Each Monday morning, we’ll ask a few of our authors and friends of the site to answer an important question concerning the Reds. Do you agree with any of our writers? Give us your opinion in the comments section.
Question: What grade would you give manager David Bell after one month and why?
Jeff Gangloff: So far this season, I would give David Bell a grade of a B. Some may think the performance grade of a manager should be based purely on win-loss record, but I don’t believe that. There are times when a team goes through things or where there is a talent disparity that’s completely out of a manager’s control. You’ve seen a little bit of that this year with this Reds team.
That being said – I think one of the biggest hurdles Bell has overcome is the Reds slow start. He’s kept things together relatively well. He’s also shown a willingness to try just about anything to help the team win. From batting Votto leadoff to using Lorenzen in center – his approach and openness to trying different things during the game is refreshing.
Matt Habel: I would give David Bell a B. Batting Votto leadoff earns big time brownie points, even if the batting order doesn’t make that much of a difference. My biggest issue so far is how often he has used Zach Duke in important situations when Duke is clearly not performing well. Overall, Bell seems willing to embrace new and different ideas which is always a good thing. Impossible to say how much of a difference he has made compared to Price or Riggleman, but I certainly feel better about this coaching staff than the ones in years prior.
Bill Lack: Between a B and a B+. I really like that he’s willing to think outside the box (Votto leadoff, Igelsias in non-save situations, no set roles in the BP, lots of defensive shifts that seem to work a lot more often than not) and the team seems to play hard every day. I do wish he had more faith in Winker (who I believe is going to get better and better, given the chance) and wish he had less faith in Duke. I like that he’s quickly developed faith in Stephenson, pitching him in higher leverage situations.
But I do think he is, at times, over-managing…over using the bullpen (which may be a problem as the season lengthens) and the bench. I’m curious to see how much he changes over the course of the season, whether he is learning on the job. Overall though, I’m really happy with what I’ve seen and believe that this team is going to get better and better as the season moves along.
Tom Mitsoff: I give David Bell an A so far, despite the disappointing start. He has done a good job of keeping the team’s collective attitude positive despite a couple of disappointing early losing streaks. He seems to act decisively when it comes time to make a pitching change, which to me means he has already thought through all of the possibilities and knows what options and match-ups are possible. He also takes charge of strategic decisions. An example was when he pinch-hit Phillip Ervin for Jesse Winker. In the past, that would not have been a consideration because Winker is a starting player. Bell has set an atmosphere in which all ideas are possible. Michael Lorenzen has expressed his appreciation that the management finally has been willing to consider his full skill set.
John Ring: I would give David Bell a “B” for right now. My two biggest issues with him are his stubbornness in sticking with Kemp and Schebler and his overall lack of fire and intensity as the Cincinnati Reds manager. Give me more Lou Piniella or Dave Bristol. On the positive side, I like his creativity with the lineup, management of the bullpen and he didn’t panic after those eight straight losses early in the season. If the Reds split those games, they’re in the mix right now.