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steig
01-21-2006, 09:57 AM
I just read this on ESPN.com. DanO now reports directly to Castellini and Allen has been removed from all baseball operations. This is the start of the house cleaning. He also mentions talks with Pinella and asking him to be a special consultant.

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=2299959



CINCINNATI -- The new owner of the Cincinnati Reds is moving in and rearranging the surroundings.

In his first day running the ballclub, produce magnate Robert Castellini reorganized the front office and promised fans a championship.

He also announced Friday that he was moving his office to Great American Ball Park, where he plans to see how things are done with an eye on more sweeping changes down the line.

"As we build our organization, we'll likely do some other things differently once we get our sleeves rolled up," Castellini said at an introductory news conference also attended by several hundred civic leaders and dignitaries. "I intend to work out of the Reds' offices on a daily basis until I have an insider's understanding of how we work."

Castellini's first move was to change the front office's structure. Chief operating officer John Allen will stay but will focus on the business side of the ballclub. General manager Dan O'Brien will run the baseball side, reporting directly to Castellini.

Under previous owner Carl Lindner, Allen ran the entire operation and reported directly to the owner. Castellini bought control of the team from Lindner in November, a transaction approved Thursday by major league baseball owners.

In many ways, Castellini demonstrated he will be much different from previous owners. He was more comfortable in front of a microphone -- Lindner generally kept to himself -- and showed a broad knowledge of his team, his players and what they've done.

Castellini, who will run the team as its chief executive, said the payroll this season would be $60 million to $65 million, roughly the same as last season. The Reds lost 89 games last year, when they opened with a $60 million payroll that ranked 19th in the majors. The 2006 payroll was set before Castellini got control of the team.

The new owner also showed a fondness for former Reds manager Lou Piniella, who is out of baseball at the moment. Tampa Bay bought out the final year of his contract at the end of last season, and Piniella is doing television work this year.

Castellini met with Piniella and asked him to become a special adviser with the Reds. Castellini said Piniella turned down the offer because he wants to take a year off.

"I wanted Lou to come up here in the worst way as a special adviser," Castellini said. "He promised me if I asked him to, he'd come down to spring training. He's just a terrific guy. He'll not be with us this year."

The Reds have put together five consecutive losing seasons, their longest such streak in 50 years. Castellini said that will change.

"I want to make a promise today to Reds fans wherever you are, a promise from one fan to another: We will bring championship baseball to Cincinnati," he said emphatically.

The five-year losing streak reflects an organization that lost its direction in the late 1990s, unsure whether it was rebuilding or contending. General manager Jim Bowden was fired midway through 2003 -- the first season at Great American Ball Park -- when the lack of pitching and prospects caught up with the team.

The Reds have put more emphasis and money into the farm system since Bowden left, but haven't been able to develop pitching prospects. Last season, the Reds had the NL's top offense -- most runs, doubles and homers in the league -- but their pitching staff finished last.

"We spent a lot more money on scouting in the last two or three years and a lot more on minor league development, but the results are not showing yet," Castellini said. "And I understand that it's supposed to take longer than that, but I'm impatient."

He's also more willing than Lindner to get involved. Like former owner Marge Schott, Castellini plans to have an office in the ballpark, studying how things run. Lindner and other Reds owners preferred to work out of their business offices.

"I'll be here every day," Castellini said. "I will be hands-on. That's a promise."

dougdirt
01-21-2006, 01:40 PM
What this tells me is that with Lindner, Obrien was limited in what he could do, and that he couldnt fully do the job he was hired to do.

Hondo
01-21-2006, 01:47 PM
Krivisky of Minnesota had the GM job until Linder stopped everything and Hired O'Brein out of the Rangers, All Hit,. no Pitch brass....or should I say...Pewter.

O'Brein's only latitude is that "Ignorance is Bliss"...

Womack, Casey for Williams, etc...


JaredRoberts.com

CincyReds2003
01-21-2006, 01:47 PM
Maybe this is DanO's free card as in he was very limited in what he can do before..Especially with Castellini's comments in the presser yesterday and this portion of today's enquirer article.


One telling move was whom they hired. Dick Williams, the 35-year-old son of Joe Williams, will work in the front office and work out of O'Brien's department.

O'Brien is under contract through the end of the season.

"Dan's very hard-working," Castellini said. "Things haven't gone well on his watch. He knows that."

Matt700wlw
01-21-2006, 01:49 PM
"Dan's very hard-working," Castellini said. "Things haven't gone well on his watch. He knows that."

Can you say....HOT SEAT?

westofyou
01-21-2006, 01:55 PM
In his speech he also said he intended to increase revenue streams, signage, ads etc... Look for more billboards and tie ins. That is nice avenue to exploit, the prior regimes marketing department should be quaking in their shoes.

steig
01-21-2006, 01:58 PM
Can you say....HOT SEAT?

I agree completely. This is going to be DanO's test. From everything I've read Castellini is going to be an involved owner who won't make full baseball decisions but who knows how to interpret the decisions made by his employees. I truly hope that by the end of the 2006 we will be seeing Lou as manager and a young smart baseball guy in place as the GM. I had been hoping that Theo would come to town, but I sometimes wonder if Theo is a little overrated in his offseason signings.

KronoRed
01-21-2006, 02:01 PM
the prior regimes marketing department should be quaking in their shoes.
Based on what the prior owner did for marketing the department was probably one guy with some magic markers and poster board.

MWM
01-21-2006, 02:07 PM
I don't buy the "DanO wasn't able to do what he wanted to do." It makes no sense. They increased payroll last year over $15MM. How could he have not done what he wanted to do with it? I just don't understand this logic. Give me more specifics of what this means.

dougdirt
01-21-2006, 02:19 PM
I don't buy the "DanO wasn't able to do what he wanted to do." It makes no sense. They increased payroll last year over $15MM. How could he have not done what he wanted to do with it? I just don't understand this logic. Give me more specifics of what this means.
Remember when they increased the payroll? Long after all the best free agents were already whined, dined and almost signed. Hard to get into the game 3 monthes after everyone else. Buy it or dont, but it seems pretty obvious to me, and I think your hatred of Obrien is shielding it from you.

MWM
01-21-2006, 02:31 PM
Hatred of O'Brien? That's silly. He's incompetent. Pointing that out doesn't make me hate the guy. And NO, it's NOT obvious. I don't think the majority of people think what you're suggesting. He still made the decisions he made. He can't hide from that. Smart GMs don't make the moves he's made.

dougdirt
01-21-2006, 02:35 PM
Yeah, every GM makes every right move, I forgot about that one. What are the bad moves that Obrien has made? Milton? Ortiz? What are the others? What are the good ones he made? Randa? Aurilia? Mercker? Weathers? Trading Randa for two young prospects? Trading a highly overpaid Sean Casey for a servicable starting pitcher that we need? I think his positives outweigh his negatives easily.

RFS62
01-21-2006, 02:37 PM
I don't buy the "DanO wasn't able to do what he wanted to do." It makes no sense. They increased payroll last year over $15MM. How could he have not done what he wanted to do with it? I just don't understand this logic. Give me more specifics of what this means.



I don't buy it either. He released Haynes and Jimenez. He tried unsuccessfully to sign Pavano and Clement before he landed his signature acquisition - Mayday Milton.

He's a victim of his own designs, and so are we.

KronoRed
01-21-2006, 02:39 PM
Aurilia goes in the bad move column twice, don't forget Womack and not trading Graves or Casey after 04 when they had some value and continuing to punt on Dunn.

SteelSD
01-21-2006, 02:45 PM
Remember when they increased the payroll? Long after all the best free agents were already whined, dined and almost signed. Hard to get into the game 3 monthes after everyone else. Buy it or dont, but it seems pretty obvious to me, and I think your hatred of Obrien is shielding it from you.

Accusing MWM of bias? Funny...

Your words from your own blog:


I personally dislike John Allen and I expect him to be gone by January 1st of 2007. I like Dan Obrien on the other hand.

Seems the guy working around their personal feelings for folks is none other than you, dd.


Yeah, every GM makes every right move, I forgot about that one. What are the bad moves that Obrien has made? Milton? Ortiz? What are the others? What are the good ones he made? Randa? Aurilia? Mercker? Weathers? Trading Randa for two young prospects? Trading a highly overpaid Sean Casey for a servicable starting pitcher that we need? I think his positives outweigh his negatives easily.

Name a single MLB impact player Dan O'Brien has brought in on his watch. Just one. He's had two years. Wallowing around in the pit of mediocrity doesn't count.

MWM
01-21-2006, 02:46 PM
Yes, there are a lot of bad non-moves by DanO. And moves like signing Randa and Mercker might have been positive, but there not the moves indicative of a good GM. Those are very pedestrian moves that don't really move the organization forward. They were positive, but temporary plugs of holes. Any GM can make those moves. Heck, take any random RedsZoner and they are smart enough to make moves like Randa and Mercker. It's not like a GM isn't going to do ANYTHING. Those types of moves don't show any real knack for finding talent. See the quote by woy in my sig. Those are the Randa and Mercker moves.

dougdirt
01-21-2006, 02:48 PM
Aurilia hit .282 last year with 68 rbi and he played solid defense. How is that a bad move? As for Graves not being traded, who at the time, did we think would be the closer? You dont know how the Womack thing will work out, so you cant put that anywhere. Do you think that Lindner would allow Obrien to trade Casey? Casey puts people in the seats and thats all that Lindner cared about.

KronoRed
01-21-2006, 02:51 PM
Aurilia stole at bats from better players and his D was terrible, bad teams don't need a closer, Womack has been bad all but 1 year in his career and Casey seems to have been traded under Lindner.

dougdirt
01-21-2006, 02:52 PM
SteelsD, I do like Obrien. I wont argue the fact. I think he has done about all he can do, given what he had to work with. He has had two years on the job, but who would you have brought in had you been in his shoes? Where is the money to bring these guys in?

SteelSD
01-21-2006, 02:55 PM
Aurilia hit .282 last year with 68 rbi and he played solid defense. How is that a bad move?

No. He did not play solid defense. He stunk in the field. They need to give him a red cape to wave at baseballs flying by him. Until injured, he stunted the development of Lopez. After that, he consistently whined about playing time to the point of declaring that he knew he could help other playoff contending teams.


As for Graves not being traded, who at the time, did we think would be the closer?

Please. Nearly this entire board knew when it was exactly the right time to trade Danny Graves.


You dont know how the Womack thing will work out, so you cant put that anywhere.

Tony Womack was one of the two or three worst position players in Major League baseball last season. His career OBP is pure awful. The chance that he'll replicate his 2004 performance are past the point of remote. If you know how to project performance you're able to identify good decisions from bad at the point of the decision. That was a bad one. No doubt.


Do you think that Lindner would allow Obrien to trade Casey? Casey puts people in the seats and thats all that Lindner cared about.

Winning teams put butts in seats. Casey is another example of a player who should have been dealt far sooner than he actually was for more value than the Reds eventually received. Pretty clear, that one.

It's a constant during the Dan O'Brien regime that he only takes action once a situation is pretty much untenable. Gotta' be smarter than that.

dougdirt
01-21-2006, 02:56 PM
Casey was traded after Lindner announced the team was sold, it just had to get approved by MLB.
Aurilia made 3 errors last year, I dont really think that is horrible defense.
Who did he take at bats away from? Aurilia hit .315 after the all star break last year and .343 with RISP last year. No one on the team was even close to those numbers. How was it a bad signing? When Aurilia came to the plate with a RISP, 50% of the time someone scored. I just cant see how its a bad signing.
Bad teams need closers. Without them, they are even worse teams.

dougdirt
01-21-2006, 02:59 PM
Yeah winning teams put butts in the seats, but Lindner knew he didnt have that. So trot Casey and Griffey out there and get 25,000 to show up.

KronoRed
01-21-2006, 03:02 PM
I just cant see how its a bad signing.

Because he was handed the job over Lopez when Lopez outplayed him in spring training, because he took at bats from Freel Kearns and Pena, the latter 2 young guys who NEED at bats.

He was just another old vet given playing time on a team that needs to play the younger players as much as possible.

..and he couldn't hit a lick on the road.

Caveat Emperor
01-21-2006, 03:06 PM
SteelsD, I do like Obrien. I wont argue the fact. I think he has done about all he can do, given what he had to work with. He has had two years on the job, but who would you have brought in had you been in his shoes? Where is the money to bring these guys in?

Sean Casey was in the middle of a career year 2 seasons ago. He should've been traded before the AS break to a team that needed an extra bat, possibly an AL team where he had have the option of playing 1st or DHing. That would've freed up nearly $9 million in salary, which would've been plenty to ensure that the Reds were able to sign Matt Clement instead of Eric Milton, and probably would've landed at least 1 or 2 decent prospects as well (given Casey's value at the time).

Paul Wilson was also enjoying a career year 2 seasons ago and should have been traded. The team could've gotten younger pitching in exchange for spotty older pitching. This could've, concievably, helped replenish the farm system, especially in the upper levels.

If you look at things objectively, DanO has consistently made the wrong decisions at the wrong time. He's held onto players far too long and let their value diminish to nothing, he's made poor free agent signings that do little to help the team. He's had resources to work with, but his mismanaged them every chance he has had.

DanO's tenure has revealed him to be a man who lacks an understanding of what goes into building a successful and competitive 25 man roseter, a sucessful coaching staff, and a successful farm system. He overvalues the wrong sorts of things in players, such as "winning experience" and positional flexibility while doggedly ignoring giant red flags that can be seen elsewhere. As bad as he is at judging major league talent, he's equally as bad judging minor league talent, as the prospects the Reds have acquired on his watch do (almost to a man) nothing to excite me or anyone who follows baseball for a living.

Bottom line: The Reds get better immediately when they replace him with someone who knows how to run a baseball franchise.

M2
01-21-2006, 03:06 PM
Aurilia made 3 errors last year, I dont really think that is horrible defense.

Hard to make an error when your range is two steps in any direction.

dougdirt
01-21-2006, 03:08 PM
So wait, it was a bad signing because Dave Miley handed Aurilia a job over someone else? Or was it a bad signing because he took at bats from guys that he outproduced? Young guys need at bats, I agree....but they were simply being outproduced. If anything Pena should have been getting Austin Kearns at bats.
Yeah, he struggled on the road, but when he played at home, he tore the cover off the ball.
In the end, I dont see how anything you pointed out makes it a bad signing. He produced and he definately was worth the money spent on him last year.

SteelSD
01-21-2006, 03:13 PM
SteelsD, I do like Obrien. I wont argue the fact. I think he has done about all he can do, given what he had to work with.

I don't disagree with your last sentence. But, unlike you, I fully believe that speaks to Dan O'Brien's talent level. He has done about all he can do because he doesn't know how to do better.


He has had two years on the job, but who would you have brought in had you been in his shoes? Where is the money to bring these guys in?

The Reds handed Dan O'Brien 15 Million bucks on a silver platter last offseason. He spent it foolishly. He re-signed Paul Wilson knowing his arm was held together by twine and paper clips. Foolish. He traded for Ramon Ortiz and payed him. Foolish. He signed Eric Milton. Foolish X Infinity. He signed Joe Randa when a Joe Randa couldn't possibly actually help him do anything other than trade for low-level prospects at the deadline. Foolish. He acquired Rich Aurilia and handed him the SS position. Foolish.

Over the past two seasons, O'Brien has had all sorts of windows to trade off talent anyone paying attention realized was at peak value and couldn't go any higher. He missed on every account. To be a good MLB General Manager, you can't consistently sell low and buy high- particularly if buying high on players (Milton, Ortiz) based on the concept that they'll have a "bounceback" season in direct contrast to all the evidence. Even Bowden knew that and bought "bounceback" potential low instead of high when with the Reds.

In fact, I haven't seen anything from O'Brien that shows me that he's got a significantly different modus operandi than did Bowden. Draft High School arms and toolsy position players. Maybe O'Brien is more focused on the system, but I haven't seen any evidence that he's appreciatively better at drafting and developing than was Bowden. Search for "bounceback" guys, etc. But- almost inconceivably- O'Brien's "bounceback" strategy is worse than was Bowden's. And even Bowden had an inkling as to WHEN a player's peak-value window was wide open.

That's not a defense of Bowden, mind you. But it's ridiculous that O'Brien was tabbed the "anti-Bowden" from the beginning, but has only shown that he can maybe do one or two things a little better and a bunch of things a lot worse.

And I'm on record in a ton of threads as to players I would have targetted, so I don't feel the need to re-hash any of that. But "what would you have done" isn't support of Dan O'Brien. His hands weren't tied. His decisions have been his and, almost without exception, they've been bad decisions from the point of conception.

KronoRed
01-21-2006, 03:17 PM
In the end, I dont see how anything you pointed out makes it a bad signing.
Not letting younger players play through growing pains is bad.

We disagree, you seem to want to see old vets lose 85 games, I'd rather see kids.

dougflynn23
01-21-2006, 10:22 PM
Hatred of O'Brien? That's silly. He's incompetent. Pointing that out doesn't make me hate the guy. And NO, it's NOT obvious. I don't think the majority of people think what you're suggesting. He still made the decisions he made. He can't hide from that. Smart GMs don't make the moves he's made. :) Brian Cashman signed Tony Womack, Jaret Wright, Felix Rodriguez, and Carl Pavano to free agent contracts last winter totalling over $21M in 2005 salary. Dan O'Brien signed Rich Aurilia, Paul Wilson, David Weathers, Kent Mercker, Joe Randa, and Eric Milton for $18M. Cashman went 0 for 4. I know people hate to admit it, but O'Brien went 4 for 6. Difference is that Dan O'Brien has to work without a safety net in that with a $60M budget you can't afford to make a mistake, and Milton was one in 2005. I believe that Dan O'Brien has done a very good job of doing what the previous regime asked him to do. Now he is being asked to do something different, and I'll be giving him the benefit of the doubt.

harangatang
01-21-2006, 10:40 PM
Brian Cashman signed Tony Womack, Jaret Wright, Felix Rodriguez, and Carl Pavano to free agent contracts last winter totalling over $21M in 2005 salary. Dan O'Brien signed Rich Aurilia, Paul Wilson, David Weathers, Kent Mercker, Joe Randa, and Eric Milton for $18M. Cashman went 0 for 4. I know people hate to admit it, but O'Brien went 4 for 6. Difference is that Dan O'Brien has to work without a safety net in that with a $60M budget you can't afford to make a mistake, and Milton was one in 2005. I believe that Dan O'Brien has done a very good job of doing what the previous regime asked him to do. Now he is being asked to do something different, and I'll be giving him the benefit of the doubt.

You know that's a good point I brought up a few months ago. I truly believe that both GM's didn't have a free reign to do what they needed to do. Steinbrenner always wants to win and Cashman is fall guy and O'Brien was the fall guy for the Lindner. The end of the argument was that Cashman is a good GM because he has to deal Steinbrenner but yet O'Brien is bad because he had to deal with Lindner. :confused:

Anyway I'm really glad that at least O'Brien is going to be getting an opportunity to show that he isn't as incompetent as some people try to show he is.

Chip R
01-21-2006, 11:05 PM
Anyway I'm really glad that at least O'Brien is going to be getting an opportunity to show that he isn't as incompetent as some people try to show he is.

I just hope he doesn't try too hard. I shudder to think what will happen.

TeamBoone
01-21-2006, 11:21 PM
Well, so far DOB has taken a bad team and made it even worse.

Regardless of his lack of good judgement in most deals, the offense managed to prevail, but how anyone can twist DOB's lack of team improvement into perceived achievement is beyond me.

KoryMac5
01-21-2006, 11:39 PM
Unfortunately the environment in which the Reds live in has changed. The Reds did not change with it. You either have lots of money and spend spend spend like Boston and the Yankee's do. Or you build through the minors like Oakland and the Twins do. The Reds unfortunately have done neither over the past 15 yrs or so. I don't think that DanO or Billy Beane could turn this thing around with the way our management team has functioned. Too many cooks spicing up the chili shall we say. With set roles for our management team I feel we can get this team straight. Do I feel like DanO is the answer, no. But he will stick out the year and should be given that opportunity to show the new owner what he can do.

TeamBoone
01-21-2006, 11:53 PM
I don't think that DanO or Billy Beane could turn this thing around with the way our management team has functioned.

I certainly can't disagree with that, but DOB's rule of thumb should have been "first, do no harm". He did.

SteelSD
01-21-2006, 11:58 PM
You know that's a good point I brought up a few months ago. I truly believe that both GM's didn't have a free reign to do what they needed to do. Steinbrenner always wants to win and Cashman is fall guy and O'Brien was the fall guy for the Lindner. The end of the argument was that Cashman is a good GM because he has to deal Steinbrenner but yet O'Brien is bad because he had to deal with Lindner. :confused:

Anyway I'm really glad that at least O'Brien is going to be getting an opportunity to show that he isn't as incompetent as some people try to show he is.

Dan O'Brien put together the worst pitching staff in the National League in 2005- a staff that was historically bad. Not Lindner. O'Brien. Lindner's sin was to hire O'Brien. After that, it's all DanO's doing.

There's simply no comparison between Cashman and O'Brien. O'Brien hasn't been working with a meddling owner who thinks he knows as much about baseball as his GM. He's been working for Carl-freakin'-Lindner. In short, there's no rational argument that can be constructed that would allow you to excuse O'Brien's massive failures by way of owner "meddling". In fact, O'Brien has consistently had MORE autonomy than has a Brian Cashman or a Theo Epstein or any other number of General Managers who've worked for owners who care about more than the bottom line.

Going forward, it appears that O'Brien's not going to have a no-baseball-knowledge John Allen as a buffer between himself and a no-baseball-knowledge Carl Lindner. O'Brien's going to be reporting directly to Castellini and it sure doesn't appear that Castellini is going to be anything BUT hands-on. The resulting dynamic is that of LESS autonomy for O'Brien- not more.

That becomes even more clear when we realize that Castellini was asking Lou Pinella to sign on as a "special advisor". I'm not saying that Pinella was the right guy to be whispering in Castellini's ear, but it's quite apparent that new ownership wants someone with real baseball experience around to give them information about the baseball side of things other than what they hear from the General Manager. He's looking for a check-and-balance; another voice to assist him in identifying smart baseball moves versus dumb baseball moves. Again, Pinella may not be the right target, but it's a smart idea.

You don't do that if you're going to give a GM the kind of "freedom" he never had before. You do that if you're looking to make sure he doesn't screw up as badly as he had before you got there.

To be blunt, Dan O'Brien hasn't been set free. He's been leashed. It's the only prudent thing to do if you're going to keep him around. The next few moves this team makes, if any, will reflect more on new ownership than O'Brien because of it.

dougflynn23
01-22-2006, 12:26 AM
:) I wish I had the inside connections that SteelSD seems to have. For a mere chat room poster, you are very sure of how things are going to play out.

I happen to believe that Dan O'Brien has done what has been asked of him as the Reds GM. Now there will be new rules and expectations in place, and it will be up to Dan O'Brien to meet the new expectations. Perhaps he will, perhaps he will not, but neither you nor I have the answer to that question. If you claim you do based on past indicators, you need to get off this message board and hop on over to E-Trade.

MWM
01-22-2006, 12:29 AM
So now it's not concentration, it's because the expectations weren't right. I get it now.

Does anyone believe that's how the real world works? You get anew boss and all of a sudden you're good at what you do when you've shown not to be before?

harangatang
01-22-2006, 12:29 AM
Dan O'Brien put together the worst pitching staff in the National League in 2005- a staff that was historically bad. Not Lindner. O'Brien. Lindner's sin was to hire O'Brien. After that, it's all DanO's doing.

There's simply no comparison between Cashman and O'Brien. O'Brien hasn't been working with a meddling owner who thinks he knows as much about baseball as his GM. He's been working for Carl-freakin'-Lindner. In short, there's no rational argument that can be constructed that would allow you to excuse O'Brien's massive failures by way of owner "meddling". In fact, O'Brien has consistently had MORE autonomy than has a Brian Cashman or a Theo Epstein or any other number of General Managers who've worked for owners who care about more than the bottom line.

Going forward, it appears that O'Brien's not going to have a no-baseball-knowledge John Allen as a buffer between himself and a no-baseball-knowledge Carl Lindner. O'Brien's going to be reporting directly to Castellini and it sure doesn't appear that Castellini is going to be anything BUT hands-on. The resulting dynamic is that of LESS autonomy for O'Brien- not more.

That becomes even more clear when we realize that Castellini was asking Lou Pinella to sign on as a "special advisor". I'm not saying that Pinella was the right guy to be whispering in Castellini's ear, but it's quite apparent that new ownership wants someone with real baseball experience around to give them information about the baseball side of things other than what they hear from the General Manager. He's looking for a check-and-balance; another voice to assist him in identifying smart baseball moves versus dumb baseball moves. Again, Pinella may not be the right target, but it's a smart idea.

You don't do that if you're going to give a GM the kind of "freedom" he never had before. You do that if you're looking to make sure he doesn't screw up as badly as he had before you got there.

To be blunt, Dan O'Brien hasn't been set free. He's been leashed. It's the only prudent thing to do if you're going to keep him around. The next few moves this team makes, if any, will reflect more on new ownership than O'Brien because of it.

There's definately rational argument between O'Brien and Cashman, but you know something, you will never act like you believe what I have to say.

harangatang
01-22-2006, 12:34 AM
So now it's not concentration, it's because the expectations weren't right. I get it now.

Does anyone believe that's how the real world works? You get anew boss and all of a sudden you're good at what you do when you've shown not to be before?

It's not O'Brien it was Lindner, but hey don't say I didn't tell you.

SteelSD
01-22-2006, 01:24 AM
Unfortunately the environment in which the Reds live in has changed. The Reds did not change with it. You either have lots of money and spend spend spend like Boston and the Yankee's do. Or you build through the minors like Oakland and the Twins do. The Reds unfortunately have done neither over the past 15 yrs or so. I don't think that DanO or Billy Beane could turn this thing around with the way our management team has functioned. Too many cooks spicing up the chili shall we say. With set roles for our management team I feel we can get this team straight. Do I feel like DanO is the answer, no. But he will stick out the year and should be given that opportunity to show the new owner what he can do.

Neither the A's nor the Twins have built their teams exclusively through the minors.

Money versus farm system is a myth. It's always a combination of the two with the percentage of each being the variable. Furthermore, the farm system is not just there to pump out players who'll help their club- it's there to also assist in the acquistion of immediate MLB help.

Every MLB General Manager has two tangible resources at his disposal- money and players. Good GM's with limited financial resources need to actualize their player resources by selling high and extend their monetary resources by buying low. Dan O'Brien buys high and sells low. That's the exact opposite of what he needs to do.

Any truly good GM could turn this team into a contender in short order considering the offensive talent on the MLB club.

Castellini pointed a finger at the Cleveland franchise as a team that's on the cusp with a lower payroll. Y'know how many regulars that team had on the field last year who were entirely home grown?

Victor Martinez
Jhonny Peralta
C.C. Sabathia
Dave Riske

Hmn. Cleveland wasn't built on the farm system as much as they were built on the trade system. And, ironically, the best player on the team Mark Shapiro inherited (Thome) wasn't traded for value.

How did Shapiro do that? He sold high, bought low, and targetted the right players. Why? Because Mark Shapiro knows what he's doing. Quick turnaround. Little money invested. Because Mark Shapiro knows what he's doing.

BTW, the Reds were in the top 10 in MLB team payroll from 1992 through 1997. Then salaries exploded and the Reds couldn't keep pace. At that point, until now, the problem hasn't been the payroll expansion as much as it has been that ownership hasn't yet figured out they need to hire really really smart people who understand the new market.

They got rid of Bowden because he couldn't produce cheap pitching talent from the system. That's fine. But then Lindner hired Dan O'Brien because of a five-year plan he saw in DanO's binder that couldn't possibly be sucessfully implemented in five years- much less implemented EVER by someone who's clueless as to how to properly evaluate talent. Add on the fact that he's reticent to give jobs to young players who've demonstrated real skill, and you've got a huge mess of a GM that can't possibly succeed- much less in a payroll-unbalanced environment.

Seriously, ask yourself where the Cleveland Indians would be right now if Mark Shapiro couldn't figure out how to properly evaluate talent AND wasn't willing to give jobs to guys like Hafner, Crisp, Peralta, and Sizemore.

Dan O'Brien has already shown what he can do. And that is nothing.

SteelSD
01-22-2006, 01:37 AM
:) I wish I had the inside connections that SteelSD seems to have. For a mere chat room poster, you are very sure of how things are going to play out.

I'd appreciate it if you could quit that. The current situational dynamic simply cannot lead anyone to think that Dan O'Brien is being given more autonomy. Castellini even said something to the effect of, "Things have not gone well on Dan's watch. He knows that." You do not say that if you're willing to give that someone complete autonomy. You do not demand that the GM report directly to you as an owner if said GM has free reign to do whatever he likes.

This is simple stuff.


I happen to believe that Dan O'Brien has done what has been asked of him as the Reds GM. Now there will be new rules and expectations in place, and it will be up to Dan O'Brien to meet the new expectations. Perhaps he will, perhaps he will not, but neither you nor I have the answer to that question. If you claim you do based on past indicators, you need to get off this message board and hop on over to E-Trade.

If "what has been asked of him" is "nothing", I'll agree with you. Dan O'Brien has done nothing on "his watch" to further the Cincinnati Reds franchise. However, I find it peculiar that a man like Carl Lindner would actually do interviews to fill a position that he expected nothing from. I'm sure he knew one or two guys who could have done nothing at his request.

Past performance is the best indicator of future performance. O'Brien's past performance does nothing but indicate that future futility is inevitable. What you're attempting to do is excuse O'Brien's past performance by introducing the concept that he was asked to do nothing by folks who know nothing about baseball after he interviewed with the Reds and claimed that he could do something.

Completely fractured rationale.

BCubb2003
01-22-2006, 01:38 AM
Over the past two seasons, O'Brien has had all sorts of windows to trade off talent anyone paying attention realized was at peak value and couldn't go any higher.

I mostly agree with your outlook SD, and your depth is impressive. This statement highlights a dilemma: The other guy knows as much as we do about why we'd want to get rid of a player. He doesn't want to buy high and sell low either.

JimBo made it look easy until his problems built to the point where he just couldn't do his job. But early on he had a gift for making something out of nothing, for putting the clock on the other guy, for making the other guy hungrier than he was. Too bad he couldn't do it with pitchers.

SteelSD
01-22-2006, 01:41 AM
There's definately rational argument between O'Brien and Cashman, but you know something, you will never act like you believe what I have to say.

As soon as you say something remotely believable I will support you 100%.

For example, if you were to say, "Avoiding Outs is the single most important thing a hitter can ever do.", I'll have your back times infinity.

But in this case, you're arguing against reason in it's purest form.

SteelSD
01-22-2006, 02:35 AM
I mostly agree with your outlook SD, and your depth is impressive. This statement highlights a dilemma: The other guy knows as much as we do about why we'd want to get rid of a player. He doesn't want to buy high and sell low either.

And that's the key of knowing when to sell. You actually note this in your next paragraph in reference to Bowden. I never assume that the prospective buyer knows as much about the flaws as I do. Danny Graves, at one point, was tradeable. Sean Casey, at one point, was worth much more than Dave Williams. Paul Wilson was, at one point, worth actual talent. And I have little doubt that sometime during the O'Brien administration, every player he dealt was were worth more than what he got for them.

At some point, even your average GM knows that he needs to overpay for exactly what he needs to push his team to the next level. That tends to mitigate a lot of perceived deficiencies a player may have because that player's positives are highlighted.

The "bigger fool" principle is always at work. The key is that it won't work if you're consistently the bigger fool (see: O'Brien, Dan). Teams have consistenly culled talent from his teams with little invested in the return. In a competitive environment, the "desperation" principle is in effect at certain points in time. But only if you're able to identify who's most desperate for the help you have to offer.

It's what makes a guy like Billy Beane good and Dan O'Brien bad. Beane sees other teams from the perspective of how valuable his help will be and that consistently augments his return. O'Brien doesn't.


JimBo made it look easy until his problems built to the point where he just couldn't do his job. But early on he had a gift for making something out of nothing, for putting the clock on the other guy, for making the other guy hungrier than he was. Too bad he couldn't do it with pitchers.

He could do it with pitchers. Once upon a time. He grabbed Mark Portugal and Dave Burba on July 21st, 1995. He grabbed David Wells for Nitkowski at the deadline that year as well. Denny Neagle was a solid acquisition for the 1999 team for a mediocre Bret Boone. The Reds eventually got Edwin Encarnacion out of that deal so I can't complain too much. The '99 Reds wouldn't have had a shot without the Juan Guzman for B.J. Ryan deal. He got Danny Graves' best seasons for the last six starts of John Smiley's career.

But then his judgement started to go south. He got Casey for Burba. Good timing. He got Graves for Smiley. Good timing. But he also focused on toolsy offensive players. Personally, I think that was part of his problem- he didn't really undertand offense. I honestly think that he was looking for the next Deion Sanders when he traded David Wells for Curtis Goodwin. And, of course, he couldn't develop anything resembling real pitching from his draft efforts. That hurt tremendously because his major moves were almost all short-term.

Bowden was an odd duck. He was low risk/high reward with many of his MLB acquisitions, but was high risk/high reward with many of his draft acquisitions. Folks remember that Bowden got Jose Guillen, but not many remember that he was actually released on March 12, 2003 and then re-signed on March 13th. He grabbed Felipe Lopez for Elmer Dessens in a multi-team trade. He signed Ryan Freel as a minor league Free Agent. If I didn't know any better, I'd think that Bowden was actually learning how to work the market. But still, no pitching.

But O'Brien is either low risk/low reward or high risk/low reward with his MLB acquisitions while concurrently being high risk/high reward on his draft selections. That just can't possibly work in any sort of reasonable time frame.

Caveat Emperor
01-22-2006, 02:52 AM
I happen to believe that Dan O'Brien has done what has been asked of him as the Reds GM. Now there will be new rules and expectations in place, and it will be up to Dan O'Brien to meet the new expectations. Perhaps he will, perhaps he will not, but neither you nor I have the answer to that question. If you claim you do based on past indicators, you need to get off this message board and hop on over to E-Trade.

Seeing that O'Brien is a moron who is in over his head is as simple as reading a box score and logging on to ESPN.com for player stats.

If day-trading was that easy, I'd have formed a partnership group and bought the Reds myself.

harangatang
01-22-2006, 03:02 AM
:) I wish I had the inside connections that SteelSD seems to have. For a mere chat room poster, you are very sure of how things are going to play out.


It's actually simple read this thread and you'll understand.

http://www.redszone.com/forums/showthread.php?t=37039&highlight=sosh

Caveat Emperor
01-22-2006, 03:28 AM
It's not O'Brien it was Lindner, but hey don't say I didn't tell you.

Where is there a scintilla of proof that this is the case?

Does anyone really believe that Carl Linder is responsible for O'Brien signing Rich Aurillia and handing him a starting job over the developing, greater ranged Felipe Lopez?

Does anyone think Linder really stood in the way of trading Sean Casey when his value was high? Linder didn't seem to have a problem getting rid of the phenomenolly popular Aaron Boone. He also didn't seem to have a problem trading Ken Griffey Jr. -- it was Phil Nevin that nixed that deal, not the Malt King.

Paul Wilson? Was Linder standing in front of Wilson's locker, forbidding O'Brien from shopping him around as he was enjoying a career year? I'm sure it was also Carl Linder that instructed Dan O'Brien to waste roster spots on players like Jason Romano and Anderson Machado, both of whom contributed absolutely nothing to the ballclub other than to stand in the way of better players or more projectable players. Josh Hancock too -- he was so important to this team that he was cut and cleared waivers (now take that in for a moment: a pitcher with ML experience who could've been had by anyone for nothing, and nobody wanted him).

I'm also sure Carl Linder hid the stat books so that O'Brien couldn't look up the career numbers on Eric Milton before making a signing, ensuring that O'Brien would look foolish by bringing in a pitcher that clearly was never going to make it pitching in GABP or anwhere else that had a fence closer than 500 feet to homeplate. He probably also instructed O'Brien to wait as long as possible before entering the dealing, and then starting to bid against himself to sign him. Maybe, just for good measure, he also scratched out "David" and wrote "Ramon" on DanO's "To Do" list last winter. While we're at, let's also blame Carl for O'Brien's insistence on drafting a high school pitcher who was half a decade away from helping the team the day he started.

Dan O'Brien's tenure has been one of failed opportunities, mistakes in all phases of player acquisition and development, and a pereception that the club is rudderless. The pattern, from big dollar aquisitions to the everyday moves of the club, is too clear to be anything other than his handiwork. And, for that matter, let us not forget that he wasn't exactly burning barns in Texas while affiliated with that franchise either. He's a man who is living of the past glory of being the bean counter who was in charge of the guys who signed good players in Houston. He's not a scout, he's not a sabrmatrician, he's not a good baseball mind...he's just a guy who is in over his head and doggedly determined to drag the franchise he's affiliated with down with him.

If you'd like to believe that he's being hamstrung from above, be my guest -- but that's flying in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

Krusty
01-22-2006, 09:03 AM
In defense of O'Brien, you have to wonder if John Allen was putting alot of clamps on the baseball operations. Maybe that is why Allen will deal strictly with the business operations of the club?

Anyways, what is the old saying....better to trade a player a year early than a year too late? O'Brien has failed to grasp that concept and I think he was put on notice by new ownership to show some improvement in the baseball operations or he will be out of here at the end of the 2006 season. O'Brien will report directly to the owner. O'Brien will have one of the owners' son working in the baseball operations. Castellani was looking to bring in Lou Piniella as an advisor, and has sought the advice of former GM Bob Howsam.

If this isn't a message to O'Brien that he is on thin ice, then he is clueless to what is happening.

Chip R
01-22-2006, 11:01 AM
Look, I know it would be nice to believe that DanO has been hamstrung by John Allen and Carl Lindner lo these many months and now that Bob is in charge he'll have these shackels removed and turn into Bob Howsam. It would be nice if that were the case but I doubt it's going to happen. I also doubt he was hamstrung by Allen and/or Lindner. The evidence doesn't support it. He was given a small fortune last season to improve the pitching and got Ramon Ortiz and Eric Milton. Now it might be true that Allen and/or Lindner told DanO to go out and specifically get those two pitchers but there's no proof of that. Usually when an owner or COO tells a GM to go out and get a player against the GM's wishes you hear about it somewhere. Happens all the time in New York. Other places too. But there wasn't even a whisper of Allen and/or Lindner specifically telling DanO to get those two guys except in some of your fertile imaginations. Yes, I know if my boss gives me a bunch of money to get pitching I should do just that. But if I look out there and see who is available and I can't do any better than Milton and Ortiz, I go back to my boss and tell him that there is nobody out there who is going to help and I'd either give him back the money or put it to better use like signing Dunn to a multi-year deal.

If you want to believe that without Allen and Lindner that DanO is going to turn into Super GM now, that's great. But he still has to answer to Bob. Bob talks a good game but do we really know if he knows more about baseball than Lindner and Allen? How do we know he isn't going to put the shackels on DanO too? DanO just has one less guy to report to. And I'm guessing Allen's fine hand could be involved in things too. Let's say DanO wants to make a trade that has large financial ramifications. He brings it to Bob and he talks to Allen to see if they can afford that, because, remember, that payroll isn't going to go too far north of $65M. If Allen tells Bob that they can't support that deal financially, and Bob agrees, DanO still is hamstrung by Bob and Allen. No GM has total autonomy to make deals. Giving DanO a freer hand isn't going to improve his skills at judging talent. I hope it does but the evidence doesn't support it.

RedsManRick
01-22-2006, 11:57 AM
Selling high is so much more difficult than some people in this thread are making it sound. At that point are you simply selling high on a player versus risking your season. Some cases are obvious; Randa was on a 1 year deal, performing well, and we were a horrible team.

The moment at which a player is valuable enough to trade, but not so valuable that you sacrifice your chance to compete is very fleeting. Let's take a look at Graves and Casey.

Graves: his moment was undeniably the winter of 2002/3. He was coming off his 3rd straight 30+ save season and about to get expensive (3.5MM in '02). Instead, BOWDEN signed him to the money of a starter (or top notch closer). This was Bowden's mistake, not O'Brien's. Danny tanked as a starter in 2003, but rebounded with 41 saves in 2004. This was moment #2. However, our bullpen was incredibly shallow, and Graves was scheduled to make 6.25MM with a 1MM escaltor clause were he traded. We should have dealt him, yes. But his stock was no longer high. The return we could've gotten for him was minimal. The real mistake was Bowden's. Had Graves performed reasonably in '05, he likely would've dealt in July. He destroyed his own stock before that opportunity arose.

Casey: He was cheap and productive early in his career. Certainly no reason to trade him. 2002 and 2003 were bad years, rought with sore shoulders and no power. In 2004 he bounced back with a 2nd career year. Was this the time to trade him? Dunn just had his first big year. Junior had 300 AB and Larkin was retiring. Kearns just had his shoulder ruined by Mr. Fat Toad and performed accordingly. We had nobody to replace him adequately. Further, what was the market for him? Who could we have traded him for. While the arguement could be made that this was the time, I'm not sure the real opportunity existed.

Now, I'm not fan of what O'Brien has done, generally speaking. Anybody who thinks that they knew Milton's ERA would increase by 1.50 is simply full of it. He obviously was overpaid from day 1, but there was no reason to expect him to be significantly worse than 2004. His K/9 decreased, and HR/9 increase. However, this is directly attributable not to GAB, but to his increased hittability. His WHIP jumped from 1.35 to 1.55 almost purely on his allowed. His HR/Hits allowed was actually much less than in 2004. If his hit rate was the same, he would've allowed only 30 HR. I don't know what to attribute his increased hitability to, but it wasn't just the ballpark. Something else happened, arguably something O'Brien couldn't predict.

Further, what were his other options? He went after Clement and was turned down. Now, yes -- we would've been just as good had we not spent that 15MM. That's an easy argument to make in hindsight. If we went in to 2005 with a $50MM payroll and had the same season, everybody would've been pissed about the payroll. Again, I don't know who O'Brien tried to acquire, or who he honestly could have acquired that would've made us a much better team. And had he not made the moves he did, would the alternative have been any better.

I can bash people as easiliy as the next guy. But we don't know the whole story about what he tried to do and what he was allowed to do. The minor league system is better than it was 3 years ago. It's still pretty bad, but it's showing signs of life.

At the end of the day, you do have to perform. I don't mean to make excuses. But I'm willing to see what happens this year with an owner who's goal is actually winning rather than simply keeping the Reds local. O'Brien has obviously been told unequivically that the spotlight is on him. Let's give Castinelli the time he needs to evaluate leadership with his own eyes before making his decisions. O'Brien's activity at the deadline this year should be THE best indicator of the direction of the franchise.

M2
01-22-2006, 12:25 PM
RMR, a big part of what went wrong with Milton is he can't finish off his pitches because of a bum knee that everybody on the planet knew he had. It will NEVER get better and that should have been reason for concern to any team that considered signing him because what he did with the Phillies in 2004 was unacceptably poor pitching. He needed to do much better than he had in order to justify the kind of money he got.

At the time he signed plenty of people pinpointed that he had a small chance of getting better and a large chance of falling apart. Yeah, the majority of Reds fans went flower child in the wake of the Milton signing, spouting a bunch of feel-good nonsense, but there still were plenty of folks who warned that the Milton might not just go wrong, but horribly wrong. Beyond that, most everyone without a rooting interest in the Reds immediately spotted that signing as the dog it was.

As for the minor league operation, BA ranked the Reds system #24 entering the 2003 season. It fell to #26 entering the 2004 season. You can lay most of that on Bowden, but DanO had just spent five unproductive months on the job when that ranking got issued. It rose to #23 prior to 2005, but it will almost assuredly fall in 2006. If you can find a neutral ratings body that gives the Reds system high marks I'd love to see it.

Meanwhile, DanO's drafted for tools and projection and even the most tools/projection-oriented ratings group out there isn't giving the system high marks. So I don't see an ounce of foundation for the contention that the minor leagues are in better shape than they were three years ago. In fact BA probably will rate the system lower than it did three years ago.

And given DanO's performance at the deadline the past two seasons, where he literally came away with nothing, I'm in no mood to see another wasted season. What's at stake right now, and make no mistake that this hangs in the balance, is whether the Reds are going to do anything positive in this decade. If the Reds can't lock up the prime young talent on this roster and acquire a bevy of young talent to add to them, then things are going to get a lot worse before they get better. DanO has literally taken this franchise to the edge of cliff. If Castellini allows him to push it off that's folly on a grand scale.

Ravenlord
01-22-2006, 12:34 PM
RMR, a big part of what went wrong with Milton is he can't finish off his pitches because of a bum knee that everybody on the planet knew he had. It will NEVER get better and that should have been reason for concern to any team that considered signing him because what he did with the Phillies in 2004 was unacceptably poor pitching. He needed to do much better than he had in order to justify the kind of money he got.and if i recall correctly, Unassisted(?) pointed out Milton's knee the day of the signing, and was the first to notice him not finishing his pitches last year...as well as posting pictures of him in mid motion as a Phillie comparing them to his motion as a Red showing a very stark contrast in his lower body.

MWM
01-22-2006, 12:36 PM
The moment at which a player is valuable enough to trade, but not so valuable that you sacrifice your chance to compete is very fleeting. Let's take a look at Graves and Casey.

Part of the job of a general manager is to make difficult decisions. This ability is what separates good business leaders from bad ones. A GM must be able to realistically assess a team's chances of making the playoffs. If a team clearly isn't going to make the playoffs, then worrying about "competing" at the expense of making moves to help your team in the future is counterproductive.


Graves: his moment was undeniably the winter of 2002/3. He was coming off his 3rd straight 30+ save season and about to get expensive (3.5MM in '02). Instead, BOWDEN signed him to the money of a starter (or top notch closer). This was Bowden's mistake, not O'Brien's. Danny tanked as a starter in 2003, but rebounded with 41 saves in 2004. This was moment #2. However, our bullpen was incredibly shallow, and Graves was scheduled to make 6.25MM with a 1MM escaltor clause were he traded. We should have dealt him, yes. But his stock was no longer high. The return we could've gotten for him was minimal. The real mistake was Bowden's. Had Graves performed reasonably in '05, he likely would've dealt in July. He destroyed his own stock before that opportunity arose.

Danny Graves was leading the world in saves and was an All Star halfway through 2004. There's no way anyone can convince me that a contending team wouldn't have been willing to take on 1.5 years of his contract and a little talent to help down the stretch. Bullpen help is one of the most highly coveted commodities at the trade deadline. If you're not capable of getting somethin of value in return for an all star leading the league in saves, you've got no business as a major league GM.


Casey: He was cheap and productive early in his career. Certainly no reason to trade him. 2002 and 2003 were bad years, rought with sore shoulders and no power. In 2004 he bounced back with a 2nd career year. Was this the time to trade him? Dunn just had his first big year. Junior had 300 AB and Larkin was retiring. Kearns just had his shoulder ruined by Mr. Fat Toad and performed accordingly. We had nobody to replace him adequately. Further, what was the market for him? Who could we have traded him for. While the arguement could be made that this was the time, I'm not sure the real opportunity existed.

Of course, that was the obvious time to trade him. We wouldn't get the King's ransom for the guy, but his contract could have been unloaded with 2 years left and some decent talent probably could have been had. Why in the world would you worry about replacing a singles hitting above average first baseman. Getting a guy to play first base at leage average or slightly below is one of the easiest commodities out there. Again, if you're not trading a high-priced average player when he's hot because you're worried about a replacement on a team with horrendous pitching and a pretty good offense even without him, you've got no business running a big league ballclub.


Something else happened, arguably something O'Brien couldn't predict.

Of course no one thought he would be as bad as he turned out to be, bt plenty of people on here predicted his numbers would be worse and that he would wind up being a huge bust based on the type of injury he had and the fact that he was NEVER very good to begin with.


Further, what were his other options? He went after Clement and was turned down. Now, yes -- we would've been just as good had we not spent that 15MM. That's an easy argument to make in hindsight. If we went in to 2005 with a $50MM payroll and had the same season, everybody would've been pissed about the payroll. Again, I don't know who O'Brien tried to acquire, or who he honestly could have acquired that would've made us a much better team. And had he not made the moves he did, would the alternative have been any better.

Of course it would have been better not to spend it. And plenty of people said so on here in FORESIGHT. The "hindsight" argument excuses everything. These guys are paid a lot of money to have foresight. If dozens of people right here on an internet forum can see the obvious that Milton wasn't a very good pitcher, how could a big league GM not seen it. It was obvious ahead of time, not just in hindsight.


I can bash people as easiliy as the next guy. But we don't know the whole story about what he tried to do and what he was allowed to do. The minor league system is better than it was 3 years ago. It's still pretty bad, but it's showing signs of life.

We know enough to know the guy's in WAY over his head. There's nothing more needed. If this case went to trial, it would over and he'd be convicted without any deliberation from the jury. And the comment about the minors being better is up to interpretation. Most "experts" on the minor leagues don't really share that opinion. And I know I don't believe they're any better now than they were when he took over. We've always had a few proising looking kids in the minors, even before he got here. And that's what we have now. It's no different.


At the end of the day, you do have to perform. I don't mean to make excuses. But I'm willing to see what happens this year with an owner who's goal is actually winning rather than simply keeping the Reds local. O'Brien has obviously been told unequivically that the spotlight is on him. Let's give Castinelli the time he needs to evaluate leadership with his own eyes before making his decisions. O'Brien's activity at the deadline this year should be THE best indicator of the direction of the franchise.

That's just it. He's already proven beyond a reasonable doubt that he doesn't know how to identify talent and make trades that move the organization forward. Why in god's name would anyone WANT DanO to handle another trading deadline? Not taking advantage of another cycle of trading and drafting can set a team back multiple years. It's not worth it just to see if he magically transforms himself because he reports to a different guy. It's illogical, IMO.

It's a matter of expectations, I believe. Some people aren't comfortable axing people, even virtually on a site like this. I can appreciate that. I'm not one of those people, but I understand where they're coming from. Even those willing to "wait and see" have to admit that DanO clearly isn't a "great" GM. Let's say they do give him time and he does a little better. So what? I think we can all agree that even in the best case scenario, he makes less boneheaded moves and a couple of decent ones. He's not going to turn into Jocketty or Beane. So why would we "wait and see" when the best we can hope for is someone who might be adequate. I can see how some people can believe that there might be come extinuating circumstances behind why he has failed so miserably, but I can't even begin to see how anyone can believe that DanO possess the ability to become a top tier GM. And a first class GM is what we should demand. Nothing less is good enough. This organization has lured people into accepting "adequate" because it's better than than what's there now. But DanO is not top tier GM material. I think everyone knows this, even the people who want to wait. So why would you wait any longer when there's really no doubt that he's not great? Set your expectations higher. Demand better than adequate or OK.

M2
01-22-2006, 12:37 PM
and if i recall correctly, Unassisted(?) pointed out Milton's knee the day of the signing, and was the first to notice him not finishing his pitches last year...as well as posting pictures of him in mid motion as a Phillie comparing them to his motion as a Red showing a very stark contrast in his lower body.

UA was certainly one of the folks on top of it. IIRC, the counterargument when it came up was that it was better than him having an arm injury and, if memory serves, you explained exactly how a knee injury could botch a pitcher but good.

SteelSD
01-22-2006, 12:49 PM
Selling high is so much more difficult than some people in this thread are making it sound. At that point are you simply selling high on a player versus risking your season. Some cases are obvious; Randa was on a 1 year deal, performing well, and we were a horrible team.

At no point during Dan O'Brien's tenure has there been any realistic chance the Reds would be a good baseball team. You can't "risk" your season if there's no "season" to risk.

We're not talking about a scenario in which Billy Beane dealt his closer (Billy Taylor) during a winning 1999 season. We're talking about a GM (O'Brien) who couldn't figure out when to move players while having nothing but a losing team.


The moment at which a player is valuable enough to trade, but not so valuable that you sacrifice your chance to compete is very fleeting. Let's take a look at Graves and Casey.

Graves: his moment was undeniably the winter of 2002/3. He was coming off his 3rd straight 30+ save season and about to get expensive (3.5MM in '02). Instead, BOWDEN signed him to the money of a starter (or top notch closer). This was Bowden's mistake, not O'Brien's. Danny tanked as a starter in 2003, but rebounded with 41 saves in 2004. This was moment #2. However, our bullpen was incredibly shallow, and Graves was scheduled to make 6.25MM with a 1MM escaltor clause were he traded. We should have dealt him, yes. But his stock was no longer high. The return we could've gotten for him was minimal. The real mistake was Bowden's. Had Graves performed reasonably in '05, he likely would've dealt in July. He destroyed his own stock before that opportunity arose.

Graves put up a .801 OPSA while racking up those 41 Saves in 2004. He racked up 33 of them before the AS break that season. "Moment Two" was well before the end of 2004 as there was no way that squad was going to win with Danny Graves on the roster. Surely a good GM could find a team who valued those Saves totals. If you can find someone who wants Cory Lidle, you can trade Danny Graves. But no. O'Brien couldn't. He had another opportunity in the offseason prior to 2005. Nope. Couldn't get it done. Graves even kept his ERA low enough to be dealt through the middle of May, 2005. Still nothing. THEN he truly imploded.

Folks saw it coming. Not Dan O'Brien. He needs to be hit in the head by a shovel. Unfortunately, by the time that shovel impacts skull, the opportunity window is slamming shut if the situation is still even the least bit tenable.

Neither Jim Bowden or Danny Graves kept Danny Graves from being dealt through the point that he became a terminal case of craptacular. That was Dan O'Brien.


Casey: He was cheap and productive early in his career. Certainly no reason to trade him. 2002 and 2003 were bad years, rought with sore shoulders and no power. In 2004 he bounced back with a 2nd career year. Was this the time to trade him? Dunn just had his first big year. Junior had 300 AB and Larkin was retiring. Kearns just had his shoulder ruined by Mr. Fat Toad and performed accordingly. We had nobody to replace him adequately. Further, what was the market for him? Who could we have traded him for. While the arguement could be made that this was the time, I'm not sure the real opportunity existed.

Well, there was obviously a market for Casey AFTER a mediocre 2005, so I hardly see how there wouldn't have been a market for him during a very productive 2004. And yes, the way to maximize the return on Casey was to trade him during or after that productive 2004. And again, there was no chance that the Reds were going to win anything in 2004 regardless.


Now, I'm not fan of what O'Brien has done, generally speaking. Anybody who thinks that they knew Milton's ERA would increase by 1.50 is simply full of it. He obviously was overpaid from day 1, but there was no reason to expect him to be significantly worse than 2004. His K/9 decreased, and HR/9 increase. However, this is directly attributable not to GAB, but to his increased hittability. His WHIP jumped from 1.35 to 1.55 almost purely on his allowed. His HR/Hits allowed was actually much less than in 2004. If his hit rate was the same, he would've allowed only 30 HR. I don't know what to attribute his increased hitability to, but it wasn't just the ballpark. Something else happened, arguably something O'Brien couldn't predict.

Eric Milton posted a DIPS ERA in 2004 of 5.23 with an OPSA of .813. He was obviously ERA-lucky in 2004. He put up those numbers with a Philadelphia team that ranked third in MLB in Defensive Efficiency in 2004.

Eric Milton wasn't coming into a stadium in 2005 that would help throttle his HR Against propensity. He was joining a bad defensive team after a good defensive team helped him to be ERA-lucky in 2004. Even if we could have expected the Reds to be average defensively, we couldn't have expected anything better than a 5.23 ERA- even without considering that Milton has a degenerative knee condition.

But you add everything up and it's not only reasonable to expect him to be worse than that 5.23 DIPS ERA, it was entirely probable. He was a waste of money. It would have been impossible for a good GM not to see that.


Further, what were his other options? He went after Clement and was turned down. Now, yes -- we would've been just as good had we not spent that 15MM. That's an easy argument to make in hindsight.

That argument has not been made in hindsight. Folks on this board did know then what we know now- that the money spent on Ramon Ortiz and Eric Milton was going to hurt the club. Those same folks were telling anyone who'd listen that signing Paul Wilson was a horrible idea.


If we went in to 2005 with a $50MM payroll and had the same season, everybody would've been pissed about the payroll. Again, I don't know who O'Brien tried to acquire, or who he honestly could have acquired that would've made us a much better team. And had he not made the moves he did, would the alternative have been any better.

The alternative was to hurt the ballclub both short-term and long-term. That's not an acceptable alternative.


I can bash people as easiliy as the next guy. But we don't know the whole story about what he tried to do and what he was allowed to do. The minor league system is better than it was 3 years ago. It's still pretty bad, but it's showing signs of life.

Ditto for any team that's attended the amateur draft for the previous two years and has prospects producing decent numbers in low A-Ball. Unfortunately, the Reds aren't outpacing anyone in that department. They need to if they're going to act as if the draft is, in any way, going to be a key to turning the club around- particularly while doing stupid things with the MLB roster.


At the end of the day, you do have to perform. I don't mean to make excuses. But I'm willing to see what happens this year with an owner who's goal is actually winning rather than simply keeping the Reds local. O'Brien has obviously been told unequivically that the spotlight is on him. Let's give Castinelli the time he needs to evaluate leadership with his own eyes before making his decisions. O'Brien's activity at the deadline this year should be THE best indicator of the direction of the franchise.

If O'Brien is around to direct activity at the trade deadline, then that's all I need to know about Bob Castellini.

RedsManRick
01-22-2006, 12:51 PM
RMR, a big part of what went wrong with Milton is he can't finish off his pitches because of a bum knee that everybody on the planet knew he had. It will NEVER get better and that should have been reason for concern to any team that considered signing him because what he did with the Phillies in 2004 was unacceptably poor pitching. He needed to do much better than he had in order to justify the kind of money he got.

At the time he signed plenty of people pinpointed that he had a small chance of getting better and a large chance of falling apart. Yeah, the majority of Reds fans went flower child in the wake of the Milton signing, spouting a bunch of feel-good nonsense, but there still were plenty of folks who warned that the Milton might not just go wrong, but horribly wrong. Beyond that, most everyone without a rooting interest in the Reds immediately spotted that signing as the dog it was.

I didn't realize that Milton's knee issues were so widely known. My bad. I still wonder who that money could've been spent on and if it hadn't been spent at all what the reaction of this board would've been. I suppose that was my larger point. Not who we did spend it on -- that was obivously not a smart choice. But what were our other options. I suppose the answer depends on where you want to place blame. Is it Clement's fault he turned us down or Dan O'Brien's?


As for the minor league operation, BA ranked the Reds system #24 entering the 2003 season. It fell to #26 entering the 2004 season. You can lay most of that on Bowden, but DanO had just spent five unproductive months on the job when that ranking got issued. It rose to #23 prior to 2005, but it will almost assuredly fall in 2006. If you can find a neutral ratings body that gives the Reds system high marks I'd love to see it.

Meanwhile, DanO's drafted for tools and projection and even the most tools/projection-oriented ratings group out there isn't giving the system high marks. So I don't see an ounce of foundation for the contention that the minor leagues are in better shape than they were three years ago. In fact BA probably will rate the system lower than it did three years ago.

Rankings don't change significantly with 2 draft classes. The Reds system, before Obie arrived, was ranked in the high 20's almost purely on the strength of Dunn, Howington, Gruler, and Kearns. Dunn and Kearns matriculated and Howington and Gruler fell apart. You're right, he hasn't added a Fransisco Lirano or Brandon Wood. But Bailey and Bruce are both very highly regarded. We actually have prospects in AAA and not just 32 year old minor league vets. The upper end talent isn't really there yet. We simply don't have the player capital to trade for it. But the volume of potential talent IS increasing, and that's a good first step.


And given DanO's performance at the deadline the past two seasons, where he literally came away with nothing, I'm in no mood to see another wasted season. What's at stake right now, and make no mistake that this hangs in the balance, is whether the Reds are going to do anything positive in this decade. If the Reds can't lock up the prime young talent on this roster and acquire a bevy of young talent to add to them, then things are going to get a lot worse before they get better. DanO has literally taken this franchise to the edge of cliff. If Castellini allows him to push it off that's folly on a grand scale.

He did not "literally (come) away with nothing."
2004:
-Todd Jones for Josh Hancock and Anderson Machado
-Corey Lidle for Elizardo Ramirez, Jovan Moran, and Joe Wilson

2005:
- Randa for Travis Chick and Justin Germano

Now, this is no great haul. But it's not "nothing." Considering who was dealt, the return was decent. You argue an opportunity cost, and I agree with you to some extent. That we got nothing for Jimenez and Graves bugs me. But those guys both tied his hands to a certain extent.

I value your take on the whole situation. Could you expound on what deals should've happened that didn't? Who should've O'Brien drafted that he didn't. Obviously there is room for improvement. I just wonder how much of this is perfect 20/20 hindsight, how much is O'Brien's hands being tied, and how much is simply incompetence. I'm just going with the thread in wondering if perhaps we're putting too much in the third camp. How do you propose the Reds go about locking up our prime young talent while simultaneous acquiring a bevy of young talent to supplement them?? This is a great plan... how exactly should it be executed? I'm no GM, but I don't see a quick fix in the way you seem to believe is possible. If we could've gotten a legitimate to pitcher for Casey, don't you think we would've? If somebody was willing to trade for Graves, don't you think O'Brien would've traded him rather than release him? If you think O'Brien has screwed these opportunities up, at least provide some evidence for that cliam.

"Hey Kenny, this DanO in Cincy... I know you already turned us down on a Griffey deal last summer, but M2 says I can get a bevy of young talent while keeping our valuable guys. How about you ship me Brian Anderson and Brandon McCarthy, k? Thanks much..."

RFS62
01-22-2006, 12:54 PM
Excellent post, MWM

RedsIn07
01-22-2006, 01:00 PM
Rankings don't change significantly with 2 draft classes. The Reds system, before Obie arrived, was ranked in the high 20's almost purely on the strength of Dunn, Howington, Gruler, and Kearns. Dunn and Kearns matriculated and Howington and Gruler fell apart. You're right, he hasn't added a Fransisco Lirano or Brandon Wood. But Bailey and Bruce are both very highly regarded. We actually have prospects in AAA and not just 32 year old minor league vets. The upper end talent isn't really there yet. We simply don't have the player capital to trade for it. But the volume of potential talent IS increasing, and that's a good first step.
Depends on your definition of prospects, next year who will they have in AAA? Germano, Bergolla, Ramirez, etc. Yes, they might turn into servicable major leaguers but on any other team with a decent farm system the would hardly get a second breath.

M2
01-22-2006, 01:25 PM
I didn't realize that Milton's knee issues were so widely known. My bad. I still wonder who that money could've been spent on and if it hadn't been spent at all what the reaction of this board would've been. I suppose that was my larger point. Not who we did spend it on -- that was obivously not a smart choice. But what were our other options. I suppose the answer depends on where you want to place blame. Is it Clement's fault he turned us down or Dan O'Brien's?

Free agency was not the only option. There is this thing called the trade market, though it's something DanO's been wholly deficient at working. Prior to last season I was pimping guys like Brett Myers, John Lackey, Chris Capuano, John Patterson, Dan Haren, Francisco Liriano and Cliff Lee. I'd still love to see the team get its hooks into Jeff Francis or Jason Jennings, two guys who'll never put up truly good numbers until they get out of Colorado.

The option was, instead of hunting for free agents and thirtysomething guys trying to cling to what they might have had, to go out and get some young guys who'd struggled a bit, but had the ability to bust out.


Rankings don't change significantly with 2 draft classes. ... But the volume of potential talent IS increasing, and that's a good first step.

Teams make huge gains in the BA rankings all the time. The Reds went from #28 to #3 in two seasons (1999-2001). The Brewers went from #30 to #1 in three seasons (2000-2003). The Dodgers went from #28 to #2 in three seasons (2000-2003, and that high ranking just happens to mark the low point in the wake of the Terry Reynolds years). What gets you the notoriety is when those picks perform. The Reds could have gotten a big bump in this year's rankings had the 2004 draft class performed and arms like Gardner and Pauly stayed healthy. It didn't happen, so it looks like a fall instead of a bump.

As has been noted multiple times in recent days, teams hold a draft every year and that means there's always new volume in terms of potential talent. You could have made this exact same argument for JimBo. The fact remains that there's no actual evidence that this farm system is better off today than it was when DanO inherited it.


He did not "literally (come) away with nothing."
2004:
-Todd Jones for Josh Hancock and Anderson Machado
-Corey Lidle for Elizardo Ramirez, Jovan Moran, and Joe Wilson

2005:
- Randa for Travis Chick and Justin Germano

Now, this is no great haul. But it's not "nothing." Considering who was dealt, the return was decent. You argue and opportunity cost, and I agree with you to some extent. That we got nothing for Jimenez and Graves bugs me. But those guys both tied his hands to a certain extent.

Don't know about you, but I consider Hancock, Machado, Ramirez, Moran, Wilson, Chick and Germano to be a whole lot of nothing. I don't expect a one of them to ever help the Reds in any fashion, ergo nothing.


I value your take on the whole situation. Could you expound on what deals should've happened that didn't? Who should've O'Brien drafted that he didn't. Obviously there is room for improvement. I just wonder how much of this is perfect 20/20 hindsight, how much is O'Brien's hands being tied, and how much is simply incompetence. I'm just going with the thread in wondering if perhaps we're putting too much in the third camp.

Honestly, I've spent years suggesting alternatives to DanO's moves (I listed a whole bunch of pitchers above), pointing out that guys like Graves and Casey should be moved when they had hit peak value and panning the starting pitching acquisitions that have been made at the time they were made.

Frankly, knowing better than DanO has proven incredibly easy. There's a broad swath of alternative approaches that would work better. Almost any alternative approach would work better, he's been that bad. This isn't hindsight. Plenty of people around here have known better. I've had non-Reds fans ask me if the Reds GM was retarded in recent years, seriously. I've had three people just randomly blurt it out.

He's been a disaster. People caught it in foresight and hindsight should make it blatant. All you're doing is trying to talk yourself out of believing what you see.

RedsManRick
01-22-2006, 01:42 PM
You're points are wonderful in the abstract Steel. But again, it's more of the generic "Surely a good GM could find a team who valued those Saves totals." This is the kind statement that plain pisses me off. While GMs make bad decisions, they aren't morons. WHO SHOULD'VE WE TRADED GRAVES TO? WHAT DEAL DID WE NOT MAKE? How do you know that Graves wasn't shopped extensively but there was simply no reasonable deal to be made?

This isn't a humongous industry with thousands of potential players. There are 29 other teams. The options narrow down VERY quickly. You can't deal in generic "the time was right" from a Reds perspective. Yes, from our perspective there were a few good windows of opportunty to deal both Graves and Casey. But until you can cite the specific failure to capitalize on a real opportunity, I refuse to simply announce that a "good GM" could've done it. If we had dealt Graves for a AA pitching prospect along of the lines of Elizardo Ramirez, a guy who likely will never contribute even as much as Graves did, would that have fixed the team. Do you honestly believe we could've gotten a legitimate top prospect for either Graves or Casey? Which one? From whom?

As per Milton, again, I don't defend the signing. It was bad. It was too much money for a pitcher of his talent level and the defense issue was obvious as well. However, that would be the case with any pitching coming to Cincy. I was not aware of the degenerative knee. That's my fault and that does make a very questionable signing even worse. But you still didn't answer my question. Given his options (at least the extent that we know), O'Brien could either spend 12MM on Milton and Oritz with the hope of lucking in to some good performances or he could enter the year with an even worse rotation and a $50MM payoll. You'd be *****ing about that too. The money was VERY poorly spent. I think he probably could've done better with it. I think he does not have the vision necessary to be a GM in a mid/low market environment.

However, bashing somebody and claiming a smart person could do better only proves you like to *****. I want to see posts about what specically should've have been done better with more detail. I'm not trying to say people shouldn't complain. But don't give half-assed alternative realities that paint the existing one in the worst possible light. Things are bad. Things could've be done better. However, Lindner and Allen are two business guys who ended up having way too much control over baseball decisions. There is no person who we can bring in RIGHT NOW who will work miracles and fix everything. I don't think O'Brien should or will be our GM this time next season. However, allowing him to work under Castinell while fulfilling his final contract year (or at least part of it) is not a mistake. No new GM will/could come in and overhaul the organization for the better in the next 2 months. I don't want to see 2006 wasted either, but moving forward positively means making the RIGHT choices. Until Castinelli has the time to observe what changes need to made (and allowing O'Brien to report directly to him is a big one), making even more changes seems like an attempt to simply increase the size of the band-aid rather than actually fix things.

dougdirt
01-22-2006, 01:56 PM
Well said Rick.

RedsManRick
01-22-2006, 02:09 PM
M2, what specific trade do you think could/should have been made that would've netted us one of Brett Myers, John Lackey, Chris Capuano, John Patterson, Dan Haren, Francisco Liriano and Cliff Lee. I agree that any of these guys would've been a solid addition. Unfortunately the teams with these guys aren't just giving them away. We got Ramirez, Hancock, et. al because all we had to trade was Todd Jones and Corey Lidle. Do you honestly think we could've gotten Fransisco Liriano for a deal based around Casey, Graves, Pena, Kearns, or Graves?

Yes. We need more talent. The kind of guys O'Brien has acquired don't significantly improve the franchise. But you can't just say "why didn't we get John Lackey instead of Josh Hancock?" The answeris because one of those guys is John Lackey and one of them is Josh Hancock.

If you trade away the pieces of real value we already have, how do you know we don't just turn in to the Royals version two? I'd love to hear how your plan of signing young talent while simultaneously acquiring young talent, without having other real assets of value to move, is supposed to work....

Regarding the minor league ratings. I don't care for Baseball America's ratings precisely because of the reason you cited. Perhaps I used the wrong word. Rankings may change significantly in 2 drafts. But the overall level of talent in an organization usually doesn't fluctuate that quickly. That we have more prospects with at least some hope of contributing across the system speaks towards improvement -- BA's rankings be damned. Rome wasn't built in a day. The system is showing signs of improvement. I'm sorry that we have gone from crap to amazing in 2 seasons.

M2
01-22-2006, 02:15 PM
RMR, what you've got there is a red herring (in your response to Steel). We don't get to make trades. Yet we do know that in July of 2004 Danny Graves was an All-Star with 33 saves, a 2.72 ERA, a 1.07 WHIP and a reputation as a solid closer.

By his own admission DanO didn't begin shopping guys until July 2004 when the team inevitably fell apart. So he wasted time not shopping potential hot properites until the market had already started narrowing if such a thing had been a major concern of yours at the time. In fact, offering to trade the guy when the franchise was feigning credibility in the standings should have increased DanO's leverage.

Following your logic, there are no bad GMs. Every single one of them always does his level best and makes the best available deal and we should just sit back and accept that with smile on our faces. Yet there certainly seems to be an annual market for pitching talent and the constant insistence (not from you, but we've heard it on this board for years) that the Reds can't trade players who are doing well for some good prospects when other teams do it all the time REEKS of excusifying. What matters at the end of the day is whether you have the ability to make the necessary moves to put your team ahead. DanO has never once shown such ability.

I know I'd have no use for it were I running the show.

Also, no one who's of a reasonable disposition expects the team to get turned around for 2005. So you've got another red herring there in acting like anyone's made that argument. What does need to be done however is jump off the track headed straight towards entrenched misery, feel free to call it the DanO Line. Frankly, canning a guy who's been a glaring failure shouldn't be a hard call. If a new owner has to sweat this move, investigate the minutiae of it, then all you've got is the New Paralysis taking hold of the Reds front office. Hopefully Castellini's just waiting a week or so to can this guy and start moving the organization in the right direction.

Caveat Emperor
01-22-2006, 02:30 PM
You're points are wonderful in the abstract Steel. But again, it's more of the generic "Surely a good GM could find a team who valued those Saves totals." This is the kind statement that plain pisses me off. While GMs make bad decisions, they aren't morons. WHO SHOULD'VE WE TRADED GRAVES TO? WHAT DEAL DID WE NOT MAKE? How do you know that Graves wasn't shopped extensively but there was simply no reasonable deal to be made?

You can never know what deals were not made or what offers were on the table; the only people privy to those conversations are the front offices of the two teams which had them ongoing.

But, the fact of the matter is that O'Brien is paid to read the tea leaves on players, discern when they've reached peak value, and gain return on them before the money they're being paid and the roster spot they're being given is not equal to the value they produce on the field. The Reds have chronically failed to see and capitalize on those moments since Day 1 in the O'Brien administration -- they whiffed on Graves, whiffed on Casey, and whiffed on Wilson. Two of those three (Casey and Wilson) should've been no-brainers; teams always need pitching help and somebody would've paid for Wilson on a 1 year deal, and Casey was looking like Ty Cobb for the first half of 2004. Admittedly, Graves would've been a harder sell (an closer being paid starter money), but this is what O'Brien is paid to do: make the big deals happen to ensure the viability (long term) of the ballclub.

And, it's interesting that you use the word "reasonable," because all of the leaks that do come out of this process indicates that Dan O'Brien is almost schizophrenic in his notion of what a "reasonable" return on player is. He's apparently asking for the sun, moon, stars and 2 firstborns for any of his outfielders, yet he's also quick to fall in love with certain prospects/players and make quick deals for bad players. I'm sure on all of the trades that weren't made with Casey and Graves he was unrealistic in his expectations about what he could get for those players.

Dan O'Brien makes bad decision after bad decision -- the question is, how many bad tests does kid have to bring home until you stop thinking he's just having unlucky days?

M2
01-22-2006, 02:45 PM
M2, what specific trade do you think could/should have been made that would've netted us one of Brett Myers, John Lackey, Chris Capuano, John Patterson, Dan Haren, Francisco Liriano and Cliff Lee. I agree that any of these guys would've been a solid addition. Unfortunately the teams with these guys aren't just giving them away. We got Ramirez, Hancock, et. al because all we had to trade was Todd Jones and Corey Lidle. Do you honestly think we could've gotten Fransisco Liriano for a deal based around Casey, Graves, Pena, Kearns, or Graves?

Most of those guys were at their low points in terms of trade value. Most of them, save Haren and Liriano, had struggled in recent seasons. Supposedly the Indians were willing to talk about Kearns for Lee. I was all for it. No one's asking that other teams have given away these guys, but most of them were in a similar spot to where Aaron Harang was in 2003 when the Reds got him and all he cost was a Jose Guillen. Kearns, Pena, Jiminez, LaRue, Casey (especially Casey) - all of those guys had trade value last offseason, but DanO never finds a market for his better players.


Yes. We need more talent. The kind of guys O'Brien has acquired don't significantly improve the franchise. But you can't just say "why didn't we get John Lackey instead of Josh Hancock?" The answeris because one of those guys is John Lackey and one of them is Josh Hancock.

Lackey was coming off seasons where he posted ERAs of 4.63 and 4.67. He was hardly the belle of the ball. The problem is that when DanO sat down with the Angels he went after Ramon Ortiz instead of saying that he needed a younger guy whose contract he could control for a few years while he got his team together. Unfortunately, DanO's failed to acquire so much as one pitcher who fits that profile.


If you trade away the pieces of real value we already have, how do you know we don't just turn in to the Royals version two? I'd love to hear how your plan of signing young talent while simultaneously acquiring young talent, without having other real assets of value to move, is supposed to work....

You sign young players the way every other organization does it, by giving them an LTC that works for both sides. Other organizations, even ones that don't win a whole lot, do it. The Reds could too if they had someone capable of negotiating such a deal.

As for the terror of Royals Version 2.0, well DanO's got the franchise headed in that direction just fine. Me, I'd never worry if the Reds had a GM who could identify talent making the trades. Someone like that would be getting real value back for the real value dealt. Though I can understand why the idea of DanO trading real value would make a person blanche.



Regarding the minor league ratings. I don't care for Baseball America's ratings precisely because of the reason you cited. Perhaps I used the wrong word. Rankings may change significantly in 2 drafts. But the overall level of talent in an organization usually doesn't fluctuate that quickly. That we have more prospects with at least some hope of contributing across the system speaks towards improvement -- BA's rankings be damned. Rome wasn't built in a day. The system is showing signs of improvement. I'm sorry that we have gone from crap to amazing in 2 seasons.

Yeah, you keep saying that, but all I hear is you saying it. Meanwhile I'm giving you some objective evidence that it's bunk. I used to get lectured that Ty Howington and Ricardo Aramboles were going to lead the Reds to glory in 2003 as well. I've been around these boards long enough to have heard all sorts of preposterous suggestions.

The system isn't showing signs of improvement. In 2005, as has become the norm, the club's top prospects mostly struggled and/or got injured. Signs of improvement would involve a level of performance which moved the general perception of the organization forward rather than backward. What you've got is some hope that things will improve in the coming years. Maybe they will and maybe they won't, but it has nothing to do with your personal hopes and desires.

The 2005 draft class had a good debut (similar to the 2003 draft class). That might be a start. Yet right now true improvement is buried in the tea leaves.

SteelSD
01-22-2006, 02:51 PM
You're points are wonderful in the abstract Steel. But again, it's more of the generic "Surely a good GM could find a team who valued those Saves totals." This is the kind statement that plain pisses me off. While GMs make bad decisions, they aren't morons. WHO SHOULD'VE WE TRADED GRAVES TO? WHAT DEAL DID WE NOT MAKE? How do you know that Graves wasn't shopped extensively but there was simply no reasonable deal to be made?

Bad players and bad contracts are dealt consistently, yet you're attempting to position the idea that a good GM couldn't spin Graves positives into a trade to another organization.

Your question of who for what is irrelevant when it's clear that players of his price and ilk have been consistently moved when the time is right to someone for something. Instead, we got a scenario in which Danny Graves was unmarketable.

Ironically, part of your defense for not trading him was Graves' alleged value to the Reds, yet now you're forwarding a position that assumes he's of no value at all. You can't have it both ways.


This isn't a humongous industry with thousands of potential players. There are 29 other teams. The options narrow down VERY quickly. You can't deal in generic "the time was right" from a Reds perspective. Yes, from our perspective there were a few good windows of opportunty to deal both Graves and Casey. But until you can cite the specific failure to capitalize on a real opportunity, I refuse to simply announce that a "good GM" could've done it. If we had dealt Graves for a AA pitching prospect along of the lines of Elizardo Ramirez, a guy who likely will never contribute even as much as Graves did, would that have fixed the team. Do you honestly believe we could've gotten a legitimate top prospect for either Graves or Casey? Which one? From whom?

What a complete crock. Neither of us are privy to phone conversations, trade offers, etc. But you're trying to say that's a problem with my reasoning while simply assuming that nothing could be done yourself.

That's intellectually dishonest. If baseball has told us one thing it's that bad players and bad contracts can be consistently moved for other resources. The bigger fool is easy to find as long as you're not he. Unfortunately, the bigger fool is sitting right smack dab near the top of the Cincinnati Reds franchise.


As per Milton, again, I don't defend the signing. It was bad. It was too much money for a pitcher of his talent level and the defense issue was obvious as well. However, that would be the case with any pitching coming to Cincy. I was not aware of the degenerative knee. That's my fault and that does make a very questionable signing even worse. But you still didn't answer my question. Given his options (at least the extent that we know), O'Brien could either spend 12MM on Milton and Oritz with the hope of lucking in to some good performances or he could enter the year with an even worse rotation and a $50MM payoll. You'd be *****ing about that too. The money was VERY poorly spent. I think he probably could've done better with it. I think he does not have the vision necessary to be a GM in a mid/low market environment.

I'd be complaining about not spending money badly? Talk about your ultimate strawman. And I already answered your question. Spending money poorly is not an acceptable alternative to either spending it wisely or not spending it at all. Simple concept.


However, bashing somebody and claiming a smart person could do better only proves you like to *****. I want to see posts about what specically should've have been done better with more detail. I'm not trying to say people shouldn't complain. But don't give half-assed alternative realities that paint the existing one in the worst possible light. Things are bad. Things could've be done better. However, Lindner and Allen are two business guys who ended up having way too much control over baseball decisions.

Ah. I see. My opinion isn't reasonable because I couldn't possibly know about deals that may or may not have been on the table for Graves or Casey, but you're now a fly on the wall who knows exactly how much impact Lindner and Allen had on baseball decisions?

That's exceptionally convenient rationale you have there. Build an argument that hinges on someone else not possibly being able to know exactly what happened and then create a counter-argument where you contend to know exactly what happened even though you couldn't possibly know yourself. Good God.

At what point are you going to attempt to be the least bit consistent with your reasoning? Right now all you're doing is complaining about folks making reasonable assumptions while- at the same time- making unreasonable assumptions yourself that contradict your own logic.

In short, the very moment you position the concept that someone else's position isn't reasonable due to lack of information, your own position HAS to blow itself up because you don't have that information either. Good job. You grabbed the revolver, loaded it, and then- with much indignation- proceeded to shoot yourself in the foot. Bravo.

Like M2, I've spent seasons identifying specific trade scenarios and trade targets- even to the point of emailing a couple to Dan O'Brien himself. Not my fault that you haven't been paying attention.

And your watch your mouth. I've had as much profanity from you as I'm going to take.


There is no person who we can bring in RIGHT NOW who will work miracles and fix everything. I don't think O'Brien should or will be our GM this time next season. However, allowing him to work under Castinell while fulfilling his final contract year (or at least part of it) is not a mistake. No new GM will/could come in and overhaul the organization for the better in the next 2 months. I don't want to see 2006 wasted either, but moving forward positively means making the RIGHT choices. Until Castinelli has the time to observe what changes need to made (and allowing O'Brien to report directly to him is a big one), making even more changes seems like an attempt to simply increase the size of the band-aid rather than actually fix things.

Head-in-sand thought process. If you take over an organization and can easily identify what's been hurting you, you get rid of it otherwise it's just going to continue to hurt you.

RedsManRick
01-22-2006, 02:59 PM
RMR, what you've got there is a red herring. We don't get to make trades. Yet we do know that in July of 2004 Danny Graves was an All-Star with 33 saves, a 2.72 ERA, a 1.07 WHIP and a reputation as a solid closer.

By his own admission DanO didn't begin shopping guys until July 2004 when the team inevitably fell apart. So he wasted time not shopping potential hot properites until the market had already started narrowing if such a thing had been a major concern of yours at the time. In fact, offering to trade the guy when the franchise was feigning credibility in the standings should have increased DanO's leverage.

Following your logic, there are no bad GMs. Every single one of them always does his level best and makes the best available deal and we should just sit back and accept that with smile on our faces. Yet there certainly seems to be an annual market for pitching talent and the constant insistence (not from you, but we've heard it on this board for years) that the Reds can't trade players who are doing well for some good prospects when other teams do it all the time REEKS of excusifying. What matters at the end of the day is whether you have the ability to make the necessary moves to put your team ahead. DanO has never once shown such ability.

I know I'd have no use for it were I running the show.

Also, no one who's of a reasonable disposition expects the team to get turned around for 2005. So you've got another red herring there in acting like anyone's made that argument. What does need to be done however is jump off the track headed straight towards entrenched misery, feel free to call it the DanO Line. Frankly, canning a guy who's been a glaring failure shouldn't be a hard call. If a new owner has to sweat this move, investigate the minutiae of it, then all you've got is the New Paralysis taking hold of the Reds front office. Hopefully Castellini's just waiting a week or so to can this guy and start moving the organization in the right direction.

I'm sure the fan base (including, but not limited to those on this board) would've applauded if Graves were dealth when he had 33 saves and a 2.72 ERA. It's the classic catch 22. If he's good, he's valuable and helping you win. If you're winning, why rebuild? How many wins do you have to have on June 1st to consider yourself a real player in the playoff race? If he sucks, he's not valuable and you can't get anything for him anyways. I argue that while that would've been the time to trade him, the politics of the entire situation would've prevent any trade from taking place in that circumstance. It's also convenient to know (in hindsight) exactly when that implosion occurred. Maybe we should've traded him after his first save... What would you have done if you were the White Sox? You had a number of players having great seasons in June and a team that arguably wasn't ready to genuinely compete. I bet there were cases like Graves on the Sox team that ended differently (see Jose Contreras and Jon Garland). You show me an example of a GM trading a player having that kind of a year in early June. Maybe it's out there... I'd like to see it. You continously avoid the issue of the impact of hindsight. Though I suppose you're going to claim that you called it all right at the time if only OBie had listened. Between you and Steel, we have a GM team on this board that would solve all our problems.

Regarding the whole red herring argument. THIS IS MY POINT. Perhaps it was never made clearly enough. At this point it's quite clear that O'Brien's decisions had to go through both Allen and Lindner first. He was not allowed to act independantly. Now, I'm not saying that he's a great GM if only his hands were free. Far from that. However, given the limitiations and influence of the previous situation, giving him the last year of his deal under Castinelli (while Bob evaluates everything with a microscope) makes some sense, particularly given the alternatives.

Obviously there are bad GMs out there. They can be evaluated and judged. However, you have to place everything in the proper context. You can't just claim that things should've happened without taking all the context in to consideration. We don't have a perfect picture of that context. We don't know what deals he tried to make that fell through for no fault of his own (or because he did screw up...). As unconnected fans, we just don't know. If you're gonna rail me for not thinking I know what could've happened, go for it. Again, we can make educated guesses and some pretty accurate ones at that. But stating that a trade would have been done if only O'Brien was a better GM doesn't admit to this lack of information.

Lindner is gone and O'Brien no longer has to have Allen's blessing before he takes a crap. That's a significant change. You have to hold SOMETHING constant in order to evaluate the problems. A GM does more than simply make trades and watch the wire. They run an organization. Changing that person affect a lot more than who's on the phone at the trade deadline.

I'm not saying give O'Brien an extention. I'm not saying I think he's the right guy for the job. I think he possibly wasted some good opportunities. However, I'm also saying that I don't know all of the circumstances regarding the decisions that he made or didn't make. I'm saying that some things have been changed I'm saying that letting him keep his job while Castinelli evaluates the organization in greater detail is not a bad decision.

MWM
01-22-2006, 03:09 PM
What GM has been able to act independently without approval from a CEO and/or owner? DanO's working conditions weren't any different than any other GM.

4256 Hits
01-22-2006, 03:21 PM
You're points are wonderful in the abstract Steel. But again, it's more of the generic "Surely a good GM could find a team who valued those Saves totals." This is the kind statement that plain pisses me off. While GMs make bad decisions, they aren't morons. WHO SHOULD'VE WE TRADED GRAVES TO? WHAT DEAL DID WE NOT MAKE? How do you know that Graves wasn't shopped extensively but there was simply no reasonable deal to be made?


Even after Graves blew up last year the Mets still signed him to a 5 mil contract for '06 w/ a 500k buy-out. So right there is one team that thought highly of him ever after like pitching like crap. As M2 said there would have been plenty of teams wanting a closer puting up the stats Graves was in July of '04.

The problem was that DanO was so over his head that he even admitted was was spending the 1st year "getting to know the team".

RedsManRick
01-22-2006, 03:21 PM
What GM has been able to act independently without approval from a CEO and/or owner? DanO's working conditions weren't any different than any other GM.

It's not about having oversight. Obviously no GM has 100% free reign. It's about that oversight specifically being John Allen and Carl Lindner....

Look at the Yankees over the past 4 years. There is in inverse relationship between their success and the amount of influence Steinbrenner has on Cashman's ability to make the baseball decisions.

M2
01-22-2006, 03:28 PM
RMR,

A) LaTroy Hawkins got dealt on May 28 last year with a 3.32 ERA.

Freddy Garcia got moved on June 27 of the previous season with a 3.20 ERA.

Carlos Beltran and Octavio Dotel were dealt on June 25 of the 2004 season.

So clearly it does happen.

B) You keep talking about hindsight, but you're saying it to people who were vocal about trading Graves when he was on his run in early 2004. There were plenty of folks who knew better than to trust the mirage that was the Reds W-L record at that moment and who advocated for dealing away some of the guys off to hot starts for pieces that could be part of a long-term solution.

C) Politics, schmolitics. Gimme some leadership that makes the right moves and lets them speak for themselves. Cowardice isn't a reason, it's an excuse.

D) A GM never has full autonomy. There's always an owner above him and business interests involved. The good ones succeed regardless of their limitations. The bad ones don't.

E) Given the alternatives?! You've got to be kidding me. One of the alternatives for an interim fill-in is named Brad Kullman and he did a vastly superior job in far worse straits than anything DanO's managed in two-plus with a growing payroll.

Beyond that, the alternatives are most everybody who isn't a major league GM. If you can't find a better alternative from that selection then you simply aren't trying.

F) Pointing out that other organizations trade veterans for good prospects and sign up their best young players is proper context. Pointing out that DanO's done none of the above is really all you need to know. It's what a Reds GM needs to do and he's done none of it. Once again, you're ignoring the obvious, the thing that's looming right in front you and intermittently smacking you in the face. To say you're overthinking this one would be gross understatement. You and I and everyone else with a working brain know plenty.

G) Talent/roster management is job one for any GM. Talent is the currency in baseball and a GM has to be able to bring it in via multiple avenues. Without it, even if you're in a large market, you're dirt poor.

The argument for DanO, best as I can make it out, is that maybe (though this is no sure thing) he can find it using the draft (though it's going to take years to find out for sure). My response is - if so, terminate that guy yesterday.

H) If after two-plus years you don't think he's the right guy for the job then he needs to be whacked. Period.

I) Castellini, not Castinelli

MWM
01-22-2006, 03:30 PM
You're still not telling me how his situation was different than other GMs. The only oversight Allen and Lindner had wre setting the budget. That's the same as every other organization. All deals still have to be approved by non-baseball people. Give me a scenario where this oversight affected Dan O'Brien in doing what he wanted to do. How would it work? The way I see it, they let him make plenty of moves. That tells me he could pretty much do what he wanted to do within the budget.

M2
01-22-2006, 03:30 PM
The problem was that DanO was so over his head that he even admitted was was spending the 1st year "getting to know the team".

Exactly right, DanO pretty much walked in flaunting his incompetence.

RedsManRick
01-22-2006, 04:32 PM
A.) Yes those players were dealt. I don't know how to ask you any more clearly... Which players on the Reds could have been traded away to get those players? I don't see how you plan to acquire talent while simulatenously keeping all the talent we currently have.

B.) I was part of the vocal majority regarding Graves in 2004. That doesn't mean I'm aware of ALL the considerations a general manager has to take in. This was a wasted opporunity. However, this isn't fantasy baseball or strat-o-matic. It's a bit more complicated than that.

C.) Show me a politician that doesn't pander to his consituency in some regard and I'll show you a politician with a different day job.

D.) The good ones do not "succeed regardless of their limitatoins." That's such BS. Put Billy Beane in Tampa Bay 3 years ago and they'd still suck. Bowden had a deal in place to acquire Rolen a few years back that was vetoed for money reasons. He had Larkin traded and Lindner signed him for 27MM. You wanna tell me that Allen and Lindner were not hindering the activities of O'Brien as well? Just because it doesn't make the Post doesn't mean there weren't issues.

E.) Again, this isn't about Dan O eventually losing his job. It's about firing him before spring training of 06. Castellini (I, thanks) has not had a long enough time to evaluate O'Brien. This goes back to the responsibilities of a GM. Maddux was in charge of making trades and managing the roster. A GM does more than just that and any real hiring decision requires more intimate knowledge of the organization than Castellini has right now.

F.) I understand your point. Other organizations do it. But as you may not realize, we are the Cincinnati Reds with a different set of players than those teams. WHO DO YOU TRADE FOR WHOM? All of the pitchers you mentioned would cost more than the Reds have to trade. Just because somebody has the veterans to trade, doesn't mean that our veterans are worth the pitchers you can list. I'm asking for you to say what trades you think could have been made -- even speculate. Say "I think in May 2004 we could have traded Graves to team X for player(s) Y." That's what I'm not getting...

G.) I love how black and white this is for you. I suppose we can just let the rest of his responsibilities float around in space for a bit -- they don't count at all. I've said it like 15 times, I DONT THINK OBRIEN IS THE ANSWER. But you can't just magically snap your fingers and bring in the right guy.

H.) "If after two-plus years you don't think he's the right guy for the job.." -- Castellini has had 3 days, arguably 3 months to evaulate. He hasn't been scrutinizing Dan O'Brien's job performance for 2 years like you have. I think he will fire him. But as you've pointed out, you can only do that after spending some time evaluating. And no, he can't just look at the transaction history to make that decision.

I.) Thanks again.

MWM, I will and have admitted that I don't know the specifics of the Lindner, Allen, O'Brien dynamic. This is largely my point. We don't know how much this dynamic effected his performance. This is reason to give Castellini time to evaluate for himself. He has already removed both Lindner and Allen from the equation so he can evaluate him directly. However, it's been written about at length that Allen has had significant input in every deal. During the last few Bowden years, there were some very notable interventions including the Larkin situation and the veto of the Rolen deal, which just need ownership approval. I don't know of specific cases --- but I'm will to postulate that there was some effect and give Castellini the time he needs to judge for himself.

dsmith421
01-22-2006, 04:53 PM
Yeah, every GM makes every right move, I forgot about that one. What are the bad moves that Obrien has made? Milton? Ortiz? What are the others?

Sorry, committing nearly $45 million dollars all told to two of the three worst starting pitchers in the National League and a guy with a torn labrum is not just a "bad move," it is a catastrophic debacle of epic proportions that effectively destroys any chance a small market team might have to compete.

The Randa sign and trade, Mercker, Weathers, etc. are all the kind of small-potatoes signings that anyone with a pulse could make. The Casey deal was a straight salary dump, nothing more.

O'Brien is the worst kind of corporate hack--he talks all day without saying anything, he's indecisive, and he has no aptitude for talent evaluation at the major or minor league level. I don't know why some fans want to make excuses for him--he, as much as anyone else, is why this franchise stinks now and will continue to stink into the foreseeable future.

Aronchis
01-22-2006, 04:53 PM
O'brien is(will be was) what he is. A transitional GM hired over a builder(Krivisky) because Lindner didn't want to shake up the franchise. which has been his MO taking over for the decayed Schott era. He was easy to control and excepted the limits placed on him. Allen's power IMO has been lessened over the last few years, thus Cast moving him directly into the "financial" side is of little impact on the operational side which Lindner IMO had ridged controls on.

The Reds still have to go through layers of dirt from the Marge era Lindner decided not to deal with and clean out. That will be a chore for Mr. Castellini. I doubt he cares little for O'brien and his reasons for not "sacking" him quickly may have as much to do with agreements as rational.

If Cast lets O'brien make trades that signifigently effect the organization(I am not talking about pee wee trades like Womack), Cast is majorly failing.

We don't know what he will do or what his plan for rebuilding is at this time. But he said he was ready to roll up his sleaves, that should mean some new construction is about to begin. "Working" with DanO is not new construction.

M2
01-22-2006, 05:15 PM
RMR,

A) Once again, thanks for the red herring, but what you said was "You show me an example of a GM trading a player having that kind of a year in early June. Maybe it's out there... I'd like to see it." Well, I showed it to you and now you've jumped to something completely separate. What you're doing now is dodging.

B) If you were gung ho to deal Graves early in 2004 then it seems to me the only complication here is that you're at odds with yourself.

C) Yes, and we all love and respect pandering.

D) Put Billy Beane in Tampa Bay three years ago and that organization would be far ahead of where it is today. Given the way Beane rebuilt his club on the fly last offseason any other contention would be where the pure BS comes in.

Bowden had Larkin traded for a toolsy OF who never panned out and the money dog-eared for Pokey Reese and Dmitri Young. As for money getting in the way of the Scott Rolen deal, that's unfortunate, but it's also why a Reds GM needs to trade for young guys who don't cost so much.

When it comes to hindering DanO, given the resolute failiure of the moves he did make, then thank God someone was there to hinder him from making more (if that was indeed the case).

E) Maddox and Kullman worked together and the point was the Reds could have both running the show right now instead of DanO and it would be an immediate upgrade. Don't think I haven't noticed that you run away every time there's a specific on the table in this discussion. Real simple, forget that there's a world full of options out there for a moment, would you rather have DanO right now or those two? Without reservation or hesitation I pick Maddox/Kullman.

F) Mmm, red herring again. You once again have introduced a nonsensical item into the discussion and allowed it to get between you and the obvious.

G) You can magically snap your fingers and get rid of the wrong guy. There's still an organization on hand to run the business if you don't replace him immediately (and please explain how the Red Sox made it through the 2002 season if that isn't the case). Plus, there's nothing stopping Bob Castellini to going out right now and getting most anyone he wants from the non-GM ranks (which is the only place he's getting a GM from in the first place).

If you think about it, usually a guy gets fired and then the job search kicks up, so most times (unless you've orchestrated it beautifully) there's a gap between out with the old and in with the new.

And this is black and white for me because I've kept my eye on the ball - The primary function of a GM is to accrue talent and DanO's been horrible at it. It's remarkable the clarity you can achieve when you filter out the noise.

H) I'm talking about you, not Bob Castellini. You said, "I'm not saying I think he's the right guy for the job." If that's your take after the guy has had the job for two seasons and the better part of three offseasons, then you've made the perfect case for firing him on the spot.

As for Castellini, I think three months is plenty of time to figure out DanO needs to go. Again, this one isn't brain surgery. He made the worst pitching in team history even worse and blew a big chunk of cash in doing it. He hasn't acquired a single high profile player or prospect since arriving. The Reds system is not well-regarded, something Castellini seemingly latched onto without too much trouble. He inherited all the team's best young players and he hasn't locked up so much as one of them. Honestly, it doesn't take very long to figure out the guy hasn't achieved much of anything since arriving.

I) No problem, I invert names like that all the time.

M2
01-22-2006, 05:20 PM
If Cast lets O'brien make trades that signifigently effect the organization(I am not talking about pee wee trades like Womack), Cast is majorly failing.

We don't know what he will do or what his plan for rebuilding is at this time. But he said he was ready to roll up his sleaves, that should mean some new construction is about to begin. "Working" with DanO is not new construction.

Well put.


O'brien is(will be was) what he is. A transitional GM hired over a builder(Krivisky) because Lindner didn't want to shake up the franchise.

I still say you overlook the far more obvious and likely choice, DanO snowed Lindner (who was in miles over his head in making the call) into thinking he could turn this ship around.

Aronchis
01-22-2006, 05:22 PM
As for Castellini, I think three months is plenty of time to figure out DanO needs to go. Again, this one isn't brain surgery. He made the worst pitching in team history even worse and blew a big chunk of cash in doing it. He hasn't acquired a single high profile player or prospect since arriving. The Reds system is not well-regarded, something Castellini seemingly latched onto without too much trouble. He inherited all the team's best young players and he hasn't locked up so much as one of them. Honestly, it doesn't take very long to figure out the guy hasn't achieved much of anything since arriving.

I) No problem, I invert names like that all the time.[/QUOTE]

The Reds system isn't well regarded, but it is also quite possible O'brien may have begun the rebuilding process or at least improved over the Bowden era collapse, but his love(which he had in Houston) of taking highly tooled HS talent early on in the draft makes it a longer chore to the majors.

That is what Cast was talking about. Homer Bailey is all fine and such. In 3 years, it could very well be all good as Bailey is about ready to make his debut. But the Reds need some talent now. That means Barry Zito's who can develope out in a year or two.

Moneyball coming to Cincinnati?

M2
01-22-2006, 05:25 PM
Moneyball coming to Cincinnati?

We can only hope. I know I prefer practicality to calamity.

RedsManRick
01-22-2006, 06:26 PM
M2/Steel --- I don't want to continue the back forth. I've made some faux paus' here, largely because I'm trying to do 50 other things at the same time. I'm not much of a multi-tasker. I'm sure there have been inconsistencies in some of my points so I'll concede you both that.

Bottom line, given where this team as right now , I don't think that firing O'Brien now (January 22nd) solves anything. Castellini has made it clear that the tone will be changing. We know he wants Pinella involved in 2007. We can argue day and night about what could have been. Milton was mistake. Not trading Graves was a mistake. Not trading Casey or one of the OF earlier was a mistake. Now whether it was an issue of vision, willingingness, lack of suitors, or management inteferrence, I'll grant you that the bottom line is a lack of success. Getting a new GM doesn't get us the Rich Aurilia comp pick or better value from a Casey trade. There aren't any real FA opportunities left.

I didn't take the time to do all my homework, but I was trying to make a general point via a few specific cases. Often, fans like to ridicule a specific action or inaction of a GM without understanding the situation fully.

For example, if O'Brien had dealt Graves in May '04 for a Elizardo Ramirez type and Graves went on to save 20 more games for a playoff team, you end up with people complaining that he sold too early and got crap value. He holds out for a better deal that doesn't ever materialize, and you end up cutting him in 2005. In hindsight it's easy to say that he should've been moved in May 2004. Graves was obviously pitching at a level he couldn't maintain. However, other GMs aren't stupid and even had OBie shopped him, we don't know what kind of return he actually would've gotten. O'Brien obviously made a wrong choice, but we can't say that the alternative would've been so much better with any certainty. Trading him for a B level prospect that never panned out wouldn't have been a great decision either.

I don't think that we could bring a GM right now that would necessarily fit what Castenelli wants to see happen over the next few seasons. I don't think kicking Obie to the curb and reinstalling temp GMs Maddox and Kullman again accomplishes anything. He has stated that he wants and needs some time to evaluate everything close up. Most companies, given a change in ownership, take time to evaluate their employees personally before cleaning house. It would be hard to evaluate the organization, top to bottom, while simulatenously allowing a new GM to restructure it. If after another season similar to the last two, O'Brien is resigned, I'll be first in line to boo Castellini. But giving him a few months to evaluate and make the decision does not seem like a horrible idea. If O'Brien goes out and trades Adam Dunn for Bronson Arroyo, or sits on his hands at the deadline when we're 20 games out, I'll glad eat crow.

Regarding point H -- from the fans perspective, I think O'Brien should be let go and replaced by Depodesta. However, I also admit that I don't know all the details of everything the happened in the front office the past two years. From what I've read, Lindner and Allen were 2 of the more difficult people to work under. Until I had a chance to thoroughly evaluate O'Brien and the organization he's put together, I would not make any major personell decisions. We, as fans, don't have the right to fire anybody, regardless of much we follow the team (sorry!). Castellini has been busy himself the past 2 years, not following the day to day activities of the Reds' front office. That I think O'Brien should be fired, given my level of knowledge, is completely irrelevant. It's what Castellini thinks that matters. If he says he needs more information and time to evaluate, I'm willing to give him that.

RFS62
01-22-2006, 06:32 PM
One of Branch Rickey's key principles was that it's better to trade a player a year early than a year late.

M2
01-22-2006, 06:53 PM
A few quick points RMR -

1) No one's suggesting Graves should have been dealt for an Elizardo Ramirez. The problem with the Reds is they've got too many bad pitchers as it is, in no small part thanks to DanO having an infallible knack for finding them.

2) Circumstances would matter more to me if there were grey area with DanO's performance. There isn't any. It's a total blackout.

3) You can't evaluate an organization from top to bottom. Oh you can, but it's a lengthy and often fruitless academic exercise. All Castellini has to do is evaluate the top of the organization and then let his chosen lieutentants do the deeper evaluation. He can do that in short order. In fact, he could have done it already.

4) Another season like the last two is a guarantee if O'Brien sticks around. As Steel said, "If O'Brien is around to direct activity at the trade deadline, then that's all I need to know about Bob Castellini." The next five years are so close to slipping away it's terrifying. Castellini needs to deliver on his promised impatience. If he doesn't, the organization will punch through to the sub-basement.

deltachi8
01-22-2006, 06:58 PM
Womack, Casey for Williams, etc...


JaredRoberts.com

There is no conparrsion between those two moves and I wish people would try and do that.

Womack was a dumb trade, no doubt.

Casey deal was fine, baseball wise and payroll wise. People yelled for Casey to be traded because he couldnt hit to his contract anymore. When they dont get Dontrell Willis for him, people pile on Dan O for making a poor trade.

Dan O is by no means a good or even average GM, but that trade was fine.

Falls City Beer
01-22-2006, 07:03 PM
A few quick points RMR -

1) No one's suggesting Graves should have been dealt for an Elizardo Ramirez. The problem with the Reds is they've got too many bad pitchers as it is, in no small part thanks to DanO having an infallible knack for finding them.

2) Circumstances would matter more to me if there were grey area with DanO's performance. There isn't any. It's a total blackout.

3) You can't evaluate an organization from top to bottom. Oh you can, but it's a lengthy and often fruitless academic exercise. All Castellini has to do is evaluate the top of the organization and then let his chosen lieutentants do the deeper evaluation. He can do that in short order. In fact, he could have done it already.

4) Another season like the last two is a guarantee if O'Brien sticks around. As Steel said, "If O'Brien is around to direct activity at the trade deadline, then that's all I need to know about Bob Castellini." The next five years are so close to slipping away it's terrifying. Castellini needs to deliver on his promised impatience. If he doesn't, the organization will punch through to the sub-basement.


Steel can wait till the deadline all he wants--but if DanO runs the draft (which he will I'm sure as some birdy's been whispering that DanO's strength is the draft :thumbdown ) and if Castellini allows Milton to get more than 10-12 starts, then I'm done with the man--utterly and completely.

Think about the message that sending Milton out there for 25 starts with a + 6.50 ERA sends--just wrap your brain around that one for a second. Your inaugural season as owner and you've got this guy going out to the mound in your beautiful home park with an ERA hovering over the 7.00 mark for a bulk of the season. One year's atrocious. Two is flat-out unforgiveable. And it will be Castellini's watch.

M2
01-22-2006, 07:13 PM
Steel can wait till the deadline all he wants--but if DanO runs the draft (which he will I'm sure as some birdy's been whispering that DanO's strength is the draft :thumbdown ) and if Castellini allows Milton to get more than 10-12 starts, then I'm done with the man--utterly and completely.

Think about the message that sending Milton out there for 25 starts with a + 6.50 ERA sends--just wrap your brain around that one for a second. Your inaugural season as owner and you've got this guy going out to the mound in your beautiful home park with an ERA hovering over the 7.00 mark for a bulk of the season. One year's atrocious. Two is flat-out unforgiveable. And it will be Castellini's watch.

I agree with most of that, though it should be noted Steel was referring specifically to the suggestion that DanO be kept around until the deadline (e.g. that wasn't his line of demarcation). For me, it's the start of the season. If Castellini lets DanO get into the season, then he's let the wolf through the door. If he lets that happen the damage could be something that he and whatever Reds fans are left will have to suffer through for years to come.


Womack was a dumb trade, no doubt.

Casey deal was fine, baseball wise and payroll wise. People yelled for Casey to be traded because he couldnt hit to his contract anymore. When they dont get Dontrell Willis for him, people pile on Dan O for making a poor trade.

Dan O is by no means a good or even average GM, but that trade was fine.

I prefer the Womack trade. It didn't cost the Reds much and smart management will cut him or put him on the bench. Meanwhile, Dave Williams is going to pitch for the Reds, a lot, and it's not going to be pretty. I shed no tears for the loss of Sean Casey, but I couldn't give a squirt that the Reds might have saved money. I want to see the team get good players, period. The Casey trade failed on that score. No one expected Dontrelle Willis, but Dave Bush, Zach Jackson and Gabe Gross would have done the trick.

Falls City Beer
01-22-2006, 07:20 PM
For me, it's the start of the season.

Well, then go ahead and give up on Castellini. Because you can bet your bum that DanO makes it to the start of the season. DanO's ax will be contingent on performance--if for whatever reason the offense outpaces the pitching for a couple of months--say the Reds get off to a 30-20 mirage start to the season, DanO's not going anywhere till the pendulum swings back. So, in a sense, we have to root for the Reds to suck coming out of the gate.

M2
01-22-2006, 07:29 PM
Well, then go ahead and give up on Castellini. Because you can bet your bum that DanO makes it to the start of the season. DanO's ax will be contingent on performance--if for whatever reason the offense outpaces the pitching for a couple of months--say the Reds get off to a 30-20 mirage start to the season, DanO's not going anywhere till the pendulum swings back. So, in a sense, we have to root for the Reds to suck coming out of the gate.

You might be right. I suspect you are. I hope you aren't.

I suppose under that scenario, when things go horribly wrong Castellini might shut DanO down before he gets to make any moves. Though it might cost the organization its last chance to sign Dunn (I can't bring my mind to consider the ramifications of DanO dealing Dunn, it'd be Neagle Part Deux). As you noted, it could also botch the draft. Any more front office bumbling will leave some ugly scars, but that might fall short of a mortal wound. Man do I hope Castellini doesn't try to walk that line.

Johnny Footstool
01-22-2006, 07:35 PM
Trading a highly overpaid Sean Casey for a servicable starting pitcher that we need?

Who is this "servicable starting pitcher" of whom you speak? You can't mean Dave Williams and his 1.41 WHIP, pathetic 5.6 K/9, and anemic 1.5 K/BB ratio. Plus he's a flyball pitcher.

And what happened to the money the Reds are saving on Sean Casey? Did they sink it back into payroll? Do you think they're going to do so anytime soon?

MikeS21
01-22-2006, 07:59 PM
Forget the dumb trades. Forget the deals that were "too late and a dollar short." Forget the stupid FA signings. The one thing O'Brien was brought in for was to rebuild this franchise through the draft and farm system. He has not lived up to what he said he would do. The system is in the worst shape it has been in ten years.

If you look at the Reds' farm system, their top prospects show "potential." But you look at teams like the Indians, Twins, Brewers, or Braves, their top prospects show "performance." Dan O'Brien promised performance instead of potential. The result has been less performance and arguably even less potential.

That alone gives Castellini all the license he needs to remove O'Brien from the baseball decision-making process.

dougdirt
01-22-2006, 08:28 PM
Mikes21, he has had 2 drafts to work with. 2 drafts means that 60% of those guys, have played exactly one year of minor league baseball. You cant get a ton of "performance" from 1 year of baseball.

Falls City Beer
01-22-2006, 08:32 PM
Mikes21, he has had 2 drafts to work with. 2 drafts means that 60% of those guys, have played exactly one year of minor league baseball. You cant get a ton of "performance" from 1 year of baseball.

There's not one bona fide "mover" through the system from his drafts. Not one.

RedsManRick
01-22-2006, 09:04 PM
2 drafts... 2 years -- you can't judge a draft after two years. Despite Ryan Wagner and Chad Cordero, you can't expect anybody to contribute 2 years after being drafted. How you can call drafts failures two years in is beyond me.

You can't draft for need, especially at the top of the draft. Now obviously you can make some general chioces like college vs. high school and position vs. pitcher. But faulting him for not producing any good talent when none of his picks have had more than 2 years seems a bit impatient to me.

For what it's worth, baseball america's top 10 prospects as of Nov '05:

1. Homer Bailey, rhp (2004, R1)
2. Jay Bruce, of (2005, R1)
3. Travis Wood, lhp (2005, R2)
4. B.J. Szymanski, of (2004, R2)
5. Chris Denorfia, of (2002 draft, R19)
6. Rafael Gonzalez, rhp (2004, R4)
7. Miguel Perez, c (2000, undrafted FA)
8. Tyler Pelland, lhp (2003 trade w/ Red Sox)
9. Joey Votto, 1b (2002, R2)
10. Travis Chick, rhp (2005 trade w/ Padres)

Of our top 10 prospects, O'Brien drafted 5 of them and traded for 1 of them. Now obviously the cubboard was pretty empty when he got here. But it's not like he's drated stiffs. The top 4 are our top 4 picks from O'Bie -- I'd say that's a sign that he's made some decent selections.

MWM
01-22-2006, 09:08 PM
Being the top 10 in a bad system isn't saying much. It's like being the hottest of the Golden Girls. How many of those guys are in the top 100 in all of baseball?

M2
01-22-2006, 09:15 PM
Thing to remember is that's just about the weakest top 10 in the game, especially 6-10. Encarnacion and Coffey graduated from the 2004 list. Gardner and Pauly went under the knife. Bergolla and Janish played their way off of the list. So it's not like DanO's picks are there because they've played so darn well, they're there because BA's forced to pick 10 guys and there's no one else.

It wouldn't matter if DanO made good or bad picks, the list makers were forced to take unknowns because the knowns were so lousy.

It's the rough equivalent of putting up the Bat Signal, a screaming indictment of how shallow the system has gotten as its graduating the last wave of JimBo prospects. The gaping wound in the upper minors is one part JimBo's fault for opening it and one part DanO's fault for failing to plug it.

And now you want to say it's a good thing that maybe some antibodies will arrive in another couple of years? Sorry, but that doesn't cut it. It's the worst argument in defense of a guy I've ever seen.

MWM
01-22-2006, 09:17 PM
I'd be curious the overall percentage of team top 10s tha came from the last two drafts. I'd say it's probably pretty high, especially at BA. Without knowing how that compares to other teams, you can't really say that's a point in DanO's favor.

4256 Hits
01-22-2006, 09:18 PM
Mikes21, he has had 2 drafts to work with. 2 drafts means that 60% of those guys, have played exactly one year of minor league baseball. You cant get a ton of "performance" from 1 year of baseball.

A GM can also improve a teams farm system though trades (it's what Jimbo did best) which is also the fastest way. He inherited lots of players on the MLB roster that he could have traded to restock the farm but he was like a dear in headlights since day one.

SteelSD
01-22-2006, 10:06 PM
Thing to remember is that's just about the weakest top 10 in the game, especially 6-10. Encarnacion and Coffey graduated from the 2004 list. Gardner and Pauly went under the knife. Bergolla and Janish played their way off of the list. So it's not like DanO's picks are there because they've played so darn well, they're there because BA's forced to pick 10 guys and there's no one else.

It wouldn't matter if DanO made good or bad picks, the list makers were forced to take unknowns because the knowns were so lousy.

Yup. The very idea that guys like Szymanski and Gonzalez would show up in the top six of any organization's top prospects list (regardless of who was doing the ranking), is patently ridiculous. It's really kind of comical. The BA Top 10 list begins with four draft picks who were selected in Round 1, 1, 2, and 2 of the previous two drafts. .

And they had to place them that way by default. One hard thrower with big time command issues. One Outfielder who belongs there. A smallish probable reliever who's got 48 IP under his belt, and an Outfielder who can't stay healthy enough to hit and who can't seem to really hit when he's healthy. O'Brien hasn't selected anyone who one could consider to be a fast-mover when his team desperately needed fast-movers. Except maybe Rosales. But then, he wasn't selected early enough in the draft so BA just kinda' ignores the fact that he's significantly outperformed anyone actually in that Top 10 list.

Caveat Emperor
01-22-2006, 11:05 PM
Of our top 10 prospects, O'Brien drafted 5 of them and traded for 1 of them. Now obviously the cubboard was pretty empty when he got here. But it's not like he's drated stiffs. The top 4 are our top 4 picks from O'Bie -- I'd say that's a sign that he's made some decent selections.

That's the point -- if there was nobody here to begin with, who is BA (or any ranking system) going to rank as the "Top Prospects" in the system? Obviously it'll be the early rounders from the last few years.

These guys that haven't played above A ball aren't really even prospects -- they haven't faced competition levels enough to show anything other than the fact that they're more polished than other people their age. Especially in the case of Wood -- the #3 guy on the Reds list can't throw a curveball and is getting by just by being more polished at changing speeds than the hitters around him can handle.

The farm system is bad. Period, end of story. And, so far, I haven't had my sock blown off (nor has anyone who follows this sort of thing, it seems) by ANYONE the Reds have drafted.

M2
01-22-2006, 11:28 PM
And, so far, I haven't had my sock blown off (nor has anyone who follows this sort of thing, it seems) by ANYONE the Reds have drafted.

To be fair, my sock is affixed with spirit gum.

SteelSD
01-22-2006, 11:59 PM
That's the point -- if there was nobody here to begin with, who is BA (or any ranking system) going to rank as the "Top Prospects" in the system? Obviously it'll be the early rounders from the last few years.

Yep. Exactly.

There's also a great deal of incongruity in the argument that it's "too soon" to tell that's it's been bad, but not "too soon" to tell if it's been good.

All I've read so far from the draft proponents is basically that two years isn't enough time to judge so until it's time to judge (and, of course, they'll tell us when that is) we have to assume that Dan O'Brien has done a wonderful job of drafting.

Makes absolutely no sense.

In short, it's impossible for someone to say it's too soon to call it bad unless it's also too soon to call it good. And yet, here we are being told that we can't call O'Brien's drafts bad while at the same time being told how well O'Brien has drafted. Poppycock.

RedsManRick
01-23-2006, 01:30 AM
Personally, I wasn't claiming that the drafts were good. I admitted that our system was barren and that our last 4 picks were on top nearly by default. I was only claiming that it is too soon to declare them bad and use that as justification for firing O'Brien. Perhaps there was another "defender" who you were referring to?

You don't fire somebody with a year left on his contract because nobody from his first two draft classes has set the world on fire. His draft record shouldn't be part of this conversaiton.

SteelSD
01-23-2006, 02:01 AM
Personally, I wasn't claiming that the drafts were good. I admitted that our system was barren and that our last 4 picks were on top nearly by default. I was only claiming that it is too soon to declare them bad and use that as justification for firing O'Brien. Perhaps there was another "defender" who you were referring to?

No. You're included. Your words:

RedsManRick: "How you can call drafts failures two years in is beyond me."

RedsManRick: "The top 4 are our top 4 picks from O'Bie -- I'd say that's a sign that he's made some decent selections."

Uh huh. Too soon to call a draft a "failure". Not too soon for you to say that he's made "decent selections".


You don't fire somebody with a year left on his contract because nobody from his first two draft classes has set the world on fire.

No. You fire him because he's been mishandled everything he's touched.


His draft record shouldn't be part of this conversaiton.

As his drafts are representational of Dan O'Brien's decision-making process, they most definitely should be part of this conversation.

And decisions can most definitely be identified as either good or bad based on the decision's merit rather then the eventual result.

Dan O'Brien's been playing high-stakes blackjack- constantly asking for cards while at 18 when the dealer has a six showing. He doesn't have to lose his whole stack of chips before we can figure out that's a bad decision. We know it before the card is even flipped. O'Brien doesn't know it, but anyone paying attention does. If Castellini doesn't, then he just hasn't been paying as much attention as he wants us to believe.

Doc. Scott
01-23-2006, 03:17 PM
Uh... well, this ended up being a little moot, eh?

KronoRed
01-23-2006, 10:19 PM
Uh... well, this ended up being a little moot, eh?
Nah, this gave birth to the [pontificate] code :D

RFS62
01-23-2006, 10:27 PM
Nah, this gave birth to the [pontificate] code :D



You know what that makes you, Krono?


A pontificator.

Redsland
01-23-2006, 11:07 PM
:laugh:

wheels
01-24-2006, 12:05 AM
:laugh: :all_cohol :party: :lol: :ughmamoru :notworthy :thisyear: