Price was Cincinnati’s pitching coach for the past four seasons and replaces Dusty Baker, who was relieved of his duties on Oct. 3 after six seasons following his team’s defeat to the Pirates in the National League Wild Card Game and a underachieving regular season.
This is the first managerial job for Price, who interviewed for the Marlins’ job last offseason. He became the 61st manager in Reds history. He agreed to a three-year contract.
Before joining Cincinnati, Price spent 10 seasons as a Major League pitching coach with the Mariners and D-backs. His first season as the Reds pitching coach in 2010 he led a great staff that won the NL Central Division title for the first time since the 1995 season.
Price was one of two candidates for the job by Reds GM Walt Jocketty. The only other known candidate was Jim Riggleman.
Under Price, the Reds pitching staff had the fourth best ERA in the Major Leagues this season and the most strikeouts in the NL. The 2012 pitching staff was one of the most successful groups in franchise history, ranking third in the league in team ERA. All five members of the rotation started at least 30 games, with four reaching 200 innings.
“It’s been a heck of a ride to this point, that’s for sure, and I know with this job there comes an awful lot of accountability and responsibility,” Price said. “One thing I’d really like to accomplish is to make sure that everybody here within the Reds organization, that these are the best years they’ll spend in the Reds organization.”
During his time as the pitching coach for the Reds, Price had developed pitchers into front line starters in the roation in Johnny Cueto, Mat Latos, and most importantly Homer Bailey who has benefit from Price as he has had his best pitching seasons this season and last season as Bailey has thrown 2 no hitters.
“I am impressed with Bryan as a pitching coach, leader and person,” Reds CEO Bob Castellini said. “We’re very confident he’ll take the helm as manager of the entire team and lead us in the right direction.”
Price never played in the Majors. He had a 31-19 record and 3.74 ERA in 90 Minor League games in the Angels and Mariners organizations. Going from pitching coach to manager has become something of a rarity in recent years. Only two other current managers, San Diego’s Bud Black and Boston’s John Farrell, were previously pitching coaches. Farrell in his first season as the skipper for the Red Sox has them in the fall classic.
Becoming a manager without previous experience isn’t a bad thing. Two years ago, Mike Matheny replaced legend Tony La Russa with the Cardinals and this season. Matheny will be managing against Farrell’s Red Sox in the World Series that opens Wednesday.
Price is inheriting a Reds team from Baker that reached the playoffs while winning 90 or more games in three of the past four seasons. But the club was unable to win a playoff series in any of those postseason appearances and the front office will be expecting Price to take Cincinnati over the hump to greater success. I like Price and all Reds fans should be very excited about this hire.