Before we dive into the Reds new pitching coach situation, The Game Haus would like to take a minute to mourn for the family and friends of Reds former pitching coach, Bill Fischer. Fischer passed on Tuesday, but his impact on the Reds, Royals, Red Sox, Rays and Braves organizations will live on forever.
Fischer has not been in Cincinnati since the 80s, but at age 88 he was still a highly regarded name in the baseball community. Fischer’s name is brought up for the obvious reasons, life is bigger than baseball, but it is even more prominent in the state of the current Reds club, given they hired a new pitching coach this week as well.
With that being said, it is time to focus on the next man who will try to lead one of the worst pitching staffs in the league.
The Milwaukee Brewers have not had much luck in retaining coaches. They already saw their hitting coach leave for Arizona, and will now have to watch their pitching coach depart as well. Losing their pitching coach will hurt a bit more, however, as he leaves the Brewers for a division rival.
David Bell was able to steal Derek Johnson from Milwaukee and bring him to Cincinnati, where he will face the Brewers multiple times in 2019. Johnson had never been a professional pitching coach before the Brewers gave him an opportunity, but when he got the chance, he took advantage of it.
The Brewers were a surprise team to reach the playoffs with powerhouses like the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals in the NL Central. Not only did they make the playoffs, but they also won the division after. Their Game 163 victory against the Cubs to capture the division title. The pitching was a huge component to the Brewers success.
Johnson has been viewed as one of the most highly regarded pitching coaches since earning the job for the Brewers. The former Vanderbilt and Brewers pitching coach hopes to make an impact in year one under Bell in Cincinnati. The fact that the Reds were able to steal him from Milwaukee is huge. It is not just a huge gain for the Reds but weakening a division rival in the process makes the pickup that much better.
What This Means in Cincinnati
The Cardinals have been getting worse by the year. They are perennial contenders so they should not be counted out, but the Brewers and Cubs look to be the future of the division. Taking a key cog from one of those teams and adding that experience an knowledge to Cincinnati pushes the team one step closer to knocking off the top teams.
While the Reds pitching staff is subpar, they have talent that they hope Johnson can bring the best out of them. Between Luis Castillo, Anthony DeSclafani and Tyler Mahle, Johnson has names to work with. They have also expressed heavy interesting spending in the offseason to sign a highly touted starting pitcher to improve their staff,
Between bringing in a skilled pitching coach and a quality veteran starter, the rotation could see immediate improvements. As seen with last year’s squad, the Reds can hit. If this change in pitching can bump the rotation to the next level, the club as a whole should see improvements, giving them a chance to compete.