CINCINNATI -- Reds manager David Bell agreed to terms Wednesday on a new two-year contract extension through the 2023 season. Bell and general manager Nick Krall both expected the coaching staff to return as well.
Bell was approaching the end of his initial three-year deal to manage the team.
“We’ve been talking about it for a few days,” Bell said. “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.”
Bell, 49, was hired as manager on Oct. 22, 2018, and has a 184-190 record in Cincinnati -- including 78-74 this season, with 10 games remaining.
“He's done a great job with the team we have right now,” Krall said. “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 and a dugout, and we feel he's the right guy moving forward.”
The Reds were 31-29 in the abbreviated 2020 season and reached the National League Wild Card series before being swept in two games by the Braves.
Because of payroll reductions in the offseason, the Reds were not predicted to be contenders in 2021, but they often exceeded expectations and have battled all season for a playoff spot.
Last offseason, Cincinnati traded closer Raisel Iglesias to the Angels and lost starters Trevor Bauer and Anthony DeSclafani as free agents -- among the subtractions. Nick Senzel, Mike Moustakas, Tejay Antone and Jesse Winker have missed significant time on the injured list in 2021, while Eugenio Suárez has endured the worst season of his career.
On the plus side, the Reds got unexpectedly big contributions from the likes of rookie second baseman Jonathan India, outfielder Tyler Naquin and shortstop Kyle Farmer in everyday roles. First baseman Joey Votto has also enjoyed a resurgent season.
The Reds were a season-high 12 games above .500 on Aug. 22 with a 69-57 record, and one game ahead of the Padres for the second NL Wild Card spot. But they have gone 9-17 since, dropping eight consecutive series. The recent slide left Cincinnati entering Wednesday four games behind the Cardinals for the second Wild Card spot. Wednesday’s game vs. the Pirates was rained out.
As the team struggled, there had been little talk about the future status of Bell or his coaches in recent weeks. Bell felt he hadn’t spent much time thinking about his future.
“I’m so focused on the season and the day to day and the team and our players, getting to the playoffs and winning a championship,” Bell said. “That’s the reason, I guess, it was in the back of my mind. ... I love my job. I’m grateful for each day I have doing it. That was really the focus.
“Of course, it’s something I’d like to do for as long as possible, just because of how much I love doing it and love the team and the organization and our players and all that. It’s nice to know. 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, continuing [to] progress and continuing to grow. Just look forward to finishing strong this year and continuing that for years to come.”
Likely to return with Bell are pitching coach Derek Johnson, bench coach Freddie Benavides, hitting coach Alan Zinter, first-base coach Delino DeShields, third-base coach J.R. House, bullpen coach Lee Tunnell, outfield and game-planning coach Jeff Pickler, assistant hitting coach Joe Mather, assistant pitching coach Eric Jagers, associate coach Rolando Valles and assistant coach Cristian Pérez.
“I think it’s great to have this continuity,” Krall said. “I think it’s great that we have a group of coaches that’s really moved forward together. Our hitting guys are in their second year of being here, and they’ve made some good progress with our group. Our pitching guys have done a great job since they’ve been here. Baserunning, 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.”