The Reds’ worst start since the Great Depression prompted a quick hook for Bryan Price.
The Reds fired their fifth-year manager on Thursday because of their 3-15 start, the first managerial change in the major leagues this season. The Reds hadn’t changed managers so early in a season since Tony Perez was fired after 44 games in 1993.
Price managed a rebuilding effort that relied on rookies more than any other team in the majors during his tenure. The Reds have lost at least 94 games in each of the last three seasons while finishing last in the NL Central.
Although the Reds have been patient with their coaching staff during the rebuild, their worst start since 1931 prompted the change.
“We felt we had to act now, we couldn’t afford to wait,” general manager Dick Williams said during a conference call. “I know it seems early to some people and it certainly is early in the regular season, but … we’ve had a lot of chances to observe this group together and see them get off to the start we’d hoped, and it wasn’t there.”
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Bench coach Jim Riggleman will manage the team on an interim basis, the fourth time in his career he’s been promoted during a season. Riggleman also has managed the Padres, Cubs, Mariners and Nationals. He’s expected to be a candidate for the full-time job. Williams said the club will pick its next manager later in the season.
The Reds lost 86 games in Price’s first season, and the organization decided to begin a massive overhaul that involved trading every star player except Joey Votto and Homer Bailey. They’ve brought up rookie pitchers before they were ready to fill in while DeSclafani, Finnegan and Bailey were hurt.
Thirty-two Reds players have made their major league debuts in the last three seasons, the most in the majors. In the last four seasons, they’ve had a rookie start 254 of 504 games. Rookies made a club-record 110 starts in 2015, when the Reds lost 98 games.