Miley 125-164 in three seasons as Reds manager

Updated: June 22, 2005, 4:26 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

CINCINNATI -- The last-place Cincinnati Reds fired manager Dave Miley on Tuesday and promoted bench coach Jerry Narron to finish the season.

Dave Miley
Miley

"We were not doing the things you've got to do every day," general manager Dan O'Brien said. "We saw that things were not going to change."

At 27-43, the Reds were 18½ games behind St. Louis in the NL Central. Cincinnati lost 6-1 at home to St. Louis on Monday night in Miley's last game.

"We had huge expectations coming into the season, and we did not live up to them," Narron said.

Pitching coach Don Gullett also was fired. Vern Ruhle, the Reds' minor league pitching coordinator, will handle the job for the remainder of the season.

ESPN's Peter Gammons reports that Narron is trying to hire former Red Sox manager Grady Little as his bench coach. Narron was Little's bench coach in Boston. Little is working in the Cubs organization as a roving catching instructor.

Miley and Gullett were told of their dismissals Tuesday morning and were not available for comment. O'Brien called it a "sensitive and emotional" meeting with Miley -- too sensitive to bring up whether Miley would be offered another job in the Reds' system.

"He gave his heart to this team, but we're excited about Jerry Narron," said first baseman Sean Casey. "We have a whole lot of respect for him. He's the kind of guy who can stabilize the ship."

Pitcher Paul Wilson said it's too easy to forget the human element when a manager is fired.

"Fans might talk about people getting fired like it's no big deal and there aren't any consequences, but we're talking about two guys and their lives and their careers," Wilson said.

Miley spent 26 seasons in the Reds' organization as a player, coach and manager.

O'Brien said he expected Narron, a former manager in Texas, to be a tougher disciplinarian than Miley.

"I'm sure there are differences everyone in this room will see," O'Brien said.

Earlier this month, Reds chief operating officer John Allen traveled to Denver to meet with Miley. Allen called the Reds' performance "unacceptable" and hinted that changes could be made if there was no improvement.

The Reds went 5-9 after Allen's remarks, and Narron acknowledged that he had seen problems over the past several weeks.

"We've got to concentrate on little things," he said.

Neither he nor O'Brien specified exactly what those little things are.

"I want to see these guys play all-out every second," Narron said.

Narron was in his second season as Miley's bench coach. Narron managed Texas in 2001-02, and also managed for four years in Baltimore's minor league system. He was Boston's bench coach in 2003 and coached with Texas from 1995-2001.

Cincinnati has had four straight below-.500 years -- its longest such streak since 1945-55 -- and has not reached the playoffs since 1995.

Coming off a 76-86 season in which injuries to Ken Griffey Jr. and other players hurt them, the Reds increased their payroll by $17 million and started this year with three straight wins. But a 1-10 slump that began in late April dropped them far behind in the NL Central.

The Reds have been particularly poor on the road, with eight straight losses dropping them to 6-24. Though they were 21-19 at home, their most notable game at Great American Ball Park this season came in early May when St. Louis pulled off its biggest ninth-inning rally in team history, scoring seven times for a 10-9 win.

Miley became the Reds' manager on July 28, 2003, when he replaced Bob Boone. Cincinnati was 125-164 during parts of his three seasons.

Gullett, a former ace for the Reds, had been the team's pitching coach since May 24, 1993.

The Cincinnati pitching staff gave up a club-record 236 home runs last season and a major league-high 106 already this season.

But O'Brien said pitching was not entirely to blame for the Reds' ineptness.

"Every night, some component of the game breaks down on us," he said.

Wilson was the Reds' Opening Day starter but has been lost for the season because of shoulder surgery. He called Gullett the best pitching coach he's had.

"Don's the reason I came back here," Wilson said. "He helped me tremendously last year, and I don't like to think that I'm responsible for somebody getting fired.

"You'd like to think that if you did better or stayed healthy, you might have helped him keep his job."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.