Reds leaders don't want to settle for 'moral victories'

Price, Williams focusing on winning, not just rebuilding

Reds leaders don't want to settle for 'moral victories'

PHOENIX -- As Reds manager Bryan Price and general manager and president of baseball operations Dick Williams gathered with their peers at the Cactus League Media Day event on Tuesday afternoon, many of the reporters' attention was trained on the teams that are viewed as contenders in 2017.

Meanwhile, the Reds are still largely viewed as a rebuilding club. Both Price and Williams would like to see that tag removed, but realize it has to be done by team performance on the field.

"The players are going to tell us this season as we get into it, exactly where we are in the life cycle," Williams said. "I don't want the players in the clubhouse thinking about it being a rebuild. For them, it's a season. And we're going to go out and win games and play. They shouldn't have any preconceived notion about what the team is supposed to be like this year, or where it is in the life cycle [of a rebuild]. They can just control how prepared they are for the season and how well they play. The more they do that, the better they do that, the more we can accelerate."

Reds investing in new areas

One reason Price was given a one-year contract extension in September -- with a club option for 2018 -- was his team played well in the second half last season. Cincinnati was 36-37 after the All-Star break, and the front office felt that momentum in its rebuild was upon the club.

Unfortunately for the Reds, that came after they were 32-57 in the first half. They finished with the second-worst record in the Majors overall.

Price wants a better start this year, so the Reds can be in better contention for the second half, but didn't concern himself about his job security.

"I'm going to manage the team the best way I can, regardless of circumstances," Price said. "I don't have a lot of this back-of-my-mind stuff. What's going to happen is going to happen in regards to me. They'll buy into that Bryan Price is the right guy to manage the team, or they don't. That may have a number of wins on it, or it may not. But my focus is on really playing good baseball on a consistent basis. I'll be patient, but 68 wins, being in last place and sitting in last place, isn't anything that any of us want to sign for another year. We want to see significant improvement, and we want to talk about what we can do to improve our club in August and September because we are in the conversation."

Price felt the continued growth of position players like Billy Hamilton, Jose Peraza, Adam Duvall and Scott Schebler, a developing young rotation led by Anthony DeSclafani and the potential luck of better health will make his club better.

"There's a lot of reasons for optimism. But if you start to buy into 'rebuild,' it really lowers the bar," Price said. "It makes it OK to have these moral victories of playing a good series against the Cubs, but losing by a run three games in a row. That's not a moral victory. A victory is winning two out of three. We have to set our sights on that type of play."

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.