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04-27-2006, 08:54 AM
The Amazing Krivsky
BY PAUL DAUGHERTY | ENQUIRER STAFF WRITER

Right now, he's the smartest man in the room. Don't play cards with him, don't test him at the track. Just listen to what Wayne Krivsky says, and nod.

Wily Mo Peña for Bronson Arroyo: Anybody have a problem with that? Scott Hatteberg? Second on the team in on-base percentage. Krivsky just brought in Cody Ross, a kid from Los Angeles who had a seven-RBI game for the Dodgers, 11 days ago. And then there is Brandon Phillips.

If you don't live within 50 miles of downtown and/or date your existence to 1975, you looked at the headline two days ago and said, "Huh?" Brandon Phillips named NL Player of the Week, it said, or some such. Seventeen RBI in seven days. Phillips is on that 374-RBI pace.

Krivsky got him for a prospect to be named.

The Reds' rookie general manager takes very little credit for swiping Phillips from Cleveland. Krivsky saw Phillips play once in March. "I don't know him personally. I never scouted him," says Krivsky, "but I might have to change my story if he has another week like he just had."

Regardless, if this deal illustrates how Krivsky works, the Reds are in for better days. Phillips-for-prospect is the kind of move that will take the mid-money Reds from 75 wins to 85, and from 85 to October. It's shrewd, thorough, lucky and smart. Just very smart.

It shows Krivsky as a consensus builder. He consulted half a dozen people in the Reds organization, everyone from bench coach Bucky Dent - who managed at

Triple-A Columbus last year and saw a lot of Brandon Phillips - to Louisville manager Rick Sweet. He asked Johnny Almaraz, the Reds' player development director, if the team had a player the Indians would want. He heeded the urgings of a scout named Bill Harford, whom Krivsky had known for 11 years when each worked for the Minnesota Twins.

Former GM Dan O'Brien kept his own counsel. James G. Bowden IV was a cowboy. Krivsky knows what he knows. More importantly, he knows what he doesn't know.

He knew Phillips was out of options. The Indians had to keep him or waive him. He knew Cleveland had another middle infielder they were high on, Ramon Vasquez. He knew Phillips had some baggage. He was a little cocky, a little too highly praised, too soon.

But Krivsky kept coming back to this: "He's 24. He's talented. He gives us something we don't have."

All of March, Bill Harford filled Krivsky's ear. Harford scouts for several clubs. He works the Orlando area during spring training, near the Indians' base in Winter Haven. The rest of the year, he's based in Chicago. He'd seen Phillips many times.

After a month of telling Krivsky, "You have to take a chance on this guy," Harford called the Reds GM in late March. The Indians were playing the Houston Astros. Roy Oswalt was pitching for Houston. "Wayne," Harford said, "I just saw Phillips turn on a Roy Oswalt fastball, 94 miles an hour on the inner half (of the plate). He yanked it about 400 feet. I think this guy's starting to figure it out."

"I vacillated on it quite a bit," says Krivsky, "because of the makeup of our roster." Phillips is a second baseman. "Where was he gonna fit? I kept coming back to the same thing: He was young and talented and might need a change of scenery. Plus, he was defensive-oriented. Good quickness and range, good hands, could turn a double play. What if he doesn't hit? I went back and forth and finally I said, 'You've got to take a chance on someone this young and athletic.' "

Phillips hit .208 in 2003, in 370 at-bats with the Indians. The next two years, he went 4-for-31 in the big leagues, combined. Maybe he's hitting .208 by this July. Phillips doesn't take many pitches. He hasn't walked yet, in 47 at-bats. Maybe pitchers figure that out and stop throwing him good pitches.

Or maybe he's an everyday player making not much money. What matters most is that the Reds have a general manager who seems both aggressive and smart, and whose ego is small enough that he welcomes help. All good characteristics for someone running a team without money to toss.

E-mail pdaugherty@enquirer.com

http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060427/COL03/604270400/1071

MWM
04-27-2006, 09:13 AM
What's amazing is that Krivsky has already moved the franchise forward more in a few months than DanO did in over two years.

Chip R
04-27-2006, 09:16 AM
What's amazing is that Krivsky has already moved the franchise forward more in a few months than DanO did in over two years.

That's true but I remember back in May-June of 2003 Marty and Hal were talking about Bob Boone being manager of the year. I think Wayne has done well so far but it's tantamount to damning him with faint praise.

DJF33
04-27-2006, 09:54 AM
Roy Oswalt was pitching for Houston. "Wayne," Harford said, "I just saw Phillips turn on a Roy Oswalt fastball, 94 miles an hour on the inner half (of the plate). He yanked it about 400 feet. I think this guy's starting to figure it out."


http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060427/COL03/604270400/1071


I'll take some of that on Friday!:beerme:

westofyou
04-27-2006, 09:58 AM
"Where was he gonna fit? I kept coming back to the same thing: He was young and talented and might need a change of scenery. Plus, he was defensive-oriented. Good quickness and range, good hands, could turn a double play. What if he doesn't hit? I went back and forth and finally I said, 'You've got to take a chance on someone this young and athletic.'

Or....

http://www.photofile.com/Photos/Albums/05_Baseball/Studios/Yankees/Images/05WomackTonyStudio.jpg

membengal
04-27-2006, 10:26 AM
Geez, tough call, woy. I have to give OB a pass on that one...

Unassisted
04-27-2006, 10:45 AM
The law of averages says Krivsky will make some bad decisions eventually. Still, it's hard to imagine a better way to start out in a new job.

Lately I've pondered how Krivsky would have done if he had been hired the first time he interviewed and been saddled with the previous ownership/upper management and its inertia. My guess is that he would have made better (and more) choices than DanO, but after being reined in, might not have impressed the Castellini regime enough to stay on as GM.

So far, the combination of ownership and GM seems to be providing a perfect storm for Reds fans. :thumbup:

BTW, I love the revelation that the decision to go after Phillips was a collaborative one. It's tough to make good decisions in a vacuum.

lollipopcurve
04-27-2006, 11:14 AM
The law of averages says Krivsky will make some bad decisions eventually.

All GMs make moves that don't work out. All of them. Phillips was low-risk, high-reward. What I like about it was that EVERYONE knew Phillips was available and Krivsky came away with him. Either he negotiated well or was willing to take a chance that no one else in baseball was willing to take. Whichever it was, he comes out ahead of all of those GMs who now wish they had Phillips.

GAC
04-27-2006, 11:28 AM
Show me a GM that doesn't make bad moves, and I'll show you a guy sitting in a locked office with his phone lines cut! ;)

PickOff
04-27-2006, 11:32 AM
Great article. Rarely do we get what seems to be an honest inside look. I like that Krivsky is being open here.

Bill
04-27-2006, 11:58 AM
Hate to be pedantic, but the Indians are not high on Vasquez but figured would happily sit on the bench behind Peralta and Belliard whereas Phillips would not.

M2
04-27-2006, 12:20 PM
Great article. Rarely do we get what seems to be an honest inside look. I like that Krivsky is being open here.

I like that too.

"He's 24. He's talented. He gives us something we don't have."

That's a guy who's got his eye on the ball.

CTA513
04-27-2006, 12:23 PM
I'll take some of that on Friday!:beerme:

Im pretty sure he did the same thing to Brewers closer Derrick Turnbow.

:thumbup:

UGADaddy
04-27-2006, 12:28 PM
Certainly a great pickup, but he did mention the fact that we're overstocked with 2Bs right now. Aurillia and Freel can both play other spots, but what do you think will happen when Griffey returns? Who's playing time gets cut? Or maybe the question should be: who's getting traded for some bullpen help?

Aurillia, Freel, Griffey, Hatteberg, Phillips, Ross (either one), LaRue, JV???

Bill
04-27-2006, 12:32 PM
Yea, good pickup though it seemed a no brainer to several of us here. I am more impressed that he is willing to both listen and learn from his employees and to actually recognize the problem and act.

Let's see if he can get some more pitching now. That is what will make or break him.

Roy Tucker
04-27-2006, 12:41 PM
http://uvpartylist.com/images/events/thumbs/297.jpg

big boy
04-27-2006, 12:41 PM
Bowden made some nice moves similar to Phillips. Pete Schourek, Jeff Brantley, Jeff Shaw, and Kevin Mitchell come to mind.

redsmetz
04-27-2006, 12:50 PM
Let's see if he can get some more pitching now. That is what will make or break him.

Maybe he can pull it out of a hat? Where's the wand?

M2
04-27-2006, 12:55 PM
Let's see if he can get some more pitching now. That is what will make or break him.

Yep, though I think this, in conjunction with the Arroyo-Pena deal, bodes well on that front. As has been mentioned, Krivsky won't get everything right. The key is to know where you need to go, build a good team to help get you there and seize opportunities when they present themselves.

You can second-guess yourself out of anything. That's where the analytical ability to focus on what's truly important comes into play.

My guess that when Krivsky sat down to consider the Arroyo deal, what went through his mind was some version of :

"He's 29. He's talented. He gives us something we don't have."

Talent acquisition is always a gamble. The key is to make smart bets.

Rotater Cuff
04-27-2006, 01:06 PM
Bowden made some nice moves similar to Phillips. Pete Schourek, Jeff Brantley, Jeff Shaw, and Kevin Mitchell come to mind.
The most similar move Bowden made was a young kid named Wily Mo. Sean Casey was a good acquisition as well.

Caveat Emperor
04-27-2006, 01:21 PM
The most similar move Bowden made was a young kid named Wily Mo. Sean Casey was a good acquisition as well.

Bowden sold high on Elmer Dessens and brought Felipe Lopez to Cincinnati in return. Probably one of the best deals he ever swung as well.

Buy low, sell high.

So far Krivsky has nailed part 1. See: Phillips, Brandon and Arroyo, Bronson.

dfs
04-27-2006, 01:26 PM
The pickup of Jose Guillen was similar. An overhyped mega-prospect gone bad picked up to play in an area where the reds already had a surplus.

big boy
04-27-2006, 02:09 PM
The pickup of Jose Guillen was similar.

Thanks...Guillen is a great example. My point is that Kriv needs to draft and develop big-league pitching to surpass Bowden which is not exactly a high standard. He is obviously better than DOB.

M2
04-27-2006, 02:10 PM
Bowden sold high on Elmer Dessens and brought Felipe Lopez to Cincinnati in return. Probably one of the best deals he ever swung as well.

I maintain he didn't nearly sell high enough on that deal. The D-Backs thought they were getting a #3 pitcher who'd help them win another World Series and the Blue Jays were giving up a SS they were intent on punting.

I'll go to my grave convinced Bowden could have shaken a prospect arm loose to go with Lopez, that the arm would have come from the Arizona organization and that the D-Backs had a blindspot on Brandon Webb.

dfs
04-27-2006, 02:36 PM
I maintain he didn't nearly sell high enough on that deal.

You know...it's kind of funny. I've complained about that trade for years. Strategically it was a disaster. Combined with it's sister trades where they traded away the best arm OR two every year three years in a row and then complained that pitching was hard to aquire....

But in retrospect, Jim Bowden clearly won that trade for the reds from a talent perspective.

Who wins most trades? The team that gets the single most valuable player in the deal? Well, It's kind of hard to argue that Bowden did poorly here, isn't it?

Jason Arnold...he's locked at AAA as a 26 year old. He's less than Josh Hancock.

Elmer Dessens? While we can say that he was more valuable than most pitchers the reds have had in the last few years, that really isn't an endorsment is it? Elmer turned into a pumpkin. Long relief in dodger stadium makes the numbers look good, but Bowden certainly sold high. He's never gonna get 15 starts in a year again.

Erubial Durazo - He's a valuable guy, but an OPS+ of 120 out of an injury prone 30 something who can only DH.

And the reds got a young silver slugging shortstop? Who would you rather have?

RedRage
04-27-2006, 02:41 PM
Hindsight makes it look great. My understanding of Felipe's situation then sounds like Brandon Phillips situation now. So at the time we basically traded for a struggling Felipe Lopez who the Blue Jays organization soured on only the PTBNL in this case was Our #1 pitcher. Yeah I think we could have gotten more than that. (at the time)

Now of course it looks great!

M2
04-27-2006, 02:51 PM
Hindsight makes it look great. My understanding of Felipe's situation then sounds like Brandon Phillips situation now. So at the time we basically traded for a struggling Felipe Lopez who the Blue Jays organization soured on only the PTBNL in this case was Our #1 pitcher. Yeah I think we could have gotten more than that. (at the time)

Now of course it looks great!

Exactly.

dfs, I agree with you about the long-term ramifications of the deal, but Dessens was a bird in hand who was worth two in the bush.

Caveat Emperor
04-27-2006, 03:01 PM
Exactly.

dfs, I agree with you about the long-term ramifications of the deal, but Dessens was a bird in hand who was worth two in the bush.

Don't misunderstand -- I think that as time has passed, we forget quickly the types of season Dessens was coming off when he was traded. He had just had a season where, in 30 starts, he posted a 3.03 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, and an almost 2-1 K/BB ratio. I think the Reds could probably have gotten more from the deal if they tried.

But, it was one of the rare times in this team's recent history where they unloaded a player at peak value as opposed to waiting and getting nothing. They might've gotten more than just Lopez if they'd held out and made a better deal -- but if they'd waited, they probably would've gotten nothing.

Buckaholic
04-27-2006, 04:29 PM
The Blue Jays had another shortstop prospect at that time they were high on. You could make the argument it was a lot like Brandon Phillips because Toronto gave up on him, but they also had another option at that position and you could also make the case the Jays gave up on him way too quickly.

At the time of the trade, Lopez had only 450 at-bats in a little over a year's worth of game spanning late 2001 and 2002. He had hit 13 homers and stolen about 10 bases. His OPS was in the .675/.680 range but plate discipline and his defense were the biggest knocks on him at the time.

He had still been one of the better SS prospects in baseball, so you could make a case that getting someone like that after 450 at-bats was a good trade. It's not like Lopez had enough time under his belt to be labeled a flop.

M2
04-27-2006, 04:44 PM
They might've gotten more than just Lopez if they'd held out and made a better deal -- but if they'd waited, they probably would've gotten nothing.

I agree that waiting could have proven fruitless, but I fully believe Joe Garagiola Jr. would have paid more for Dessens.

M2
04-27-2006, 04:48 PM
The Blue Jays had another shortstop prospect at that time they were high on. You could make the argument it was a lot like Brandon Phillips because Toronto gave up on him, but they also had another option at that position and you could also make the case the Jays gave up on him way too quickly.

At the time of the trade, Lopez had only 450 at-bats in a little over a year's worth of game spanning late 2001 and 2002. He had hit 13 homers and stolen about 10 bases. His OPS was in the .675/.680 range but plate discipline and his defense were the biggest knocks on him at the time.

He had still been one of the better SS prospects in baseball, so you could make a case that getting someone like that after 450 at-bats was a good trade. It's not like Lopez had enough time under his belt to be labeled a flop.

You mean a F-Lop? BF should have been forced to wear a dog collar for that one.

Actually the Jays had FeLo and Cesar Izturis and got rid of both because they thought Chris Woodward was going to the bee's knees. J.P. Ricciardi may indeed be clinically half as smart as he thinks he is.

Buckaholic
04-27-2006, 06:54 PM
M2, but my point is that realistically, you shouldn't be giving up on players after 450 at-bats. I admit I don't have the statistical analysis to back this up, but how many prospects truly blossom into their full potential after less than 500 plate appearances?

The underlying theme in this thread seems to be that Bowden shouldn't get too much credit for making the deal at that time because he should have received more. But at that very time, getting one of the better shortstop prospects in baseball is a pretty big deal for an overacheiving pitcher like Dessens was.

And sure, the deal looks better now because of how well it turned out, but isn't that how we're supposed to judge trades? By the result?

The bottom line was that Bowden got a young shortstop for an overacheiving starting pitcher that did little else after the trade. He got it from a team that gave up on this future all-star after less than a season's worth of plate appearances. I think we should be crediting Bowden for this deal.

gm
04-27-2006, 10:58 PM
it was one of the rare times in this team's recent history where they unloaded a player at peak value as opposed to waiting and getting nothing. They might've gotten more than just Lopez if they'd held out and made a better deal -- but if they'd waited, they probably would've gotten nothing.

Sounds like the incredibly shrinking Denny Neagle deal

(at least in a reeeally 'round about way--and 2-4 GMs later--the train whistle fetched Arroyo)

George Foster
04-27-2006, 11:08 PM
Bowden made some nice moves similar to Phillips. Pete Schourek, Jeff Brantley, Jeff Shaw, and Kevin Mitchell come to mind.

I also remember Paul O'Neil for a........Roberto Kelly:thumbdown I am right about that..I think? Was he the GM then?

big boy
04-28-2006, 10:56 AM
I also remember Paul O'Neil for a........Roberto Kelly:thumbdown I am right about that..I think? Was he the GM then?

I am not on the Jim Bowden defense team or anything but I don't recall anyone thinking that the trade was bad at that time. Kelly went to the All-Star game in his first year so it looked like a good trade in July.

That is just one of those deals that, in the end, didn't work.

westofyou
04-28-2006, 11:03 AM
I am not on the Jim Bowden defense team or anything but I don't recall anyone thinking that the trade was bad at that time. Kelly went to the All-Star game in his first year so it looked like a good trade in July.

Plus the Reds didn't have a CF, having flipped ED for pitching.

dfs
04-28-2006, 11:03 AM
I also remember Paul O'Neil for a........Roberto Kelly I am right about that..I think? Was he the GM then?

Yes, but that was less Jim Bowden and more Lou Pinella who more or less rode O'Neil out of town.

For all his faults, Bowden listened to his major league managers and got/got rid of folks to shape the roster how the manager wanted. That worked reasonable well when the manager had the ability to seperate wheat from chaffe( McKean, Davey Johnson, to some extent Pinella) and worked a little less well when there was a clown sitting in the managers chair (Ray Knight and Bob Boone)

M2
04-28-2006, 11:06 AM
M2, but my point is that realistically, you shouldn't be giving up on players after 450 at-bats.

I agree with that (especially when those 450 ABs have been amassed years before the player could reasonably be expected to be ready) and I do credit Bowden for the deal, though he was buying FeLo low and selling Dessens high and that should have garnered him an extra prospect.

He had the chance to make the Reds equivalent of Dan Duquette's Heathcliff Slocumb trade with the Mariners.

TeamBoone
05-07-2006, 10:56 AM
May 7, 2006

TIM BROWN SUNDAY REPORT
Dreaming of Raising a Red Flag
Tim Brown

Even now, five weeks into his first regular season as general manager of the Cincinnati Reds, Wayne Krivsky can't get used to the view.

From his perspective at Great American Ballpark on the banks of the Ohio River, it is lovely and all. Really, it is.

Nice stadium out there. Good ballclub down there, so far. Comfortable suite. Raindrops don't make his notes run off the page and into his lap. Sun doesn't fry his neck to where his shirt collar feels like a belt sander. Nobody squeezes past three times an inning to go to the bathroom.

It's a wonderful job, the one he wanted for years, running the baseball side of a big league franchise, and an awfully long way from the frontyard in New Canaan, Conn., where his dad built a batting cage and many afternoons had Wayne's high school team over.

The Reds have won 20 games and arrived at the season's fifth weekend unexpectedly atop the National League Central, home of the last two NL champions. And maybe Cincinnati, its franchise having played in the contrail of another era for most of the last three decades, can grow into a baseball town again.

Now, if only the general manager could see the look in the pitcher's eyes.

In the game's subtle struggle between evaluators and administrators, where the soul of the player is measured against his line in the box score, the last GM hired is 51 years old, much prefers a seat behind home plate, and knows which way to point a radar gun.

As Terry Ryan's assistant general manager in Minnesota for 11 years, and the 15 years before that with the Texas Rangers, Krivsky learned his way around an arbitration case, a contract negotiation and a spreadsheet. Together, leaning on a philosophy of player development driven by their scouts in the field, they pushed the small-market Twins from near-contraction to three consecutive division titles.

Hired by the Reds this spring, shortly after Bob Castellini bought the team, Krivsky dutifully reports to his luxury box for home games. But on the road, in major and minor league ballparks, he finds a seat in the stands and goes to work.

"The scout in me won't ever leave," Krivsky said, "because that's my background."

The immediate result, the one all of Cincinnati sees, is a workable relationship from Castellini to Krivsky to field manager Jerry Narron to Narron's staff, and a competitive team.

The Reds lead the league in runs. Even with another injury to Ken Griffey Jr. and the trade that sent Sean Casey to Pittsburgh, they figured on scoring. The ballpark alone, one of the more favorable hitter's venues ever constructed, ensured that.

The maturation of Edwin Encarnacion (25 RBIs in 26 games) and, in an under-the-radar trade with Cleveland, the addition of Brandon Phillips (23 RBIs in 22 games) have more than covered the loss of Casey, so the Reds have slugged their way to more than a few wins.

Out of character, their pitching staff has been average, average being plenty enough for Adam Dunn, Austin Kearns and the boys.

Bronson Arroyo, acquired from Boston for perennial what-if-he-ever-got-600-at-bats prospect Wily Mo Pena, and Aaron Harang, a career .500 pitcher until about 20 minutes ago, have combined for 10 wins and one loss. With Eric Milton and Paul Wilson on the disabled list, Red starters lead the NL in innings pitched, which has helped shelter the team's so-so middle relief.

So the Reds, for the moment, stand with the Detroit Tigers as the team few saw coming. Most preseason analyses had the Reds finishing somewhere between the Pirates and smothered laughter in the Central. That is, unless Griffey stayed healthy, which he hasn't, which hasn't been a factor at all.

With a handful of deft moves — bringing in Arroyo, Phillips and, yes, catcher David Ross — Krivsky minimally has bought time to match the scouting and player development departments to his vision, and at most quick-fixed a team that lost 89 games last season into playoff contention.

There's more on the way too. Griffey was healthy enough to play this weekend in Arizona, and Milton and Wilson are expected to return at some point, though the benefits of that are debatable.

"I didn't have a plan in terms of wins and losses," Krivsky said. "I wanted to bring the best people I could into the organization, both scouts and players. I wanted to add a few evaluators I was close to. … It's not me operating in a vacuum."

They are the methods that worked for several years in Minnesota, a philosophy that grew on Krivsky.

"He's a good baseball man," said Ryan, the Twin GM. "He knows what makes players and teams and character click. Wayne digs in deep enough to know makeup, which is difficult to get. He's always had a feel for that kind of depth, that gut feeling.

"The other thing he has down, he listens well. That comes with his time in the field. When you're out there, you feel like you're on an island. If people aren't listening to you, you feel like you're not worthy."

For the first time in a long time, a decade since Marge, three years since Bowden, three months since Dan O'Brien, who many agree was a wonderful guy overmatched, the Reds seem to be in a pretty good place.

Krivsky is settling in, and acclimating to the view. He and his wife, Linda, have a place in Kentucky, with a large yard for the three dogs.

"She's calling it home," he said. "If I got her and the dogs happy, I'm doing OK."
http://www.latimes.com/sports/printedition/la-sp-brown7may07,1,512005.story?coll=la-headlines-pe-sports&ctrack=1&cset=true