The Cincinnati Reds announced on Tuesday that former pitching coach Bryan Price has reached an agreement with the team to replace Dusty Baker as manager. Baker was fired following a disappointing season in which the Reds finished third in the NL Central and lost in the wild card round. Still, many were surprised to see the 64-year-old go after reaching the playoffs in three of the past four seasons.
Starting pitcher Mike Leake, who went 14-7 this season with a 3.37 ERA, seems excited that Price is taking over. During an interview with Lance McAlister on ESPN 1530 on Tuesday, Leake implied that Baker had become too friendly with the Reds players.
“No disrespect to Dusty, but he’s such a player’s manager that it’s tough for him to be commanding at times because he wants to be so liked by everybody,” the 25-year-old explained. “Price is the same way. He wants to be liked, but on the other hand he’s not afraid to tell you what he needs to tell you. He can do that for us.”
That almost sounds like the same theory that ran Terry Francona out of town with the Boston Red Sox two years ago. A lot of players enjoy playing for managers who give them freedom, but it can work against the team if there is not a strong enough presence in the clubhouse.
“We have the talent on paper,” Leake added. “We need a little more relentless play. Not that people don’t work hard, but you have certain people that play the way they play and there’s not much fire. The whole team’s kind of like that. I’m hoping that (Pierce) can bring out a little more attitude in everyone. I think it would be a great thing for us.”
With guys like Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips, you would think the Reds have enough veteran leadership to work with a player’s manager. If Leake’s comments are any indication, that was not the case in Cincy this season.