The year the Cincinnati Reds have had thus far can only be described as a roller-coaster. There are some very nice highs, but there have been some equally or even worst lows.
Our 3-15 start was literally the worst ever in franchise history. Think about that for a second, considering how long the Reds have been a franchise. The Reds are 53-60 since Riggleman took over, including a couple of nice winning streaks thrown in there. Not to mention, Suarez and Scooter are having really great years (especially Suarez! MVP!). However, should Riggleman not get a chance to interview for the job as full time manager, here is who the Reds front office should look to to get the Reds back to prominence.
PSA: If you want to check out as to why Riggleman should stay, check out Ethan Keating’s post.
This should be an obvious answer. Larkin is Cincinnati’s native son, having gone to Moeller High School. After leading the University of Michigan to two College World Series berths, he was drafted by his hometown team in 1986. Larkin made his debut very quickly after being drafted in August of 1986. Of course his career has been well documented around Cincinnati as one of the greatest Reds to ever don the uniform, and even one of the greatest shortstops to ever play the position across the entirety of the sport. While he is a World Series champion, 12x All-Star, NL MVP, 3x Gold Glove Winner, 9x Silver Slugger Winner, and Hall of Fame member (is that all?) he also has a track record at managing and in the front office.
Larkin was a special assistant to the general manager for the Washington Nationals soon after retirement. He served as bench coach for the United States in the 2009 World Baseball Classic. He also coached for Brazil in the 2013 World Baseball Classic. While being connected to certain jobs like the Detroit Tigers and the Tampa Bay Rays in the past, Larkin ultimately joined the Reds minor league system as an infielders coach. Larkin has increasingly been working with the major league squad during spring training and hasn’t ruled out becoming a major league manager. “Never say never. The conditions have to be right and, you know, the manager’s job, at least in my opinion, is not about just having the manager’s position. It’s about having the support system to support that manager’s position.”
Some Reds fans know Farrell as a current scout for the Reds front office, evaluating talent in the farm system. Farrell was a former pitcher for the Cleveland Indians who saw brief success before arm injuries derailed his career. Farrell joined his alma mater, Oklahoma State, and served as a pitching coach from 1997-2001, when he then joined the Indians in their front office for five years from 2001-2006. Farrell served as Director of Player Development during a time when the Indians were rated the top front office in baseball and had the best ranked farm system while he was in their front office. Farrell even served as pitching coach under Terry Francona in Boston before Farrell took the managerial position in Toronto. Farrell wasn’t that successful while managing the Blue Jays, amassing a record of 154-170.
Farrell is probably best known for his role as manager for the Red Sox for five years. The year before he was hired, the Red Sox were reeling from the departure of Francona, finishing in last place. Immediately, Farrell brought the Red Sox from worst to first. Farrell was named AL Manager of the Year in 2013 and the Red Sox went on to win the World Series that year. Farrell did endure struggles it seemed like every other year. Twice more he would get the Sox back into the playoffs but both times the team was bounced in the divisional round. Farrell left the Red Sox in 2017, and soon joined the Reds front office. Farrell may have had a rocky tenure in Boston, but he did win a World Series, and culminated a playoff record of 12-11. He also has experience dealing with young talent, like the Reds have, so his leadership could prove to pay off.
Girardi might be last on the list but that doesn’t mean he’s any less the coach. Much like Farrell, Girardi’s coaching acumen far outweighs his playing career. Now Girardi was an All-Star in 2000, and won 3 World Series Championships as a player, but it also really helps winning those rings when you have guys like Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, David Cone, Bernie Williams, and Mariano Rivera on that squad. After his playing days, Girardi wound up in Florida, where he took over the Marlins job. Despite the team going 78-84, Girardi won NL Manager of the Year because the team was in playoff contention despite the lowest payroll in baseball. However, the Marlins fired Girardi because of his constant disagreement with then Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria.
Also like Farrell, Girardi’s most famous stint came in the AL East, where Girardi became manager of the Yankees after Joe Torre’s departure. He even changed his number to 27, in hopes of bringing the Yankees their 27th World Series title. After a first year which saw them play good baseball yet not make the playoffs, his second year saw #27. In 2009, Girardi led the Yanks to glory as they defeated the Phillies in the World Series. Girardi would stay on for eight more years, with more playoff appearances and no rings to show for it, the Yankees let go of Girardi. Girardi’s managerial record stands at 988-794, with a playoff record of 28-24. Girardi enjoys a nice postseason resume, but his later years in the Bronx showed some clash with the youth movement they had there for a bit, which might prove to be problematic since the Reds are in a rebuilding time.
Out of these three, I would say Larkin would be my top choice.
However, with the career resume the other two have on this list, especially when it comes to the postseason and turning teams around, I would be happy with either of the former AL East rivals.
It’s up to you Jocketty and Castellini. Make the right choice here.