Kelly replaces Dent as Reds coach
Gulf Coast League skipper takes over; Napoleon resigns
CINCINNATI -- Bucky Dent received two phone calls Monday from Reds general manager Wayne Krivsky.The first call came the morning after Jerry Narron's removal as manager on Sunday. Dent, the bench coach, was told he and the rest of the coaching staff were scheduled to meet at Great American Ball Park late Monday afternoon with Krivsky and interim manager Pete Mackanin. The second Krivsky phone call to Dent came a few hours before the meeting started. "He called back and said they were going to make a change," Dent said by phone Tuesday. "I said, 'Fine.' What can you do? You do your best. That's it. What can I say?" Dent was let go and replaced by Pat Kelly, the manager of the organization's Gulf Coast League Reds. The 55-year-old Dent, a former player and manager with the Yankees, was hired by the Reds in November 2005. He was the only coach Narron brought on after he inherited the coaching staff from previous manager Dave Miley. Many were surprised that Dent wasn't named the interim manager when Narron was dismissed. But Krivsky chose Mackanin, someone he had hired to be advance scout in February 2006. "He asked the question as to why. I gave him my reason and he accepted that and said, 'Yes, OK, I understand,'" Krivsky said. "We had subsequent conversations and that's when I thought it was best to make a change. He was a loyal guy to Jerry. Human nature -- he was stunned by it. Then when he heard we were going another route than him, I felt it was better to sever ties for now and move on." Cincinnati went a Major League-worst 31-51 this season under Narron after finishing 80-82 last season. Dent inferred Krivsky had responsibility in how the season turned out. "I feel bad because we were close and in the hunt last year right to the end," Dent said. "I felt we had a chance this year. If moves had been made and a couple of things were done, it would have been a different story. Jerry worked his rear end off." Meanwhile, Kelly also received an unexpected phone call Monday. On the other end of his phone was Mackanin. Kelly, 51, was in a van with his players returning from a game played at the Orioles complex in Sarasota, Fla. "[Mackanin] asked me if I wanted to be his bench coach," Kelly said. "I didn't know what to say. I was stunned. When you're down there, you're so far away." Kelly spent last season as a professional scout for the Braves and was hired by Krivsky over the winter. He last managed in the Reds organization with Double-A Chattanooga in 1993-94. Since he began his managerial career in 1986, he has helmed 12 different professional teams. A former catcher who broke into the big leagues in 1980 with the Blue Jays, Kelly also played in the Angels, Braves and White Sox systems. Kelly and Mackanin have played and worked together and forged a friendship that has lasted years. "We actually played together back in the '70s in winter ball," Kelly said. "We managed together in the Expos organization. He was Triple-A manager and I was the Double-A manager. He managed in Nashville when I was in Indianapolis. So we managed against each other." Dent wasn't the only departure from the Reds. Roving outfielder instructor Ed Napoleon, also a close friend of Narron's, resigned and turned down an offer to remain in the organization. Napoleon was in his fourth season with the Reds and spent most of his time working with the Major League players. With about a half a season left, Dent will return home to Boynton Beach, Fla., and explore his future options. But first, he'll be seeking a little rest and relaxation. "I actually haven't had a summer off since I got fired [by the Yankees] in 1990," Dent said. "I'll go home and watch my kids play ball. I'll take the vacation I never got to take. Then we'll see what's on the horizon for next year."
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.