The housecleaning has begun with the Cincinnati Reds and the first to be swept out the door is pitching coach Mark Riggins.
The Reds announced his removal today before the start of a three-game series in Wrigley Field against the Chicago Cubs.
He was replaced by assistant pitching coach Mack Jenkins and former major league pitcher Ted Power moves up from pitching coach at Class AAA Louisville to the assistantship with the Reds.
At least one person inside the Reds inner sanctum believes that isn’t enough, that Ted Power should be the pitching coach.
“Pitchers do well at Louisville and then they come up here and they tinker with them, change things, make them do different things,” he said. “Then they fail up here and are sent back to Louisville. Power fixes them and they do well at Triple-A and come back up here and they tinker with them again and they struggle again.”
The Reds’ pitching staff has the highest earned run average in baseball, both the starters and the bullpen.
After making the change, Reds President of Baseball Operations Walt Jocketty said, “Mark was a valuable member of this organization for several years. Before he accepted the job with our Major League team, he contributed to the development of many of our successful young pitchers in the minor leagues. Unfortunately, the pitching on our big league staff has not improved over the course of the season as we had hoped, and it is time for a new voice.
“We are not satisfied with the performance so far this season and will continue to look for ways to improve,” said Jocketty. “We felt it was necessary to make a change in order to accomplish our goals of providing our young pitchers with the best possible resources.”
Riggins, 59, was in his first season on the club’s Major League staff. He spent the previous 4 seasons as the organization’s minor league pitching coordinator.
Riggins probably wore out two pairs of shoes waliking back-and-forth to the mound during games trying to settle down his pitchers, usually to no avail. Riggins, of course, couldn’t throw pitches for his pitchers, couldn’t prevent them from issuing walk after walk, but somebody has to take the blame because the club can’t replace the entire pitching staff.
So Riggins is jobless and he may not be the only one to go in the near future.