There’s nothing more frustrating for me as a baseball fan to watch than a sacrifice bunt.

I suppose there’s a time and place for it in baseball but more often than not, it should be at the bottom of a long forgotten closet.

Such was the case last Friday night in the 9th inning of a game the Reds were losing 5-4 to the Pirates. Most of you know what happened. Essentially, the Reds gave up an out to advance a runner to second. That led to what you knew would happen– a walk to Joey Votto– and yet another loss.

Earl Weaver said years ago, before the wave of sabermetrics, that in the absence of a time clock in baseball, your 27 outs on offense were the most precious commodity in the game. Don’t waste any of them, Weaver said. Treasure every one of them. Never, ever give one away.

And yet, the Reds gave away one of them in the 9th inning. Of a game they were losing. At home. With Jay Bruce on the bench as a pinch hitter. And I’m at a loss for words.

This isn’t an anti-Bryan Price article. Price’s actions, or lack of actions, speak volumes and for themselves. But I remind myself that I’d get frustrated with Dusty Baker for doing the same thing when he managed the Reds. He would pull off a sacrifice bunt in the first inning!

The problem is Price was sold to Reds fans as an intellectual, a forward thinking manager. And while I’m sure he’s a very smart man, it doesn’t necessarily translate well to the baseball field. No one ever confused Sparky Anderson with a Harvard professor. All you had to do was listen to Sparky talk. “That Concepcion,” said Sparky in 1970, “could field shortstop with a pair of pliers.” Case closed. He was right, just not very eloquent.

An honest admission: I’m not a big fan of sabermetrics. I accept and like some of it; other parts of it I either don’t fully understand or care to understand. One thing I agree with the folks who cherish these new stats is the absolute hatred of a sacrifice bunt. I don’t pay attention to the “win probability chart” but I know that when you give one of your three outs away in a game you’re losing in the 9th inning, it ain’t a good thing, to paraphrase Sparky.

And I also thought that since the Reds aren’t in playoff contention, Price would loosen up a little bit. Like maybe use Aroldis Chapman a little more. Or gamble a little more.

Example: if the Reds are playing a contender and in a jam in the 8th inning, use Chapman out of the bullpen. Let him fire away. If he can’t pitch the next night, see how J.J. Hoover does if a save situation pops up.

As a Reds fan, the last two months of this season are interesting to me– to see how these young pitchers develop, to sort out the bullpen better and to prepare to be a winning team in 2016. It can be done.

When the Reds announced they had signed Marlon Byrd before this season, WLW interviewed Byrd on their station within a few hours. I didn’t listen to it. I didn’t want to. Signing Marlon Byrd didn’t excite me at all. But if I lived in the Cincinnati area, I would buy a ticket to watch Robert Stephenson’s coming debut in September at Great American Ballpark and cheer this kid on and welcome him to the Reds. Byrd is a stop gap, and a poor one at that. Stephenson is part of our future.

As a sports editor for 23 years, I dealt with a lot of coaches, mostly at the high school and college level. They all pretty much said the same thing and did the same thing. I loved it when a school would hire a young coach, full of new ideas and challenges for the program and for the kids. It was like a breath of fresh air. The younger coaches were more bold and unafraid.

I thought the Reds had something like that in Bryan Price. But it looks like I was wrong.

58 Responses

  1. Ih8Walt

    This is a great article. The trio of Castellini, Jocketty, and Price is killing our franchise!

      • David Potteiger

        There is ZERO wrong with Castellini. The man wants to win. He’s increased payroll substantially. The non-baseball side of the Reds has been fantastic under current ownership. The problem is on the baseball side, which is Jocketty’s realm.

      • lwblogger2

        The only thing I’ll squabble with in that statement is I must mention that Castellini is the guy who after a very disappointing 2014 season, brought Jocketty back on a 2 year deal.

  2. redslam

    You were wrong… and so was I… and so were many…. or so it seems. It is very possible he isn’t acting in concert to his true feelings because he is scared, so resorting to “conventional” wisdom. The sad thing is, it is increasingly NOT “conventional wisdom.”

    Price seems like a good guy and has a decent track record as a pitching coach. I am on the side that evaluating management is super, super hard and massively noisy exercise (i.e., data is rife with confounding factors when it comes to evaluating baseball management), but evidence is piling up that he perhaps isn’t cut out to manage the Reds and perhaps he really isn’t a very forward thinking baseball man either…

    A team like the Reds with limited resources needs to uncover every possible competitive advantage and it seems like we really aren’t doing that. I think Castellini is a bit of an old-school guy and while good-intentioned, isn’t quite prepared to really think outside the box and invigorate the organization with new minds, leading to Walt sticking around and standing pat with Price (I am not completely anti-Walt, but 100% believe we can do better, especially thinking long-term).

    Sadly, I think that many of the fanbase would actually embrace it and even accept a little bit of a dip for a couple of years, seeing that we are building towards something (btw, not necessarily advocating blowing everything up… we actually have the core of a pretty good team with very young pool of pitching talent). Suffer through a couple of years of younger starting pitching anchored by Homer (best name ever for a pitcher) and trade big parts intelligently over the next couple of years as well, building up stock of great young prospects around core of Votto, Suarez, Mezo, Frasier, Bruce, (and maybe Hamilton)…

    Anyway, the data is out there re: sacrifices… the name says it all… I like better to think of them as “gambits” to borrow a term from chess. You are basically conceding something to create an advantage – but are you really in the case of the bunt? A sacrifice implies simply giving something up… stupid. If it isn’t a pitcher bunting with less than 2 strikes, I am pretty sure the stats tell us it isn’t the right play.

    • jessecuster44

      Great, thoughtful response here. Price isn’t who we thought he would be, and the problems only increase in size as you go up the ladder.

      • Gonzo Reds

        AMEN! BTW, seeing the replay we didn’t actually lose tonight, not that it matters.

    • davidmp2

      There is a saying: I don’t know who discovered water, but it wasn’t a fish. When you’re in one environment it is difficult to see it for what it really is. Those who are completely removed typically see the big picture better. Unfortunately, I think the problem is that Castellini only knows the Jocketty way.

  3. jmussa2015

    Today’s (Sunday) game was one of those perfect examples of what can happen with bunts gone wild. It seemed like (at very least) every other inning was botched by the intrusion of bunting (i.e., giving up an out for a base). The Phillips AB after Hamilton’s blessed lead-off double was excruciating–was it ordered from the bench, or was it Brandon’s misguided impulse to “take one for the team”? And was that more valid/productive than Phillips allowing Hamilton a pitch or two to steal third?

    Maybe we’ll find out; in any case, it was stupid….

    And is it just me, or does Phillips resent having a world-class base stealer on ahead of him? He doesn’t seem to be willing to give Hamilton assistance. Again, wasted outs.

    It’s often said that bunting is a ‘lost art.’ I don’t think that’s true. If bunting was ever an art, we’d find evidence of it in the Louvre, The Tate, The Guggenheim. No, bunting is a CRAFT, and it is most certainly a lost one. To the point that one wonders why coaches/managers suggest it in the face of so many players who repeatedly have proven their inability to perform it when called upon to do so.

    Most people, in these times, are not very good at bunting. Most baseball players–given time to consider it–are more likely to spend idle time working on their slam dunks or touchdown victory dances than on laying down bunts. In fact, it seems like at least an entire generation of baseball players has moved through the systems without ever learning how to bunt.

    Or how to slide for that matter, but that’s another story…

    In any case, the mathematics of bunting scream “Get away!!” As we all know, baseball has no clock; only outs tick the game away. Swapping outs for bases does not work.

    Watching coaches ask players who are unskilled at a task that would be futile even if successful is annoying.

    Let’s resolve to leave bunting to helpless pitchers with no batting skills who are avoiding strikeouts and/or double plays…and also bunting for the Fourth of July

  4. Tom Reed

    A sacrifice bunt has it’s place especially if the hitter is adept at bunting. When a runner is on second with no outs a well placed bunt might get him to third base and then a fly ball could score the run. But it seems over the past few years the Reds have not been very good at getting this done.

    • jdx19

      The whole idea of the bunt situations where a bunt is the ‘right choice’ is pretty misunderstood.

      It’s all based on two outcomes happening in succession (successful bunt + fly ball). With an adept bunter, perhaps the successful bunt is something like 75% probable (90% getting it down and then maybe 85% chance that the runner doesn’t get thrown out going to 3rd). Then, you have to get a deep fly ball against a pitcher who is trying to prevent you from hitting a deep fly ball. When the ball is low and you try to hit it into the air, what happens? Pop up.

      So, forgetting the 2nd part of having a successful deep fly ball, let’s say your win probability stands at 63.7% in some theoretical situation where a bunt is the ‘right call,’ such as runner on 2nd, tie game, 9th inning, 0 outs (the example you imply). A sucessful bunt puts a man on 3rd with 1 out. WP now stands at 67.4%. That is 3.7% HIGHER than before. So you made the right call, right?

      Well, not really. You can’t be sure of the successful bunt before it happens. So you need to analyze risk vs. reward. In this case, the ‘reward’ is an increase of 3.7% in win probablilty. What is the risk? Well, an unsuccessful bunt either leaves the man at 2nd w/o advancing, or gets the runner thrown out going to 3rd. Here is WP for both situations.

      2nd, 0 out – 63.7% (baseline)
      2nd, 1 out – 41.8% (don’t get the bunt down, get out)
      1st, 1 out – 28.4% (guy gets thrown out going to 3rd)

      Of course, getting thrown out going to 3rd is a pretty low probability on a bunt since the 3Bman usually is charging and the SS can’t cover 3rd reasonably quick. So, lets say that happens 1 in 20 times. The other situation, where the guy can’t get a bunt down happens quite a bit, it seems. Let’s say 15%. (remember again, this is assuming a good bunter… once who gets the bunt down 80% of the time. We don’t seem to have many of those)

      So, the overall win probability change of this system is the following:

      .8 (.037) + .05 (-0.353) + .15 (-0.219) = -0.0209

      So, making the decision to bunt in this situation where bunting seems to be the right call actually lowers win prob by 2%.

      All numbers are from actual game data and what actually happened from 1993 to 2010. Numbers will be slightly different now, but not enough to affect results.

      http://tangotiger.net/re24.html

      • oklared

        since our hitting is not that good either can you not assume that our situational rate would be lower and that with more ways to score from third might affect risk vs. return. Just a question since I feel our odds of scoring with o outs is pretty low this year considering risp avg’s

      • jdx19

        The Reds offense has been at least average this year. RISP is not a valid statistic.

        The odds presented are based on league average from 1993 to 2010. So, I don’t think the Reds perceived woes in higher-leverage situations has any bearing on the analysis.

      • lwblogger2

        @JDX19 – RISP is a valid situation and statistic. What it isn’t is a predictive statistic.

  5. redslam

    If a man is at second, it makes even less sense b/c a single if often scoring that run and several out scenarios still lead to that man moving to 3rd. Agree about the skill at bunting part. Still, stats teach us here and very often bunting isn’t the smart mathematical move.

    • Tom Billings

      I could see the bunt with a guy on 2 no outs bottom of the 9. Sacrifice him over and have the next guy hit a sac fly ball game over

      • vegastypo

        Why give away an out with a bunt there? Let three hitters try to get him home when he’s already in scoring position. Outs are precious. Handle with care.

      • jdx19

        See my post above. That decision, assuming a good bunter at the plate, lowers win prob by 2%. A bad bunter at the plate? Lowers is significanly more.

  6. Tom Gray

    So (in order) I disagree with nearly all of your points of view.

    A sacrifice bunt has its place in MLB. If you are the Big Red Machine of the 1970’s or the great Baltimore Orioles of Earl Weaver in the 1960’s and 1970’s, you don’t need to bunt. The 2015 Reds are neither of those teams.

    Byrd acquired in a trade with the Phillies. The Reds gave one of a dozen young P in return. We are not short on young P. He has averaged 25 HR and 80 RBI in 2013-14-15 (latter on pace, projected). The Reds needed a power hitter in LF. Who would you prefer?

    Stephenson is still learning to P in AAA. He got clobbered this weekend. Homer Bailey was rushed to MLB. Why repeat the mistake?

    • redslam

      Not really sure who or what you are replying to…. Byrd this year is GOOD… Next year at 8 million is stupid for the Reds. Re: sacrifice, the math is there for all to see and we aren’t that good at it on top of that… yes, it depends on your overall hitting proficiency, but still, it is simple to analyze with… you know, actual data.. . it is stunning that people go on and on without any sort of statistical backing in a game that is absolutely perfectly designed for stats…

      • jdx19

        Agreed. It’s wild. The numbers are all there… and most of the math is basic algebra, something everyone the good ‘ol US of A has completed, assuming they weren’t truant in HS.

      • davidmp2

        Stats?

        Byrd is 7th among qualified OFers in ISO; 28th in wRC+ and 27th in wOBA.
        Cincinnati’s OPS is 13th in MLB and 5th in NL w/out Mesoraco. A regular everyday lineup with Votto, Frazier, Meso, Bruce and Byrd would have been formidable.

        Most of those on the board were obsessed with Byrd’s K% and age, claiming a precipitous decline was on its way, as well as his OBP, while ignoring other things like wRC+ and wOBA which are far better measures of a player’s offensive performance. I was in favor of the trade then, and I feel justified given Byrd’s numbers that it was a good acquisition in retrospect.

        The problem for the Reds this year has been that even with Hoover and Chapman, the bullpen has a xFIP of 4.07, 5th worst in the majors, and their rotation, with the exception of Cueto and in stretches Leake and Disco has been underwhelming.

      • Steve Mancuso

        You don’t mention defense at all. Every advanced defensive metric indicates Byrd has given back almost all the value of his hitting.

      • David Potteiger

        His RZR (revised zone rating) is 11th in MLB among LFers with min. 300 innings (30 total players). Plays made in zone, 6th. Plays made outside zone, tied 7th. Total defensive runs saved, 17th. Outfield arm runs above average, 17th, and good fielding plays runs saved, tied 6th. Oh, and he hasn’t committed an error.

        I would never argue that he’s an Aoki, or a Revere or a Marte or a Taylor or even an Upton (some of whom are converted CFers), but, no, not “every advanced defensive metric indicates Byrd had given back almost all the value of his hitting.” And while UZR and Def WAR dislike him, and we can get into those metrics a different day, he has played a competent LF defensively and is far from the hack out there that you imply.

        He sits at .6 WAR and ZiPS projects another .6 while Steamer another .2. Figuring that he ends the season at 1 WAR, his cost, $4m, is a relative bargain, even when figuring in the fact that the Reds lost potential WAR in future years from a 45 FV prospect who has been mediocre in AA this season.

      • David Potteiger

        As do I. In that same article we debated about whether Byrd was a “big bat” and an “impact offensive player.” You said he was neither, I said you were looking at the wrong metrics (OPS v. ISO and OBP v. wOBA or wRC+)

        As to whether he’s a “big bat,” his ISO in ’14 was 16th among all OFs. This year it’s 7th. As to whether he’s an “impact offensive player,” his wRC+ in ’14 was 32nd among all OFs. This year it’s 28th. His wOBA is virtually the same.

        You complained about his K rate. It went down.

        While I thought he’d be a better defender (and believe he’s been better than than his Def WAR suggests), even using UZR, he’s been better than Braun, McCutchen, and Parra and comparable to Gardner and Brantley. Is he a Gold Glover? No. Is he a butcher? No.

      • Steve Mancuso

        According to FanGraphs’ composite defensive valuation, out of 165 qualified players, Byrd ranks 150. In terms of Defensive Runs Saved, out of 165 players, he ranks 101. You can put up straw arguments like “butcher” all you want. But those are his ratings. And his defensive liability has been enough to almost completely offset his positive offensive contribution.

        A “big bat” to me isn’t someone with a low batting average and low walk rate. Byrd hits for power. But his wRC+, which is seasonal adjusted, was 137 in 2013 and 110 in 2014. It is 106 right now – yet to see what direction it goes from here. Right now, Byrd is 6 percent above average on offense and below average on defense. That’s why he doesn’t register for even 1 WAR by either FanGraphs or Baseball-Reference.

        Why limit the comparison to just OF when looking at “big bat” or not? When compared to all players, out of 156 qualified hitters, Byrd ranks #70 in wOBA and #75 in wRC+. That’s not my interpretation of “big bat.”

        To me, a “big bat” is a hitter like Devin Mesoraco was last year. And Byrd has been nothing like that.

      • David Potteiger

        I compared him to OFers because he is an OFer. Because when Jocketty was looking to add a LFer, he probably wasn’t surveying 2Bs.

        Even when using a positional adjusted measure like Fangraph’s composite valuation [Def], that measure merely adds UZR with a positional adjustment.

        From Fangraphs: “UZR isn’t going to work well in small sample sizes, especially a couple of months or less. Once you get to one and three-year samples, it’s a relatively solid metric but defensive [sic] itself is quite variable so you need a good amount of data for the metrics to become particularly useful.”

        88 games is hardly sufficient to make a strong determination of Byrd’s performance in the field using UZR. While RZR has the same limitations, Byrd has converted approximately 90% of the balls hit into his zone into an out without committing an error. That puts him in Alex Gordon and Curtis Granderson territory. They each have UZRs better than +10.

        In short, Byrd is nowhere near as anemic as you make it seem.

        Last, Mesoraco was 14th in wRC+ in 2014. So, if he is your definition of “big bat” then sure, Byrd is not a “big bat,” but then again nobody was going to meet your expectations. Well, technically not “nobody.” 13 other players would have met your expectations. I just doubt the Angels were going to trade Mike Trout.

      • davidmp2

        BTW – “A ‘big bat’ to me isn’t someone with a low batting average and low walk rate.” Really? Since when do you talk about low batting average?

        In ’92 when Juan Gonzalez hit .260/.304/.529 with a 5.5% BB rate and won the Silver Slugger, hitting more HRs (43) than walks taken (36), he wasn’t a “big bat”?

        Or Joe Carter the same year, the year he also won a SS and finished 3rd in MVP voting, hitting .264/.309/.498 with a 5.3% BB rate? He hit 34 HRs. Not a “big bat”?

        Carlton Fisk was probably no “big bat” when he hit .238/.320/.488 with 37 HRs in 1985. He also won the SS that year.

        Dave Kingman’s 1976 season when he slashed .238/.286/.506 with 37 HRs and just 28 BBs? They didn’t have the SS award, but I bet he’d have contended for it finishing 2nd in the NL in HRs (more than Foster FWIW).

        More recent examples? How about 2012 and 2013 Jay Bruce? 2014 Ian Desmond or Pedro Alvarez?

        There is a historical who’s who of “big bats” that won Silver Slugger awards with low walk rates and low averages.

      • Steve Mancuso

        I guess I missed the list of Marlon Byrd’s Silver Slugger awards. Could you repost those?

        Look, I’m sorry you spent the time to find four examples in the past 40 years that you think prove your point.

        Big bats – to me – mean players who contribute a lot to runs scored. That includes power, hits and walks. If you want to think of a guy who contributes to runs at a rate of 6% better than league average as a “big bat” because of his ISO, you’re welcome to. That’s just not how I look at it.

        I wasn’t saying Jocketty should have gone out to find a “big bat” last offseason. I wrote 20,000 words on what I thought he should do. I was only questioning *his* characterization of Byrd as being a big bat based on his 2013 season.

      • David Potteiger

        Your’s is a moving target.

        I talked about wOBA and wRC+ and why Byrd was actually a good acquisition. You dismissed that for the most part and claimed that Byrd’s defense negates his offensive value relying principally on metrics which are quite variable given we are talking about 88 games. I posted additional information showing he was actually quite a bit better than you made it seem.

        We got back on this “big bat” issue, and you said low average and low BB% was the opposite of a big bat. So I provided a handful of examples of players with low averages and low BB% who were judged by MLB managers and bench coaches to be the best offensive players at their position (Silver Slugger). And no, using the season finder feature on baseball-reference isn’t a daunting task, and there are many examples, not four.

        Now you say a big bat contributes a lot to runs scored. Ok, so now we’re back on wRC+.

        Your argument against Byrd has now come full circle.

    • proudpapa75

      While Stephenson did get hit hard in his last start, his first three in Louisville were very strong. You never know in the minors, he may have gone out there simply working on one pitch or two. Or maybe he did have an off night. For every argument against bring a young promising arm up, there are just many for it. Stephenson has the stuff. Why not bring him up and see what he has against the big league hitters? Why waste that arm longer in the minors? I’m not saying he’s ready to be the ace, but why not see? And don’t give me the, “you might mess with his head” BS. He is a professional. He knows there is going to be a learning curve. He is a TOP prospect that is going to make the show. He isn’t a 15th rd guy that only gets one chance at this.

      • davidmp2

        In September when IP don’t matter to his service, I agree. On August 10? No.

  7. redslam

    By the way, there is this called ceteris paribis… look it up.. if you want to go all historical and claim that as relevant to specific stats, it might help that impulse.

  8. Evan armstrong

    How do we know that until the games are played?

    • jessecuster44

      I actually agree with this. Saying the Reds will definitely lose more than they win in 2016 is a fairly obtuse statement, and undermines a great deal of credibility. Lots can change from now until then.

      They could catch lightning in a bottle with their starting pitching, everyone stays healthy, and finish 88-74. There’s plenty of ways the Reds could win more than 81 games in 2016.

      • Gonzo Reds

        AMEN! Funny because I’m in Arian Foster’s corner with my views on god. But… we were like this in ’89, and kept our talent, and you know the rest in ’90…

      • Tom Gray

        The 1989 season was severely impacted by the Pete Rose gambling investigation. The Reds finished 2nd in 1985-86-87-88 before that.

        The 1990 Reds were far more talented than the projected 2016 Reds. Not close.

        Lou Piniella >>>>>>>>>> Bryan Price as a manger. Not EVEN close.

      • Tom Gray

        Believe what you like. Inexperienced rotation, short bullpen, C and SS coming off serious injuries, no bench depth, possibility of Chapman and Bruce being traded.

        No chance of Above .500 W-L record by Reds in 2016.

      • proudpapa75

        I agree completely. So many so called “fans” have written this team off for the next two years. With a healthy core of Votto, Bruce, Mez, Fraz, Phillips, and some promising young guys like Suarez, and De Jesus, the offense is above avg at worst. The team is deep in pitching. Something like Bailey (and I am a Bailey fan and can’t wait for him to come back), Desclafani, Iglesias (SP?), Stephenson, and take your pick between Lorenzen, Sampson, etc…… It’s not all doom and gloom from this guy’s eyes.

      • Tom Gray

        Lots of questions on those in 2016. Injury recovery by Mesoraco, Bailey, and Cozart. Bruce may be traded over the winter. Young P have talent but lack experience. Still weak bench and questionable bullpen if Chapman is traded over the winter. If Price returns for 3rd year of his contract, that is a negative factor.

      • redslam

        Of course… he said “it CAN be done” and gave some things potentially leading to that POSSIBILITY. He didn’t say “go bet your mortgage on the Reds over/under of 81 wins”… regardless, it was a small point in an article about the sacrifice FFS.

      • redslam

        You might get 4:1, but I suspect it is closer to 10:1… still, it isn’t insane odds… and there is a lot that can happen between now and then…. big worry for me is that even a Jocketty fan such as yourself has such a dismal view of our possibilities next season.

      • jdx19

        Are there more scenarios that they win 81 games in, or more scenarios that they lose 82 games in?

        It’s not that they can’t be a winning team next year, it’s that the odds of that happenings are probably below 50%. It’s more likely they are a losing team than a winning team. Not sure how anyone can argue the opposite.

      • jessecuster44

        Oh, definitely. But to attempt to whitewash the 2016 season as a loser before this one ends? That’s foolish.

        Not a soul thought the 1998 Reds could contend in 1999, yet they did.

        Many were skeptical of the 1989 Reds’ chances in 1990, but look what happened.

    • lwblogger2

      You never know for sure until the games are played. Simulations however can give you an idea of how the season will play out and where a team’s talent level is. Of course simulations aren’t perfect but they are quite accurate and more often than not project actual team wins to within a few games (+/- 5 or so). We can’t predict the future and that’s why the games get played. We can get a better idea of how the future is likely to transpire however.

  9. jessecuster44

    Why not? If you make a point like that, you ought to back it up with reasoning.

    By the way, most Inside-The-Park HRs hit the gaps, then take a funny bounce. They don’t sail over peoples’ heads.

  10. sezwhom

    It’s a double whammy with the Reds. Giving an out away aside, the Reds can’t hit a lick with RISP anyway plus they have a difficult time simply getting the bunt down!

  11. Michael J Hampton

    On another thread, someone asked how many games has Price cost the Reds. I think a better question is how many games has Price failed to put the Reds in the best position to have an opportunity to win by his in game decisions, his lineup decisions, his use or misuse of the bullpen, etc. I have read somewhere that a good manager is supposedly good for only 5 wins per season. I don’t know if that is true or not. It seems to me that the requirements for a manager are (1) creating a good team atmosphere, that esprit de corps, or whatever you want to call it and (2) manage the team in such a way as to put the team in the best position to succeed, in a position to win in as many games as possible. I don’t know how well Price meets the first requirement but I think he falls well short in the second requirement. No matter how well a game is managed there is no guarantee of a win, but poor decisions compounded by reliance on outdated philosophies can certainly handicap a team and reduce their chances for a win. I was not one of those calling for Dusty’s head, but I thought it was time for a change. I was excited when they chose Price because I was impressed with the job he did as pitching coach and from what I was hearing he was a forward, open minded thinker. I have to say I have been disappointed with what he has shown.

  12. davidmp2

    I was in favor of Price for the two reasons. First, I thought that his management may continue to positively influence a Reds’ rotation that was extremely good, even with an injured Cueto. Second, I thought perhaps Price may influence guys like Latos, Leake and Cueto to re-sign with the Reds because all of the pitchers spoke so highly of him. Neither of those seemed to happen, and none of the positives that existed for him as manager exist today.

  13. IndyRedMan

    A lot of IFs but I wouldn’t rule out 2016. Which expert had KC in the WS last year?
    Mesoraco is young and athletic….if he can catch 125 games or so then who knows?
    DeJesus/Cozart >>> Schumaker/Negron by a mile. If Hamilton can gain 10-15 lbs of muscle and hit strictly RH then progress is def possible? If not then bat him 9th again. What if Jocketty could take the money saved from Cueto, Leake, Byrd, and Marshall and actually find a .350 obp leadoff hitter for LF? Or even the infield and move Frazier to LF. They have so many good arms that the pen has to improve next year. Chapman, Hoover, Jumbo, and Parra (under contract?) could form a pretty good pen? We’ve beat the hell out of Pittsburgh this year (9-4) and they’re rolling thru the rest of baseball. Who knows but they should be much better than this year. Firing Price and finding a good replacement would help! I think Price set the tone when he opened the season with Gregg as his 8th inning setup man for absolutely no reason whatsoever?

  14. Art Wayne Austin

    Sparky and Birdie Tebbets were master psychiatrists. Price needed seasoning at Louisville. You need a white knuckle approach once the game begins. OK to nurture a good clubhouse but leave it in the clubhouse.

  15. streamer88

    I’ve noticed FIPS projections every spring aggregated for team performance are almost always correct, and almost always close (within a margin of error). Every 2 years or so a team bucks the projections firmly and I’m guessing its due to overly young talent blossoming ahead of schedule, or an aging veteran or two staying healthy and bouncing back. That said, these systems only project regular season wins. E.g., KC went to the WS last year (huge surprise) but barely got into the playoffs, which still was an anomaly but not as much as one would think.

    I think it is possible to say it is likely we will be 81-81 next year AND possible we go 86-76, get a wild card, JB32 gets hot and end up in the NLCS. So is 72-90. The standard deviation for wins and losses encapsulates a range of above and below .500 records for MOST teams in the MLB annually. The Reds will be one of those teams.