One of the finalists the Cincinnati Reds have called back for a second interview is the guy I want heading the clubhouse next year, and that man has a name prominent throughout Cincinnati baseball history, David Bell.
Bell does not have Major League managerial experience, but he has had his hands all over the developmental side of baseball. He has spent this last season as the Director of Player Development in the San Francisco Giants organization. He got the ball rolling on the Giants building a better farm system, something they haven’t had in a while. Over the course of 2018, the Giants farm system moved from 28thranked to 24th. He also has experience managing within the Reds farm system, holding the reigns of the Mudcats (2008-2010) and the Bats (2011).
Bell’s experience in the Majors on the bench came with the St. Louis Cardinals. He was the assistant hitting coach (2013-14) and the bench coach (2015-17). The Cardinals boasted the best run-scoring offense in the National League, in 2013, though that doesn’t have as much to do with the coach as it does with having more than half the lineup hit better than .290. He was there to help them make some tweaks to their swing, so we’ll give him a little more credit than, say, George Costanza (see Seinfeld Season 8, episode 9, trust me).
So he’s got the experience that the Reds should be looking for in a managerial candidate with no managerial experience. Follow me for a second. What have the Reds had trouble with in this rebuild. Okay, a lot, but developing in-house talent is at the top of the grocery list. Bell has an eye for development, or why else would the Giants hand him the ability to determine who’s ready to be called up? PLUS he was involved with the Cardinals, a team that, sure, they’re the Reds rivals, but they’re also a team the Reds would like to emulate. They bought into analytics before Bell arrived, so he was exposed to analytical managing.
Side note: the worst the Cardinals fared when he was on staff was 2nd in the division. Thought it bared mentioning.
Truth be told, I am happy with all three of the confirmed finalists for the job. Bell, Joe Girardi, and Brad Ausmus are all outside candidates and all bring with them good pedigrees. Bell, as I have outlined above, Girardi was the Yankee’s skipper for a long time and saw many a playoff game, and Ausmus was a catcher, the best position to yield managers (probably). Most importantly, were not talking about Jim Riggleman. Thank you for your time, Jim, but now it’s time for the Reds to move to a place where people care about them again. So few people cared about Cincinnati professional baseball by the end of last season, I don’t think the players even minded what the score was. All three of these finalists will rejuvenate baseball in the Queen City. My money is on Bell being the best fit.
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