Cincinnati Reds: Firing Turner Ward shows commitment to winning in 2020

PHOENIX, ARIZONA - SEPTEMBER 13: Josh VanMeter #17 of the Cincinnati Reds (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)
PHOENIX, ARIZONA - SEPTEMBER 13: Josh VanMeter #17 of the Cincinnati Reds (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images) /

The Cincinnati Reds have parted ways with hitting coach Turner Ward. While his credentials spoke for themselves, the results didn’t translate to the field.

When Turner Ward was hired to be the Cincinnati Reds prior to the 2019 season, fans reacted with great joy. After all, Ward had helped lead the Los Angeles Dodgers offense to back-to-back World Series appearances. However, his history with Dodgers didn’t translate to the Reds and Ward will not return in 2020. This should send a clear message to the fans; the Reds want to win.

Debate it all you want Reds fans, but this isn’t the typical approach we’re used to seeing from this organization. The Reds, a small market franchise, are one that usually lets these types of scenarios work themselves out. But, with the atrocious performance that we saw from the offense this season, a change needed to be made.

The Reds entered 2019 thinking that the pitching would be the problem. That couldn’t have been further from the truth, as Cincinnati had one of the best starting rotations in all of Major League Baseball. Never in a million years did Reds Country think that the offense would be as bad as what we saw.

The Reds finished 12th in batting average, 12th in on-base percentage, 12th in runs scored and 10th in slugging percentage. I’m no math expert, but I don’t care how well the pitching staff plays, they’re not going to be able to offset that kind of lull in offensive production. Had the Reds just been the middle of the pack, one could argue they’d have been in the thick of the playoff hunt.

Reds fans should take this as a sign that the front office and ownership are serious about winning in 2020. While some fans may scoff at the idea, it’s true. The Reds are set as far as pitching is concerned. Granted, the team needs to add a few pieces to the bullpen, but overall, the pitching should not be a problem heading into next season.

The offense, however, needs to be addressed. Now, I’m not advocating that firing the hitting coach is the only move necessary to fix the offense, but it’s a start. While Eugenio Suárez and Aristides Aquino put up big-time power numbers this season, Aquino actually credits assistant hitting coach Donnie Ecker with improving his swing. Here’s a quote from Aquino through an interpreter via The Athletic:

"“I don’t think I have words to explain what I feel right now. But first of all, thanks to God for giving me the opportunity to be here, and thanks to Donnie Ecker. He really helped me out to have a better career and be a better hitter and be up here and do what I’m doing here.”"

Perhaps the Reds might do themselves some good to look towards Ecker as next year’s hitting coach. Ecker, just 33-years old, was drafted by the Texas Rangers in 2007, but never made it to the major leagues. Before coming to Cincinnati last season, Ecker had worked as an assistant coach at Bakersfield College and in he player development department with St. Louis Cardinals.

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Whatever direction the Cincinnati Reds choose to go in order to fill the coaching vacancy, hopefully we see an improvement in the offense next season. With the amount of resources the Reds have dedicated to 2020, they can’t afford to miss on this very vital coaching hire.