As the Cincinnati Reds wrapped up yet another season at the bottom of the division, fans looked to the front office for answers. To be competitive in 2019, the Reds need to make some changes. Somewhere within Great American Ballpark is most likely a list of goals that Dick Williams, Walt Jocketty and the rest of the front office staff needs to address before spring training. The top priority? To conduct a thorough search and hire a new manager.
The Reds let go of Bryan Price after a dismal start to the 2018 season. Jim Riggleman was called upon to right the ship, and things looked promising for the interim manager before the All-Star game. He compiled a 40-35 record before the break, reenergizing the players and fans who had all but given up hope on the season.
As for the second half, it’s better that we avoid talking about it.
The Reds managed to narrow down a whopping 90 candidates down to one: David Bell. For many fans (myself included), Bell was not the first choice. Ex-New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi was said to be in the running for the open position. Girardi led the Yankees to a World Series title in 2009 and recently led a rebuilding team to within one game of playing for another title.
This was the guy I wanted leading us in Cincinnati. Girardi felt different. But it quickly spread that Girardi had withdrawn his name from consideration and would not be managing in the Queen City.
David Bell was thought to be the new favorite amongst bright baseball minds around the league. After the disappointment of losing Girardi, I started to get behind the idea that Bell could thrive in Cincinnati. Bell has the experience you want when hiring a new manager. He played 12 seasons in the Major Leagues. He was the third-base coach for the Chicago Cubs, served as the assistant hitting coach for the St. Louis Cardinals and has been the vice president of player development for the San Francisco Giants.
This is the kind of guy that should excite Reds fans. The one thing Bell lacks is managing experience. That should raise some questions, right? Not exactly.
Baseball has seen several inexperienced managers win a World Series in recent years
(John Farrell with the Boston Red Sox and A.J Hinch with the Houston Astros come to mind). Los Angeles Dodgers’ Dave Roberts and the Milwaukee Brewers’ Craig Counsell nearly brought their teams to a championship win as unproven managers. Bell has more experience than all of them.
The sport has become majorly analytically driven. Teams like the Tampa Bay Rays have made headlines for starting a new trend in baseball known as the opener, and the Brewers are known for shifting their defense more than any other team. Bell will bring these ideals to Cincinnati, as there is so much information available. Why not use it to our advantage?
As the offseason begins, it’s time to explore the free-agent market and get quality starting pitching to finally complete the extended rebuild process. For now, the Reds can cross “find new manager” off their to-do list.