Pitching coach Bryan Price was first on the Reds’ list of manager candidates. Three hours of answering every question tossed his way ended their search rather quickly.
After one interview, it was over.
The Reds stayed in-house for their next manager, giving Price a three-year deal Tuesday that came with expectations that he’ll take them deep into the playoffs right away.
“Bryan is exceptional,” owner Bob Castellini said. “We’ve been fortunate to be with him long enough to know how exceptional he is.
“I can’t tell you how well this has fit in for us. We did not have to go out and do a search,” he said. “We had the person we felt could take this team deep into the postseason and then some.”
Dusty Baker led the Reds to three 90-win seasons and three playoff appearances in the last four years, their best stretch of success since Sparky Anderson managed the Big Red Machine in the 1970s. But Cincinnati got knocked out in the first round of the postseason each time.
The Reds fired Baker with a year left on his two-year deal after a final-week fade that included an implosion by the pitching staff.
General Manager Walt Jocketty considered two in-house candidates: Price and Triple-A manager Jim Riggleman. Price got the first interview and impressed everyone so much that Jocketty didn’t interview anyone else.
“I was convinced that Bryan was our guy just because of the past association we’ve had with him,” Jocketty said. “I think that to bring other people in just for the process of going through an interview — to me, I wouldn’t want that.”
The job carries enormous expectations for the 51-year-old Price, who has been one of the most successful pitching coaches in the majors but has never managed at any level. He interviewed for the Marlins’ job last year.
Given his four successful seasons in Cincinnati, he wanted to stay if possible.
“It’s a team that’s capable of doing even more,” Price said. “I think we certainly should talk very optimistically about the three playoff appearances in the last four years, which were maybe somewhat discredited because we hadn’t gotten past the first round.
“Considering the 15 years prior, it was definitely a huge step in the right direction. But we all have expectations of getting beyond that.”
Lincecum stays with Giants
Pitcher Tim Lincecum is staying put with the San Francisco Giants just as he hoped, reaching agreement Tuesday on a $35 million, two-year contract through the 2015 season.
The deal is pending a physical, which hadn’t been set. Lincecum has a full no-trade clause.
General Manager Brian Sabean said when the season ended that among his top priorities was bringing back the two-time NL Cy Young Award winner, who also indicated he cherishes familiarity and wanted stay with the only club he has known.
He pitched the Game 5 clincher in the 2010 World Series at Texas, then shifted to the bullpen and became a reliable reliever during the Giants’ 2012 run to their second title in three years.
Sabean wanted to lock up Lincecum’s deal before he hit free agency.
Harvey has elbow surgery
New York Mets right-hander Matt Harvey had elbow-reconstruction surgery, and he will miss the entire 2014 season.
Dr. James Andrews performed the operation that repaired a partial tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in Harvey’s right elbow on Tuesday. Recovery from Tommy John surgery typically takes about a year.
The 24-year-old Harvey learned of the injury in August. The National League’s starter in the All-Star game at Citi Field initially said he could strengthen the muscles around the ligament and avoid surgery.
Harvey went 9-5 with a 2.27 ERA and 191 strikeouts in 178⅓ innings this year.
Dodgers sign prospect
The Los Angeles Dodgers have agreed to a $28 million, four-year contract with Cuban prospect Alexander Guerrero, according to a source. The source spoke on condition of anonymity because no announcement had been made Tuesday.
The deal calls for a $10 million signing bonus payable upon approval of the contract by Major League Baseball. Guerrero would earn $4 million in both 2014 and 2015, and $5 million in both 2016 and 2017. There is $1 million per year in performance bonuses, based on 500-600 plate appearances.
The 26-year-old infielder defected from Cuba earlier this year and moved to Haiti. He has been training in the Dominican Republic, where scouts for the Dodgers saw him during workouts.
When asked about Guerrero on Monday, General Manager Ned Colletti said the team was “very close” on a deal. He said Guerrero could play second base, and that if he’s not ready for the start of next season, he could play “very, very soon thereafter.” His agreement would eliminate one possible bidder for Robinson Cano, the New York Yankees All-Star who is eligible for free agency.
Guerrero played in Serie Nacional, Cuba’s top league, where he was a two-time All-Star selection. In September, he received a license from the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control that allowed him to sign with a major league team.
Colletti said the Dodgers would plan on having Guerrero play winter ball.
“He’s a big-league infielder that has versatility to him,” the general manager said.
Another Cuban, outfielder Yasiel Puig, 22, had great success with the Dodgers this season. He was called up from the minors in early June, and nearly made the All-Star team while helping the team reach the NL championship series.
Twins add Molitor as coach
The Minnesota Twins added Paul Molitor to their coaching staff. Since 2005, Molitor has served as a minor-league base running and infield coordinator for the organization.
He was a coach on manager Tom Kelly’s staff in the 2000 and 2001 seasons and also was hitting coach for Seattle in 2004, the year he was inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Astors sign four coaches
The Houston Astros added four new coaches to their staff including former Indians starting pitcher Brent Strom.
Strom was named pitching coach, Pat Listach first-base coach, Craig Bjornson bullpen coach and Ralph Dickenson assistant hitting coach.
Also on Tuesday, the team announced that third base coach Dave Trembley and former bench coach Eduardo Perez would switch positions for the upcoming season.
Dan Radison, who spent last season as the team’s assistant hitting coach, was named special assignment coach.