PDA

View Full Version : Feast and Famine: Reds vs. Marlins



savafan
04-13-2006, 03:59 AM
http://www.sports-central.org/sports/2006/04/11/feast_and_famine.php

By William Geoghegan

Feast. Famine.

That's a cycle the Florida Marlins have gotten used to. A lot of bad years. A world championship in 1997. A firesale. Bad years. World Series title in 2003. Two decent years. And another firesale.

I wouldn't want to be a Marlins fan. That's a few too many ups and downs for me. And the downs go pretty deep. I would probably cry if my team went the firesale route.

But here's the thing. Feast or famine isn't such a bad way to go in Major League Baseball. It's a heck of a lot better than small, unsatisfying meals year after year.

In other words, sometimes the best way to build is to tear down and start with a blank slate instead of building in little bits and having to deal with changing blueprints along the way.

That's the difference between the Marlins and a team like the Cincinnati Reds.

The Reds have been on roughly the same path since 2000, when they traded for Ken Griffey, Jr. and seemed to decide that a powerful offense was a lot more important than a dominant pitching staff. They've built around players like Sean Casey, Adam Dunn, and Austin Kearns. They've tried to get by with pitching rotations featuring the likes of Pete Harnisch and Paul Wilson. Either way, it hasn't really worked. The Reds have been over .500 once in the last five years.

It's not entirely their fault. The Reds finished 96-67 the year before Griffey arrived. They thought Griffey would push them over the top. Unfortunately, Griffey got hurt in 2000 and only got completely healthy again last year. And sometimes, a team can only cast its lot with the players it has and take the chance. For the Reds, that means a slugging, but strikeout-prone outfielder in Dunn, a power-deficient first baseman in Casey, and a suddenly mediocre youngster in Kearns.

That, combined with an always-mediocre pitching staff, has forced the Reds into the same breath as the Royals a small-market team that may never win.

But maybe the biggest problem for the Reds is that they're stuck in the middle. They had a plan, they went with it, and it hasn't worked. But instead of scrapping the plan, they've made little adjustments, building things piecemeal, with a pitcher here and a pitcher there. But the formula has remained the same for five years. The Reds can hit, and the Reds can't pitch. No feast. No famine. Just mediocrity.

Would the Reds be better served starting from scratch? It's entirely possible.

Just look at the Marlins. In 1997, their hired guns won a World Series then packed their bags. The players who filled in were no-names. The Marlins' best record in the next five seasons was three games under .500.

But they were building something. And in 2003, they finished, winning the World Series with the players they had made room for in '97.

They bit the bullet, lived through the famine and got to the feast. There were no piecemeal additions. Just solid construction.

Now, the Marlins are doing it again, though not necessarily because they think it's the way to go. Their offseason firesale came about more because of dissatisfaction with their situation in Florida than because of a carefully-laid plan.

But the results may end up being the same. While Josh Beckett and A.J. Burnett and Juan Pierre and Carlos Delgado were shipped out, the players who arrived aren't so bad. Young, but with plenty of potential. Hanley Ramirez was Boston's top prospect last year. Sergio Mitre was solid for the Cubs, but never really got the chance. The same could be said for Mike Jacobs.

Of course, it remains to be seen what will become of these Marlins. But it's bound to be better than what may become of these Reds. Cincinnati looks better this year. They sent Casey to Pittsburgh. They acquired a solid starter in Bronson Arroyo. And new ownership is promising changes.

But if the Reds have learned anything from baseball's landscape they should know this: minor adjustments along the way rarely work for anybody other than the Yankees or the Red Sox.

Sometimes, a famine is the only way to go.

KronoRed
04-13-2006, 04:22 AM
Good article.

Ripping it down is the best way to go, if only the Reds had tried that in 2001.

TC81190
04-13-2006, 09:04 AM
Yes, yes, we know, Adam Dunn strikes out. Please, get over it.

Johnny Footstool
04-13-2006, 10:24 AM
Good article.

Ripping it down is the best way to go, if only the Reds had tried that in 2001.

Only if the people rebuilding are competent.

The Royals have "ripped it down" three or four times since 1998 -- trading away high-salaried players like Dye, Damon, and Beltran. Unfortunately, their return on those deals (Blake Stein? A.J. Hinch?) has been horrible.

registerthis
04-13-2006, 10:59 AM
Yes, yes, we know, Adam Dunn strikes out. Please, get over it.

It was one sentence in the entire article. Get over it.

vaticanplum
04-13-2006, 10:59 AM
Unfortunately, Griffey got hurt in 2000 and only got completely healthy again last year.

Is my memory really this bad? I thought Griffey had a very good 2000 of decent length, then fell apart in 2001. In my head, there was one good year from him on the Reds until last year.

I had forgotten that the Reds had a 96-67 record as recently as 1999, but that's just a coping mechanism.

registerthis
04-13-2006, 11:02 AM
Only if the people rebuilding are competent.

The Royals have "ripped it down" three or four times since 1998 -- trading away high-salaried players like Dye, Damon, and Beltran. Unfortunately, their return on those deals (Blake Stein? A.J. Hinch?) has been horrible.

Indeed. The "tearing it down" equation involves two components: shedding your high-priced tradeable players, and acquiring low-priced players who are projected to excel at the ML level. The Royals have been very good at the former, and unbelieveably lousy at the latter.

What kills me is that K.C. is such a great baseball town. I love Kauffmann, and I think the fans are great. But they've been handed such a pitiful team year after year after year, I'm surprised there hasn't been some sort of revolt.

westofyou
04-13-2006, 11:15 AM
Is my memory really this bad? I thought Griffey had a very good 2000 of decent length


CINCINNATI REDS
SEASON
MODERN (1900-)
CF
RUNS CREATED/GAME vs. the league average displayed only--not a sorting criteria

OPS YEAR OPS RC/G
1 Eric Davis 1987 .991 4.55
2 Cy Seymour 1905 .988 6.73
3 Ken Griffey Jr. 2005 .946 2.73
4 Ken Griffey Jr. 2000 .942 2.28
5 Edd Roush 1923 .938 2.49
6 Eric Davis 1989 .908 2.48
7 Vada Pinson 1961 .883 2.36
8 Vada Pinson 1959 .880 2.29
9 Gus Bell 1953 .879 1.37
10 Edd Roush 1925 .878 0.95



Unfortunately, Griffey got hurt in 2000 and only got completely healthy again last year. And sometimes, a team can only cast its lot with the players it has and take the chance. For the Reds, that means a slugging, but strikeout-prone outfielder in Dunn, a power-deficient first baseman in Casey, and a suddenly mediocre youngster in Kearns.

That, combined with an always-mediocre pitching staff, has forced the Reds into the same breath as the Royals — a small-market team that may never win.



That's rich, all those words on the offense (which still produces) and no word on the 3 years of 5 plus ERA other than "always-mediocre pitching staff"

No mention of 5 years of bad starters, no ML system mention, in fact no mention that the Marlins are probably out of state partly due to the rebuilding.

registerthis
04-13-2006, 11:30 AM
That's rich, all those words on the offense (which still produces) and no word on the 3 years of 5 plus ERA other than "always-mediocre pitching staff"


Yeah, I found it odd that he chose two of the team's more recognizeable pitchers--Wilson and Harnisch--to demonstrate their pitching incompetency. How about Joey Hamilton, Jimmy Anderson, Elmer Dessens, Jimmy Haynes, etc. There's no shortage there.

IslandRed
04-13-2006, 11:51 AM
Now, the Marlins are doing it again, though not necessarily because they think it's the way to go. Their offseason firesale came about more because of dissatisfaction with their situation in Florida than because of a carefully-laid plan.

Yep. Just like the first fire sale. Although I'm thinking that the Indians are a better example of what the Reds could have done, as they turned it around a lot faster than the Marlins did.

But I think JF has it right -- "blow it up" only works if you have the right people calling the shots. And -- as opposed to the writer's opinion -- if you have the right people, you can start from where the Reds are and get there.

Johnny Footstool
04-13-2006, 11:53 AM
Indeed. The "tearing it down" equation involves two components: shedding your high-priced tradeable players, and acquiring low-priced players who are projected to excel at the ML level. The Royals have been very good at the former, and unbelieveably lousy at the latter.

What kills me is that K.C. is such a great baseball town. I love Kauffmann, and I think the fans are great. But they've been handed such a pitiful team year after year after year, I'm surprised there hasn't been some sort of revolt.

KC is a great, devoted baseball town, and that's the very reason there hasn't been a revolt. They just passed an idiotic $530 million stadium renovation bill for the Chiefs/Royals complex (luckily, the $200 million "rolling roof" didn't pass). David Glass is making money hand over fist, even though the Royals are terrible and near the salary floor. People still pay to go to the ballpark.

The same thing would happen in Cincinnati if that's the path Castellini chooses. Luckily, I seriously doubt he would do that.

KearnsyEars
04-13-2006, 12:07 PM
We're not trading Dunn, no famine. Forget it. I won't have it.

registerthis
04-13-2006, 12:29 PM
KC is a great, devoted baseball town, and that's the very reason there hasn't been a revolt. They just passed an idiotic $530 million stadium renovation bill for the Chiefs/Royals complex (luckily, the $200 million "rolling roof" didn't pass). David Glass is making money hand over fist, even though the Royals are terrible and near the salary floor. People still pay to go to the ballpark.

What he's done to that franchise is borderline criminal. K.C. deserves a competitive team. Royals ownership simply doesn't care.

KronoRed
04-13-2006, 04:16 PM
Only if the people rebuilding are competent.

Well that's a given, after the debacle that was 2001 everyone should have been fired and someone with a plan brought in.

KronoRed
04-13-2006, 04:16 PM
We're not trading Dunn, no famine. Forget it. I won't have it.
Dunn and 80 losses a year or no Dunn and 70? ;)

ramp101
04-15-2006, 06:42 PM
Yep. Just like the first fire sale. Although I'm thinking that the Indians are a better example of what the Reds could have done, as they turned it around a lot faster than the Marlins did.

But I think JF has it right -- "blow it up" only works if you have the right people calling the shots. And -- as opposed to the writer's opinion -- if you have the right people, you can start from where the Reds are and get there.
the problem with the original firesale that the Marlins had was that they didnt get many major league ready players... I dont know if the Indians did either, but I know the Marlins did not

this new batch of players the Marlins have seems to have alot more upside... then again, I didnt follow the minor leagues back in 1998...

flyer85
04-15-2006, 06:48 PM
I have little doubt the Marlins will be back in the playoff hunt long before the Reds are. I have seen nothing in the current GM that he is in any kind of a rebuilding process. Everything he has done looks like someone who is trying to, in his world, maximize wins in 2006 rather than building for the future.

Falls City Beer
04-15-2006, 08:13 PM
Believing you must tear down before you can compete again--and compete consistently-- is stale, fusty thinking.

Aronchis
04-15-2006, 10:39 PM
I have little doubt the Marlins will be back in the playoff hunt long before the Reds are. I have seen nothing in the current GM that he is in any kind of a rebuilding process. Everything he has done looks like someone who is trying to, in his world, maximize wins in 2006 rather than building for the future.

and you deduce that in 2 months? Give better effort in making that prediction.

flyer85
04-15-2006, 10:46 PM
and you deduce that in 2 months? Give better effort in making that prediction.Effort has nothing to do with it. Reading these tea leaves isn't hard. If he is looking to build for the future he is doing a wonderful job of hiding it to this point. Then again maybe he will prove me wrong in the next three months and unload Womack, Hatteberg, Milton, Jr, Wilson, WIlliams, Valentin, White, Hammond, Burns, Aurilia, etc. Maybe they will move Dunn to first and install Denorfia out there.

MWM
04-15-2006, 10:52 PM
I haven't seen anything that leads me to much of an opinion either way on Krivsky as for his approach. I think you have to wait to see what he does at the trading deadline, and to a lesser extent the draft, to get an idea as to his long vs. short term approach. The trading is usually a good indicator of how a GM operates.

flyer85
04-15-2006, 10:58 PM
I haven't seen anything that leads me to much of an opinion either way on Krivsky as for his approach. I think you have to wait to see what he does at the trading deadline, and to a lesser extent the draft, to get an idea as to his long vs. short term approach. The trading is usually a good indicator of how a GM operates.cant ignore waiver claims and free agent signings as well. Right now his modus operandi doesn't lean one way or the other. Some scream "win now" others say "build for 2007 and beyond". We will certainly know the answer if he has a pair big enough to deal Jr.

MWM
04-15-2006, 11:06 PM
cant ignore waiver claims and free agent signings as well. Right now his modus operandi doesn't lean one way or the other. Some scream "win now" others say "build for 2007 and beyond". We will certainly know the answer if he has a pair big enough to deal Jr.

I don't know about waiver claims. We could argue that it might have been a good move to pick up a Hee Sop Choi or Carlos Pena, but I don't think passing up guys like that is worth making judgments over. Both of those guys have enough warts that they probably don't make much difference at all. Plus, it's going to cost the team some $, and although it might not be bank breaking dollars, $500k here and there (when they'd still have to pay Hatteburg) isn't insignificant to a $60MM payroll team. I don't really have much problem with his lack of waiver claims. Heck, had he picked up either Choi or Pena, you could argue that those were 2006 moves and not moves looking to the future. Neither of those guys are a long-term solution and at best would be nothing more than a minor upgrade to Hatteburg.

flyer85
04-15-2006, 11:35 PM
I don't know about waiver claims. We could argue that it might have been a good move to pick up a Hee Sop Choi or Carlos Pena, but I don't think passing up guys like that is worth making judgments over. I was thinking more of the waiver claim of a Ross.

FlyingPig
04-16-2006, 12:14 AM
On one hand, you have a team that has won a recent championship. The players on that team were hired guns who stayed that one year and either left or was shipped out. Since then, your team has brought up promising young stars only to also ship them out when they reached a level of expense...This team constantly threatens to leave your city, constantly loses the players you learn to love, and really doesn't have much of a future with an ultra low payroll and one or 2 "stars" who are also probably gonna be shipped off. Do you stay excited about a team like this? How many fans does a team like this generate?

On the other hand, you have a team who hasn't won a championship in over 25 years, has a rich history, has unbelieveable and knowledgeable fans who reside all over the country and love their team...This team has brought back the local kid long term (ok, it hasn't worked out), kept the new hero around, and doesn't threaten their city that they are gonna leave every Monday. Sure, they got problems, but their fans stay true, and even though it sometimes look another way, the management does look for ways to find it's winning history again.


Now...talking about feast or famine..would you rather be the fan of a team that never allows you to get familiar with the players, only deals with today, who only cares about the bottom dollar, doesn't appear to concern themselves over their fans...


Or do you continue to root for the local boy, the new hero, and the team who struggles in a small market, yet continues to find a way to give us hope...year after year....without threats.


Would you rather have a championship for one year...and then a firesale with no players on that championship the following year...and maybe no team at all in your city...or would you rather love the local kid, the new hero and the team you've loved your entire life?

MWM
04-16-2006, 12:16 AM
On the other hand, you have a team who hasn't won a championship in over 25 years,

Actually, they won it in 1990, so it's only 16 years. But yeah, it's still been a long time. ;)

FlyingPig
04-16-2006, 12:17 AM
Actually, they won it in 1990, so it's only 16 years. But yeah, it's still been a long time. ;)


I never was any good in math...

:bang:

KronoRed
04-16-2006, 12:32 AM
Math is for nerds ;)

Sometimes a total tear down is needed, then you can create a constant winner

Difficult though

Chip R
04-16-2006, 11:10 AM
Math is for nerds ;)

Sometimes a total tear down is needed, then you can create a constant winner

Difficult though

Sometimes it is needed. But I do not think it would play well here. We have already had about 2 or 3 partial teardowns since 1995. Since then we have had 5 managers and 3 GMs (4 if you count Kullman). Every one of which has had a philosophy about how to build a ball club. Meanwhile the fans see the addition of Jr., the opening of a new ball park and 2 new ownerships. All of which brought hope to Reds fans that once again they would be seeing post season baseball again. But none of that has succeeded. Now it is possible that a blow it all up procedure would pay dividends down the road. But the difference between Miami and Cincinnati is that Cincinnati has a new stadium to fill and Miami does not. You trade awwy everyone making over 2 million a year and you do not slash ticket prices here, no one will come. I mean why would you go to a game with AAA players and pay $15 to park, $7 for a beer and $30 for tickets when you could just go to LOU or LEX or Indy or COL or Dayton which are all within a 2 hour drive. The beer is cheaper, the parking is cheaper, and the tickets are cheaper. If you want real major league baseball, CLE is a few hours up I 71. I think fans here are more skeptical and believe if they implement a blow it up approach here, it is going to turn out more like KC than Miami.

KronoRed
04-16-2006, 04:53 PM
Reds fans complain anyway, Reds could go 162-0 and they would find some reason to be upset ;)

They will show up for a winner.

Topcat
04-17-2006, 12:41 AM
lets just hope its a buffet