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Thread: Price forming bond with Reds hurlers

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    Maple SERP savafan's Avatar
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    Price forming bond with Reds hurlers

    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?...=.jsp&c_id=mlb

    By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com

    12/15/09 4:50 PM EST

    CINCINNATI -- Since he was named the Reds' new pitching coach in mid-October, Bryan Price has immersed himself in getting to know his pitchers.

    Price has made phone calls. He has watched video of them in action. He's watched the Arizona Fall League and made sure he introduced himself to starters and relievers recently at Redsfest.

    "We haven't gotten too much into the baseball stuff, just informal introductions," Price said. "As we get into January, we'll have a better idea about Spring Training and how it's going to run and what the expectations are."

    As for the makeup of his staff and evaluating the hand he's been dealt, Price is not forming any preconceptions.

    "Most of these guys I only know on paper," Price said. "We played them so few times, about six times a year when I was in Arizona, and I didn't see them at all this year. I think it's a good thing. I have to have my own fresh perspective on guys. A lot of the staff here and the front office will have established relationships with players. I will be able to come in and make up my own mind. I'd really like to formulate an opinion I've established by myself. I look forward to that.

    "Until guys get on the field and work out -- I can watch video I have -- but you have to watch guys perform in person to get a really good feel for them."

    Price, 47, has 10 years of experience as a Major League pitching coach. He was with the Mariners from 2000-05 and followed manager Bob Melvin to the D-backs from 2006-09. When Melvin was let go by Arizona in May, Price resigned as a show of loyalty to his manager.

    When the Reds dismissed pitching coach Dick Pole at the end of the season, Price was named as a replacement a couple of weeks later.

    "He's very proactive," general manager Walt Jocketty said of Price. "He wants to know what the young guys are doing in winter ball. He's working on offseason programs for the guys."

    The only pitcher on the Reds' staff personally familiar with Price is Micah Owings, who was with the D-backs from 2007-08.

    "First off, BP is a great guy," Owings said. "I got to know him for two years. He was great to work with. He comes prepared, works hard and is really involved with the scouting reports. Personally, he helped me. It was my first time in [the Majors] as a rookie. He pushed me and helped me be prepared for each game. He's an easy guy to relate with, too."

    Owings' reviews aside, Price realized he will have to spend the early weeks of the 2010 season trying to earn the confidence of his pitchers.

    "Guys at this level don't automatically trust coaches," Price said. "They anticipate that a new guy is coming in and wants to make changes and things of that nature. That's not really my MO. I want to get to know them and at Spring Training, build some trust and maybe they'll be a little more open to suggestions I have along the way."

    A resident of Scottsdale, Ariz., Price was able to watch Reds pitching prospects in the Arizona Fall League. He saw 2009 first-round Draft pick Mike Leake, as well as Brad Boxberger and Logan Ondrusek.

    "Even though Leake was at ASU, I never saw him until the Fall League," Price said. "As much as people talk about him being a command guy, he's got good stuff. He's got plenty of velocity, movement and deception. He's got two good breaking balls and a changeup. It seems like he's a good athlete on the mound and he's got intangibles, which is the most important. He's got a feel for hitters and making adjustments. He was very impressive in the two starts I saw.

    "I wouldn't put a timetable on him. Really, it's just polish on a guy that is already pretty polished. It's a matter of him getting innings under his belt."

    Price is inheriting a Reds pitching staff that is in better shape than in years past. The rotation finished ninth in the National League last season with a 4.50 ERA and is returning with 15-game winner Bronson Arroyo and two young, decent starters in Johnny Cueto and Homer Bailey. The bullpen ranked third in the NL with a 3.53 ERA and is expected to have all of its principle relievers back.

    What can Reds pitchers understand about Price's philosophy now that he is in charge?

    "You have to be in good shape, professional athlete shape," Price said. "You have to be on the field prepared. You have to be able to compete and be a good teammate. Those are the four basic expectations for guys. I don't think any of those things are hard if this is what you want to do for a living. I don't follow these guys around wondering what they're doing and getting into everybody's business."
    My dad got to enjoy 3 Reds World Championships by the time he was my age. So far, I've only gotten to enjoy one. Step it up Redlegs!

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    Re: Price forming bond with Reds hurlers

    Sounds like Price was very impressed with Leake. I wonder how much of a chance he has of winning the 5ht spot in the rotation.I'm sure the expectation is for Leake to see some action this year with the Reds but I'd love to see him nail down a spot in the rotation right out of spring training.

    While it's my hope that one of the young guys get the 5th spot in 2010 we all know they'll be competing with Owings and at least one more vet on a ST invite.Anyone know of any veteran reclamation projects Price has taken on in the past and what kind of success he has had?

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    Vampire Weekend @Bernie's camisadelgolf's Avatar
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    Re: Price forming bond with Reds hurlers

    Price is saying all the right things. I've never heard a bad thing said about him, so I'm really curious to see what negative things people will have to say when the Reds pitching goes through a rough patch.

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    Re: Price forming bond with Reds hurlers

    Quote Originally Posted by camisadelgolf View Post
    Price is saying all the right things. I've never heard a bad thing said about him, so I'm really curious to see what negative things people will have to say when the Reds pitching goes through a rough patch.
    They'll just blame Dusty for at least a little while.

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    Re: Price forming bond with Reds hurlers

    I dig it.
    Baseball is like church. Many attend, few understand

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    Re: Price forming bond with Reds hurlers

    I'd love to see the young guns develop - it would be especially nice to see Woods come on and add a lefty to the mix. It would be ideal to see a 2011 rotation of:

    Volquez
    Cueto
    Wood
    Bailey
    Leake

    Maybe get a prospect or two for Arroyo and/or Harang between now and the trade deadline. Maybe Price can work wonders.

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    Re: Price forming bond with Reds hurlers

    definitely interested to see what Price does. You couldn't hardly make a judgment on the pitching coaches in the past just because they had practically nothing to work with. Price has his work cut out for him with lots of raw talent in a crucial development stage. It seemed like Pole did more damage than good with a lot of guys so it will be interesting to see what Price can do.

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    Re: Price forming bond with Reds hurlers

    Anxious to see how Bailey and Cueto are handled this year. These are still kids who are growing up. In 2009, Homer Bailey took a 55 Inning jump from 2008 and that is too much for a kid his age from one season to the next. I hope there is no carrryover effect in 2010 but I wouldn't be surprised if he needs a mid-season rest. I hope that is the extent of it. Hopefully he won't come up lame.

    Cueto has abused himself with Winter Ball and WBC preparation and required a mid-year shut down in 2009. Again, he's still at an age where the workload needs to be managed carefully.

    23 year old kids are still growing up structurally. It doesn't matter how tall they've grown or even whether they've filled out, kids in that situation need to have their workload managed more than a 27 or 28 year old. I hope Price has the right idea on how to handle these guys. The third member of the young gun threesome is going to spend 2010 on the DL. The future of the franchise rests on those three arms and its just not worth getting that extra inning from them in a relatively meaningless start. They should limit these guys to the 195 to 200 inning range. No need to push them into 225 or 230 territory which is where I fear they are headed. I could see the reds dealing Harang and Arroyo at the deadline and after these guys have already put 3 or 4 months in and then Dusty stepping up the workload to get those lost innings from these kids. I hope Price prevents that from happening.
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    Re: Price forming bond with Reds hurlers

    Cueto should be in line for 200- 210, but Bailey looks like a likely 220 guy, if you believe in the 30 inning bump thing.
    "You can learn little from victory. You can learn everything from defeat."
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    Re: Price forming bond with Reds hurlers

    Anxious to see how Bailey and Cueto are handled this year. These are still kids who are growing up. In 2009, Homer Bailey took a 55 Inning jump from 2008 and that is too much for a kid his age from one season to the next. I hope there is no carrryover effect in 2010 but I wouldn't be surprised if he needs a mid-season rest. I hope that is the extent of it. Hopefully he won't come up lame.

    Cueto has abused himself with Winter Ball and WBC preparation and required a mid-year shut down in 2009. Again, he's still at an age where the workload needs to be managed carefully.

    23 year old kids are still growing up structurally. It doesn't matter how tall they've grown or even whether they've filled out, kids in that situation need to have their workload managed more than a 27 or 28 year old. I hope Price has the right idea on how to handle these guys. The third member of the young gun threesome is going to spend 2010 on the DL. The future of the franchise rests on those three arms and its just not worth getting that extra inning from them in a relatively meaningless start. They should limit these guys to the 195 to 200 inning range. No need to push them into 225 or 230 territory which is where I fear they are headed. I could see the reds dealing Harang and Arroyo at the deadline and after these guys have already put 3 or 4 months in and then Dusty stepping up the workload to get those lost innings from these kids. I hope Price prevents that from happening.
    Agree 100%.

    Beyond reigning in Baker's propensity for "getting that extra inning" out of his starters, it will be interesting to see how they structure the staff and what kind of flexibility they build into the Louisville-Cincinnati shuttle (almost none, last year). A team needs to be able to get a backup starter into the major league rotation from time to time in order to give guys who are flagging some extra rest (or to deftly plug a hole when a guy goes down). The team showed little ability to do so last year, and I'm hoping Price can prevail upon them to change.
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    Re: Price forming bond with Reds hurlers

    Agreed. Too often last season, Baker, Jocketty and company played the I-71 shuffle and 33 RPM instead of 45. Way too much concern, IMO, over monetary cost and not enough on team cost.

    If Owings is the long man (or Maloney makes the team as long reliever), that may settle most of the problem, as would Lehr's ability to pitch okay last season.
    "You can learn little from victory. You can learn everything from defeat."
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