With the Cincinnati Reds’ 2018 season winding down, the focus now shifts to the team’s future direction. The front office must soon address whether it plans to keep interim manager Jim Riggleman, who took over for Bryan Price after the Reds started the season 3-15. Since taking the role, Riggleman has compiled a 60-69 record. Is this good enough for the Reds to extend Riggleman for 2019 and beyond?
The short answer is “no.” But first, let’s consider why it would be a bad idea for the Reds to allow Riggleman to continue managing this team.
Riggleman has done a decent job managing the Reds with the players he was given. However, in his 13 years as a big-league manager, Riggleman has a combined 722-893 record — a .447 winning percentage. If the Reds’ front office thinks he’ll turn it around and make Cincinnati a contender in the always-tough National League (NL) Central, they couldn’t be any more delusional.
There was a time when Riggleman looked like the guy that could lead this team to the postseason. He had a stretch from May 8 to July 15 where he led the team to a 35-26 record. As a result, being a baseball fan in Cincinnati was fun, if only for a brief moment. The offense was clicking, the bullpen was magnificent and the starting pitching was showing signs of what we hoped had finally culminated at the big-league level.
Unfortunately, the good times slowly began to fade, and the real Reds team showed up once again. Since the All-Star break, the Reds have gone 20-31 and will most likely lose 90-plus games for a fourth consecutive year.
Since winning the division in 2012 and losing 6-2 to the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 2013 NL Wild Card game, the Reds have endured five consecutive losing seasons. The franchise is quickly losing its fan base. Keeping Riggleman will continue the trend, bringing yet another losing season to the Queen City. One name that many Reds fans have asked for since the departure of Dusty Baker is Barry Larkin, whose No. 11 jersey is retired by the organization.
Larkin has been linked to managerial talks for quite some time and has been vocal about his desire to manage for Cincinnati. “I only want to be in Cincinnati,” Larkin said in an interview last offseason. He currently works for the Reds as a special assistant to player performance.
Riggleman took over for a Reds team that had its worst start in franchise history and showed flashes of what could be, but inevitably came back down to earth. We’ve seen his audition, but the Reds would be foolish to keep him aboard if they have any intentions of consistently winning anytime soon.