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Price confirms Reds pick up option for 2018

MLB.com @m_sheldon

CINCINNATI -- Reds manager Bryan Price will finish the season without the weight of wondering about his status for next year. The club and Price confirmed reports from Saturday that his option for 2018 was exercised earlier in the summer.

Price, who signed a one-year contract extension with the option after the 2016 season, had language in his deal that he had to be notified well before the end of the season if he would remain. His entire coaching staff was also invited back.

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CINCINNATI -- Reds manager Bryan Price will finish the season without the weight of wondering about his status for next year. The club and Price confirmed reports from Saturday that his option for 2018 was exercised earlier in the summer.

Price, who signed a one-year contract extension with the option after the 2016 season, had language in his deal that he had to be notified well before the end of the season if he would remain. His entire coaching staff was also invited back.

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"It's a good thing, I think, for all of us because we'd like to see this thing through to the other side," Price said on Monday. "It's been great for the staff because I think the staff has worked hard here. Players have stayed together. The clubhouse is a good place. The work is outstanding. The young guys are turning the corner in the rotation. I think we've got a good foundation to do some really good things here."

Cincinnati entered Monday's game against the Brewers with a 58-79 record, but was 17-16 since July 30. Unless the club makes up some ground, it will be headed for its third straight fifth-place finish in the National League Central, which followed a fourth-place finish during Price's first season as skipper in 2014.

The Reds have undergone a massive rebuilding program during his tenure, and injuries have often decimated the roster. Over the past four seasons, the projected starting lineup has been used just 34 times.

"The organization thought that exercising the option in the middle of the year was the right thing to do in order to allow the manager and his staff to remain focused on our long-term goals," Reds general manager Dick Williams said. "Our organization understands that rebuilding is difficult and often unpredictable. This year, the challenges we faced were once again magnified by significant injuries to [our] starting pitching. We didn't have the resources to replace the injured starters without pushing some of our prospects faster than we would have liked. In fact, we opened the season with seven rookies, which was a first. Our staff did a nice job of handling the adversity, while continuing to develop players."

Price will head into the '18 season once again without long-term job security, but said he felt he was in exactly the right situation. He was also grateful for the opportunity to remain.

"You should get what you've earned," Price said. "Since I've been the manager here, we haven't been real competitive. That shouldn't put me on sound footing as the manager. What should, is that especially from 2017 to 2018, is that we make significant improvements or they will have to look and see about the direction of the club.

"But it's the last thing I'm going to worry about, the contract, because at the All-Star break in 2015, I think the baseball community had me out of here. And I'm still here. That's really a credit for our ownership and front office to understand what we're doing and the challenges we have ahead of us."

Barnhart returns

Catcher Tucker Barnhart rejoined the Reds on Monday and started behind the plate, following a three-day paternity leave. Barnhart and his wife, Sierra, welcomed their first born -- a son named Tatum Elliot, who checked in at eight pounds, seven ounces and 21 inches.

"Everything was good. Everybody is healthy," Barnhart said.

The Reds were fortunate that they didn't endure a catching crunch because the wives of both Barnhart and backup Stuart Turner both were expecting babies around the same time. Devin Mesoraco and his wife, Kira, also welcomed their first baby last month just before he went on the disabled list. Turner returned from his leave before Barnhart had to go on his. Chad Wallach was called up to from Triple-A Louisville to replace both catchers and will remain for the rest of the month.

"Everybody cooperated," Barnhart said. "Devin, myself and Stu all need to all get a picture with our sons together. It will probably never happen again -- that everybody has all boys and all catchers on the same team within a month of each other. It's pretty crazy."

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.

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