I was going to sit down to write the epitaph of the Bryan Price era, but really, why? I've already written it, in some form or another, more times than I needed to.
I've gotta be honest, I'm not really sure what to say. Bryan Price had his shortcomings for sure, but it's not like his tactical maneuvers had any chance of making a major difference. More than anything, he was just there. A guy occupying a job that baseball rules dictate has to be filled. The public face of defeat that he was helpless against preventing. Someone who almost seemed resigned to suffering a fate that became very real this morning. A manager as forgettable as the last four-plus years have been painful.
Jim Riggleman will take his place, at least until the Reds settle on a long-term replacement. We'll find out in due time whether Barry Larkin's public posturing for Price's gig will payoff, or if the Reds do what they didn't do when Dusty Baker was
scapegoated removed four and a half years ago and actually conduct a search for the best possible replacement.
I'm less interested in what happens with a potential manager search than I am in what happens with a rebuilding process that's exhausted patience as its stalled. Simply put, the Reds don't have enough quality players. Recent trades and drafts have not produced enough of a return. Guys whom at one point appeared likely to make up this franchise's core have not lived up to expectation. The front office has done a commendable job of replenishing the farm system and a handful of guys who've arrived in Cincinnati in recent years have established themselves as possible long-term answers.
But the process has slowed. Injuries. Failed development. Players not being as good as we'd hoped. A reliance on internal improvement that's not paid off. Heavy financial investments not giving commensurate return. None of this was on Bryan Price. All of it cost him his job.
And it'll cost the next manager his too.
As 2017 turned to 2018, as no years were added to Bryan Price's contract, as a franchise icon openly lobbied for the job, and as his team stumbled and stammered its way to an historically poor start, today's news almost felt inevitable. This morning, the Reds fired their manager. This afternoon, one hell of a mess remains.