Reds replace Narron with Mackanin

Reds replace Narron with Mackanin

CINCINNATI -- The Reds offered more tribute and praise for Jerry Narron on Monday than he could have ever received if he were at a "Man of the Year" banquet at his local Kiwanis Club.

But at the end of the day, Narron was still no longer Cincinnati's manager.

Narron was informed Sunday by general manager Wayne Krivsky and owner/chief executive officer Bob Castellini that he was out, and advance scout Pete Mackanin was in as interim manager. Krivsky and Castellini addressed the media about their decision for the first time on Monday afternoon.

"First of all, I want to tell you how much we appreciate what Jerry Narron has done for this organization," Castellini said. "He's given us two of the best years of his life. He's given us 110 percent. He's a wonderful human being, he's been a good manager, and I believe he'll be a manager again in baseball, in Major League Baseball. It makes it especially difficult when you feel that way about somebody to have to ask them to move along."

After he joined the team as former manager Dave Miley's bench coach on Dec. 23, 2003, Narron became manager on June 21, 2005. He had a 157-179 (.467) record for Cincinnati. The 51-year-old also managed the Rangers from 2001-02.

"We had a very close, professional relationship, and I can't say enough about the guy in terms of the positive personal qualities that he possesses," said Krivsky, who became GM on Feb. 8, 2006. "I think I'm better for having known and worked with Jerry Narron."

The Reds hold the Major Leagues' worst record at 31-51 and are 16 1/2 games behind the first-place Brewers in the National League Central standings. The club lost its last six series in a row, all in the third and deciding games. It is 6-20-1 in series overall and has had trouble finding consistency in many areas, namely the bullpen.

Was the fault entirely at Narron's feet for his team's numerous shortcomings? No, but the front office felt a different man in the dugout was a necessity.

"It comes down now to the performance of the team," Krivsky said. "I share in that, but being the manager, you've got the direct responsibility there handling the team on a day-to-day basis. My job is to acquire talent, bring in talent, and he does what he can with what he has available to him. There's no perfect scenarios.

"In my opinion, being around the team, I felt like we needed a change of voice, a change of maybe attitude or approach, and based on the results, we felt a change was needed in those areas."

Castellini said the Reds were not raising the white flag on their season, but was also realistic about the chances for improvement.

"We are still out there with an effort to put a contender on the field," Castellini said. "What this change means right now, we'll monitor on a daily basis. Have we given up on the season and putting a contender on the field? No. Is it reasonable to say we can overcome a 16-17-game deficit? The division isn't the strongest, but there'd be a high probability that wouldn't pan out. That doesn't mean we're not going to attempt to put a contender on the field from now until the rest of the year."

Krivsky came to the decision to dismiss Narron on Wednesday while the team was away on a road trip in Philadelphia. The timing of the announcement was made so Mackanin could get to town and meet with the coaching staff and front office during Monday's scheduled off-day. Mackanin was in San Francisco on a scouting trip when he was given the word.

"Don't think for a minute that I don't have mixed emotions about this," said Krivsky, who was near tears and needed a moment to catch his breath. "But the prevailing attitude that I have is to be positive going forward. And it took me a while to come to this decision. I didn't take it lightly. I took it very seriously. Some people would argue it should have been done sooner. Some people say I should have waited longer. Well, it's my timetable. It's my decision. I made it when I was comfortable making the decision. I made the recommendation to Bob in the middle part of last week, and it wasn't without a lot of sleepless nights."

There had been no decision made on whether to retain Narron's coaching staff. Narron's brother, Johnny Narron, is the team's administrative and video coach and the main confidant to rookie Josh Hamilton. During a conversation with MLB.com on Sunday, Jerry Narron said he hoped the Reds would retain his brother's services.

Krivsky said he and Mackanin have known each other for about 10 years when he was Twins assistant GM and Mackanin a third-base coach for the Expos.

Shortly after he became Reds GM, Krivsky hired Mackanin to be a Major League advanced scout. He was chosen for the interim manager's job over Reds bench coach Bucky Dent and first-base coach Billy Hatcher, among others.

"I considered everyone in our organization for the interim job," Krivsky said. "I felt Pete was the best candidate, based on what I know about him. I've known him longer. Call it a comfort level, if you will. I know more about Pete than I do some of our other staff members. He has an extensive managing background, whether it's in the Minor Leagues, Latin America, he's been a pro. His resume is very extensive."

This will be Mackanin's second stint as an interim manager in the Major Leagues. In 2005, he managed the final 26 games for the Pirates after Lloyd McClendon was let go. The 55-year-old will meet with the media for the first time Tuesday afternoon before the Reds host the Giants in their series opener.

It was not known how long Mackanin would hold the job until a permanent manager is named. He will be one of the candidates, Krivsky noted.

"It's amazing to me that this guy hasn't been considered more than he has," Krivsky said. "Maybe he's not political enough, who knows? Maybe he's not been in the right place at the right time. I'm confident in his abilities coming in here for whatever length of time it is."

Narron is the fifth Reds manager to be let go since 1995, but the first under the Castellini regime. The owner did not believe there was a lack of direction in his organization.

"Baseball's a tough business," Castellini said. "If people want to perceive us as a rocky ship, they can do that, but I can tell you, we've got our direction, and from the get-go, I've told everybody that we will put a contender on the field day-in and day-out. Last year, we looked as if we were in the right direction. It hasn't gone in the right direction this year. We're making the change."

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.