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PressBox
06-23-2004, 05:13 PM
I visit Redszone almost everyday - have done so for years - but I very seldom post anymore unless I feel strongly about something that merits an significant investment of time and energy. Today I'd like to address our perception of Dan O'Brien. It seems as though most posters have a distinctly negative disposition towards him; the bitter tonal seeds were planted in spring training when he was labeled by many as being too inactive. The comments I read from Redzone posters are not unlike the calls I hear on 700WLW when Tracy Jones and Andy Furman are on air. Not many people seem to like our new GM too much. No doubt the scrutiny is intensifying right now as O'Brien faces his first July 31st trading deadline as the Reds' GM. But before I really address the perception of O'Brien, let's put things into a miniature historical perspective:

It's cliche to say that Rome wasn't built in a day, but it makes the point nonetheless, and I think this cliche really surmises the tragic flaw of the Bowden era. He wanted to build his empire too quickly. That is precisely why he fired a rookie manager 44 games into the season. That is why he signed aged pitchers and coveted the infamous five-tool outfielders who seemed to represent the quickest, most reliable route to glory. Perhaps that is why Bowden was infatuated with Deion Sanders; Bowden wanted the bricks of his empire to go up at Prime-Time speed. Lastly, that is precisely why Jim Bowden let a promising team crumble away so that he could, supposedly in his defining moment of glory, bring Ken Griffey Jr. home from Disneyland.

History has shown that Jim Bowden was no Alexander the Great. Of course, it's really unfair to compare the two because afterall Alexander the Great had a larger operating budget than Bowden, plus Alexander had people training his infantry years before he rose to power, which Bowden did not. I could go on. You get the point.

But in the end I think Bowden's greatest legacy to the Cincinnati Reds was that he provided his successor an effective non-example. Dan O'Brien doesn't have to look real hard to learn from Bowden's mistakes, which is why O'Brien's plan is the exact antithesis of Bowden's plan. The Bowden plan: Talk a good game, buy sexy players, and hope for the best. The O'Brien plan: develop a plan that your organization can commit to, build around pitching and defense, and "stay the course," as current President Bush would say. The O'Brien plan isn't going to come to fruition overnight. Why? Because right now he is evaluating, assessing, and forming opinions. Does that really take a whole season? Yes. If you were one of those who cried outrage when Bowden fired Tony Perez after 44 games - and most of us did cry - then you have some sense of where I'm coming from. 44 games is not nearly enough time to evaluate a manager, right?!!? ESPECIALLY a rookie manager. A few weeks ago O'Brien took some heat for not offering Miley a contract extension based upon his performance after...you guessed it, just a little bit more than 44 games. I guess Miley is learning from Bowden's example. Not ONLY did Bowden fire Perez after 44 games, but he also gave Bob Boone a contract extension in 2002 because the team was still in contention in late July. A little more serious evaluation and assessment just might have saved Bowden's job in the long run.

For many people, O'Brien's head was already on a stake before the Reds even broke spring training camp because all he did was trade Chris Reitsma without ever acquiring any major-league-ready talent. (At least not the kind of talent that didn't get hurt shoveling snow.) And it's probably a lot of the same people who are criticizing O'Brien now because, in all probability, he's not going to make any significant upgrades to this year's team. This year's team, though it may be fun at times, is not the team that you bank on. This isn't the team that's chilling wine for October. This isn't the team that's keeping the Westin ballroom or Fountain Square reserved for a special team reception in November. This year's team isn't that good. That's the reality of it.
If the recent road trip didn't make that point clear to you, you probably quit reading this post a long time ago anyway. But I'll tell you something. Due to the surprising nature of this team's performance thus far, I would sure hate to be Dan O'Brien right now. I really would.

This next month is really going to test O'Brien's mettle. This next month will tell us how effectively he can commit to his plan. This next month will tell us whether he's going to cave into fan sentiment, or if he's going to stand his
ground and "stay the course" because he trusts the professional opinions of his staff. This next month may well tell us how Dan O'Brien defines the future of this ballclub, and which players are part of his definition. I would sure hate to feel the pressure he must be feeling as the first-year GM of a team and a city whose pride has been suffering from open wounds for over ten years.

So to those of you who have already decided you dislike O'Brien I ask you: what is that decision based upon? Has he been irrational, unclear, or whimsical thus far? I argue that we cannot even begin to assess him until we wake up on August 1st. And even then it may be premature. I give him until the GM meetings next winter. Until then, I'll say this for Dan O'Brien: I appreciate his professionalism, his temperament, and his tendancy to avoid sexy soundbytes that stir up the locals. It's a welcomed change from the previous administration. His quiet nature has restored a little decent respect to the organization, and that's a good thing when you consider what Cincinnati has endured in the recent past. I would hope others might share this sentiment with me.

Chip R
06-23-2004, 05:28 PM
How can you defend the indefensible? ;)

Nice post. :thumbup:

RFS62
06-23-2004, 05:31 PM
Excellent post.

There are plenty of people here who agree with you.

:GAC:

westofyou
06-23-2004, 05:42 PM
I appreciate his professionalism, his temperament, and his tendancy to avoid sexy soundbytes that stir up the locals. It's a welcomed change from the previous administration. His quiet nature has restored a little decent respect to the organization, and that's a good thing when you consider what Cincinnati has endured in the recent past. I would hope others might share this sentiment with me.


Sure do.

Grandma always said you can tear down something in a short time, even if it took a lifetime to build. In baseball a half a decade is a 'short time' and the stench of the 5 years since 1999 has soured the fringe fan.

Currently the Reds are trying to get back to them, with talk in the papers on the focus on ML growth and Linders ticket program. It's slow process to regain your reputation.

jmcclain19
06-23-2004, 05:55 PM
History has shown that Jim Bowden was no Alexander the Great. Of course, it's really unfair to compare the two because afterall Alexander the Great had a larger operating budget than Bowden, plus Alexander had people training his infantry years before he rose to power, which Bowden did not. I could go on.

Classic

Redny
06-23-2004, 05:58 PM
Well said. :thumbup:

Cedric
06-23-2004, 05:59 PM
Very nice post. I've thought the same things you have, luckily you put it down better than I would.

traderumor
06-23-2004, 05:59 PM
Nice thoughts, dugout. Your time invested in the thoughtful post is appreciated.

M2
06-23-2004, 06:12 PM
Sturdy, well-thought out defense Dugout.

Certainly I agree that DanO's in a tight spot with an overachieving team which he probably intended to gut this summer.

My criticism of that, though, is if he felt that way about the team heading into the season, if that was the course he set, then why didn't he do more in the offseason? Clearly that would mean he'd assessed what he had and I think it was a mistake not acting in a more definitive fashion from the outset.

I also think he has repeated some JimBo mistakes in conducting a very old school, toolsy draft. JimBo's regime had actually gotten away from the model in 2003 and my initial take on the 2004 draft is that it represented some serious backsliding.

One area where DanO can distinguish himself from JimBo will be in how minor league arms are handled. The JimBo model was to promote with abandon. I'd like to see greater restraint shown with young (sub-24) pitchers, particularly starting pitchers. A recent article made it sounds like Tim Naehring's chomping at the bit to crank up the promotions. He's certainly doing a fine job of huckstering the organization's few pitching bright spots. This should give us some solid proof of whether DanO's really got a different system and the temperament to run a less panicked organization.

I'm still not sold that DanO's more than a process-obsessed middle manager who's over his head in terms of providing direction and leadership. He simply hasn't done enough in terms of roster manipulation to prove himself one way or the other.

My other criticism of DanO is that he's not showing good self-preservational instincts. I appreciate the focus on organizational structure, but that's a bureaucratic function which, if it ever generates results, won't make a lot of difference at the major league level for years. He's probably got three, maybe four years to deliver an annual contender, a team that can stay in the race through September Perhaps this year's model will do that, but there are substantial indications that such a scenario is unlikely. At some point, he's going to have to get major league starting pitchers from another organization. He's not going to get an above-average homegrown staff in his window, which could get extremely small if Lindner decides to sell.

Outside of Bob Howsam and Jim Bowden, the Cincinnati Reds GM job has been a Siege Perilous for most of its occupants. I for one will be pleasantly surprised if DanO shows any kind of flourish by August 1, whether it be rebuilding, rebuilding on the fly or going for it. My guess is that we'll see only minimal activity and that this offseason we'll still be kicking around questions of how much does DanO like what he's got and in what sort of direction does he plan on leading this team.

princeton
06-23-2004, 06:24 PM
as far as I can tell, you like DanO because you want to like him and because he's done nothing.

I can see why you'd welcome noncontroversy. On the other hand, we're just marking time so far. And by the looks of the draft, we'll be marking time for a number of years.

I want to like DanO, too. But he's going to have to do something before I can give him that.

I want decisions to be made and I want them to work out as well, if not better, than the decisions that I'd have made in DanO's place. That's not asking too much.

So far there's just one big league decision, Chris Reitsma. Terrible timing to sell when your team subsequently plays well. Oh, well, there's be more decisions. And I'm sure that some will work out better.

But I smell a five year plan, and while I'm patient, I also think that five year plans usually mean five bad years. As they've shown, the Reds have some players now. Make something out of them. Don't wait five.

traderumor
06-23-2004, 06:45 PM
as far as I can tell, you like DanO because you want to like him and because he's done nothing.


So far there's just one big league decision, Chris Reitsma. Terrible timing to sell when your team subsequently plays well.

as far as I can tell, you don't like O'Brien because he traded Reitsma.

KronoRed
06-23-2004, 06:50 PM
Nice post :GAC:

IslandRed
06-23-2004, 06:57 PM
I like O'Brien for the reasons you've stated -- bringing professionalism and dignity back to the front office. To the extent that he's the anti-Bowden where Bowden's management-style flaws were concerned, that's perfect.

Still, the concerns are there. O'Brien may run a sound organization on well-thought-out principles, but talent -- identifying it and acquiring it -- is where the rubber meets the road. We can respect the notion of a new GM not making deals willy-nilly with an imperfect understanding of the organization's talent base, but we've seen other new GMs move more quickly and improve their clubs. We respect the notion of building a strong farm system through the draft, but the recent draft didn't give us much of a clue of what type of player O'Brien likes. The in-season roster management has been OK, but there have been a few head-scratchers.

Obviously, we don't always have complete information, but we do the best we can from our armchairs. When he was hired I said I'd reserve judgment until at least after the first draft. Well, I still don't know what to think about him. Ask me again in six weeks, after he's had to make the call on our contending status (or not) and what he does about it.

Edskin
06-23-2004, 07:06 PM
Great post Dugout-- don't agree with all of it, but very thoughtful. You should post more often.

I am holding judgement on DanO as well. What I don't like is the sometimes circus-like atmosphere with which we run our daily business. The delay to put Kearns on the DL, leaving Miley short-handed a few times, etc.... are things that make me wonder about DanO.

However, those are small beans compared to the big burrito here:

Bowden's biggest failure as a GM was most certainly his inability to develop or acquire starting pitching. It kept us spinning our wheels from year to year to year with little change.

DanO has NOT had enough time to tackle this major issue yet.

I will judge him based pretty much on ONE thing:

Does he realize that starting pitching is our first, second, and third priority, and does he make the necessary moves to address it?

The bad part is that in order to address this glaring need, he will most likey have to become less popular than he already is. I havea hard time seeing the Reds land the arms we need w/o parting with at least one of our top offensive players, and probably more. The day we trade any of those guys for a AAA pitcher, DanO will most likely get crucified by the masses. But as long as that AAA pitcher is LEGIT and not a real long-shot, I will be all for it.

DanO has one goal right now if I were in control of his every move:

DO WHATEVER YOU NEED TO DO TO PUT 2-3 LEGITIMATE YOUNG PITCHERS IN THE ORGANIZATION (guys that will be ready within 1-2 years) AND LET EVERYTHING ELSE SORT ITSELF OUT.

If that means we lose games 2-1 for the next couple of years, then so be it. Because fixing the "1" part of that score is a lot easier than fixing the "2" part.

buckeyenut
06-23-2004, 07:14 PM
My criticism of that, though, is if he felt that way about the team heading into the season, if that was the course he set, then why didn't he do more in the offseason? Clearly that would mean he'd assessed what he had and I think it was a mistake not acting in a more definitive fashion from the outset.

He didn't do more because every player he could have possibly considered dealing (along with several he wouldn't) was injured last year and their value was about as low as it could be. The guys that weren't hurt last year got dealt at the deadline.

MWM
06-23-2004, 07:16 PM
IslandRed, great post. You summed up my feelings perfectly.

BTW, I love reading your posts. How is it that you've been around for more than three years and have less than 500 posts? Please post more often. You bring an intelligent and well thought out view to your posts.

PressBox
06-23-2004, 07:16 PM
Thanks to all for the feedback so far. Another thing I intended to include in the original post is a list of what Dan O'Brien has done so far in his tenure with the Reds:

(1) Hired Dave Miley, who in turn hired a solid, professional coaching staff (Chambliss, Whisler, O'Berry) to complement Tom Hume, and Don Gullett.

(2) Hired Ron Oester as minor league field coordinator

(3) Restructured the scouting program and invested more in scouting the Dominican Republic, which is a treasure-ridden resource the Reds have never effectively tapped into before.

(4) Has instilled a professional attitude that starts at the top

Now maybe these actions don't translate into wins for the Reds in 2004, and perhaps it creates the appearance of "marking time" as Princeton says. But O'Brien is laying a foundation that certainly could mean wins in 2006, 2007, and beyond. Yeah sure, it stinks that we have to wait because Bowden asked us to wait until last year - but we can't blame O'Brien or hold him accountable for what Bowden did.

Speaking of what Bowden did, have you all really thought about the severity of the attrocity that O'Brien inherited from the defunct Bowden regime?
O'Brien hasn't gone out to sign Vladimir Guerrerro or other big-name free agents because right now it's not going to help. One player - even if he is a pitcher - does not a contending team make. Let's face it, if O'Brien wants to win now he needs to sign /trade for several big league-caliber players: a second baseman, a shortstop, a third baseman, five starting pitchers, a left-handed reliever, and a closer. (I'll take my chances with Casey, LaRue, and the outfielders.) We all know that the reality of the market and the Reds ownership is such that O'Brien is not enabled to do this right now, so we cannot fault O'Brien there. Consequently, O'Brien has to depend on the draft to develop this team, and common sense tells you that this will take time. I don't care if your name is Dan O'Brien or Billy Beane; nobody who was just hired as the Reds GM is going to make this team win in 2004 as long as Carl Lindner and his cohorts remain the ownership group. So let's not confuse the issue.

M2, you said that O'Brien needs to do more roster manipulations before we can know too much about him. "Roster manipulation" makes me think of Bob Boone, who manipulated his roster daily: playing Dmitri Young at 3B, batting Adam Dunn leadoff or any number of places in the batting order, putting Graves in the rotation, etc., etc. The players have made it no secret that such manipulation lead to poor play because people's roles were confused and no routine was established. Roster manipulation doesn't sound like a good thing to me, and not overly manipulating the roster gives players an opportunity to get into a routine to establish their role and their playing ability. If this isn't what you mean, can you clarify what you do mean by roster manipulating???

O'Brien has surrounded himself with guys who were connected with the Reds during their glory days of the 70s: a team that won with mostly homegrown products like Bench, Rose, Perez, Gullett, Griffey, Concepcion, etc. etc. I would much rather see the Reds win with homegrown guys in 2008 than win with a bunch of purchased veterans now and then lose them to free agency. O'Brien has said he wants to get back to that model, and if he comes anywhere close to achieving that then I think it's well worth the wait.

As for O'Brien's decisions in the amateur draft, let's discuss that in 2014. Was I shocked and maybe even a little disappointed that our first round selection was a high-school player? Yes. But do I even pretend to know what the Reds scouts know? No. Have I seen what they have seen? No. Do I trust their opinion? Maybe. Is it way too early to tell? Yes.

M2
06-23-2004, 07:32 PM
He didn't do more because every player he could have possibly considered dealing (along with several he wouldn't) was injured last year and their value was about as low as it could be. The guys that weren't hurt last year got dealt at the deadline.

The team had dozens of options, options as far as their minds could extend. To me, the insistence that they had no options is indefensible. Of course they did, every team has options. It's the ones who turn those options into action that set themselves apart.

What you've described is an organization that couldn't figure out how to get out of the box.

EX BRAVEDAD
06-23-2004, 07:35 PM
Well I got to say that I met Dan' Obrien and Dean Taylor and no matter what happens they are pretty nice guys in my book

M2
06-23-2004, 07:53 PM
M2, you said that O'Brien needs to do more roster manipulations before we can know too much about him. "Roster manipulation" makes me think of Bob Boone, who manipulated his roster daily: playing Dmitri Young at 3B, batting Adam Dunn leadoff or any number of places in the batting order, putting Graves in the rotation, etc., etc. The players have made it no secret that such manipulation lead to poor play because people's roles were confused and no routine was established. Roster manipulation doesn't sound like a good thing to me, and not overly manipulating the roster gives players an opportunity to get into a routine to establish their role and their playing ability. If this isn't what you mean, can you clarify what you do mean by roster manipulating???

I'm talking GM roster manipulation. Not that I want to turn this into another Billy Beane discussion, but one of his central tenets is that as a GM you get roster full of players to mold to the best of your abilities.

DanO did next to nothing to manipulate the major league roster. He signed Cory Lidle, which was a BAD idea, and brought in Javier Valentin, ugh. It's just about as close to taking a pass as you can get. This is still JimBo's team in terms of construction. Honestly, if this team was so good and needed such little tweaking, then why on earth was JimBo sent packing? If anything, at the major league level, the Reds have been heading in the exact same direction as during JimBo's regime.

And O'Brien can't depend on the draft alone to build the club. He need look no further than his assistant Dean Taylor if he doesn't think that's the case. Taylor managed to restock the minors for the Brewers, but got canned before it paid off. DanO has got to figure what to do in the interim or he's going to be a footnote.

He's got to figure out to how to get what he needs with what he's got. In short, he's got to manipulate his roster.

Ga_Red
06-23-2004, 08:16 PM
Well I got to say that I met Dan' Obrien and Dean Taylor and no matter what happens they are pretty nice guys in my book

remember what Leo "the lip" opined?


I'm with Princeton.

A "good" gm will have <b>done</b> good/great things
to have earned that adjective. Dan did get Gabe,
but his constitutional inertia cost at least 2 weeks
durimg which time Gabe could have been the difference
in 3 or 4 blown saves/holds in a 7 game losing streak.

So far, O'Brien has demonstrated that action is the last
of whatever options may be available.

DO may <b>become</b> a great gm. I hope so.
He is NOT one now as far as any fair-minded evaluation
is concerned because there is a non-existent sample size
to evaluate.

What I see so far, is the rhetoric of a first class
bser, classic cya organizational instincts and
a Connie Mack/Carl Lindner disregard for fan accountability.

The next 45 days will go a long way toward fleshing out
an 'opportunities' sample size.

Nothing would make me happier than to have
a table load of crow to banquet on come Aug 1.

princeton
06-23-2004, 11:15 PM
Another thing I intended to include in the original post is a list of what Dan O'Brien has done so far in his tenure with the Reds:

(1) Hired Dave Miley, who in turn hired a solid, professional coaching staff (Chambliss, Whisler, O'Berry) to complement Tom Hume, and Don Gullett.

(2) Hired Ron Oester as minor league field coordinator

(3) Restructured the scouting program and invested more in scouting the Dominican Republic, which is a treasure-ridden resource the Reds have never effectively tapped into before.

(4) Has instilled a professional attitude that starts at the top


The counterarguments are that he hired a scouting director with a long and terrible history, that Latin America is overfarmed and overpriced, that he brought in nobody with a proven history of developmental success, and that the one relative innovation-- the idea that the Reds can spin OF straw like Jason Romano into a new golden generation of MIers a la Davey Lopes -- is unproven.

finally, the big thing with any GM is whether he can convert contender into champion. DanO hasn't tried, and I understand the reasoning. It's unlikely that the three or four moves that were minimally required (in addition to good health) all could have happened, yet moves like acquiring a better IFer (Carlos Guillen or Juan Uribe), a top starter (Jered Weaver) while keeping the rest of the team intact (Chris Reitsma) were possible, and might have put this team about one July move away. Instead, we remain several moves away. When the system is rebuilt in five years, we'll be better able to deal young talent for established talent. But the guys that got us into this contending position will be long gone.

princeton
06-23-2004, 11:36 PM
Due to the surprising nature of this team's performance thus far, I would sure hate to be Dan O'Brien right now. I really would.

not me. DanO should be a kid in a candystore. No matter where he turns, there's a sweet possibility. He can add players and win important ballgames. Or he can deal players having resurrection years in order to fill a bereft farm system. Go back to March: can you imagine having such choices in July? It has been a magical year for the Reds' FO. If they can't enjoy this, then there's no reason to keep the job.

lollipopcurve
06-24-2004, 08:49 AM
Excellent post, dugout.

I'm giving him 3 years. So far, so good in my book. I especially like the organization-wide emphasis on pitch counts and pounding the strike zone. And I think they've made a good effort in Latin America so far.

Without an owner who wants to spends big on payroll, the Reds won't become an "annual contender." I don't think it's fair to set the bar that high for O'Brien.

I agree with Dugout that this trading deadline will be the first real look at how O'Brien sees this team. But I think the decision to buy or sell is not really his to make, though he likely will have input.

As I see it, he and ownership will have to make a decision to trade one of Dunn-Casey-Kearns-Griffey-Pena. There's no way around it. Between that and the trade deadline, we'll have exhibits 1/1a on where this team is going. But even after that, I won't feel I can say O'Brien is a success or a failure.

And, in the end, my guess is that he'll be both.

B
06-24-2004, 09:08 AM
All I know right now, is that he made 1 real good trade in getting White, and 1 trade that could have a good upside with Bong Nelson for Reitsma......

but his keeping his team short 1 or 2 players all the time kills me....it is like they can't make any decisions on players...

buckeyenut
06-24-2004, 10:45 AM
buckeyenut wonders how m2 thinks the lidle signing was a bad signing. It was a low risk signing. It filled a need. Maybe it works, maybe it doesn't but no way it was a bad signing.

And buckeyenut never said we didn't have any options. What buckeyenut said or meant to say is that most of our options would have included dealing someone at a low point in value. Gotta go back to Kenny Rogers. "You gotta know when to hold them, know when to throw them. Know when to walk away, know when to run."

We had several guys we needed to hold. It wasn't the time to throw in yet. Some of them, it may be getting closer. Some may be proving to be keepers.

traderumor
06-24-2004, 11:10 AM
but his keeping his team short 1 or 2 players all the time kills me....it is like they can't make any decisions on players...The only reason that this gets noticed is because the Reds have been fortunate that most of their injuries to starters have been nagging, need a few days off type of injuries. It happens to each and every ballclub during the course of the season because they don't want to put a guy on the DL because he tweaked a muscle. Aren't you glad that they didn't put Jimenez on the DL when he was able to play in a matter of days instead of losing him for two weeks? Same with Larkin. I am glad that they didn't put him on the DL both times with this injury because he is out days instead of weeks. Now if we can just keep Rocky the Flying Squirrel out of his and everyone else's way :mad:

M2
06-24-2004, 12:10 PM
buckeyenut wonders how m2 thinks the lidle signing was a bad signing. It was a low risk signing. It filled a need. Maybe it works, maybe it doesn't but no way it was a bad signing.

And buckeyenut never said we didn't have any options. What buckeyenut said or meant to say is that most of our options would have included dealing someone at a low point in value. Gotta go back to Kenny Rogers. "You gotta know when to hold them, know when to throw them. Know when to walk away, know when to run."

We had several guys we needed to hold. It wasn't the time to throw in yet. Some of them, it may be getting closer. Some may be proving to be keepers.

Lidle was a bad signing because it hasn't worked and the chances of it working were extremely low. I don't hold the team to all that high a standard. All I really ask is they be able to figure out things that I can figure out from 1,000 miles away. Lidle was more of the same for a pitching staff that needed a change. He wasn't going to give them a sub-4.00 ERA, likely not a sub-4.50 ERA and quite possibly not a sub-5.00 ERA. Had they spent $500,000 on him, which is about what a "maybe it works, maybe it doesn't" flyer is worth, that would be one thing, but paying $2.75M for one is a dumb idea anyway you slice it.

And the Reds could have tried to turn some of their 2003 sell-off returns into players. I'll bring up Ben Sheets again, because we know the Brewers shopped him. Could Brandon Claussen and Phil Dumatrait have scored him? Don't know, but I'll bet Milwaukee would have given it serious consideration and Sheets would have fit right into Lidle's salary slot.

Austin Kearns was at peak value. Jason LaRue had value in what was a good market for catchers. Injuries and second-half slumps could still make the club's Big Three contracts difficult to move this coming offseason and you won't see much in the way of significant change until one of those contracts (more likely two) are off the books. The Reds keep giving away affordable contracts when what they need to do is prune from the top. That's how you go from maintenance pruning to clearing enough payroll space to reinvest.

Using your Kenny Rogers analogy, the Reds decided to keep playing with a pair of sixes instead of getting new cards. Know when to fold them indeed.

princeton
06-24-2004, 05:10 PM
Lidle was a bad signing because it hasn't worked and the chances of it working were extremely low. I don't hold the team to all that high a standard. All I really ask is they be able to figure out things that I can figure out from 1,000 miles away. Lidle was more of the same for a pitching staff that needed a change. He wasn't going to give them a sub-4.00 ERA, likely not a sub-4.50 ERA and quite possibly not a sub-5.00 ERA. Had they spent $500,000 on him, which is about what a "maybe it works, maybe it doesn't" flyer is worth, that would be one thing, but paying $2.75M for one is a dumb idea anyway you slice it.

Lidle has eaten some innings, which does give a real breather to an overtaxed pen. It's hard to quantitate the effects of that on a roster, but I still remember when seeing a Reds CG was about as rare as seeing a Barry Larkin grand slam. Lidle's stuff is more of the same, but his CG's make him a rare bird

M2
06-24-2004, 05:24 PM
Lidle has eaten some innings, which does give a real breather to an overtaxed pen. It's hard to quantitate the effects of that on a roster, but I still remember when seeing a Reds CG was about as rare as seeing a Barry Larkin grand slam. Lidle's stuff is more of the same, but his CG's make him a rare bird

Bad innings are easy to find. Don't pay for the privilege.

If the Reds were going to give someone money, it should have been a guy who gave them good innings.

Eric_Davis
06-24-2004, 05:43 PM
My criticism of that, though, is if he felt that way about the team heading into the season, if that was the course he set, then why didn't he do more in the offseason? Clearly that would mean he'd assessed what he had and I think it was a mistake not acting in a more definitive fashion from the outset.


I think he did, but it's just not visible because of where his time was spent, such as changing the adminstration portion of the organization. That alone is a minimum 6-month process. I'm in a company that's changing it's face and if you're looking for quality in people, then it takes time. Not all the people you want are unemployed. Some of them have other jobs in other organizations.

I'm sure the guy works six days a week and has since he took over this job. Think he's had a vacation since he had this job? I doubt it.

If you want to do this thing right, then you need to tear down the foundation before building it up with a stronger foundation. After the new foundation is in place then the parts can be added.

This winter, what Dan O'Brien accomplishes should be a more "visible".

Nice original post, excellent commitment on the part of the other posters here to give this guy a chance.

Everyone ripped Wagner when he broke up the Big Red Machine, but Wagner brought in Davis, Larkin, Stillwell, Jones, Browning, etc. We won a World Series in 1990 with the personnel that Wagner drafted.

This stuff takes time, but once in place, if ownership doesn't change radically (Marge Schott), then with a good foundation in place, sustainable quality can be achieved. Potentially, Lindner could pass away during O'Brien's regime, and whoever becomes in charge after that could shake up what O'Brien will have accomplished. Let's hope he gets five or six years to show us what he can do. It will be obvious at the "end" of each year, if we only look at the overall organization at the whole and not at the Major League product, what O'Brien is accomplishing.

dougflynn23
06-24-2004, 05:45 PM
:confused: I really wanted to like Dan O'Brien. I did not hold the Chris Reitsma trade against him; it hasn't looked very good to date but it was the right kind of trade to make. I love the level of professionalism he's brought back to the job after years of leather pants and 911 references. I love the restructuring of the scouting department. I like the pitch-to-contact philosophy in that we have no pitchers who can strike anyone out anyway.

The drafting of a High School pitcher and passing on a MLB-ready SS in Stephen Drew was a huge mistake. Drew would have cost a hefty sum of money, but he would have been the answer at SS as soon as next season. A .400 OBP SS with 15-25 HR ability was there, but instead O'Brien chose a commodity (HS pitcher) that has a failure rate of over 80% in terms of MLB success. With a chance to mark his imprint on his first ametuer draft, O'Brien fell into the abyss that so many other GM's have fallen into. The Reds have now passed on Khalil Greene, Bobby Crosby, and Stephen Drew in the last 3 years, all while knowing that Barry Larkin is winding down with no heir apparent. It's sad that O'Brien was not more visionary in this draft.

Eric_Davis
06-24-2004, 05:50 PM
as far as I can tell, you like DanO because you want to like him and because he's done nothing.

I can see why you'd welcome noncontroversy. On the other hand, we're just marking time so far. And by the looks of the draft, we'll be marking time for a number of years.

I want to like DanO, too. But he's going to have to do something before I can give him that.

I want decisions to be made and I want them to work out as well, if not better, than the decisions that I'd have made in DanO's place. That's not asking too much.

So far there's just one big league decision, Chris Reitsma. Terrible timing to sell when your team subsequently plays well. Oh, well, there's be more decisions. And I'm sure that some will work out better.

But I smell a five year plan, and while I'm patient, I also think that five year plans usually mean five bad years. As they've shown, the Reds have some players now. Make something out of them. Don't wait five.

Princeton. Dan O'Brien had nothing to work with. The Cincinnati REDS were one of the worst, if not the worst organization in Professional Baseball. There is so much that he had to clean up first. He needed a wrecking ball for his first duties. O'Brien has been excellent. Get your focus off of the Major League ballclub. That's not where you can measure O'Brien's efforts this year. That's not his club. Those aren't his players, and he had no one, no money to make any changes to that portion of the organization.

O'Brien has been brilliant, but you have no way of knowing that because what he's done is rebuild the structure of the organization. That's invisible to you.

M2
06-24-2004, 05:51 PM
I think he did, but it's just not visible because of where his time was spent, such as changing the adminstration portion of the organization. That alone is a minimum 6-month process. I'm in a company that's changing it's face and if you're looking for quality in people, then it takes time. Not all the people you want are unemployed. Some of them have other jobs in other organizations.

I'm talking about player acquistion. You're talking about bureaucracy.

It's fine that DanO wanted/wants to reorganize the front office. He's still got a team to run in the interim and there's no reason why he shouldn't have molded that team more to his liking if he believed changes needed to be made.

The Reds need a GM, not an office manager.



Get your focus off of the Major League ballclub. That's not where you can measure O'Brien's efforts this year.

Sure looks like a dog of a draft his rebuilt organization netted. And most of the club's top prospects have gone down in flames, so his development folks aren't experiencing much success either.

If anything, the major league ballclub is exactly where DanO supporters should be looking to measure his efforts as it's where he's having the most success, except that he's having it with an inherited team.

Eric_Davis
06-24-2004, 05:57 PM
I'm talking about player acquistion. You're talking about bureaucracy.

It's fine that DanO wanted/wants to reorganize the front office. He's still got a team to run in the interim and there's no reason why he shouldn't have molded that team more to his liking if he believed changes needed to be made.

The Reds need a GM, not an office manager.

That time will come, but you have to build from the bottom up, not the top down. That was Bowden's philosophy. He can try to help the Major League club, if at the same time he doesn't sacrifice the overall goal of bettering the minor leagues. That's hard to do, but the White deal was an example.

The improved attendance figures might bring in another player, also, something that doesn't cost as much minor league talent. But he also might save that money for next year, if the REDS fall out of contention. They shouldn't so, he'll probably give them some help.

I wrote yesterday or the day before....Excpect from O'Brien one move per week for the next 7 or 8 weeks.

princeton
06-24-2004, 06:16 PM
Get your focus off of the Major League ballclub. That's not where you can measure O'Brien's efforts this year. That's not his club. Those aren't his players.


exactly. He's had a negative impact on a GM's no. 1 priority. Understandable if we were losers, but we're not.

Eric_Davis
06-24-2004, 06:19 PM
: I love the level of professionalism he's brought back to the job after years of leather pants and 911 references.

That's the first time I laughed all day.

I needed that.

Eric_Davis
06-24-2004, 06:21 PM
exactly. He's had a negative impact on a GM's no. 1 priority. Understandable if we were losers, but we're not.

I agree with you that it's the G.M.'s #1 priority to make a winner out of the Major League Club, but I don't see how he could have done that without sacrificing the future. 80 games does not make a season and the team has so many holes, where do you put the plugs? And with what money or prospects do you pay for these plugs?

Eric_Davis
06-24-2004, 06:24 PM
Sure looks like a dog of a draft his rebuilt organization netted. And most of the club's top prospects have gone down in flames, so his development folks aren't experiencing much success either.


I don't see how his draft can be analyzed as good or bad. There isn't any way to measure what the players that have been drafted will be like for at least two years.

There also isn't any way to measure what his development folks have accomplished in less that half a season either.

Eric_Davis
06-24-2004, 06:28 PM
Lidle was a bad signing because it hasn't worked and the chances of it working were extremely low. I don't hold the team to all that high a standard. All I really ask is they be able to figure out things that I can figure out from 1,000 miles away. Lidle was more of the same for a pitching staff that needed a change. He wasn't going to give them a sub-4.00 ERA, likely not a sub-4.50 ERA and quite possibly not a sub-5.00 ERA. Had they spent $500,000 on him, which is about what a "maybe it works, maybe it doesn't" flyer is worth, that would be one thing, but paying $2.75M for one is a dumb idea anyway you slice it.



Not true. Lidle's signing has worked, and worked extremely well. If Lidle wasn't there, then every pitcher below him would move up one spot. What a disaster that would be.

Lidle's ERA will be below 5.00 at the end of the year, and more likely will be around 4.30-4.40. He'll pitch 190 innings and have 15-19 quality starts.

REDREAD
06-24-2004, 06:29 PM
[why was] the lidle signing was a bad signing. It was a low risk signing. It filled a need. Maybe it works, maybe it doesn't but no way it was a bad signing.
.

But it was a 3 million dollar signing. Lidle has been Jeckle and Hide this year.He also spent 700k on Vanderwall. So, in theory, he had almost 4 million
to spend on pitching this winter (maybe more if you believe they were holding money for later ;) ) One could make the argument that with about 4 million in payflex, we could've done better than Lidle. IMO, he was a huge risk, he
was coming off a horrible season. Luckily, he's been adequate though.
And the Reds were kind of trapped on the contract. If Lidle pitched well, he's gone after this year. In other words, he was a one year stopgap, not a potential long term solution. As an example, the Jays signed miguel Batista
to a multiyear deal at 3.6 million. He's doing much better than lidle:

Batista; 3.99 ERA .244 BA against. Although he does walk more guys than Lidle, which hurts his WHIP.

But he's a long term solution for the Jays.

I do like that DanO got Gabe White though. Easily his best move to this date.
Todd Jones was another good move, although we'll never know if that was foolish luck (grabbing the first available body to replace Reitsma, as some have speculated), or good scouting. I really don't care, it's still a good move.

Troube was, he sat on his hands all winter. He had a lot more holes to fill, which he ignored.

Edit: I guess Lidle plus Vanderwall was really closer to 3.5 million than 4 million, but you see the point.

M2
06-24-2004, 06:33 PM
I don't see how his draft can be analyzed as good or bad. There isn't any way to measure what the players that have been drafted will be like for at least two years.

There also isn't any way to measure what his development folks have accomplished in less that half a season either.

I'm not saying it's written in stone that the 2004 draft will be a disaster, but my initial take on it, and I'm far from alone on this, is that the team spent failed to grab any near talents and that it's a particularly raw draft class. Had the same take immediately after 2001 and 2002.

And there is a way to measure how the development folks are doing. Take a look at the team's prospects. Are they progressing or regressing? The Reds have experienced a massive burnout rate among their better-regarded prospects this season and it's a rarity to find a Reds player get so much as an honorable mention on something like the BA Prospect Hot Sheet these days. I'm not saying the development folks can't do their jobs, but there are early returns and, like most everything DanO's done, those early returns aren't encouraging. He and his system are off to a crawling start.

Storm
06-24-2004, 06:35 PM
So to those of you who have already decided you dislike O'Brien I ask you: what is that decision based upon? Has he been irrational, unclear, or whimsical thus far?



For one I question his actual power in the organization, and I question his decision (or lack of) when he left the roster short a few weeks back, I question his decision to trade Reitsma when we needed middle relief! I also can't understand why he wouldn't even consider giving Aaron Boone a try when it's pretty evident that there will be a need next year for at least a 3rd baseman or shortstop! I also was insulted as a fan when he and Allen went on the air and urged the fans to quit worrying about the financial constraints but focus on the product on the field, but didn't have the guts to take calls from the fans! that pretty much summed up my opinion that the guy is a clown :thumbdn:

princeton
06-24-2004, 06:41 PM
I agree with you that it's the G.M.'s #1 priority to make a winner out of the Major League Club, but...

no buts. It's priority number one.

I don't actually mind flipping guys like Casey or Jr even though it costs us in '04, so long as the return makes '05 to '07 look brighter. I also don't mind adding to the '04 team in hopes of having an unlikely playoff run.

But so far DanO's neither worked on '04 or '06. I assume that'll change this month and the goal will be '06. Because if it's for '04, then he's waited too long and could have done a lot more.

M2
06-24-2004, 06:51 PM
Not true. Lidle's signing has worked, and worked extremely well. If Lidle wasn't there, then every pitcher below him would move up one spot. What a disaster that would be.

Lidle's ERA will be below 5.00 at the end of the year, and more likely will be around 4.30-4.40. He'll pitch 190 innings and have 15-19 quality starts.

If Lidle wasn't there, then the club would have had $2.75 million to find someone to take his place. Coming into today, Lidle's ERA ranked 87th out of the the top 100 IP pitchers in all of baseball (120th out of the top 150 IP guys).

You could pretty much throw a stone and hit a better pitcher.

I sometimes wonder if it's been so long since the Reds had good pitching that Reds fans can no longer distinguish the good ones from the palookas.

Eric_Davis
06-24-2004, 06:55 PM
But it was a 3 million dollar signing. Lidle has been Jeckle and Hide this year.He also spent 700k on Vanderwall. So, in theory, he had almost 4 million
to spend on pitching this winter (maybe more if you believe they were holding money for later ;) ) One could make the argument that with about 4 million in payflex, we could've done better than Lidle. IMO, he was a huge risk, he
was coming off a horrible season. Luckily, he's been adequate though.
And the Reds were kind of trapped on the contract. If Lidle pitched well, he's gone after this year. In other words, he was a one year stopgap, not a potential long term solution. As an example, the Jays signed miguel Batista
to a multiyear deal at 3.6 million. He's doing much better than lidle:

Batista; 3.99 ERA .244 BA against. Although he does walk more guys than Lidle, which hurts his WHIP.

But he's a long term solution for the Jays.

I do like that DanO got Gabe White though. Easily his best move to this date.
Todd Jones was another good move, although we'll never know if that was foolish luck (grabbing the first available body to replace Reitsma, as some have speculated), or good scouting. I really don't care, it's still a good move.

Troube was, he sat on his hands all winter. He had a lot more holes to fill, which he ignored.

Edit: I guess Lidle plus Vanderwall was really closer to 3.5 million than 4 million, but you see the point.

I agree that with $4M, he had other options. I'll take Lidle. Never liked Van Derwall even when he was healthy. I don't expect his first decisions to be as good as his later decisions.

I think Lidle can be a good pitcher the second half of the year. Jeckyl and Hyde for sure. He's had 7 quality starts and 7 non-quality starts. For the second half of the year I'd like to see him go 12 quality starts and 7 non-quality starts. Thats 33 totals starts with a chance to miss one start still during the second half. If he does that the rest of the year, he gives us a chance to win. And I think that 19 quality starts from a guy that cost $3.M is a worthwhile investment.

Eric_Davis
06-24-2004, 06:59 PM
For one I question his actual power in the organization, and I question his decision (or lack of) when he left the roster short a few weeks back, I question his decision to trade Reitsma when we needed middle relief! I also can't understand why he wouldn't even consider giving Aaron Boone a try when it's pretty evident that there will be a need next year for at least a 3rd baseman or shortstop! I also was insulted as a fan when he and Allen went on the air and urged the fans to quit worrying about the financial constraints but focus on the product on the field, but didn't have the guts to take calls from the fans! that pretty much summed up my opinion that the guy is a clown :thumbdn:

Leaving the roster short was clearly a mistake on his part. There's no getting around that. Hopefully, that was an error on his part, which he can learn from and that it didn't occur because of some fiscal policy imposed by him, Allen, or Lindner.

Eric_Davis
06-24-2004, 07:04 PM
I'm not saying it's written in stone that the 2004 draft will be a disaster, but my initial take on it, and I'm far from alone on this, is that the team spent failed to grab any near talents and that it's a particularly raw draft class. Had the same take immediately after 2001 and 2002.

And there is a way to measure how the development folks are doing. Take a look at the team's prospects. Are they progressing or regressing? The Reds have experienced a massive burnout rate among their better-regarded prospects this season and it's a rarity to find a Reds player get so much as an honorable mention on something like the BA Prospect Hot Sheet these days. I'm not saying the development folks can't do their jobs, but there are early returns and, like most everything DanO's done, those early returns aren't encouraging. He and his system are off to a crawling start.

I'll have to go with your's and other's judgements because I have no way of evaluting the draft. I have no way of explaining how guys in rounds six, 10, 15, or 20 make it to the majors except through good organizational structure. There are so many variables to baseball prospectus when it comes to draftees.

D-Man
06-24-2004, 08:06 PM
If Lidle wasn't there, then the club would have had $2.75 million to find someone to take his place. Coming into today, Lidle's ERA ranked 87th out of the the top 100 IP pitchers in all of baseball (120th out of the top 150 IP guys).

You could pretty much throw a stone and hit a better pitcher.


Sorry if I am hijacking this thread but. . . Is Lidle really that replaceable? If you look at ERA solely, then yes, his performance looks weak. However, I tend to think that this simplistic method of evaluation overlooks how he has contributed to the club for two big reasons:

1.) PERFORMANCE VOLATILITY. Lidle is the guy that BP ranks as the 10th flakiest starter; for reference, the standard deviation of Lidle's game scores is 18.62, which is 12% higher than it is for Wilson. Meaning, he tends to give you outstanding performances one day and horrible the next. I believe that is a good thing.

Which of these two pitchers would you rather have?

Pitcher A: 4.50 ERA, alternating shutouts with awful performances
Pitcher B: 4.50 ERA; 6 IP and 3 ER every time.

I would much prefer to have a flaky pitcher with a league-average ERA than a 6 IP/3 ER league-average, inert performer. On a team that hits as well as the Reds do, Pitcher A's vintage, dominant performance would *guarantee* a win; and I'll bet you that, every once in awhile, the Reds offense would be able to overcome Pitcher A's bad games and win. On average, you would win more than 50% of your games with Pitcher A. On the other hand, a Pitcher B performance would only guarantee you a win 50% of the time, as the outcome of the game would totally depend on the offense's performance. That is why the correlation between winning and pitching variability is strong, all else being equal. Consequently, traditional run assignment (i.e., ERA) will always undervalue Lidle's contributions, relative to a less volatile performer like Wilson.

2.) INNINGS PITCHED. On a team where the pitchers in the bullpen are stretched to the max on a daily basis, Lidle gives most of them a night off. Moreover, I will even venture to say that, on a tactical basis, he makes the rest of the pitching staff better. The Reds can pick and choose when to use their best relievers (could you imagine the Reds being forced to use Joe Valentine and his 14+ ERA in that 2-1 ballgame before Cameron's dropped ball, simply because everyone was gassed from last nights 12-inning game? The Reds would be doomed in any close game when they have to use their worst pitchers in the high-leverage situations.) That's what Cory Lidle gives you. In other words, in a highly interdependent world of a pitching staff--where somebody MUST pitch--the Cory Lidles of the world make the other pitchers around them BETTER. . . The other pitchers are better rested, and they can be used in places that match well to their skill sets rather than out of necessity. This element has a lot of value, particularly on a team such as the Reds when you have a wide disparity between your best reliever and your worst one, because your worst pitcher will rarely pitch in high-impact situations.

In my view, these two contributions are significant--and VERY significant to this club.

M2
06-24-2004, 08:50 PM
I'd rather not have a 4.50 ERA pitcher in either case - let alone a 5.05 ERA. You can literally find a hundred guys pitching better than Lidle.

As for the contention that it's easier to win well-pitched games than lose poorly pitched outings, I whole-heartedly disagree. First off, Lidle's not throwing too many 0 and 1 run games (3 of 15 starts to be exact). So many of Lidle's "gems" are really just going to be pitching duels. I think we Reds fans have forgotten that for many other teams a well-pitched game is the rule and not the exception. To whit, the Reds record this season when Lidle allows 3 or fewers runs vs. 5 or more:

3- - 6-3
5+ - 1-6

I agree that IP help, but people on this board spent the winter lobbying for pitchers like Miguel Batista, Ben Sheets, Odalis Perez and Livan Hernandez -- all of whom would have given the Reds similar innings with far, far, far better results.

The Reds are 7-9 when Lidle starts. Had they gone out and gotten an honest-to-goodness good pitcher, which is what they should have been shopping for, they'd probably be in first place right now and the entire complexion of this season would be different.

In other words, the Reds decision to sign Lidle has VERY significantly undermined the ability of this club to seize upon and maintain the unlikely flourish it's experienced. To borrow some princeton-speak, when the team settled for Lidle instead of going after a true plus pitcher, it made the task of stealing a playoff spot that much more difficult (mind you, princeton wouldn't care that much about only winning a playoff spot).

princeton
06-25-2004, 01:01 PM
Which of these two pitchers would you rather have?

Pitcher A: 4.50 ERA, alternating shutouts with awful performances
Pitcher B: 4.50 ERA; 6 IP and 3 ER every time.

I would much prefer to have a flaky pitcher with a league-average ERA than a 6 IP/3 ER league-average, inert performer.

this is a great question, and one that personnel guys really struggle over

I think that in general I prefer the flakes because they think that consistency is easier to teach than dominance. I think that the Reds feel this way, too. It just seems more likely that the Reds will find a way to bring out "good Cory" or "good Acevedo" more often than it is that they'll ever teach Harang how to pitch well. Also, in a particular game you can sometimes see that a flake doesn't "have it" and replace him quickly. Finally, the flake is as likely to control a good lineup as a bad one, which gives you hope for a playoff series. Conversely, my impression is that the other guy generally beats the bad lineups and not the good ones.

but I know that a lot of managers hate the flakes because they like to know what they're probably going to get-- it gives them the ability to plan strategy.

you definitely don't want a flake working as a closer or in setup. Rotation's better for 'em.

dougflynn23
06-25-2004, 01:20 PM
:help: I would love to go to Hawaii on my vacation, but my reality is Gatlinburg or Lake Cumberland. I would love to eat at The Precinct every Friday night, but my budget steers me to Applebee's. Dan O'Brien would love to have been in the hunt for a Curt Schilling or Javier Vazquez, but he has a Cory Lidle budget. We may not like the lack of options, but don't blame Dan O'Brien for doing the best job he could with the resources he had available. Teams such as Oakland got their great young pitching (Mulder & Zito) by hitting absolute rock bottom; trading a HOF player in McGwire and starting from square one. They knew that 95+ loss seasons would occur in the interim period between the McGwire deal and players like Zito, Mulder, and others developing. The Twins traded their version of Barry Larkin in Chuck Knoblauch to get a horde of young talent that was key to their resurgence. We as Reds fans are spoiled by our past glories and won't stand for a true re-cleansing. We'd truly rather be 81-81 for 5-6 years than to bear a few 65-97 seasons.

M2
06-25-2004, 01:28 PM
DanO also had a Miguel Batista and Ben Sheets budget.

You can set up a bunch of false binary choices between the thoroughly crappy Cory Lidle and really good, but expensive pitchers, but there's an entire realm of good, affordable pitchers out there, some of whom the Reds could have pursued.

BTW, had DanO figured out a way to dump one of his Big Three contracts, he'd have had a Javier Vazquez budget too.

Falls City Beer
06-25-2004, 01:44 PM
Sure, I guess DanO had the ability to sign a Batista, but I don't want Batista any more than I want Lidle. Batista hasn't given up a lot of hits, but he walks a ton and doesn't strike out anybody. The two of them (Lidle and Batista) allow about the same number of baserunners--Lidle just lets them score more often. In short, both pitchers are bombs waiting to go off (the difference is the Jays are on the hook for 8 more million with Batista). With the Reds defense, I suspect Batista would be a 4.50 pitcher or so right now. For the extra 1.25 million you pay Batista, I'd just as soon pick up a great reliever (no, not Reitsma).

M2
06-25-2004, 02:07 PM
Batista wouldn't have been my top choice either (Sheets was, Odalis Perez was my second choice), but others on this board made spirited cases for him that had merit.

There was some reason to think Batista was onto something whereas Lidle profiled more as a guy who benefitted from good luck, the right park and a superior defense when he was in Oakland. When he went to a hitters park and had a poor defense behind him and experienced neutral luck, he fell apart.

I'm not sure Batista would backslide much because of the Reds defense. The Jays aren't lighting the world on fire with their gloves and Batista wouldn't have to deal with the DH in the NL.

But in the final analysis DanO gets paid to make calls that pan out. We can hash around which of the possible alternatives he should have pursued (there were myriad ideas put forth by posters on this board), but the real point is that there were plenty of alternatives and that DanO showed poor judgment in choosing to go the Lidle route. Had he exhibited shrewd judgment and better vision the Reds could have themselves a bona fide staff leader and a pitcher worth keeping around for the foreseeable future.

princeton
06-25-2004, 02:16 PM
Which of these two pitchers would you rather have?

Pitcher A: 4.50 ERA, alternating shutouts with awful performances
Pitcher B: 4.50 ERA; 6 IP and 3 ER every time.

another possibility would be the pitcher with the 5.50 ERA in the first half and the 3.50 ERA in the second half. This is Lidle's recent history.

Better that, or better to have more consistency?

(for a team that likes to trade its chips in late July, it's probably better to have the first half performer)

CougarQuest
06-25-2004, 02:42 PM
Interesting: slam Bowden but praise O'Brien. I can see praising O'Brien for not being a slimmy "me" person. But O'Brien hasn't done much to gain a lot of praise at this point. Starting with his speach that took an hour and a half to thank every single person he knew in his lifetime. He may be a great person. He may be a great GM someday. But there is very little to indicate he is worthy of praise yet.

O'Brien takes forever to hire Miley as the full time manager, a manager he didn't want but was told would be the manager. Signs him to only a 1 year contract with an option year.

O'Brien took rule 5 David Mattox. How is that different that Bowden taking rule 5 Luke Prokopec?

O'Brien signed Cory Lidle. How is that different from Bowden's Paul Wilson last year?

O'Brien went out of his way to tell Larson that 3rd base was his to lose. Classy move. Not a smart move, but classy.

O'Brien sold John Bale to Japan for $. That sounds familiar. The Reds selling a player to Japan for $.

O'Brien signed Mike Matthews. Bowden signed Merker and Heredia last year.

O'Brien signed Javier Valentine. Bowden signed Kelly Stinnett.

O'Brien signed VanderWal, Jermaine Clark and Jason Ramono. Is Bowden's signings of extra OF'ers worse or better?

O'Brien signed Todd Jones. Bowden couldn't find starting pitchers, but he could find relievers.

O'Brien traded Reistma.

O'Brien traded for Gabe White. De Ja Vu Bowden.

Signing Chambliss was a great move. Wasn't that Miley?

CougarQuest (edited: oops forgot) likes a lot of the organizational guidelines that O'Brien has set forth in the minor league system.

Falls City Beer
06-25-2004, 02:54 PM
"We can hash around which of the possible alternatives he should have pursued (there were myriad ideas put forth by posters on this board), but the real point is that there were plenty of alternatives and that DanO showed poor judgment in choosing to go the Lidle route."

Your first independent clause about "hashing around...possible alternatives" seems to belie the intent of the post I was responding to.

As if to assert one thing, then bait and switch and say, "but the REAL point is"

I would contend that the "hashing" is the real point. There AREN"T that many bargains in baseball--true bargains--that we CAN sit around and count them off on one hand. DanO chose Lidle; the board says, but what about Batista? (while sloughing off the notion that 1.25 million a season more for two MORE seasons is any big deal). I don't like the Lidle choice because it stinks of Bowden, but so does the Batista deal (which I believe, by the time it's over he'll look like Dessens). I agree much more with your latter point...blow up the idea of finding a bargain, clear a lot of room, get an ace, and wait for the kids to grow. This nickel and diming about stiffs like Lidle and Batista is the problem.

M2
06-25-2004, 03:15 PM
Don't know what you want FCB. I tend to agree with you that Batista would have been a signing more in the Lidle vein, but, back to my central point about judgment, it was an option that others made a sturdy case for and it has worked out better than Lidle to date (and my suspicion it will continue to work out better). To anyone who wanted the Reds to sign Batista and who maintains that would have been a better decision, I'd have to respond, "Sure looks like you were right."

I was just trying to open up the door to show that there were plenty of options, not just options that I espoused.

They could have spent rock bottom and gotten someone to mimic Lidle's current performance.They could have spent as much as they did on Lidle (or close to it) and gotten someone solid. They could have cleared room and gotten an ace. They also could have spent Lidle's money on a young pitcher capable of stepping up to the top tier this season (which struck me as the most viable alternative).

The Reds don't need a can't-do GM. They need a can-do GM, a guy who can figure out how to do one (or many) of the things I listed in the previous paragraph (which is what I was driving at in the paragraph to which you responded). I'm not saying DanO can't be a can-do guy, but he was a can't-do guy this offseason and the one choice he made to take some of the team's money and spent it has been a dud so far.

princeton
06-25-2004, 03:41 PM
I kind of like Lidle. I wanted a better pitcher, I wanted a cheaper pitcher, and I especially wanted a pitcher that depended less on defense. But most of all, I wanted somebody just in case we got healthy and competed, and Lidle has provided important innings

While I don't like the ERA, I like the innings and flashes of ability, and am intrigued by Lidle's second half history

the Reds have now discovered other ways to make payflex available for a better starter. Jr's and Casey's contracts can now be moved.

M2
06-25-2004, 04:43 PM
Lidle was also used sparingly during the first half of his two seasons in Oakland (well under 6 IP per start). Might have been some cause and effect there in addition luck, park and defense, his arm may have been fresh for the stretch. When the Jays leaned on him hard in the first half of 2003, much the same way the Reds are doing this season, he was ineffective and then gimpy.

D-Man
06-25-2004, 04:55 PM
As for the contention that it's easier to win well-pitched games than lose poorly pitched outings, I whole-heartedly disagree.

Well, this is pretty darn close to the Koufax/Don Sutton debate that Bill James carries out in his Hall of Fame book. From what I gather, you are taking the position that a steady performer (i.e., Sutton) would be more valuable than a highly volatile one (Koufax). [Koufax had great years mixed with pretty crummy ones, whereas Sutton was very steady performer year in and year out.] I can't disprove your contention in this space--I have neither the time nor inclination to run a simulation--but I trust what Bill James said about the issue. He concluded from this study that the winning percentage for a team of Koufaxes (highly variable seasonal performances) would have a .550-.600 winning percentage, whereas a team of Suttons with the same ERA would be ~.500. By inference, I believe it is safe to say that peak performances, with respect to winning and losing ballgames, will be undervalued on a game-to-game basis.

[Aside: the 4.50 ERA was in place for ease of illustration--it was laziness (on my behalf) in making my point.]

As for the IP issue, let me ask you this: is it any coincidence that the late-90s ATL team easily constructed good (great?) bullpens with Glavine and Maddux eating 450+ innings at the front of the rotation? Never mind that those bullpens were always cobbled together with a cast of Darren Holmeses and Chris Hammonds, and yet, they always turned out consistently strong performances. Leo Mazzone gets more than his fair share of the credit for the success of the bullpen, but I don't think is necessarily fair when you have two innings eaters at the front of the rotation. That allows Mazzone to find spots where Hammond and pitchers of his ilk could be successful (and well-rested). I realize that many do not share my viewpoint, but cheap IP (e.g., not coming from a great performer) are significantly undervalued on the market. And that is what Lidle gives the staff--he relieves the pressure valve that builds up in a bullpen.

Finally, I just want to be clear: I am not saying Lidle is a "good pitcher" by conventional standards; I am saying that his contributions have "value" to this club.

Eric_Davis
06-25-2004, 04:59 PM
I like Lidle. He has upside still. He'll do better the last 3/5th's of the year than he did the first 2/5th's.

Eric_Davis
06-25-2004, 05:16 PM
Only once all year has Lidle thrown back-to-back non-quality starts.

June 7th, and June 13th.

So, what does the guy do?

He follows that up with back-to-back quality starts June 18th, and June 24th,
throwing 15 innings giving up 15 hits, 4 earned runs, 2 walks, with 15 strikeouts.

He's on the verge of putting together a streak of 10 games with 8 quality starts among them. That could be right now.

He hasn't had 3 quality starts in a row all year. Let's see what he does on Tuesday against the Mets as he faces Glavine again.

His last start against the Mets was a day game. His next one will be a night game. This year:

Days 4-1, 3.43 ERA
Night 1-4, 7.33 ERA


Here's also four games where Lidle got a No Decision (all road games with three of them against our main rivals):

@CHI 4/17, 7IP, 2 Runs, 2 Earned Runs
@HOU 5/02, 7IP, 3 Runs, 3 Earned Runs
@FLA 6/02, 7IP, 1 Run, 1 Earned Run
@STL 6/18, 7IP, 2 Runs, 2 Earned Runs

He's proven time and again that he has no problem pitching well against good teams in big games.

Storm
06-25-2004, 05:20 PM
Boone to sign with Cleveland!

Great move Danny Boy! :mad:

Doc. Scott
06-25-2004, 06:22 PM
Actually, it was. Doc would much rather see a trade for an Ensberg or the callup of Encarnacion than pay Boone a crapload to maybe be a shadow of his former self.

M2
06-25-2004, 07:24 PM
D-Man, I agree IP are valuable. I got sold on the concept back in 1986 after the Cardinals lost Joaquin Andujar, but I think the Reds overpaid with Lidle, who's offered nothing beyond the IP. Had you just wanted IP you could have paid $1M for Jeff Suppan (who's pitched more IP than Lidle every season of their lives).

If the Reds had three good pitchers and $2.75M to blow on Lidle's IP for the cause of keeping the pen stable then I wouldn't have a problem with that. Unfortunately that's not the model they've got. They needed to find a keeper with that money. One of the great sins of the Lidle signing, to me at least, is it put off that search another year.

IMO, Lidle's fish nor fowl in the Koufax/Sutton debate. Lidle's never going to have a great year. In fact, the Dr. Cory & Mr. Lidle act this season has pretty much prevented him from even having great weeks. The ability to toss six really good games a year with 15 stinkbombs and 12 good-to-mediocre offerings thrown in shouldn't impress much of anybody. Almost every pitcher can give you six really good games a year. So I don't see where Lidle's doing anything all that special. For comparison, Ron Villone did it in 1999 and he pitched far better in his "off" starts as well.

And, though I haven't cataloged it, everytime I've looked at team W-L records in games where they've allowed a lot of runs, the winning percentages are frightfully low. I believe it's axiomatic in both the old school and number crunching communities that the easiest way to lose a game is to allow a lot of runs. It's no coincidence that above-.500 teams generally have better-than-average team ERAs and that bottom-quarter ERA clubs (barring a few exceptions with the Rockies, who play in a parallel universe) always have losing records. Certainly no team I can find has been able to pitch as poorly as Lidle for a season and overcome it with spot quality.

guernsey
06-25-2004, 09:55 PM
guernsey suspects M2 will like one move of DanO's following the season. Tim Naehring isn't likely to be re-hired by DanO.

Matt700wlw
06-25-2004, 09:59 PM
Perhaps DanO knew something about Bong that we didn't

I was a little upset that after a shut out, they sent him back to Louisville...tonight, the Bong got smoked.

As far as thinking DanO is a good GM...the jury is still out on that one

M2
06-25-2004, 10:07 PM
guernsey suspects M2 will like one move of DanO's following the season. Tim Naehring isn't likely to be re-hired by DanO.

You think so? I was under the impression that Naehring was part the cabal that hired DanO. I'd think Allen and possibly Lindner would have to sign off on that move.

guernsey
06-25-2004, 10:09 PM
You think so? I was under the impression that Naehring was part the cabal that hired DanO. I'd think Allen and possibly Lindner would have to sign off on that move.

Rumor has it that they aren't seeing eye-to-eye at all. Probably because Tim likes to push guys through the system and DanO is more patient.

M2
06-25-2004, 10:19 PM
Rumor has it that they aren't seeing eye-to-eye at all. Probably because Tim likes to push guys through the system and DanO is more patient.

Wow, first I'd heard of that. You, sir, sound like a man who knows people.

If that's the point of contention, then good for DanO. I think I mentioned it somewhere in this thread that promotional patience would mark a major, and welcome in my case, departure from the JimBo regime. Naehring certainly seemed to be eager to promote guys in that recent article where he sung DMos' praises. DanO seemed to feel simpatico with the one wrung at time guru Brian Graham (wonder if he'd be in line for Naehring's job if Tim got the ax).

Eric_Davis
06-26-2004, 04:52 AM
IMO, Lidle's fish nor fowl in the Koufax/Sutton debate. Lidle's never going to have a great year. In fact, the Dr. Cory & Mr. Lidle act this season has pretty much prevented him from even having great weeks. The ability to toss six really good games a year with 15 stinkbombs and 12 good-to-mediocre offerings thrown in shouldn't impress much of anybody. Almost every pitcher can give you six really good games a year.


I hate when people make up lies. Get off of Lidle's back and tell the truth if you're going to quote statistics about him!!!!!

Lidle has thrown 8 quality starts this year and 7 non-quality starts. How in the heck do you go around claiming that he's tossing six really good games, 15 stinkbombs, and 12 good-to-mediocre offerings.

He's had seven starts of six innings pitched while allowing three runs or less. That's a quality start. He also had a complete game 5-inning victory against the Braves where he won the game 5-3. That's another start you can say was quality.

Give the guy a break. Say he's bad. Say he's good. Say you don't like him, but don't say he throw 15 stinkbombs with 6 good starts when that's not what he's doing.

M2
06-26-2004, 11:35 AM
I hate when people make up lies. Get off of Lidle's back and tell the truth if you're going to quote statistics about him!!!!!

Lidle has thrown 8 quality starts this year and 7 non-quality starts. How in the heck do you go around claiming that he's tossing six really good games, 15 stinkbombs, and 12 good-to-mediocre offerings.

He's had seven starts of six innings pitched while allowing three runs or less. That's a quality start. He also had a complete game 5-inning victory against the Braves where he won the game 5-3. That's another start you can say was quality.

Give the guy a break. Say he's bad. Say he's good. Say you don't like him, but don't say he throw 15 stinkbombs with 6 good starts when that's not what he's doing.

First off, Lidle has 16 starts this year -- 8 QS and 8 non-QS.

Second off, D-Man brought up the value of "alternating shutouts with awful performances." I then noted Lidle, in roughly half a season, has three shoutout/one-run starts (let's call those "really good" starts). So he's rarely stupendous. He has six other starts of two-and three-runs (let's call those "good-to-mediocre" starts). Then he's got seven starts where he gave up 5+ runs (let's call those "stinkbombs").

Now multiply by two. I'll admit, I projected one extra stinkbomb. Feel free to slide it into the "good-to-mediocre" column if it makes you feel better, but what I listed is exactly the pace he's on at the moment. It adds up to a lousy season.

That I used the words "The ability to ..." before listing those numbers should have made it obvious that I was projecting his current numbers and not claiming that's where the numbers are at the moment.

You caught up now?