Court: Reds exempt from tax on promotional bobbleheads

Court: Reds exempt from tax on promotional bobbleheads

The state’s high court ruled 5-2 that the Major League Baseball franchise is exempt from paying tax on the purchase of bobbleheads and other promotional items the team offers to ticket buyers. The opinion written by Justice Patrick Fischer warned that the ruling was specific to the case and might

The Cincinnati Reds offense has more problems than you’d think

The Cincinnati Reds offense has more problems than you’d think

It long ago became common knowledge that the Cincinnati Reds had a bit of a Great American Ball Park problem. The tight, cozy confines of their home stadium were designed to accommodate the sweet, yet aging swing of Ken Griffey, Jr. and his chase of Hank Aaron’s home run record, and a legacy of dinger-swatting

Reds, Angels pick managers

Reds, Angels pick managers

The Associated Press

CINCINNATI  — David Bell has been hired as manager of the Cincinnati Reds, tasked with helping turn around a team that skidded to a 67-95 record and last-place finish in the NL Central.

The Reds said Sunday he has been given a three-year contract that includes a team option for 2022. The 46-year-old Cincinnati native is to be introduced at a news conference today.

The Reds fired Bryan Price after a 3-15 start, and Jim Riggleman was interim manager for the rest of the season.

Bell was a minor league manager for the Reds from 2009-12, became the Chicago Cubs’ third base coach in 2013, St. Louis’ assistant hitting coach the following year and the Cardinals’ bench coach for the next three years. He was San Francisco’s vice president of player development last season.

Bell and his father, Reds front-office executive Buddy, become the fourth father-son duo to serve as major league managers, joining George and Dick Sisler, Bob and Joel Skinner, and Bob and Aaron Boone. Buddy Bell managed the Detroit Tigers (1996-1998), Colorado Rockies (2000-2002) and Kansas City Royals (2005-2007).

David Bell becomes the 63rd manager in Reds’ history. 

Bell, a former infielder, was selected by the Cleveland Indians in the seventh round of the 1990 draft and made his major league debut in 1995. He played parts of 12 seasons in the majors with the Indians, Cardinals, Seattle Mariners, Giants, Philadelphia Phillies and Milwaukee Brewers.

Angels select Ausmus

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Brad Ausmus was named the Los Angeles Angels’ manager on Sunday, moving from the front office to the dugout to replace longtime skipper Mike Scioscia.

General manager Billy Eppler announced the hiring of Ausmus, who served as Eppler’s special assistant last season after four years as the Detroit Tigers’ manager.

Ausmus got a three-year contract with the Angels. He will be introduced at Angel Stadium today.

Scioscia had held the job since the 2000 season, winning the Angels’ only World Series title and becoming the winningest manager in franchise history. He left the club earlier this month after 19 seasons and 1,650 victories.

But after finishing 80-82 for the second consecutive year, the Angels are coming off three straight losing seasons overall for the first time since 1992-94. Los Angeles has played only three postseason games in the past nine seasons, losing them all in 2014 after winning the AL West.

While both men had lengthy careers as big league catchers, the 49-year-old Ausmus likely represents a philosophical shift from Scioscia, who was widely perceived as an old-school manager despite his public embrace of new baseball mentalities.

After Scioscia’s departure three weeks ago, Eppler said he wanted the Angels’ 17th manager to be well-versed in analytics and probability-based decision-making. Ausmus was not known to be thoroughly reliant on data during his up-and-down tenure in Detroit, but he clearly sold Eppler and owner Arte Moreno on his willingness to evolve into the modern manager that the Angels want.

Paul Daugherty: Big things happening for the Cincinnati Reds? Bob Castellini isn't saying.

Paul Daugherty: Big things happening for the Cincinnati Reds? Bob Castellini isn't saying.

CLOSE

The 2018 squad compiled the 16th worst year in the Reds’ 149-year history. The 1930s remain the worst decade, with six seasons of at least 90 losses. Cincinnati Enquirer

“If we’re not going to play better than .500 baseball from now on, to me that would be a disaster.’’Bob Castellini, April 23, 2018

“It was a total disaster.’’ – Bob Castellini on Thursday

Well, now that we’ve got that cleared up…

“We relied too much on pitchers to excel,’’ the Cincinnati Reds CEO said of his team, which finished 67-95 overall. The Reds were 64-80 under Jim Riggleman, i.e. 16 games under disaster.

“We believe in our position players,’’ Castellini said. “We know we have to bolster the whole pitching situation. Are we talking about one starter or two? Two bullpen guys, three bullpen guys?’’

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Well, I guess that depends on the size of the disaster you want in 2019. One or two veteran starters and two or three relief pitchers conceivably could cut the damage from a Category 5 to a tropical storm. Anything less, fans will be ordered to evacuate.

Anything more and…

“We’ll have the highest payroll we’ve ever had,’’ Castellini pledged. The previous high was $115 million in 2015. This year it was $101 million.

“We’ve spent a lot of money on this team,’’ he said, citing front office additions, money spent to sign international players and adding another minor-league affiliate, a Rookie League team in Tennessee.

“It doesn’t sound like a lot,’’ Castellini said.

No, it doesn’t.

“But a million here, a million there, it adds up,’’ he said.

Fans hearts aren’t bleeding all over town.

As for the crucial managerial pick, Castellini assured, “We feel confident we’ll make the right decision.’’

Well, awesome. Order your World Series tickets today.

The Reds need to do big things, and they need to do them now. Maybe big things are in the works. Castellini wasn’t saying. “Turn that (recorder) off’’ was his favorite sentence when we met Thursday, followed closely by, “Is that thing off?’’

We’re left to read tea leaves.

Castellini has hired two managers. He went big name on the first one and in-house on the second. Dusty Baker brought the most happiness here since Lou Piniella. Bryan Price was a very good pitching coach whom the position players might or might not have responded to when he was their manager.

Now?

Joe Girardi was one of three finalists when Castellini hired Dusty Baker. The other was Piniella, who didn’t want the job. Girardi did good work in the Bronx (a World Series win) and Miami (one year, one lousy team, one Manager of the Year Award). Girardi has won 988 games as a major-league manager, and 55 percent of the time.

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Plus, he’s a former catcher. If you want the best shot at hiring a good manager, consider anonymous middle infielders. Or catchers, the more nondescript the better. Tony La Russa appeal to you? Earl Weaver, Dick Williams (Oakland, not Cincinnati), Sparky Anderson? Craig Counsell is an outstanding manager. In 4,700 MLB at-bats, he had an OPS of .686. Ned Yost (catcher) has a World Series ring… and a lifetime OPS of .566 in 605 at-bats.

In April, seven former catchers, mostly nondescript as catchers, were managing in the majors. I’d take my chances with Bruce Bochy or Bob Melvin. Joe Maddon was an A-ball catcher for four years.

Castellini was part of the Cardinal Way harvest in St. Louis. He saw the success in an owner-GM-manager triumvirate working smoothly. Bill DeWitt Jr., Walt Jocketty and La Russa won a lot of games while same page-ing it. Castellini saw firsthand the big-ego maverick Baker could be. No more Bakers.

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A big organizational problem has been a lack of defined leadership in the front office. Riggleman couldn’t address that as an interim manager. The next guy better. Clear message, proven philosophy, strong voice. Then again, Castellini has never seen that problem as a problem. That’s a problem. “We have smart guys’’ in the front office,’’ he said. OK, but a fair amount of them have been here since the recent losing started. It’s their losing.

Girardi wouldn’t be an organizational yes-man. He almost got fired in Miami for telling his owner, who was heckling the home-plate ump from his front-row seat, to shut up.

John Farrell spent the ’18 season as a Reds scout, evaluating the club’s minor-league system. Whether he wants the managing job after that experience is anybody’s guess. But he’s qualified, having won three AL East titles and a World Series while managing in Boston. So is Brad Ausmus (former catcher).

 So…

“What do you expect from your next manager?’’ I asked Bob Castellini.

“Is that thing off?” he asked.