not be concerned with winning now and give up on an already established and good club!!! I just feel that a good team was destroyed for nothing. Yes, we did finish with losing records the last 2 yrs, but that’s bcuz of injuries to key players, trades of our 2 best starting pitchers and I believe bad managing. I just feel that a good team was destroyed bcuz of injuries and should’ve been given another chance or two to see what they could do when fully healthy and with a better mgr running the team. That’s my opinion, take it or leave it!!!!

Yes, once again…the team is reactive…not pro-active. Bruce should have been mentored/tutored/coached a year ago; Hamilton as well. Not very sure why this mentality of team persists. Most bothersome aspect of the team; the management.

The plan was always to rebuild in 2016/compete in 2017…not 2 or 3 years later…
……………………………
Can a ‘reboot’ lead to contention for the 2017 Reds?…
Posted on 08/13/2015 by GRANT FREKING
The Reds’ 2015 campaign can be broken down into four separate segments:

Segment 1: The 4-0 start — remember Todd Frazier’s Opening Day thunderbolt? — and Bryan Price’s blow-up.

Segment 2: Season-ending injuries to Devin Mesoraco and Homer Bailey as well as a nine-game losing streak in May curtailed any chance the Reds possessed at playoff contention.

Segment 3: Frazier captures the Home Run Derby crown/other All-Star week fun.

Segment 4 (The present): The post-Cueto-and-Leake-trade slog to the finish line.

Keeping in line with the off-the-field storylines that have come to define the 2015 Reds, in the aftermath of the non-waiver trade deadline on July 31, general manager Walt Jocketty referred to the Reds’ modus operandi going forward as a “reboot” rather than a “rebuild.”

Less than a week later, when asked about his club’s chances in 2016, Jocketty said, “Our plan at this point is that we realistically have a real good shot in 2017,” while also noting that the “nucleus” of the club is in place.

In essence, while Jocketty and the Reds front office/ownership aren’t punting on 2016, they feel that 2017 is a more practical year for the club to seriously pursue a playoff berth.

Is a Reboot/Aim for 2017 plan realistic? Let’s examine the pros and cons of the Reds’ apparent strategy moving forward.

Con: The position players are aging quickly
Note: For each player’s age, I used Baseball-Reference’s measure, which goes by the player’s age at midnight of June 30.

Player Age in 2017 Contract status after 2017
Devin Mesoraco 29 Signed through 2018
Joey Votto 33 Signed through 2023
Brandon Phillips 36 Free Agent
Zack Cozart 31 Free Agent
Todd Frazier 31 Free Agent
Eugenio Suarez 25 Under club control through 2020
Billy Hamilton 26 Under club control through 2019
Jay Bruce 30 Free Agent
Counting on this particular position player core for sustained production in 2017 is a risky proposition. Mesoraco, Votto, Cozart, and Bruce have missed sizable chunks of time in the past with serious injuries. Phillips has accumulated myriad minor maladies over the last few years, and his declining power production/ability to hit the ball hard as well as his aversion to walks is certainly worrisome.

If the Reds do indeed push their chips to the middle of the table in 2017, the season will take on a Last Hurrah feel — not unlike 2015, to an extent — as the contracts of Phillips, Frazier, and Bruce are set to expire after the 2017 campaign, and Cozart’s last year of arbitration taking place in 2017. (The Reds picking up Bruce’s $13 million team option for 2017 would seem to be a cinch.)

The age-related decline of the older players should be offset by a handful of the other regulars (Mesoraco, Suarez, Hamilton) ideally entering or being in the middle of their prime years. One would think the Reds would have upgraded the bench into a more versatile and formidable unit as well.

The 2015 Reds offense is fifth among the 15 National League squads in fWAR and OPS, seventh in wRC+, and 11th in runs scored. Can what will likely be mostly the same group of regulars produce an average-ish offense to augment a potentially emerging pitching staff?

Wild cards: Prized outfield prospect Jesse Winker (age 23 in 2017) will likely — sensing a pattern with the italics yet? — make the Reds at some point in 2016, increasing the likelihood he can contribute in 2017. … Infield prospect Alex Blandino (24) was bumped from High-A to Double-A recently. There’s a chance Blandino could reach the majors at some point next season. … The Reds should be able to procure something out of outfielder Yorman Rodriguez (24), corner infielder/outfielder Kyle Waldrop (25), and corner infielder/outfielder Adam Duvall (28) by 2017, too.

Pro: Potentially superb pitching depth
Age in 2017 (currently in majors/on DL): Homer Bailey (31), Anthony DeSclafani (27), Raisel Iglesias (27), Michael Lorenzen (25), Keyvius Sampson (26), David Holmberg (25), Jon Moscot (25).

Age in 2017 (currently in minors): Tony Cingrani (27), Robert Stephenson (24), Brandon Finnegan (24), John Lamb (27), Cody Reed (24), Amir Garrett (25), Keury Mella (25), Nick Travieso (23).

As far as the current starters in the bigs go, Bailey should be back to full strength from Tommy John in 2017. DeSclafani, Iglesias, and Lorenzen could be in their third seasons as major-league starters. More than likely, Stephenson is embarking on his second go-around in the bigs.

As for Sampson, Holmberg, Moscot, Cingrani, Finnegan, Lamb, and Reed, most of them will probably be with the Reds, either in the rotation or the bullpen, by 2017. Garrett, Mella, and Travieso, all of whom are pitching at High-A, should be in Triple-A by 2017 and waiting for a taste of the big leagues.

If the Reds can sort everything out, they should possess an impressive collection of young, controllable, and cheap (with the exception being Bailey, of course) pitching, which is why it’s also feasible that a handful of the aforementioned pitchers will be packaged together in a trade for young hitting talent, something the Reds are in dire need of.

Con: There are three teams in the NL Central with better young players, better coaching, and better front offices
Pirates: Pittsburgh isn’t going anywhere, the chief reason being Andrew McCutchen is under contract through 2018, his age-31 season. … Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco are just scratching the surface of their respective potentials. … Jung-Ho Kang, Neil Walker, and Josh Harrison will soon be joined in the infield by the club’s top hitting prospect, first baseman Josh Bell. … Top pitching prospect Tyler Glasnow will join Gerrit Cole and Francisco Liriano in the rotation next year. … The front office has proven itself to be more than savvy enough (Liriano, Kang, Russell Martin, Francisco Cervelli, A.J. Burnett) to locate and fill their weaknesses on a cost-effective basis. … The Pirates went 94-68 in 2013, 88-74 in 2014, and are pace for 95 wins in 2015.

Cubs: Anthony Rizzo, Addison Russell, Kris Bryant, Jorge Soler, and Kyle Schwarber are locked up for years to come. … Jon Lester signed a long-term deal last offseason. … Jake Arrieta and Jason Hammel are under club control through 2017. … Everyone in the world knows Theo Epstein will secure a top starter (David Price? Johnny Cueto? Zack Greinke? Jordan Zimmerman? Jeff Samardzija? Scott Kazmir?) and at least one impact bat in the offseason as the Cubs begin to flex their financial might.

Cardinals: Adam Wainwright stands to age well and mesh with eventual ace Michael Wacha atop a rotation that also sports the rapidly-developing Carlos Martinez and often-overlooked-but-very-good Lance Lynn. … Matt Carpenter, Kolten Wong, Randal Grichuk, Stephen Piscotty, and Matt Adams aren’t going anywhere. … The inevitable age-related decline of Yadier Molina, Matt Holliday, and Jhonny Peralta is a concern. Holliday is likely gone after 2016, while Molina and Peralta’s contracts expire after 2017. And yet, impact position players always want to play for St. Louis, so even if Jason Heyward departs this offseason, the Cardinals will fill the gap ably.

Pro: With a new TV deal on the horizon, an everything-must-go rebuild wasn’t/isn’t a feasible financial option for the Reds
Within the confines of Great American Ball Park, the fact that the Reds’ television agreement with Fox Sports Ohio expires after the 2016 season could have been the single most important reason the Reds eschewed a scored-earth rebuild — i.e. the trading of Bruce, Frazier, Aroldis Chapman, and possibly even Phillips at the non-waiver deadline last month — in favor of The Reboot. (Obligatory mention of Bob Castellini’s well-known competitive streak.)

Leverage always plays a big role in any sort of financial agreement. Quite obviously, if the strip-mined Reds were on track for somewhere around 100 losses in 2016 and 2017, that would harm their negotiating power. The powers that be at GABP want to broker the best possible deal before the TV bubble bursts.

Conclusion
It’s possible the Reds are victims of bad timing with the All-Star Game and the new TV deal. (Would’ve been nice if both of those events took place in 2012 or 2013, eh?) The circling of 2017 as a return to contention is not unlike the club’s plan this past winter to push for the postseason with All-Star Game on the horizon: it can work, but it has to be done right without obvious mistakes (Jason Marquis, Kevin Gregg, Brennan Boesch, the bench) while employing some defensible (Marlon Byrd) and inspired (DeSclafani, Suarez) moves. Player health is obviously the biggest unknown/swing factor.

In a hypothetical world, if there was no new TV deal to worry about, the Reds would heavily weigh the aging/injury history of the club’s position player core and the strength of the NL Central and decide to execute the following: the already-completed Cueto and Leake trades; sell high on Bruce, Frazier, and Chapman, and get whatever they could for Phillips either at the trade deadline or this offseason; move bit parts (Byrd, Manny Parra, Brayan Pena, Skip Schumaker); and promote the ready/near-ready youngsters (Stephenson, Lamb, Rodriguez, Waldrop, Duvall) from Triple-A.

The result would’ve been some lean, lean years in 2016 and 2017, but as the end of the decade approached and the Cardinals, Cubs, and Pirates respective cores aged and/or became too expensive to keep together, the Reds could have primed for 2010-esque uprising. Having said that, the Reds can realistically chase a playoff berth as soon as 2017, but the margin for error — not unlike this past winter — will be very slim.

Who are you, Neb (if you don’t mind me asking)? The only reason I ask is because you really laid it out (for me, I guess) the Reds plan and the reasons for this rebuild, but if we’re being realistic, let’s stop calling this a “reboot”, Ok! Reboots don’t entail trading away 3/4 of the team. This was a full scale tear down for all intents and purposes. But, from what I can tell, you’re basically saying that the Reds did this rebuild because of the TV deal expiring and they wanted to show Fox sports that they will have a young and competitive ball club to justify or get a new lucrative TV deal. That put together with our aging stars and the super tough NL Central. And the hope is that by the time this young Reds club is finally ready to contend that the Cardinals, Pirates and Cubs will have “come back down to earth” so to say and that will hopefully allow us to have a shot then. Seeing as how I think I’ve got a grasp on what you’re trying to say here, I’m sorry, but I still just have to ask, why does a player aging mean that they’re not going to be any good anymore? Baseball history is full of MLB players who’ve maintained a high level of play well into their latter playing years right up until they retire. I believe that that Reds team from 2010-2013 could still compete if they were still together, healthy and had better management. Why hire Price to manage when he had no prior managing experience? I still can’t understand some of these moves but thanx to you I understand a lot more than I did. And with everything else that you said I still have to say that just because these young players will be in their 2nd or 3rd years in the big leagues, doesn’t mean that they’re going to be good. I’m sorry but I just have no faith in these kids and a part of me has to really think about if I really want to have faith in them. One thing’s for sure and that’s that I WILL NOT ever be a fan of any of these kids we got in the trades but not just them, I’ll not be a fan of ANY particular Reds player from here on out with the exception of Votto and Phillips, they will be the last ones, because it’s just too painful and infuriating when they supposedly become too expensive for us and have to go. No matter how much sense it may make, I’ll probably never forgive the Reds for trading away Todd Frazier after what he did for us. Winning the HR Derby in his home park, that guy was special, and it hurts that he’s gone and that now I have to root against him because he’s the enemy now and one day we’ll probably have to face him and all of our former players that we traded away. Not looking forward to having to face Cueto with the hated SF Giants and now Leake with the even more Hated Cardinals!!! GOD, I HATE THAT!!!! I hate rebuilds and I always will!!! I hate losing no matter how short term it may be.

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