Report: Joe Girardi, Reds' top choice for manager, takes himself out of running

David Bell may be next in line
Posted at 7:02 PM, Oct 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-20 20:13:49-04

CINCINNATI - The Reds' top choice for manager, Joe Girardi, has taken himself out of the running for the job, according to trusted baseball writer Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.

The 54-year-old Girardi, long-time New York Yankees skipper, was in town Thursday and was seen with Reds owner Bob Castellini at the Reds' Urban Youth Academy in Roselawn, according to WCPO's Keenan Singleton.

There's no telling why Girardi dropped out. Maybe he really does want to take a longer break and stay in TV awhile. Or maybe he has a better opportunity managing a team that didn't finish in last place the last four years.

Girardi's "no thanks" makes David Bell, son of former Reds star Buddy Bell and currently San Francisco Giants vice president of player development, the favorite for the Reds' job - unless another team grabs him, according to Rosenthal.

Adding to the intrigue, the Giants may be considering promoting Bell to run their baseball operations, according to San Francisco Chronicle beat writer Hank Schulman.

Besides Bell, Girardi's exit appears to leave former Tigers manager Brad Ausmus as the Reds'  lone familiar target. The Reds had planned to give Girardi, Bell and Ausmus second interviews, according to The Enquirer's John Fay.

Another MLB insider, Jon Heyman, reported that Reds interim manager has been notified that he won't get the job in 2019.

Girardi is the second target the Reds whiffed on. The Reds said hometown hero Barry Larkin told them he wasn't interested at the moment, preferring to maintain his role in developing minor leaguers. Ask me again when you put together all the pieces you need for a competitive team, the Hall of Fame shortstop might have said.

What happened to John Farrell, you ask? Two weeks ago, the former Boston Red Sox manager and 2013 World Series champion was seen as the Reds' top choice in some circles. After the Reds hired Farrell as a scout in March, some saw him as the "manager in waiting."

But there hasn't been a peep about Farrell lately, though that might be because the Reds were courting Girardi - or because Farrell has a better option, too.

Bell, who grew up here and starred at Moeller High School, played 12 years in the majors but has never managed a big-league club. However, he has managed four seasons in the Reds farm system - three with the Double-A Carolina Mudcats (2009-11) and one with the Triple-A Louisville Bats (2012), when his team went 51-93.

Bell's family connections to the Reds are well known. His dad Buddy, a Moeller great himself, currently works for the Reds as vice president and senior advisor and played third base for the Reds (1985-88) during an 18-year big-league career. David's grandfather, Gus Bell, was a four-time All-Star outfielder in nine seasons with the Reds (1955-61) during his 15 years in the majors.

After leaving the Reds organization, David Bell, 46, was third-base coach for the Cubs (2013) and Cardinals hitting coach (2014) and bench coach (2015-16) before going to the Giants.

Girardi, who managed the Yankees for 10 seasons, would have brought the aura of a well-known, successful manager to a franchise in bad need of a boost. He managed the Yankees to a World Series championship in 2009, won three division titles (2009-11-12) and reached the postseason six times. A big-league catcher for 15 seasons, Girardi also earned a World Series ring as the Yankees catcher in 1999. 

The Yanks fired Girardi after losing the 2017 American League Championship Series to the Houston Astros.

Girardi could have taken himself out of the running here for any number of reasons. He might have judged the Reds' talent too inferior. He might not have been offered as much control as he sought. He might not have been able to come to terms on the value and length of a contract.

Or, the Reds might have told him he wasn't their first choice and he dropped out to save face.

The 49-year-old Ausmus, a big-league catcher for 18 years, managed the Tigers for four seasons (2014-17). The Tigers won the AL Central in Ausmus' first year, when they finished 90-72. But they went 64-98 in 2017 and finished last, leading to his firing.

Most Reds fans would probably be happy to get Farrell, a big-league pitcher for eight seasons and a manager for seven. 

Farrell, 56, managed two years with the Toronto Blue Jays (2011-12) before going to the Red Sox (2013-17). Besides his World Series ring, he won three division titles in five seasons in Boston, but he was dumped after his 2016 and 2017 teams went 93-69 but were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs.

Riggleman interviewed to keep the job in 2019, but the Reds went 64-80 under Riggleman after their 3-15 start led to the firing of fifth-year manager Bryan Price. It's hard to see how the Reds could sell tickets if they kept Riggleman.

Reds coaches Billy Hatcher, Freddie Benavides and Pat Kelly also interviewed.

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