As the story goes, Dusty Baker heard that the Cincinnati Reds were about to fire a coach of his that they blamed for some of the team’s downfall. Baker took exception to that and is rumored to have gone to management and suggested that if anyone was to blame, it was him and they should can him, not the other coach. So, instead of taking that as a golden sign of leadership the Reds did just what Baker asked and fired him. With that gaping hole of experienced leadership waiting on an adequate replacement the Reds appear to be leaning towards pitching coach Bryan Price.
I’ll pause here so you can read that one more time. The Reds are going to replace the long-time proven leadership of Baker with a pitching coach. I realize that some believe Baker was not a very good motivator at times but judging from the strong reaction of Reds players when Baker was fired, I don’t necessarily buy that. I think he was well respected and did more than his share of motivating the team. If he was not able to do it well enough however, how is a pitching coach going to?
Don’t get me wrong. I have no problem with Price or his coaching ability. It is a risky move to go for someone like Price however when they just canned someone like Baker. It opens the door to a ton of second guessing and to players not fully believing in their new manager. Hopefully they will be professional enough to get passed that and give their best effort. Maybe Price will be the next great manager. After all, there are a couple of remotely and very successful managers right now that were once pitching coaches.
I can’t shake the feeling that hiring someone like Price gives the GM and ownership another quick out in the case that they find someone else that they like more. Even if the team were to be playing well under Price, they could claim they found someone better. After all there have been pitching coaches hired in interim jobs like this as well. We’ll see how it works out but following a growing legendary manager like Baker with an unproven manager is strange to me. Best of luck to all involved if they go that route.