It is not unheard of that the teams that are tanking have a manager for the tank period. Bo Porter, Walt Weiss, Mike Redmond, among others, all come to mind immediately. This writer does not support this concept of the idea of hiring a manager for a bad team, just to fire him when the team is on the verge of being great. It is not out of the realm of possibility that the hiring of Ron Gardenhire in Detroit is for exactly that. The 60-year old Gardenhire is probably not a long term solution for when the time comes that the Tigers will be ready again. Bryan Price in Cincinnati dealt with a whole another issue, a team that was bad and continues to be bad. Now Jim Riggleman is in charge.
Bryan Price came to the Reds for the 2010 season as pitching coach under Dusty Baker. This was after Dick Pole was relieved of his duties as pitching coach. When Dusty Baker was fired in 2013 after several seasons of making the playoffs but never advancing through them, Price was given the position for the 2014 season. It was after Price came in that everything went sour. Despite a good lineup of veterans, no one in the rotation could stay remotely healthy. Joey Votto was rarely healthy. Ryan Ludwick stopped hitting. Things just went south. In 2014, the Reds finished fourth in the division. (The rebuilding Chicago Cubs finished fifth.)
2015 was not an improvement. The team continued to struggle. The rotation stayed unhealthy, but the offense improved enormously. Joey Votto spent 2014 living on the disabled list. He came back and became Joey Votto with a .314 batting average and 29 home runs along with 143 walks. Johnny Cueto, a stalwart of the rotation, went to the Kansas City Royals at the trade deadline. Otherwise, the entire rotation has been a disaster. 2016 showed no improvement, and players like Aroldis Chapman, Todd Frazier and Jay Bruce were sent packing. The return package? Basically nothing. Brandon Phillips was sent away in 2017 and no improvement.
Bryan Price was not 100 percent of the problem in Cincinnati. However, he is a scapegoat for a rebuild that is rightly awful. Not one of the players traded (Chapman, Bruce, Cueto, Phillips, and Frazier) have brought back anything remotely useful and productive. The team has a core of five good players: Joey Votto, Eugenio Suarez, Homer Bailey, Luis Castillo and Rasiel Iglesias. After that, it is a nightmare. Behind Castillo and Bailey there has never been a successful or healthy rotation. All the kids they bring up struggle and do not seem to turn it around.
To make things worse, the clubhouse attitude seems to lie on Joey Votto, who seems to think that winning does not matter. Votto has chosen to stay in Cincinnati through the rebuild, and despite the fact that any trade for him would bring back exactly what the Reds need, he is the owner of a no-trade clause that ties their hands. Bailey and Suarez would not bring back the packages needed to help. If Joey Votto’s attitude is that we do not need to win, then what kind of clubhouse is Bryan Price leading? Your star just stated that the game does not matter if we lose.
The problem is that Bryan Price is a scapegoat for the people who should really go: general manager Dick Williams and the front office. They left Price nothing. A 3-15 start did not help the cause for Price, but the truth is out there that Price is the victim of a bad rebuild.