Bryan Price is returning as manager of the Cincinnati Reds for the 2016 season.
Surprised? You shouldn’t be.
There is no way the Reds can make enough changes, make enough fixes, to make the team competitive next season.
One can start with the fact the Reds are in the National League Central division, competing against the St. Louis Cardinals, Pittsburgh Pirates and Chicago Cubs — extremely good franchises that are only going to get better.
AND IF THERE is one thing Price does well, it is coaching and teaching pitchers.
Based on what we’ve seen from the all-rookie pitching rotation it will need a lot of teaching and coaching before the rotation is of major league calibre, if it ever is.
The Reds like to play The Injury Card as an excuse for poor performance and in their case it means something. Why?
Because, unlike te Cardinals or Pirates or Cubs, the Reds don’t have the replacement parts in the minors that those teams have.
SO WHEN PLAYERS get hurt, there is nobody to step up. The Reds were extremely fortunate this year when shorts Zack Cozart was lost for the season. Eugenio Suarez was more than an adequate replacement. In fact, the Reds gained offensively, but lost defensively.
It was the opposite when catcher Devin Mesoraco went down. Brayan Pena and Tucker Barnhart are OK, but neither can provide the offense or defense of Mesoraco.
How can you fault Price for that?
How can you fault Price for a shaky bullpen? Two of the so-called major off-seson moves last winter was bringing in relief pitchers Kevin Gregg and Burke Badenhop. Gregg was a complete flop and let go early in the season and Badenhop hasn’t been a consistent shutdown guy.
HOW CAN YOU fault Price for the team’s cash shortage that forced the Reds to trade starting pitchers Johnny Cueto and Mike Leake?
How can you fault Price for being force fed an all-rookie rotation that by season’s end Sunday will have started 108 of the 162 games?
How can you fault Price for the team not having a legitimate left fielder for the entire season?
SO PRICE WILL finish out his three-year contract — 2016 will be the third year of his three-year contract. Why should the team fire him and have to pay him to do nothing in 2016? What would a new manager do with a team that isn’t going to be much better.
General Manager Walt Jocketty already has said the team won’t be majorly overhauled, won’t be shopping the free agent market for big ticket pieces. He said he believes the team can be competitive with a little bit of tweaking.
If so, it will have to be the biggest tweak in Tweak History.