CINCINNATI -- That didn't take long. And nor should it have.
Just 18 days after Dusty Baker was fired, Cincinnati Reds pitching coach Bryan Price was named the next manager of the Cincinnati Reds.
Price, 51, was always the front-runner choice, with the only variable being if he wanted to give a go at coaching in Seattle for the Mariners, where he spent some of his playing and early coaching years.
Reds General Manager Walt Jocketty said they knew in their first meeting with Price that he was the one they wanted to take the helm.
"When we started this process, we sat down and outlined characteristics and qualities we wanted," Jocketty said at Tuesday's press conference announcing Price as the team's 61st manager. "We wanted leadership and a culture of accountability. It was clear in the first meeting with Bryan (Price), he has all those qualities."
"I think everyone in the room was convinced that he was the guy who stands out and we wanted going forward," Jocketty went on to say.
"We're extremely fortunate to have Bryan (Price)... he would have gone elsewhere if we hadn't kept him," Reds CEO Bob Castellini said.
Price has groomed one of the MLB's most successful pitching staffs in the four years he has been with the Reds in his current role, and built relationships throughout the clubhouse that will command respect and entice motivation.
In the National League, Price's pitching staff in 2012 and 2013 respectively has posted the third and fourth best ERA, the third most and most strikeouts, the third best and best WHIP, and the fourth best batting average against both years.
He successfully coached through Homer Bailey's mental and physical issues, helping him to two no-hitters and a team-leading 199 strikeouts in 2013 (7th overall in the NL).
Price found Mike Leake's proper mechanics to lead him to a break out year in 2013 with a career low 3.37 ERA, and a particular stretch in May and June during which he landed on a list of starting pitchers with the lowest ERA in the league (season low of 2.52 on June 29).
The Reds new manager worked with Mat Latos to keep the ball down in a very small Great American Ball Park, getting him to a team-leading 3.16 ERA in 2013, truly forming him into the team's ace in Johnny Cueto's absence.
Price also took rookie Tony Cingrani, threw him into the fire with the confidence he needed to succeed as a starter in the big leagues, and Cingrani thrived with a 2.92 ERA and 120 strikeouts in 104.2 innings pitched.
And the work he did with this past year's injury-ravaged bullpen is nothing short of miraculous. Price overrode JJ Hoover's early season failure to turn him into one of the most dominant mid-game relievers in the league, helped Manny Parra's resurgence back to a viable left-handed shut down guy, and jostled around the rest to consistently keep zeroes on the board once Reds starters were out of it, posting the lowest batting average against and the fourth-best ERA among bullpens in the NL.
Price will be able to get started without a hitch, and is the perfect person to keep an eye on Johnny Cueto's road to 100 percent throughout the offseason to make sure he returns to his Cy Young candidate form of 2012.
Price is a smart choice not just for the numbers as a result of his work, but also for his reputation among the fans. He has always been a tell-it-like-it-is guy, and has been widely credited with the Reds' success of the past four years, more so than former manager Dusty Baker ever was.
Yet to be proven is Price's work with hitters, but it's not much of a leap for a pitching coach, and he'll likely be able to hand-pick his own hitting coach to help, assuming that Brook Jacoby will go down with the Dusty Baker ship.
Working with the offense is especially important to make sure Reds hitters can keep some form of consistency throughout the 2014 season, rather than the "hot month, cold month" streaks they've slipped into the past few years that has left any postseason success from the batter's box up in the air.
Welcome to the big boy seat Mr. Price. Reds fans hope you'll make yourself comfortable.
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