Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports that the job security of Reds manager Bryan Price is “extremely tenuous”. He adds that Hall of Famer and long-time Red Barry Larkin is viewed as the most likely successor if Price’s seat were vacated.
The Reds entered play Saturday with a 55-77 record, dead last in the NL Central. They lost nine games in a row between August 14-23, and are poised to finish fifth in the division for the first time since 2008. Their .417 winning percentage would be their worst since 2001.
In fairness to Price, the Reds’ August slump came after the Reds traded away ace Johnny Cueto and Mike Leake at the trade deadline. They also traded Marlon Byrd two weeks ago.
I’m not sure if this qualifies as a vote of confidence or simply delaying the inevitable, but Reds owner Bob Castellini told John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer that manager Bryan Price will not be fired before the end of the season.
His exact quote:
Bryan is our manager. We’re not making a change this year. You look at everything after the season. But that’s not something we’re going to get into now. Bryan’s our manager.
Castellini could have just as easily taken things a step further and said Price’ job is safe for 2016 as well, but he didn’t do that and … well, it seems like a decent bet that the manager will be let go after the Reds finish their disappointing season.
Price is 128-160 (.444) since taking over for Dusty Baker last year and the Reds are in full-on rebuilding mode, trading away Johnny Cueto and several other key veterans. Price is under contract for 2016, but he’s received little praise for the job he’s done, clashes with the local media over silly issues, and is currently in charge of a team that’s lost 12 of the last 13 games.
Reds closer Aroldis Chapman pitched just once in the span of 12 days because of shoulder soreness, but he was on back on the mound Monday to work the ninth inning of a blowout win.
Chapman didn’t look sharp, walking two of the five batters he faced, but manager Bryan Price told Mark Sheldon of MLB.com that “he’s past that point where I think the soreness is out of there and he should be good to go.”
There was a lot of trade speculation swirling around Chapman last month, as the Reds moved multiple veterans including ace Johnny Cueto, but nothing came of the Chapman rumors. Expect the speculation to start up again this winter, because 2016 is Chapman’s final year before hitting the open market as a free agent and, assuming his shoulder is fine down the stretch, the Reds could cash him in for a big return.
Chapman has a 1.78 ERA and 90 strikeouts in 51 innings this season.
Reds left-hander John Lamb, a 25-year-old prospect acquired from the Royals in the Johnny Cueto trade last month, will be called up from the minors to make his MLB debut Friday.
Lamb cracked Baseball America’s top-100 prospects list in 2011, but then underwent Tommy John elbow surgery and struggled for two seasons before bouncing back in 2014. He’s taken another big step forward this season at Triple-A, posting a 2.67 ERA and 117/36 K/BB ratio in 111 innings.
Along with Lamb the Reds also received fellow left-handers Brandon Finnegan and Cody Reed in the July 26 deal for Cueto, who has a 2.05 ERA through three starts for the Royals. Lamb’s debut will come against the Dodgers.
Royals 4, Tigers 0
Johnny Cueto made his Royals home debut Monday night and threw a complete-game, four-hit shutout against the Tigers in front of 36,000 fans at Kauffman Stadium. Cueto struck out eight, walked zero, and threw 86 of 116 pitches for strikes to extend the Royals’ winning streak to four games.
Oh, and then there’s this from the Associated Press recap:
Tigers manager Brad Ausmus complained to plate umpire Joe West that Cueto’s delivery was illegal, saying Cueto was stopping in his windup.
“Really, the way the rule reads, you’re not supposed to even alter your motion,” Ausmus said. “That’s the way the rule reads. They don’t enforce it. Well, he said if he stops it’s an illegal pitch.”
It’s called The Cueto Wiggle and we’re all familiar with it, Brad.
Kansas City now has a 12-game lead in the AL Central and a 13.5-game lead over third-place Detroit.
Your box scores and AP recaps from Monday …
White Sox 8, Angels 2
Orioles 3, Mariners 2
Mets 4, Rockies 2
Diamondbacks 13, Phillies 3
Nationals 8, Dodgers 3
Padres 2, Reds 1