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Cincinnati Reds pitching coach Bryan Price named manager

The Cincinnati Reds decided to hire in-house to its open managerial position.

The club’s front office announced the promotion of pitching coach Bryan Price to manager at a Tuesday press conference. News of the hire first surfaced Monday night on Twitter from Fox’s Ken Rosenthal.

Reds General Manager and President of Baseball Operations Walt Jocketty said Tuesday that despite a long list of candidates, he and the rest of the front office did not interview anyone else for the job.

“Once we had the meeting with Bryan, we saw no reason to go forward (with other candidates),” Jocketty said at the press conference.

The club’s CEO, Bob Castellini, described Price as “exceptional,” and said if the Reds did not hire Price, he likely would be heading elsewhere.

The two sides agreed to a three-year contract running through 2016.

Price, the 61st manager in team history, steps in for Dusty Baker who was relieved of his duties Oct. 3 after the Reds lost six consecutive games to close out 2013, including the National League Wild Card Game against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Baker went 509-463 (.524) during his six seasons in Cincinnati; he took his team to the postseason in three of the past four years.

Price has served as the Reds’ pitching coach since 2010. During the 2013 regular season, the Reds’ pitching staff owned the MLB’s fourth-best ERA and led the NL in strikeouts. The year before, Price’s repertoire of bullpen arms led the Majors in saves (56) and was fourth in ERA (3.34). The 2012 Reds’ starting pitchers became just the eighth rotation in MLB history with five pitchers making at least 30 starts each.

Price, who has never managed at the professional level, pitched as high as AAA in the minor leagues and served as the pitching coach for both the Mariners’ (2000-2005) and Diamondbacks (2006-2009) before coming to Cincinnati.

The San Francisco, Calif., native interviewed for the Miami Marlins’ managerial vacancy last offseason, and was rumored to be a possible candidate for the Seattle Mariners current opening at the position.

Starting pitcher Bronson Arroyo, who becomes a free agent as soon as the World Series ends, told the Cincinnati Enquirer how he felt his former pitching coach would do as a replacement when news broke of Baker’s firing.

“I think he’d be unbelievable,” Arroyo said. “He’s as organized as anyone in the game; he holds people as accountable as well as anyone I’ve seen. He doesn’t buy into stereotypical things in the game … Price looks at evidence. He’s a freaking smart guy, he makes his decision on reasonable evidence. Sometimes in baseball we go by hunches, what someone else said or the way things have gone in the past. He doesn’t do that.”

According to a September article at mlb.com, Reds’ starting pitcher Homer Bailey also had positive things to say about Price’s ability to hold people accountable, an area some feel Baker struggled with.

“We are held accountable,” Bailey said. “We demand certain things out of everyone here, whether you’re the No. 1 starter on the team or the mop-up guy, it doesn’t matter. Our expectations are held so high. Some things are just unacceptable. Our starters are expected to go seven innings. We are expected to keep our team in the game. We are expected to put up quality starts.”

Price thanked Baker during Tuesday’s press conference, saying “he became a friend and confidant.”

Jocketty said other coaching staff decisions for vacant roles have not yet been made.

Price will join John Farrell of the Red Sox and the Padres’ Bud Black as the only active managers who were previously a pitching coach.

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