Baseball Toaster Bad Altitude
Reds Fire Miley
2005-06-21 11:59
by Mark T.R. Donohue

The Cincinnati Reds today canned manager Dave Miley, making them the second team this year not as bad as the Rockies to fire their skipper. The Reds were at least supposed to be within hailing distance of competitive this year, but instead they're 27-43, even farther back in their division (18 1/2 games) than Colorado are in theirs (16). This is entirely a product of the Cardinals being quite a bit better than the Padres, but nonetheless, neither team is in line for a sudden reversal of fortune.

Miley doesn't really deserve the blame for the Reds' failures. That would be GM Dan O'Brien, who added Ramon Ortiz and Eric Milton to a team that won 76 games last year and claimed that this made them contenders. Cincinnati has been headed backwards for a while, a trend masked by a rather lucky first half of 2004 (their Pythagorean record was 66-96). Their management tendencies in the past few years have been marked by some hideous contracts (Sean Casey, the out-for-the-season Paul Wilson, in hindsight Ken Griffey) and a peculiar inability to develop anything but corner outfielders (Adam Dunn, Ryan Freel, Austin Kearns, Wily Mo Peña).

As the Cincinnati Post's Lonnie Wheeler wrote earlier today in a prophetic column, it's the pitching that sealed Miley's fate. Milton has been astonishingly bad, running up a 7.82 ERA and allowing an unreal 25 homers. Ben Weber, brought in to shore up the bullpen, allowed 11 runs in 12 1/3 and promptly went on the disabled list. Brandon Claussen and Aaron Harang have been the only thing approaching major league starters the team has, as Ortiz has been crummy (6.51 ERA) and none of the group of Matt Belisle, Luke Hudson, and the musically named Elizardo Ramirez has distinguished themselves. And then there's the Danny Graves debacle....

All this adds up to is a badly-run franchise giving a good baseball man his walking papers as an excuse for their own incompetence. Jerry Narron takes the reigns from Miley. The former Rangers manager will have his work cut out for him keeping this sinking ship from beating the Rockies to 100 losses.

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