In the last couple of days, both Marc Lancaster and John Fay have written pretty good articles about whether Jerry Narron will be back next year as manager of the Reds. Says Lancaster:

It has been nearly three months since Narron took over for Dave Miley, and the results have been indisputably positive. The Reds are 41-34 under his watch after beginning the season with a 27-43 record.

How much of the improvement is attributable to Narron’s leadership is a question that can’t really be answered, but the numbers certainly are in his favor. Narron has maintained since the day he took over that his primary goal is to get the team playing better baseball, wins and losses aside, and he appears to have made substantial progress down that path.

Whether he will be rewarded with the full-time job remains to be seen. General manager Dan O’Brien made it clear on the day of the transition, June 21, that Narron’s status would be re-evaluated at the end of the season, and O’Brien said Wednesday he doesn’t expect to make any announcements before then.

“The mechanics of the decision-making process, I would say, make (an early decision) unlikely,” O’Brien said. “Originally, we had stated that at the conclusion of the season that we would go forward with the decision-making process and that’s the likely scenario as we speak.”

They need to make a decision soon, if the manager is to be involved in the organizational meetings taking place in October. What complicates this is the uncertainty surrounding the ownership situation, with a majority of the ownership shares up for sale. If we get new owners, John Allen is likely to be let go (thank goodness), and who knows what the situation might be with GM Dan O’Brien and everyone else on the staff.

I’ll be honest, I can’t imagine Narron not being retained as manager for next season. The team has certainly performed better since he took over, and whether that’s because of Narron isn’t clear, but he has certainly done much better than Dave Miley in several areas — not least of which is lineup construction.

For what it’s worth, if the Reds had played as well the entire season as they have under Narron, they would have a record of 79-66 right now. That would put the Reds in second place in the division, and right at the top of the Wild Card standings.

This team isn’t far from competing. This offseason might be the most important offseason in the last couple of decades. The first decision will be about Narron, but the decisions after that will be what determines where we are next year at this time.