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TeamBoone
03-10-2006, 04:44 PM
03/10/2006 10:00 AM ET
Reds rebuilding from bottom up
Alyson Footer / Baseball Perspectives

The Cincinnati Reds probably aren't to the point where they can be considered contenders, but based on their recent history, just heading in the right direction should be considered a huge plus.
A new owner and a new general manager are in place, and in their short time with the club, they've renewed hope among longtime Reds fans who want to know why they haven't put a winning team on the field in this millennium.

It's not owner Bob Castellini's physical presence at Spring Training and at Great American Ball Park that will make the ultimate difference in the club's progress in the immediate future. His faith in new GM Wayne Krivsky -- and his commitment to doing what is necessary to build the organization, from the Minor Leagues up -- will dictate how the new regime's legacy begins.

It doesn't take a genius to deduce what this team needs. The Reds finished eighth in the league in hitting and fifth in the National League Central standings last year. The problem is pitching, something the Reds had very little of in 2005. They finished dead last in the league with a 5.15 ERA, worse than the Rockies' 5.13 mark.

Only two teams in all of baseball were worse ERA-wise: Tampa Bay and Kansas City.

A few realities exist. The Reds' payroll is going to fall somewhere in the range of $60-65 million. Eric Milton, and his $25.5 million contract, probably isn't going away. Most of the cast of characters from last year's rotation is back. If the Reds are to have a good season, they'll have to look mostly from within.

The Reds don't have a great recent track record in terms of developing their own pitching talent. The last Reds pitcher who was groomed in the Cincinnati farm system and won 15 games in a single season was Tom Browning in 1990.

A 16-year drought seems a little extreme, until you consider that it's been even longer since any Reds pitcher, regardless of his origin, won 20 games. The last time was 1988, when Danny Jackson won 23.

Sure, they've had some good years in between. But the overall state of the team has moved backward in recent history, and the new regime has to change that. A complete overhaul isn't necessary, nor is it plausible. The Reds are going to have to first ask their current members to be better. Then they may consider looking for outside help for the rotation, although that's a big maybe.

This means that Milton has to be better than 8-15. It means that Harang and Brandon Claussen, who won 11 and 10 games in '05, respectively, have to build on that promise. Dave Williams, acquired in the unpopular Sean Casey trade, needs to produce.

"We had some ups and downs last year," Harang said. "We've got some veteran guys to fill in the bullpen. Starters have to step up and get us through six or seven innings and give our bullpen a chance to finish it."

While it's up to manager Jerry Narron to manipulate on-field activity on the big-league level, Krivsky and Castellini appear to have a side plan for the farm system.

Their first move was to buy the Florida State League's Sarasota franchise from the Boston Red Sox. Sarasota is the Reds' Spring Training home and, pending approval from MLB, the Minor League franchise will become a Reds affiliate. Improvements of the overall facility will follow. The Reds expect that the quality of talent that plays in Sarasota, as well as their other farm clubs, will also improve.

Krivsky, largely responsible for the success of the Minnesota Twins' system, knows how to build from within. His former employer had low revenues, low attendance and high expectations. And the Twins, despite the threat of contraction, won.

Castellini hired him to make the same thing happen in Cincinnati, sans the contraction issues, of course.

"They want to win," Krivsky said about the Reds, soon after he took this job. "They want to do it the right way. They're dedicated and committed to scouting and player development, which is how you build a frontline organization."

It's up to Krivsky to build the farm system, one that grooms players, not rushes them to the big leagues before it's time. In hindsight, promoting Ryan Wagner to the Majors in 2003, two months after he was drafted, probably wasn't the right move.

It is time for the Reds to make smart personnel moves, and that process started as soon as Krivsky was hired. A Reds turnaround isn't going to happen overnight, and it likely won't happen this year. But if they formulate a plan and stick with it, at least there is hope.

http://cincinnati.reds.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/news/article_perspectives.jsp?ymd=20060309&content_id=1342885&vkey=perspectives&fext=.jsp

princeton
03-10-2006, 06:37 PM
If they formulate a plan and stick with it, at least there is hope.


DanO formulated a plan and stuck with it. So did JimBo.

I'd say that formulating or sticking to a plan, such as "We're going to discover pitchers that are both good and economical for us", is less important than finding people that can actually execute the plan.

IslandRed
03-10-2006, 06:53 PM
I'd say that formulating or sticking to a plan, such as "We're going to discover pitchers that are both good and economical for us", is less important than finding people that can actually execute the plan.

Yup. With the possible exception of the Yankees, who prefer to buy proven pitchers and can afford to do so, everyone wants to develop pitchers. Some teams do it well and most don't. It's not about want-to, it's about know-how.

Aronchis
03-10-2006, 07:39 PM
Bowden didn't stick with his plan, that is not correct, though it may not have mattered anyway. DanO? Who cares with that stopgap. If he provided any floor to begin building on, all the better.

princeton
03-10-2006, 08:37 PM
other than the do-nothing GMs, Bowden was the most predictable GM in baseball during his Reds tenure

Falls City Beer
03-10-2006, 08:44 PM
Building from the bottom up is for losers.

TeamBoone
03-10-2006, 09:06 PM
First, you have to have a good, workable, realistic plan. I'm not sure the Reds have had one in a long long time.

MartyFan
03-10-2006, 09:13 PM
This means that Milton has to be better than 8-15. It means that Harang and Brandon Claussen, who won 11 and 10 games in '05, respectively, have to build on that promise. Dave Williams, acquired in the unpopular Sean Casey trade, needs to produce.

Unpopular with who?

KronoRed
03-10-2006, 11:06 PM
Anyone who realizes he's more of the same in the pitching department ;)

princeton
03-12-2006, 12:26 PM
First, you have to have a good, workable, realistic plan. I'm not sure the Reds have had one in a long long time.

it's simple to have a good, workable, realistic plan. Baseball isn't rocket science. But just like hitting is easy in concept but difficult to execute, so are team plans.

worry less about a plan. This franchise's problem has long been finding people that can execute.

Sea Ray
03-12-2006, 12:47 PM
Everyone's plan is to develop players. This organization has fallen woefully short. In order to execute such a plan we'll need a GM to make some shrewd trades, draft some talented ballplayers and properly coach these guys to the big leagues.

Bowden could find talented offensive players but his eye for pitching talent (lack thereof) led to his downfall. Dan O'Brien never showed me that he had any eye for talent. When he thought Chris Reitsma was worth Bong and Nelson I knew we were in deep trouble. Right away we got to see them pitch 'cause it was towards the end of Spring Training and a few games were televised. They didn't impress me then and to Krivsky's credit he's already given Nelson his walking papers.

So it's not the plan, it's finding the right players. I'd sure like to see a trade like Dave Parker for Jose Rijo or Kurt Stillwell for Danny Jackson to get this Krivsky regime off and running.

TeamBoone
03-12-2006, 02:18 PM
it's simple to have a good, workable, realistic plan. Baseball isn't rocket science. But just like hitting is easy in concept but difficult to execute, so are team plans.

worry less about a plan. This franchise's problem has long been finding people that can execute.

I firmly believe you need a plan first, then know how to execute it.

IMHO, the Reds have never had a really good plan, much less the ability to execute it even if they had one. Anyway, it's difficult to execute what you don't have.

princeton
03-12-2006, 05:43 PM
I firmly believe you need a plan first, then know how to execute it.

it's par for the course-- the Reds have long thought plan first. Then, nothing to back them up.

Ideas are so cheap. But good workers are apparently hard to find.

GAC
03-12-2006, 09:11 PM
Unpopular with who?

That's a loaded question on here. ;)

GAC
03-12-2006, 09:37 PM
At least with Krivsky we have a GM who not only has experience as a GM, but also has had a "plan" that has shown results/success with a similar type organization. We can't say that about either of our two previous GMs.

This is not something that is gonna be turned around over night. I know people (fans) hate to hear that; but it's the truth. When I look at what teams were forking out in this off-season to sign pitchers who wish they could reach the level of mediocrisy, then free agency is really not an option for this team. And it takes longer to develop a young arm, in comparison to a position player, through one's farm system. But you first have to be able to recognize and evaluate that talent. Something this organization has never been able to do in recent history.

GAColgy says...

Don't off-road in a Ford Pinto. When you get stuck in the mud up to your axles, you'll only look like a fool, spining your wheels, and sinking deeper in the hole as you try to extricate yourself.

I'm hoping that Krivsky is that Jeep 4x4 we all are looking for. ;)

The only way this team is gonna be competitive this year is if some of our pitchers have a "career" year. And I'm not couting on that.

jmcclain19
03-13-2006, 04:45 AM
Their first move was to buy the Florida State League's Sarasota franchise from the Boston Red Sox. Sarasota is the Reds' Spring Training home and, pending approval from MLB, the Minor League franchise will become a Reds affiliate.

I'm going to pick nits here and bring out one of my big pet peeves.

Anyone else bothered by comments like this that aren't exactly true.

Sarasota already was a Reds affiliate. This isn't new. However the Reds own the team now instead of leasing it.

Fact checking and finding out the correct wording takes only minutes - and when I see stuff like this it just chaps my hide and re-enforces the idea that
A- The author didn't care enough to fact check their work
B- If the author didn't care enough to make sure their stuff was accurate, than how can I believe anything else in the piece
C-If I can't believe anything else in the piece, I'm not going to keep reading.

SteelSD
03-13-2006, 06:16 AM
At least with Krivsky we have a GM who not only has experience as a GM, but also has had a "plan" that has shown results/success with a similar type organization. We can't say that about either of our two previous GMs.

Just an FYI- Krivsky doesn't actually have any experience as a GM.

And here's a look at the Twins 2002 AL Central Division Champ roster from a "homegrown" perspective:

A.J. Pierzynski: 3rd Round 1994
Doug Mientkiewicz: 5th Round 1995
Luis Rivas: Amateur FA 1995
Corey Koskie: 26th Round 1994
Jaque Jones: 2nd Round 1996
Torii Hunter: 1st Round 1993
Bobby Kielty: Amateur FA 1999
Denny Hocking: 52nd Round 1989
Matt LeCroy: 1st Round 1997
Michael Cuddyer: 1st Round 1997
Brad Radke: 8th Round 1991
Eddie Guardado: 21st Round 1990
J.C. Romero: 21st Round 1997
LaTroy Hawkins: 7th Round 1991
Juan Rincon: Amateur FA 1996

That collection of players ended up "coming together" an average of 7+ years post-draft. And that's WITH the super-duper Rule 5 find of Johan Santana. The Twins pretty much flat-out stunk for eight of the nine years leading into 2002 and other than Crain, Morneau, and Mauer they don't have much to show for those years of futility by way of potential impact players. Now, I like plans. But I don't like 7-year plans or 8-year plans or 10-year plans.

Oh, the Pierzynski deal was a coup for them (netting Nathan and Liriano) and I'll be exceptionally happy if Krivsky can pull of a swap like that at any point during his Reds tenure, but a trade "win" of that magnitude is an exception- as was the maturation of Santana into a dominant ace after being plucked from the scrap heap.

Maybe a case can be made that Krivsky has some extra-sensory perception from his Twins days that bodes well for exception creation. I dunno. But I've always been of the opinion that waiting on exceptions isn't the smartest way to go about things.

One thing that disturbs me is that, on the pitching side, the "foundation" doesn't include anyone from the lean years in the rotation who was actually drafted and developed by the club even though they had MANY quality opportunities to find them in the amateur ranks. Scott Baker might be good but, ironically, that was a selection made after the first of their three recent division titles.

I'm also less than thrilled that the Twins have been able to cash in only one mid-level player into really anything (Pierzynski). Instead, they seem to collect mediocrity and refuse to part with it even when it's far more expensive than it should be. On the pitching side, they seem to be able to get at least one good smoke-and-mirrors season out of the Joe Mays, Carlos Silvas, and Kyle Lohses of the world, but then they don't cash them in either. Even Brad Radke is still hanging around at 10M per season. Don't get me wrong, he's not a horrible pitcher but he is...well...Brad Radke.

And yes, there needs to be a plan. It's just that I'm not so sure that the Twins "plan" is the one the Reds should be attempting to emulate. They could, of course. But if they do, we might just have to wait another 7 years for it to come to fruition unless Krivsky can show some kind of aptitude for doing a few things Terry Ryan couldn't get done. Otherwise, it seems to me that the "plan" is all too similar to that outlined in a couple of Dan O'Brien's binders.

Not trying to denounce Krivsky, mind you. It's just that the plan in place- whatever it is- better be more original and quicker to come together than the one used to drag Minnesota from the AL basement after only 8 or 9 short years there (and yes, that is sarcasm you smell).

Falls City Beer
03-13-2006, 01:47 PM
Not trying to denounce Krivsky, mind you. It's just that the plan in place- whatever it is- better be more original and quicker to come together than the one used to drag Minnesota from the AL basement after only 8 or 9 short years there (and yes, that is sarcasm you smell).

Someone should nail this, and 94 other theses to the door of the Reds' offices.

Anyone with a slightly higher than Java man intellect can put together a farm and win within 8 years. Winning quickly. That takes a genius.