Cincinnati Reds manager David Bell agreed to a two-year contract extension Wednesday, which will keep him under contract through the 2023 season.
Bell signed a three-year contract when he was hired in Oct. 2018 with a club option for a fourth season. The Reds never acted upon the club option until rewarding Bell with his extension Wednesday.
"Of course, it’s something I’d like to do for as long as possible just because of how much I love doing it, love the team, the organization and our players," Bell said. "It doesn’t change my focus. I was confident it would all work out, so it doesn’t really change anything other than it just makes me look forward to finishing strong this year and continuing that for years to come."
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With 10 games left in the regular season, the 49-year-old Bell owns a 184-190 record (.492 winning percentage) in three years as the Reds' manager. The Reds made the postseason in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, ending a seven-year playoff drought with an expanded postseason field after a 60-game schedule.
The Reds had a .463 winning percentage in 2019 (75-87 record), a .517 win percentage last year (31-29) and have a .513 win percentage this season (78-74).
"We've talked about this all year, just to extend David," Reds general manager Nick Krall said. "He's done a great job with the team we have right now. I think that it's just natural that he'll be leading us forward. We made the playoffs last year, we had a good run this year and still have a chance. I think, for us, we've got a guy in the spot that knows how to run a Major League clubhouse in the dugout and we feel he's the right guy."
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Bell, a Cincinnati native and Moeller grad, anticipates his entire coaching staff to return next season, which was important to Bell. He's had a lot of continuity on his staff for his first three seasons, replacing the hitting coaches and an assistant pitching coach.
Pitching coach Derek Johnson, bench coach Freddie Benavides, first-base coach Delino DeShields, third-base coach J.R. House, game planning coach Jeff Pickler, bullpen coach Lee Tunnell, associate coach Rolando Valles and assistant coach Cristian Pérez have been on Bell's staff for all three seasons.
"Our hitting guys are in their second year of being here and they’ve made some good progress with our group," Krall said. "Our pitching guys have done a great job since they’ve been here. Base running, infield – we have to continue to put good players on the field and maximize what they can do and help us lead to win games.”
Reds want to remain a data-driven organization
The Reds held a pitching meeting Wednesday afternoon, Krall said, with the Major League coaching staff and the player development staff about how they can continue to align the organization's philosophies.
There have been changes on the minor-league side after the Reds moved on from director of pitching Kyle Boddy and hitting coordinator C.J. Gillman. Boddy, in a press release, wrote the Reds were "moving in a different direction in many areas of player development."
"It’s something that I’ve seen speculated that we’re going to go away from data, and that’s completely false," Krall said. "We are still looking to make data-driven decisions in what we do, and that’s something where we have to look at all of the information to solve a problem whether it’s old school, new school whatever that is.
"We’re still looking to make data-driven decisions and make smart decisions working through things. For us, at the end of the day, we appreciate everything they brought to the table and what they did to help us move forward, but at this time they weren’t the right fits moving forward. We just made the change."
There were six managers hired in the same offseason as Bell and five remain in their current positions (Brad Ausmus spent one year with the Los Angeles Angels). The Reds have dropped in the National League wild-card race for the past month, but Krall says there wasn't anything special about the timing of Bell's extension.
"It's the end of the year," Krall said. "We've talked about this for some time and it's when we finalized it. That's why. I don't have anything else to say on that."
Said Bell: "It’s a great job. I love my job. I don’t have anything to compare it to, but there is no way in the world that I could have a better situation."