While the Reds’ roster has not seen any new additions so far in the offseason, the coaching staff has done the exact opposite. It started with hiring new manager David Bell, followed by the team poaching Derek Johnson from the Milwaukee Brewers, then nabbing hitting coach Turner Ward from the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Newest Reds
The club has made their newest hire in J.R. House as their third base coach and their catching coach. House spent the previous season with the Arizona Diamondbacks as their minor league field coordinator. With less than a month as a major league manager, Bell has been filling out his staff with ease.
It may appear to be a slow moving train that Bell is working on, considering most coaches essentially have their staff after being hired, but Bell is doing his due diligence in finding a competent and productive staff.
Not only is he building a staff that has a history of success with their teams in their positions, but he is also stealing coaches from teams the Reds may see in October, if they are fortunate enough to play baseball in the fall soon. While being a minor league coordinator may not be the most highly touted position, House is one of the best when it comes to the job.
House bounced around in the major leagues from 2003 to 2008, mostly playing in the minor leagues. He spent a year in that span as the third-string quarterback at West Virginia interestingly enough. While he never found his stride in the pros, he has made a decent living in the baseball community following his years on the field.
House also has a minor league manager of the year to add to his resume while in the Diamondbacks’ organization. He was a coach for the club from 2014-2017 before being promoted to minor league coordinator. Third base coach and catching coach may not be the wow moves the Reds were hoping to see by this time, but every move is crucial when a rebuilding team feels they are close.
Hoping For Hits
Hiring House was not the only move the Reds made this past week. The club also hired former Los Angeles Angels and St. Louis Cardinals minor league hitting coach, Donnie Ecker. Ecker will assume the role of assistant hitting coach.
The Angels’ minor league system has been suspect over the past few years, but Ecker is not to blame in the slightest. The Angels continue to produce one of the worst minor league teams year in and year out. It is hard to judge a coach working with minimal talent.
Ecker will be assisting a club with established hitters in Joey Votto, Eugenio Suarez and Scooter Gennett. While he is just an assistant and the bulk of the job lies on Ward, it will be interesting to see how Jesse Winker, Nick Senzel (if given the chance) and others can perform with a new coaching style.
The staff is not yet complete, the roster is definitely not complete, but the team is making moves. For a club that has sat idle since their last playoff run in 2013, it is exciting to watch them make moves, even if it is just in the coaching staff. Sit tight Cincinnati, big moves are on the way.