David Bell two-year contract extension through 2023

CINCINNATI – Reds manager David Bell revealed on Wednesday that he was given a two-year contract extension through the 2023 season. Bell expected his coaching staff to return as well.

Bell was approaching the end of his initial three-year deal to manage the team. The Reds have not yet announced the extension.

“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. The team was 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 starting pitchers 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 Jonathan India, outfielder Tyler Naquin and shortstop Kyle Farmer in everyday roles.

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.

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