While it seems like a short time ago that former Dodgers’ hitting coach Turner Ward was being embraced by Yasiel Puig, it’s about the one-year mark since. Then in the offseason – Ward vetted Los Angeles for Cincinnati – stating that he wanted to be closer to family. Coincidentally, Ward’s biggest supporter Puig was shipped to the Queen City just a short time later.
Now, Ward joins the early list of coaches who are no longer employed. Indeed, the Cincinnati Reds elected not to retain Ward after just one season; firing him on Tuesday.
— MLB Trade Rumors (@mlbtraderumors) October 1, 2019
Obviously, things did not get off to a sterling start for the Reds in 2019. This is per Cincinnati.com:
The Reds finished 12th in the NL in runs, 12th in on-base percentage and 10th in slugging. They had finished eighth in runs, fourth in on-base and ninth in slugging the season before.
Furthermore, Cincinnati got off to a 12-17 start in April that they could never really dig out from. Eventually, the Reds finished the season 75-87.
Notably though – and perhaps an item tied directly to Turner’s tenure – was Puig’s shaky start as a Red.
Cincinnati gave Puig 100 games before trading him to Cleveland in a package for Trevor Bauer. Famously known as one of Wards’ prized students, Puig had an .820 OPS in 2018 with Los Angeles. Within 100 games for the Reds, Puig hit .252 with a .777 OPS. While not entirely terrible – Puig was not providing what a middle of the order thumper should in a hitter’s park like Cincinnati.
Finally, it’s not to say the Reds didn’t have their share of offensive success stories. For example, Eugenio Suarez hit 49 home runs; good for second in the National league. Aristedes Aquino homered 19 times in 205 at-bats as a rookie. However, it’s likely that Cincinnati did not deem enough of this success to Ward’s presence.
Now, he joins an early field of coaches who are looking for work; albeit few can boast that their team went to back to back World Series appearances. Thanks to the Dodgers, that will always be on Wards’ resume.