On Thursday afternoon the St. Louis Cardinals announced that they had fired their manager Mike Shildt. He had just led the Cardinals to a playoff appearance, a 17-game winning streak down the stretch to blow past the rest of the National League wild card contenders in September as they finished 90-72. The Cincinnati Reds were one of those teams that the Cardinals flew past down the stretch as they collapsed and finished 83-79 on the year.

Unlike the Cardinals, the Reds didn’t make the playoffs. And unlike the Cardinals, the Reds are choosing to stick with their manager. With less than two weeks remaining in the season it was announced that the team was extending David Bell for two years.

On the surface a lot of people will read this (and have) as the Cardinals having a “this isn’t good enough” ideology and the Reds having a “simply competing for a while during the season is good enough” ideology. And if this particular writer is being honest, it makes sense to take that stance. There’s a whole lot of circumstantial evidence that backs that up over the last two decades.

With that said, that same particular writer doesn’t think that’s what is happening here – in either situation. Here’s what St. Louis Cardinals President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak had to say about why Mike Shildt was fired with a year remaining on his contract:

After a successful 2021 season, we have determined that we have a philosophical difference in the direction our major league club is going. We have decided, at this time, that it is best for us to end our partnership with Mike Shildt,” Mozeliak said on Thursday afternoon.

That has a very different feeling from what the Reds were saying about David Bell when he was extended three weeks ago. Here’s what Cincinnati General Manager Nick Krall said at the time:

“We’ve got a guy in the spot who knows how to run a major league clubhouse and dugout, and we feel he’s the right guy moving forward.”

From my seat, 43,000 feet and change from Great American Ball Park, it seems pretty clear that despite better results on the field in one organization than in the other, that the Cardinals don’t like what their manager is doing and that the Cincinnati Reds front office does like what their manager is doing.

The Cardinals front office seems to believe in their players and believe that another manager will get more from them. And they don’t believe that they can talk Mike Shildt into doing what they believe will get those better results.

“I could tell you to jump out of your car right now and you may choose not to,” said Mozeliak when asked why the front office couldn’t dictate to Shildt the philosophy the organization wanted him to move towards.

Whatever the philosophy is that the Cardinals front office has, it seems very clear that Mike Shildt has a different one. One that the two sides simply couldn’t overcome even though the team performed quite well under Shildt, who went 252-199 (.559) in parts of four seasons with the Cardinals.

The Reds have not had that kind of success under David Bell. His best winning percentage with the Reds was .517 during the 2020 season. That was the lowest winning percentage that Mike Shildt had in any of his 4 seasons with the Cardinals. But it also seems quite clear that the front office and David Bell are on the same page when it comes to what the plan from the top down happens to be.

The big question that should be asked in St. Louis right now is why it took parts of four seasons for the Cardinals front office to realize that their philosophy was so different from that of their manager’s philosophy. How did they go so long without that understanding?

On one hand it may suggest that there’s some problems going on in St. Louis. There were rumors within the last month that the team may be up for sale (the ownership group has since publicly denied this). Now they have fired their manager who just took them to the playoffs on the back of an incredible late-season run who has never had a losing record and still had a year left on his contract.

On the flip side, despite those things and at least some disconnect between the front office and the field management, the Cardinals have been very good. Cincinnati has been solid under David Bell. The 2021 season saw the team finish above .500 for the second year in a row. And that came in a season that saw plenty go wrong in terms of player injuries as Tejay Antone, Lucas Sims, Michael Lorenzen, Joey Votto, Mike Moustakas, Nick Senzel, and Jesse Winker all missed time – and some of them significant time with injuries. With some better luck in the health department perhaps things could have gone a little bit differently. And perhaps that is a bit of where the Reds front office is coming from with regards to Bell and the on-field record mattering a little bit less.

95 Responses

  1. greenmtred

    Very good and even-handed summation, Doug. Thanks. Light is more useful than heat in discussions.

  2. enfueago

    The Cardinals described this as something that only recently came up. That sounds like a very personal conflict at high levels or some sort of serious misbehavior either by Schildt or by someone else that Schildt would not tolerate quietly. I can’t see what sort of baseball philosophy arises suddenly as a problem for a guy they have had around for years.

  3. Melvin

    You can put me in the group that believes the Cardinals are a first class organization making winning top priority and the Reds, under the ownership of Big Bob, simply don’t care that much. I’ll say what I believe straight out knowing there are some that won’t agree. That’s okay….. David Bell is NOT a winner. If winning was the most important thing for the Reds he would not be manager.

  4. Klugo

    This does sound like a deeper, more personal issue that has arised and caused some disconnect in St Louis. That said, it is so frustrating being a Cincinnati fan and having to enviously watch teams such as the Cardinals and Steelers in our same division more invested in fielding competitive teams year in and year out than our teams. All “small markets”. Yet I couldn’t change allegiance if I wanted to. It’s in the blood. It starts and end with ownership. I know that.
    At least I got UK basketball. Go Big Blue.

  5. CFD3000

    In many ways I think David Bell is fine as manager of the Reds, especially when it comes to having the confidence of the players. But ironically there is a big philosophical difference between Bell and me. Unfortunately that doesn’t seem to also be true between Bell and the Front Office. And that is this: I would okay the kids. It drives me crazy that players like Jose Barrero, Alejo Lopez and Max Schrock join the team having been red hot in Louisville, sometimes seen as the future of the Reds (Barrero at SS) only to sit in favor of retread or wounded veterans – Cabrera and Deshields and Moustakas this summer. That has never made sense to me and appears to be very different from the “Cardinals way”. So I’m fine with Bell for two more years IF he would please please play the kids. The old argument of “Barrero doesn’t deserve to start because he hasn’t shown us anything in Cincinnati” when he hasn’t played and has only shown us great results in the minors is ridiculous. I hope somehow that Bell figures that out between now and 2022.

    • CFD3000

      I would PLAY the kids (not “okay” them) of course.

    • jmb

      I liked the original signing of Bell for sentimental reasons, but after about half-way though his first season I wasn’t a fan of Bell until about half-way through this past season. The Reds suffered all kinds of injuries (Gray, Castellanos, Antone), a bad start by Castillo, and a horrific bull-pen just about throughout the season, yet Bell had them in play for the Wild Card until Winker went down. That was it–we didn’t know it but the season was over and the Reds’ playoff chances dissipated game by game That shows you how important Wink’s bat is to that lineup, more so than Castellanos’ bat. And it shows you how important Antone was to that team. I’m with you, play the kids! The Reds have lots of good-looking young guys who can go get it. I really don’t want to watch Winker and Castellanos lumber about the outfield next season! (Winker is the obvious option for DH, of course. And, EXTEND HIM!!!). Let Castellanos go if he wants to go–the Reds will get a compensation pick out of it. And find ways to trade Suarez, Castillo & Moustakas, Akiyama & Miley, and Barnhardt. Shed some cash, get younger, and invest in the future. And try to get back Trammell (for Suarez?), Josiah Gray (for Barnhardt?), Siri (for C. Perez?), and Downs ( and somebody for Miley & Akiyama?) in those trades. Those guys would really help out the youth movement.

  6. Michigan Red

    I look back to my four favorite Reds managers during my lifetime: Sparky Anderson, Pete Rose, Sweet Lou, and Dusty Baker (I always liked Dusty). All four were business like and a tad gruff. David Bell’s nice guy personality in press conferences concerns me (though no guarantee he’s like that in the locker room). I have images of Bell confronting a player picked off first base while napping, and telling him a story of how the same thing happened to him in little league.

  7. SultanofSwaff

    Certainly a head scratcher. Yeah, it’s suspect that philosophical difference led to his dismissal. The truth will come out sooner or later.

  8. Jim t

    There is a fine line when managing a team through a season while balancing life in the clubhouse. While many fans want to replace veterans who are not performing like the back of their baseball card indicated with unproven potential it isn’t quite that easy. It’s easy to voice an opinion from 43,000 square feet but to be able to keep everyone on the team rowing in the right direction can be very complicated. Balancing morale, effort and cohesiveness is not easy. Bell performed well in that regard and IMO with a bit more help from the front office would have fared better as well as avoiding injuries. ( Doug you didn’t list Nick C in your players that missed time in your article ). Having a few reliable bullpen pieces at the start of the season could have been huge in the division and wild card race.

    Like many I hope the youngsters come up and excel but there is no guarantee, I also hope the Vets find their swings and contribute. It generally is a combination of the two that successfully completes a championship season.

    • Jim Walker

      But when the combination of the front office and manager can’t get an obviously injured, overweight, not in game shape veteran off the field for over a month during a playoff battle despite having younger guys who might make a difference, it says neither the manager nor front office are worthy of being cut any slack.

      • Jimbo44CN

        Agree 100%. Moustakas should have been benched. Was still hurt anyway.

      • Alan Horn

        You nailed it Jim. You had Lopez, Barreo and Schrock who were basically wasted during that period. I guarantee you that all 3 would have hit at least 50 percentage points higher than Moose. Especially Lopez and Schrock as they are contact hitters. That doesn’t even consider they did the same with AA and Akiyama who weren’t hitting either.

      • greenmtred

        Not a guarantee you should make, Alan. We’ve only seen Barrero, Lopez and Schrock in their limited in-game appearances. Maybe a few of us (not me) saw a bit of them in the minors, but Bell and the coaching staff see them a lot more. Maybe they would have hit better than Moose. I don’t know, but it doesn’t seem unreasonable to think that Moose would come around and hit like the back of his baseball card. He went, I think, 5 for 5 his first game back, and a number of us saw him as a potential savior. We react based upon what we see, but we can’t see much.

      • Alan Horn

        Bell and the coaches didn’t put them in enough games to make any rational decision one way or another. How many games did Lopez start? I think when Schrock finally got in the lineup(last week or so of the season), he hit over .300. Barreo, is the unknown. I have never seen a young prospect messed with or things done that would break his confidence as Barreo (Senzel maybe). Hindsight is 20/20 but I think we and hopefully the Reds now know the answer to that. I am not saying the rookies are the long term answer. I am saying they were far superior to what was run out there day after day(Moose, AA and AKiyama).
        They played only because of their contracts. I submit to you that is not sound baseball management. When someone plays only because of who they are, what they did in years past or because of how much they are being paid , that is not sound baseball and that goes for any age group including Little League.

      • greenmtred

        Alan: My point was that Bell and the coaching staff have opportunities to watch and assess players well beyond in-game situations–batting practice, for instance, fielding drills–and also to get analysis from minor league managers and coaches. We don’t have those opportunities.

      • Reaganspad

        Alan, choose any rookie from the Dusty Baker era

      • Alan Horn

        You don’t promote them long term if you don’t plan to use them. That can break a young player’s confidence. I saw Lopez and Barreo in the minors. Lopez impressed me more than Barreo with the bat. It was a small sample size but Lopez just kept on hitting in AA and AAA. It took Barreo a while, but he did also. Bell went entirely too long with Moose, AA and Akiyama. At some point you just have to mercifully stop the suffering. I was a manager at the amateur level. I gave a player a ample trial or chance and moved to another if that player didn’t produce. I might go back to player1 at some point, but if they didn’t produce after a fair trial period…, they had their chance.

  9. LeRoy

    It seems to me like the Cardinals and Mike Schildt and the Reds and David Bell have the same situation. It seems to me that both the Cardinals and Reds upper management want to run the team on the field. Schildt was wanting to be his own manager while Bell seems to be faithful to a fault for whatever his bosses want him to be. Schildt is a manager who believes he should have control of how he manages and Bell is all the time looking for directions how to manage to please his bosses.

    • Klugo

      Definitely signs of this, as well. We will see more and more of it with the analytical take-over.

    • Doc

      I doubt Larussa was a management lackey and he was around a long time in St Louis.

  10. Jim Walker

    We don’t know what was going on backstage in either the Reds or Cardinals situation.
    But try these 2 quotes per “The Athletic” from Cards GM Mozeliak:

    “The conclusions came rather quickly, but it was something that was brought to my attention over time,…”

    Then in the very next paragraph,
    “Candidly, it’s been something that just popped up recently,”

    Huh?!? Which was it? A situation that built over time or something that took the front office by surprise.


    • Old Big Ed

      That is pretty hard to reconcile. I think maybe Shildt is the kind of guy who used his personality as birth control.

      • Jim Walker

        About the only defensible scenario I can think of for Mozeliak is he had heard reports over time about which he either doubted the accuracy or severity but then when multiple hands were in on the same meeting(s) it became clear the haze was smoke, and there was fire underneath it.

      • Jim Walker

        Mozeliak went on to say (after the “Candidly…” quote above) that he could have gone into 2022 with Shildt on an expiring deal but with all the “directional parts” they were trying to “pull together” it made sense to “cut the ties now.”

        DeWitt also spoke up that he had not been “actively thinking” about an extension but once the season ended and they started talking organizational direction “that’s (firing Shildt) how things played out.”

        It almost sounds like Mozeliak did not really want to go into 2022 with a manager on an expiring deal but DeWitt did not think it was a big deal till Mozeliak forced matters and then for whatever reason(s) Shildt was not the guy.

  11. LDS

    Someone said in one of the threads earlier this week that a manager accounts for maybe 10 outcomes in the course of a year. The Reds finished 7 games behind the Cards. Personally, I think Bell accounted for many more losses but he’s a member of the inner circle and Reds fans are stuck until Castellini sells if he ever does.

  12. Jim Walker

    The most telling point about this situation for Reds fans should be that Cards GM Mozeliak indicated things came to a head over the last week during organizational meetings. Note that these meetings were taking place after the end of the season not at the end of August/ first week of September as their team fought for a playoff spot.

    Need I say more?

  13. Old Big Ed

    I’m OK with Bell.

    I think part of Bell’s problem with fans is that he has a dry, dull TV and media persona. He largely speaks in a monotone in interviews, and doesn’t reveal much real personality or for that matter much information. That is fine for poker, but the Reds are trying to sell tickets and beer, and sticking Bell(ichick) in front of a microphone doesn’t sell much beer or La Rosa’s pizza. If nothing else, Bell needs to take his cap off for interviews, because his face is more expressive without it.

    I doubt that the players and staff get that same vibe from him in person. I didn’t notice any friction between him and a player all year.

    • Jim Walker

      Nothing a little media coaching from John Tortorella (or Dusty) couldn’t fix. 😉

    • Luke J

      I think it is insulting to fans to suggest they aren’t able to formulate their opinion of Bell on baseball reasons but that they are swayed so strongly by charisma.

      • Doug Gray

        If so many fans didn’t constantly bring up his monotone, non-emotional press conferences then maybe there’d be something more to it…. but as someone who reads hundreds of comments a day, it’s brought up a lot.

      • Luke J

        Bringing it up and it being the reason for why they don’t like him as a manager are two very different things. You know better than that.

        I’ve never once seen it brought up as a reason for thinking he’s a bad manager. And I read hundreds of comments a day as well. But I have seen dozens of baseball related reasons for why people don’t like him as a manager. Let’s be serious here.

      • Doug Gray

        Plenty of those comments are along the lines of “if he had some fire…..”

        It seems plenty of people think if his approach, with regards to flipping tables over or screaming or something, is a part of the reason he’s not “right for the job”.

        Plenty of others have different reasons to think he’s not “right for the job”. Both things can be true. And it’s likely that both things are true (opinions of people).

      • Jim Walker

        My take on this is that Bell has become the bland face of a faceless and virtually invisible front office to a lot of fans.

        Since MLB is largely an entertainment and show business these days, it would behoove the team to get Bell coached up or hire a dedicated media spokesperson so all Bell ever had to speak about in front of cameras or microphones was a game that was about to be played or had just ended.

        I (jokingly) mentioned John Tortorella, prior coach of the NHL Blue Jackets above but it is no joke that his official postgame comments were so popular with fans that Fox/ Bally pushed them to the last segment of their post game show to keep people tuned in and charged the highest commercial time rates of entire pre/post game shows for the lead in commercial to his comments.

    • LDS

      It’s neither his bland face nor his monotone, it’s his ceaseless meaningless platitudes. His comments are frequently content free. Coupled with his overall management approach and lack of results speaks for itself.

      • greenmtred

        Any manager, including Bell, is hired primarily to manage the team. Schmoozing in front of a mic is not a big part of it. Belichick was invoked, and living in New England, I see plenty of his post and pre-game interviews: He does not personify fan-friendliness, and I can guarantee you that, were he to lose his current job, he’d have other teams clamoring for him, hoodie and all. Bell’s lack of results? We’ll see, after the WS, which one manager in all of MLB this year got results. The Reds did better than most expected, despite the Sept. swoon, and despite many injuries and a terrible bullpen. Bell will get “results”–just as Sparky and Sweet Lou did, when he has the players capable of providing them.

      • Jim Walker


        Doug says above that whether such thoughts accurate or make sense, the Reds seem to have a growing PR problem among a sizable portion of their fan base that the team management doesn’t care if it wins or loses. Since MLB is at its core entertainment, this should concern the management.

        Way back in the day on WLW Sports Talk, Bob Trumpy liked to say that in sports, the opposite of love isn’t hate, it is indifference. That certainly fits here. Folks’ feelings are moving from the love/ hate spectrum to indifference where the Reds are concerned.

        Whether the team management is truly as indifferent as these fans feel it is or not isn’t the issue. The issue is that the fans feel it is and are following their feelings down the path into indifference. If the team wants to maximize its customer base, it needs to take some sort of corrective action.

      • greenmtred

        Good analysis, Jim. First, I appreciate your point that baseball is entertainment–a business, yes, but an entertainment business. I don’t know what the financial situation of ownership is, but it seems clear that, for whatever reason, they aren’t going to authorize the sort of spending that the Dodgers, Yankees, etc. do. The fans in Cincy seem to respond to winning–no surprise–and came out in decent numbers when the Reds were 10 or 12 games over .500, and then stayed away in droves when the season went south. I can’t blame them, but, as a reaction, it may be counter-productive. I don’t believe, however, that a more personable, media-friendly manager would do much for attendance. I do believe that a roster strong enough to be competitive all season might.

      • LDS

        Greenmtred, I don’t buy the argument that the team was as bad as that. I think mismanagement was a much bigger factor. It isn’t a question of whether they exceeded pre-season predictions. It’s a question of possible outcomes of where they should wind up at various points on the schedule. At the point they reached 12 games over .500 and with a very easy schedule forward from that point, the team seriously UNDERPERFORMED all reasonable expectations. Sorry that falls on the manager who doubled down on his failed lineup construction, etc.

      • Dave

        I’m thinking we’re looking at .500 talent here. One year good pitching and no sticks. Next year no pitching improved sticks. Common denominator: No bull pen e
        either year. Don’t see a lot of clutch or heart.

        Not sold on Bell, but probably doing as well with this inconsistent talent as anybody.

        Not sold on the owner, but it’s his team and his small market money. At least he keeps them in Cincy.

        Low expectations and at 71 realize I’ll probably never see another Reds WS.

      • greenmtred

        LDS: In the long view, they exceeded or met the expectations most had for the season. The factors that could lead to a long streak of ineffective play (or, for that matter, a long streak of really good play) are numerous. The Reds weren’t, overall, a bad team, as you say. But but the factors that have been enumerated so many times (injuries to key players, Suarez and Moose, the bullpen, etc.)point to a team with serious flaws. You also point out that their good performance was against weaker teams, often, and that may be the case, but most teams play better against weaker teams, just as hitters hit better against poor pitching. There were almost certainly managerial decisions that led to losses, but there were for every team in baseball, and it’s impossible to quantify because there is no knowing what a different decision would have led to. I’m not so certain that Bell’s approach is so different from many/most other managers, and I’m not sure of which parts of it were due to directives from above. It does seem that the players like and respect him, and that seems important to me.

  14. Jimbo44CN

    I have come around to being ok with Bell too. I think he made a few bad moves throughout the year, but was hamstrung by the front office from the very beginning when they saddled him with mostly has beens or never gonna bes in the bullpen. All in all we finished with a winning record 2 years in a row, which is quite a change from the prior 8 years.

    • Alan Horn

      All I can figure is that he is good managing all the egos in the clubhouse. You had some highly paid players who weren’t performing and to keep them from causing problems, he played them enough to keep them quiet. Then you had all the injuries he had to manage around, so that could be part of it. I like a manager who keeps everyone sharp with playing time. The flip side is that the players have to perform and do their part. That didn’t happen in too many cases this past season.

    • Chris Holbert

      I truly believe Bell has a hand in bringing those “veterans” into the fold, so I do not think it is all on Krall.

      • greenmtred

        I’m not clear on whether you mean acquiring the veterans or playing them? In either case, though, I don’t know the answer. I’d guess it might vary team-by-team, veteran-by-veteran.

  15. Luke J

    I think in order to come to the conclusion of this article, we have to believe the official statements of the organizations are true. I’m not willing to do that, especially since both are vague jargon about organizational philosophy. What is said publicly is rarely the behind the scenes truth.

    • Jim Walker

      Yes. Mozeliak alternately saying it was something he had become aware of “over time” versus it was something that “just popped up” wreaks of corporate double talk. DeWitt’s comment that he wasn’t thinking about Shildt’s contract; but, when they started talking about the organizational direction, they ended up firing him reinforces that thought.

      The Mozeliak statement “I could tell you to jump out of your car right now and you may choose not to,” seems goofy. It could be taken many ways. Lacking context, a lot of us might presume it is safer to stay in a moving car than to jump out of it; and, question the validity of such advice.

  16. Rednat

    positives for Bell
    1. he sets pretty decent line ups
    2. he managed the bull pen fairly well (as good as possible) last year.
    3. obviously has a great relationship with his players
    4. the players play hard for him and do what he asks. ( Suarez losing weight to be able to play ss is a great example)

    1. no creativity as far as his offensive play calling (36 stolen bases for the year?) come on man.
    2. allowed terrible base running mistakes throughout the whole season. the poor baserunning lands squarely on Bells shoulders and it really hurt the team last year.
    3. just overall seems to have a low ceiling as a manager. just hard to imagine him leading us to the world series. just doesn’t have that it factor.

    • Redsvol

      Bell and DJ were in bullpen survival mode in April, May and June. He was quite creative in moving Suarez to short so Moose could play 3rd and India could play 2nd – however this creativity failed. Nothing was going to overcome our terrible bullpen for 3 months. Unless we got a game to Antone with a lead the pen was going to cough it up.

      I agree he wasn’t creative in putting baserunners in motion or stealing – but if you look at the 2020 and 2021 data, very few hit and run or stolen base plays are called. But have you seen our players? Winker, Votto, Castellanos, Moose and Suarez are some of the slowest major league ballplayers you will see. Add in the pitcher and 2/3rd of your lineup can’t run the bases. They would be easy to throw out and rarely are able to go 1st to 3rd on a single. Bell can’t create fast players. I would love to see us go after Starling Marte if Castellanos leaves.

    • 2020ball

      I’d personally add defensive fundamentals to the list of negatives, and Id say that is along the same lines as some of the baffling baserunning we saw at times, as you mentioned. That said, overall I like Bell enough, but admittedly I think the managers role in each individual game is way overblown by most. Many will disagree with me on that point in particular, especially around these parts, but its my opinion all the same. The biggest dig I have on the coaching staff for this team is some sloppy funamentals at times, but we’ve also seen improvement in guys like Winker and Castellanos during their time with the team, and that shouldnt go unmentioned.

    • VaRedsFan

      You didn’t watch many games if you thought 1 and 2 were positives

      • greenmtred

        I watched plenty of games, and thought they were positives. The pitchers in the bullpen have a lot to do with how a manger can manage them. Ditto the lineups. I’m not persuaded that Bell was wrong because some fans disagreed with him.

  17. old-school

    Everyone criticized Bell but other than pinch hitting and bullpen mgmt and resting a player here or there, Bell was very much on the same page as Krall ans didnt make unilateral decisions on anything big. Theres no doubt Bell and Krall were working closely together and shared similar views as well as other coaches and FO personnel. Bell was the extension on the field and why he was brought back.

    i would go so far as to say the Bell bullpen use of one pitcher for (1) inning regardless of whether he threw 8 pitches or not was scripted and planned by all of baseball operations- Krall/bell/DJ etc as a proactive long term plan to manage load over a 162 game season following a 60 game season.

    Clearly, Schildt has some major unprofessional issues behind the scenes or stubbornly wont work with the FO on what he views as a managers job vs a FO job. He could simply not be a collaborator.

    • Jimbo44CN

      Just like any other company, if you disagree with the big boss and he is not willing to listen and insists on a certain course, but you keep disagreeing, you are gone.

  18. Tom Reeves

    It took John Wooden 15 years at UCLA to win a championship. Then he won 10 in a row.

    If Bell is the right guy, that will eventually bear out. Cincinnati needs to continue with a top to bottom organizational change. There are some green shoots suggesting that talent coming out of the minors is better prepared than even a couple years ago. Let’s hope that’s a good sign and let’s also hope David Bell is the right leader for the team. But let’s not also be so impatient that we jump from manager to manager.

    • Bill J

      Tom maybe you have 15 years to wait but some of us don’t.

    • VaRedsFan

      Let us know when Alcindor and Walton come to the Reds

  19. Old-school

    It’s not about the X’s and the O’S, its about the Jimmy’s and the Joe’s.
    If the Reds draft and develop and spend wisely and stay healthy with great starting pitching, they win.

    • Bill J

      School, you’re right, look at the Rays.

  20. DaveCT

    Is it too much to wish for the Cards asking permission to talk with Bell about their opening?

  21. Votto4life

    I think David Bell is OK as a manger. He is basically an average manager with an average team. David Bell is unlikely ever to take this team deep into the play-offs. For whatever reason (mostly financial) the Reds ownership and front office are OK with the Reds being average.

    I think Uncle Bob has made up his mind that small market teams can’t win championships and it’s a fools errand to try. I think he is content to put an average team on the field year after year, promote the team by offering bobble head nights and celebrating the team’s past with statutes and other such tributes.

    Meanwhile, Bob Castellini will sit tight, let the team appreciate in value each year. I think his ownership of the Reds is what he plans to leave to his family.

    Unfortunately, we will probably have to wait until Bob C. dies before we will see new
    ownership and a different approach.

    • VegasRed

      Probably true. But honestly the entire organization Seems lethargic and reactive. There is little passion or urgency, it a lot of complacency and veterans performing Below average with no consequences.

      Very blah IMO. No real evidence of trying to manufacture runs, going with the pitch, etc.

      I check the box scores and wraps watching live is quite boring. Tough watching live.

      • Jim Walker

        I share this impression. They appear to have a static view. They field a set piece team decided on by the end of spring training and have an aversion to making changes unless they are forced to by injury. This thought process seems to be a remnant of the Walt Jocketty “we’ve got Jack (Hannahan, in 2013/14) for that” worldview.

  22. 2020ball

    Well written article and great points, as usual


  23. CI3J

    I think my biggest gripe about Bell, beyond the “has no fire” complaint (which means different things to different people) is this:

    He seems to completely lack the ability to adapt to the game that’s unfolding in front of him.

    Bell seems to go into each game with a set plan, and that plan does not seem to change or evolve given how the game is going. He seems to have the mentality of “These guys are gonna get ABs, these bullpen pitchers are gonna pitch.”, and that’s final.

    It has led to some truly baffling in-game decisions where Bell does not look like he’s managing to win, he’s just managing to make sure everyone gets to play. There’s no urgency, there’re no chess matches in his managerial decisions, no playing your best players when the game is winnable and letting your mopup guys play when the game is out of reach.

    Basically, if Bell were a computer program, he seems to lack the “if……., then……” programming language. His gameplan is simply “These players play today. END”

    Oh, and I’m also pretty annoyed with Bell not giving the kids more of a shot, but I’m hopeful the front office will force his hand somewhat this offseason. But I still have a sinking feeling Farmer is going to be the starting SS next season.

    And the Reds desperately need to hire a baserunning coach who will change the station-to-station philosophy of the team. The team now has too many TOOTBLANS, and, paradoxically, is not aggressive enough.

    • Jim Walker

      Last paragraph +100. Aside from the TOOTBLANs, as a team, it appears they do not get good secondary leads and are also slow/ poor readers of balls in the air to the outfield.

      • Redsvol

        I’ll say it again, when your lineup consists of Winker, Suarez, Votto, Castellanos, Moose, Barnhart, and a pitcher you are not going to be able to expect much on the base paths. Those guys can’t move. Can they be better, yes. But expecting them to run like the Rays or Braves is unrealistic.

        Castellanos is not going to age well. I almost wonder if it wouldn’t be better to let him walk and go after 2 outfielders with decent stats who can move better and able to handle 2 or more positions. Short term contracts for 2 of Starling MArte, Jorge Soler, Chris Taylor and Tommy Pham is probably a much wiser investment.

    • Grand Salami

      Station to Station – Bowie’s greatest album.

      But yes, TOOTBLANS without base running aggression is a very true observation. The team just doesn’t seem very ‘active’.

      The hit, run, put on shifts, and try for the occassional steal but very few unique or aggressive manuavers to keep pressing or take small advantages.

      • Daytonnati

        But we’re stuck with “Diamond Dogs” 🙂

  24. RedFuture

    It’s all on the owners. There wouldn’t even be conversations like this had they kept Raisel, Bradley and Desclafani. Back when they signed Castellanos and Moustakas I remember them saying they still had resolve (resources) to make moves during season if necessary. But Covid happened. Simply doesn’t make sense to spend and sign talent like that and then cave and shed talent like they did.

  25. John R. Doggette

    every day I read concerns about not spending sufficient money and when I observe the contracts given to top free-agencies in 2020 I would like to ask who were the players either top management or manager Bell failed to get signed. Or is it sufficient for it to be reported that the Reds are in conversation but out bid.

    I wonder were your excited when Moustakas was signed? as an example.

    • Doug Gray

      Mike Moustakas signed a contract worth less than 30% of what Joey Votto signed a decade ago. The idea that Mike Moustakas is a “top free agent” is bananas. But it also tells us all we need to know about where the Reds stand in terms of spending on free agents, too.

    • VaRedsFan

      They needed a SS.
      Marcus Simien made 18 million for 1 year. He was the cheapest of the free agent SS’s A longterm commitment was not needed

  26. Steven Ross

    the Cardinals don’t like what their manager is doing and that the Cincinnati Reds front office does like what their manager is doing…

    Not everyone! A reliable source, with a direct connection and no reason to lie, tells me Phil Castellini and David Bell clash often. PC questions many of Bell’s decisions with phone calls and meetings after many games.

    • Jim Walker

      If this is accurate, why doesn’t PC just name himself Pres of Baseball Ops and hire a baseball nuts and bolts as GM to carry out his directives? Or wait, maybe he has?

    • CI3J

      I really doubt this. If PC didn’t like Bell, he never would have agreed to keeping him around for another 2 years.

  27. Reaganspad

    The Reds have Ted Lasso as a manager without the good press conferences. We will have to see if he can get Jamie Senzel Tart to play for him. He really needs a coach Beard.

    But if he can get some health (moose, Winker, Votto) and whatever is the issue with Senzel, he has a great pitching foundation, a leadoff hitter, 3 MVP candidates if Cast stays (and he may like the vibe that Ted gives the locker room as much as he does the ballpark to hit in… sometimes that means more than a few extra quid in your wallet.
    Jamie wasn’t happy with Manchester and Ted did give him the note and the army man….

  28. Jim

    36 Stolen Bases, That pretty well tells it all. No excitement at all on the bases, except India!!! Moose and Joey – Slow as Turtles, not much better -Barnhart and Suarez. Not a team lineup to bother the opposing pitchers!

  29. Max BRAGG

    Once again this is ALL smoke to distract Reds fans from owner and upper management. Let’s worry about product in the FIELD.

  30. Earl Nash

    Reds have developed maybe a handful of decent starting pitchers in 40 years, this is the reason they are mediocre year after year. Until they fix this and get better at developing pitching of all types.

    They seem to be a bit better on finding pitchers off the scrap heap or in the margins for a year or so, but other than a few years ago when they had some decent pitching and was a bat short (which they did not go and get one at the trade deadline), they are always a bit short.

  31. Mark Moore

    Just a thought after watching yesterday’s win from the Braves. They hung around against pretty much every Dodger bullpen arm available. The capitalized on small ball at the end with a great steal by Albies that put him in the right spot to score on a clean single. Personally, I’d rather see that action 75% of the time than the swing-for-the-fences stuff. Those will come and enhance the rest. And, if you watched, the shift was close to merciless against the Braves (especially Duvall).

  32. GreatRedLegsFan

    A tale of very different two organizations

    • Alan Horn

      True. The Braves have been well managed(top to bottom) for a number of years. They make changes when needed. I watch them a lot because they are nearby and it doesn’t cost anything. They have become my 2nd favorite team.

  33. west larry

    per statistica, revenues for the cardinals and reds 2018, 2019 and 2020:

    cards: 356,000,000 in 2018, 383,000,000 in 2019 and 109,000,000,in 2020.

    reds; 119,000,000 in 2018, 148,000,000 in 2019 and 70,000,000 in 2020.
    If I’m reading this correctly, the reds had less than 50% of the cards revenue in 2018 and 2019. About 40% less revenue than the cards in the Covid 2020 year.

    Maybe the cards have much greater results than the reds over the years, and that accounts for the revenue disparity. Whatever. The bottom line is that it’s difficult
    to match the player acquisition clout of the cards when you usually have half the revenue. Are the cards a more successful team? yes. I still dislike them intensely.

    So when we compare the moves of each club, consider the revenue difference. Go reds!

    • west larry

      ops, this is apparently comparing cards revenue to reds expenditures statistica shows the reds operating income as 31,000,000 in 2018, 23,000,000 1n 2019 and a loss of (47,000,000) in 2020. I couldn’t find the reds total revenue for 2018, 2019 and 2020. I’ll keep looking.

  34. Jim Walker

    Read today that part of the issue with Shildt may have been he wasn’t paying proper homage to the “the Cardinals way” and traditions?!? Imagine that in Cincinnati.

    Also, Yadi gave a quote from home in Puerto Rico that maybe Shildt and “the management” had issues but he did not know anything about it; and, if any players had issues with Shildt, he wasn’t aware of them.

    Shildt texted Katie Woo of the Athletic that there were no issues with the coaching staff. However, while some of the other suggested “issues” such as lack of major deadline moves and the front office desire for greater use of analytics in day to day decisions may have been a part of the situation they were not “the entire picture.”

    Looks like Shildt and Mozeliak are both going to go on the record in greater detail early in the week. Stay tuned


  35. Indy Red Man

    83 wins wasn’t a bad total for Bell when you consider all the shortcomings he had to deal with. Its just the September collapse made it seem worse. Actually being 12 over .500 whenever it was in August was a very good achievement at that time considering Suarez, Moose, Castillo, Senzel, Garrett, Sims, and the key injuries. Plus the scrub team that comprised half his pen to start the season. That being said, Bell doesn’t seem to react to his pitchers getting hammered until its too late. India would get on and still just wait for a HR like everyone else in the lineup. Suarez can’t even advance on a wild pitch play at the plate and that cost us a key game in Wrigley. No repercussions from Bell of course. Players manager is one thing, but the objective is to win and when the players actions deviate from that then they need to be dealt with.

    Bottom line I don’t agree with how Bell sees the game and I would’ve liked to see him get canned, but his results don’t support underachievement. Did Bell make a top 5 arm like Castillo become the worst starter in the NL for April-May? They went 1-10 in his first 11 starts. Did he make Suarez hit .170 and strand more people then Southwestern? Votto, Winker, Naquin, Gray, Lorenzen, and Antone all missed significant time. Unfortunately Moose didn’t miss enough time. I guess I’m assuming Bell’s hands were tied with 3B, but who knows?

    • Jim t

      Indy your assuming he doesn’t address those issues with his players. Because it doesn’t hit the media doesn’t mean he hasn’t talked to them. Effort from his players is not a issue with the reds. They gave max effort.

      • VaRedsFan

        That’s why you need a team captain, or enforcer (think Greg Vaughn) on the roster, to jump in the face and say this isn’t acceptable. It might not be Votto’s personality, but he needs to do this. Players would listen and respect him…..Counterpoint….who would get in Votto’s face for all of his baserunning blunders??