Cincinnati Reds: Doug Mientkiewicz should be the next manager

OAKLAND, CA - OCTOBER 6: Doug Mientkiewicz #16 of the Minnesota Twins looks out from the dugout during game five of the American League Western Division Series against the Oakland Athletics at Network Associates Coliseum on October 6, 2002 in Oakland, California. The Twins defeated the A's 5-4. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - OCTOBER 6: Doug Mientkiewicz #16 of the Minnesota Twins looks out from the dugout during game five of the American League Western Division Series against the Oakland Athletics at Network Associates Coliseum on October 6, 2002 in Oakland, California. The Twins defeated the A's 5-4. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images) /
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Former first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz should be the new manager for the Cincinnati Reds.

Right now the powers that be in the Cincinnati Reds front office are discussing who will lead this team in 2019. This is not a decision to be taken lightly as our muddled franchise has not been able to improve since the rebuild began in July of 2015.

Management has already interviewed former Maimi Marlins and New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi, former Toronto Blue Jays and Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell, former Detroit Tigers manager Brad Ausmus, former St. Louis Cardinals bench coach David Bell, interim Reds manager Jim Riggleman, and three current coaches on the Reds’ staff.

When thinking of these candidates, and taking an unbiased look at them, it’s hard to understand how you’d let a well regarded and respected manager like Joe Girardi out of town without hammering out a contract. Girardi won NL Manager of the Year in his first and only season as Marlins manager in 2006, going 78-84 with a paltry $15-million payroll. The former catcher would go on to become Yankees Manager from 2008 to 2017, winning the World Series in 2009.

An unsettling report from USA Today’s Bob Nightengale tipped that John Farrell was the favorite with Jim Riggleman staying on as Reds’ bench coach.

There are two problems with this. Farrell has been with the Reds organization all year as an advisor with his specialty being as a former pitching coach under Terry Francona in Boston. How well did the Reds’ young pitchers improve?

Even Marty Brennaman and “The Cowboy” Jeff Brantley brought this up at the end of 2019. The Reds just had a pitching coach as the skipper in Bryan Price, a new philosophy should be installed.

The other problem is keeping Jim Riggleman. That isn’t change for the Reds’ clubhouse. It also would hang over Farrell as the new manager that having Riggleman as bench coach comes with your new job.

The clubhouse needs an entirely new voice leading the way. Keeping Riggleman around just stalls any movement. The case against Riggleman that nobody can refute is his career winning percentage of .445% over 14 seasons.

His record with the Reds after taking over for Bryan Price was 64-80. That comes to a winning percentage of .444. Ladies and gentleman, numbers don’t lie. Case closed.

So where does the Cincinnati Reds’ brain trust go from here? That’s the billion dollar question that Bob Castellini has to answer. It’s time to take a page out of the 1990 Cincinnati Reds team who also had just hired a new manager. A fiery player who had a stint as Yankees manager Lou Piniella.

My suggestion hasn’t managed the Yankees or anywhere else in the Major Leagues, but he has managed in the minors. He’s gotten the most out of his players by being that fiery personality and using the team approach.

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Former MLB first baseman and current Toledo Mudhens manager Doug Mientkiewicz is my pick for the new manager of the Reds. For his career as a hitter, he batted .271 with a .360 on-base percentage over 12 seasons. He was part of the 2004 Red Sox team that won the World Series.

Mientkiewicz is 460-371 for his career (.554). Let’s put this into perspective. He led his teams to finish first or second in four of six seasons, making the playoffs five of six seasons, and league champions TWICE. Interestingly enough he just led those Toledo Mudhens to first place in the International League West over Cincinnati’s own AAA affiliate Louisville Bats, who finished last.

Another sign that Mientkiewicz is the man for the job is the fact he managed, the newly acquired Reds Double-A affiliate, the Chattanooga Lookouts for two seasons when they were a Twins affiliate. The Lookouts were also a Reds minor league team from 1988 to 2008.

The stars are aligned for Doug Mientkiewicz to join the Reds. He’s a gold glover at first base, a gifted hitting coach, and the one guy to come in and immediately change the clubhouse culture into a winning atmosphere.

Sweet Lou commanded the respect of his players with his fiery attitude and relentlessness in the dugout. Dougie Baseball as they’ve called Mientkiewicz could be the second coming of that young fiery manager, looking to prove that his players make up the best team in baseball.

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What are the Reds to do? They really need to go with Joe Girardi or Doug Mientkiewicz. One guy has won it all and the other is a natural born leader. Either of these two candidates will bring some much needed winning attitude to the clubhouse. Teams usually take on the form of their manager’s personality. You would never see players quit on Girardi or Mientkiewicz.