After two one-run losses to the National League's best team, the Atlanta Braves, the Cincinnati Reds took one on the chin Monday night against the red-hot Baltimore Orioles during a rain-soaked, delayed contest at Camden Yards.
Despite three straight losses, the Reds are still one of the most interesting and entertaining teams in Major League Baseball. Cincinnati has now dropped out of first place in the NL Central and trail the Milwaukee Brewers by just one game in the loss column.
With such a surge by the Reds, discussions about David Bell's expiring contract are sure to come up. But on Monday it was reported that the Reds and Bell have yet to talk about a contract extension. I wouldn't read too much into that.
Don't read too much into the lack of contract talks between the Reds and manger David Bell.
Mark Sheldon of MLB.com is reporting that the Cincinnati Reds have yet to have discussions about a contract extension with manager David Bell. Bell last signed a contract extension in 2021, prior to the teardown of the Reds roster, and is in the final year of that deal.
I don't see this an indictment on the job that Bell has done this season. Bell has taken a team that lost 100 games a season ago and helped turn a young roster into a fiery group who's hungry to prove that they belong.
After being handed a roster full of players like Mike Minor, Aristides Aquino, Colin Moran, and Hunter Strickland in 2022, Bell has been tasked with getting the most out of a young team with superstar rookies like Elly De La Cruz, Matt McLain, Spencer Steer, and Andrew Abbott.
While Bell deserves some measure of credit for the team's turnaround, it's also a bit early in the process to determine if he is the guy to lead this young core going forward. Here's a quote from GM Nick Krall courtesy of MLB.com:
"I think we’ll just talk about playing through the year and addressing it later. At this point, we haven’t done anything."- Reds GM, Nick Krall
If the Reds were to sign Bell to a contract extension now, only to see the Reds fall off cliff during the second-half of the season, they'd look rather foolish. Instead, the Cincinnati brass appear to be taking a wait-and-see approach.
David Bell's contract situation will be resolved one way or another by the end of the 2023 season. If Bell is able to maintain a positive culture in the clubhouse and lead this Reds team to a winning record or a postseason berth, then you can rest assured that he'll be back in 2024.
But, if the Cincinnati Reds hit a skid and flounder after the All-Star break, finishing with less-than-stellar performance over the second half of the 2023 season, then Bell's future may be more up in the air.
This is a decision that the Cincinnati Reds cannot afford to bungle, so waiting until later in the year is the correct approach. For now, David Bell is the manager, and the Reds have been playing very well.