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Cyclone792
10-04-2006, 10:16 PM
Nah, not from the Reds or Wayne Krivsky ... yet, if ever.

But from Theo Epstein and the Boston Red Sox. Here's some highlights ...



GM sees errors of his trades
By Gordon Edes, Globe Staff | October 1, 2006

Of all the questions swirling around the Red Sox this offseason, from the future address of outfielder Manny Ramírez, to the role of pitcher Jonathan Papelbon, to the keep-him-or-not debate over shortstop Alex Gonzalez, there is one that evidently has been put to rest, perhaps with no more than a handshake. No signature required. No furtive departures on the agenda.

``Oh yeah, we worked that out," Epstein said last week when asked to address the matter of his return, even as he sidestepped the issue of whether he had signed the contract drawn up by the Red Sox. ``There was nothing to work out."

The full weight, then, of how the Sox proceed this winter will thus fall upon the 32-year-old general manager, unlike last year, when a fractured front office made decisions that profoundly affected the shape of a team that faded badly after operating for half a season with what turned out to be deceptive smoothness.

Epstein was at best a shadow presence last offseason, offering counsel behind the scenes when the Red Sox traded their best prospect, Hanley Ramírez, to Florida in November as part of a package for pitcher Josh Beckett and third baseman Mike Lowell, a trade whose merits are likely to be analyzed for some time to come, especially if the arc of Ramírez's career ascends to the heights promised by his sensational debut or Beckett flat-lines.

Epstein, according to Sox insiders, was not an advocate of making that deal, though he now champions Beckett. But he chafes at another deal for which he takes full responsibility, the one he made May 1 in which he gave up promising relief pitcher Cla Meredith to San Diego to meet the urgent need of finding someone (Doug Mirabelli) who could catch Tim Wakefield's knuckleball.

That deal, in his view, was a betrayal of a principle he considers essential to the future success of the ball club: having patience with your prospects. It is a mistake he is determined not to repeat as he plots the moves he intends to make this winter. His operating philosophy is the same one he espoused back in the spring, when he said the goal is to integrate young players while maintaining the momentum of winning.

``I still think that's the goal," Epstein said. ``I think there were several missteps along the way, there were several obstacles along the way. Now the challenge is to apply the things that we've learned from our mistakes and do a better job."


One he'd like back

The Meredith case, Epstein said, reflected both the strengths and weaknesses of the Sox' approach. The team obviously did well in scouting and drafting him, and providing a setting in which he thrived in his first full year of pro ball. The flaw was rushing him to the big leagues -- manager Terry Francona has kicked himself on numerous occasions for pushing for Meredith's promotion and mishandling him once he arrived -- then not finding a way for Meredith to regain his effectiveness when he was sent back to the minors.

``Everything we tried didn't work as an organization, and I'm responsible," Epstein said. ``We didn't do the right thing. He didn't [succeed] for a whole calendar year, basically. He was without his stuff, his velocity was down, his sink was way off, his secondary pitches didn't develop at all for essentially a full calendar year. This guy had gone backwards and was very fringy. Our failure was a lack of patience in not giving him longer than a calendar year to right himself."

And so the Sox, caught up in the immediate need for Mirabelli, gave up on Meredith, who in San Diego set a club record for consecutive scoreless innings (34) while the Boston bullpen imploded. ``We didn't handle that situation well, and obviously it led to a really bad trade.

``We intend to be patient," said Epstein. ``We will not be the organization that we want to be without being patient. We can't control the patience of our fan base or our media, but we can absolutely control our patience, and that will be done."

The Sox were wildly successful with entrusting the closer role to a rookie, Papelbon, and awarding first base to Kevin Youkilis, a player in his first full season. They appear bent on giving another rookie, Dustin Pedroia, every chance to claim the second base job next season. They were forced, mostly by circumstance, to assign greater responsibility than intended to young pitchers Jon Lester, Manny Delcarmen, and Craig Hansen, with decidedly mixed results.

``I think the second-half decline, if you want to use broad strokes, there were two things," said Epstein. ``One, it revealed we had flaws on the team, weaknesses on the team, that were revealed some but not exposed in the first half. Two, everything that could go wrong did go wrong, to an extent that I've never seen before and probably was close to unprecedented in modern baseball.

``But those are two separate and distinct things. One does not wash the other for us. The most important factor is the first one, not the second one. The second one, there's nothing you can do about.

``Look, we knew that there were players being pushed into roles that we thought at this point in their careers would be fortunate to [succeed]. Go back and look at June, how well Lester was pitching right off the bat. That's rare for that stage. Not everyone has the same assimilation to the big leagues as Jonathan Papelbon. That happens about once a generation. Hansen and Delcarmen, because of other failures in the bullpen, were being pushed up the bullpen totem pole."


Deadline defense

The Sox may have overachieved as they raced to the second-best record in baseball in the first half, helped in great measure by being able to beat up on National League teams ( 16-2 in interleague play).

``There were things that didn't get exposed in the first half, when everyone was fresh and healthy," Epstein said. ``Those things would have been exposed inevitably, but they were exposed much more quickly and dramatically because of the injuries. Then the injuries took on a life of their own. They became freakish, and would have devastated any team."

But Epstein has little patience with those who criticize the Sox for not making a significant move at the trading deadline, and even less for those who contend the club turned down the chance to acquire a Roy Oswalt or Andruw Jones because they were unwilling to trade more prospects. The reality is that the club held onto their prospects instead of making lesser moves, and were in the end unable to persuade either the Astros, in Oswalt's case, or the Braves, in Jones's case, to part with the players.

``There's a lot we regret about the season as baseball operations, and a lot I personally regret," said Epstein, ``but what happened at the trade deadline is not one of those things.

``The force at play this offseason is balancing the urgency everyone feels to address some holes -- to put ourselves in position to win and win soon -- balancing that urgency with patience, especially in regard to young players and prospects.

``You can be aggressive, you can go all out in an attempt to fix problems, but that urgency cannot turn into desperation. Otherwise we'll never be the type of team we want to be."

http://www.boston.com/sports/baseball/redsox/articles/2006/10/01/gm_sees_errors_of_his_trades/?page=full

There is more to the article than quoted above, but what is quoted above is the crux of Theo Epstein admitting responsibility for some of his poor moves during the season with the Red Sox.

Epstein is creative and bold, but perhaps one of his most interesting assets is that he's honest with himself, Red Sox fans and the media. If he makes a mistake with the team, he goes out and tells you that he's taking the responsibility, and what's outlined above is Epstein readily accepting responsibility for some of the mistakes he and the Red Sox front office made this season.

Taking responsibility for bad moves is just one step to help move toward overall success, however. The next step is learning from those mistakes to ensure better decisions are made in the future when similar circumstances show their face. Of particular note is Epstein's quote regarding not allowing aggressiveness and urgency to turn into desperation, because if it does, the Red Sox become an organization that they didn't intend to be.

Unfortunately for the Reds in 2006, we found out what happens when aggressiveness and urgency turns into desperation.

Now while Wayne Krivsky and the Reds' front office did make some positive moves in 2006, they also made some critical mistakes along the way. Will they acknowledge - and most importantly - learn from these past mistakes? Or will they continue down a path of believing that some of the wrong moves were actually the right moves and further open the door to making those same mistakes again?

We may not know these answers yet of whether or not Krivsky, his new front office and the Reds learn from many of their 2006 mistakes, but I'm thinking we'll definitely know most of them by the time Opening Day rolls around in April, 2007.

Let us hope those answers are the answers we'll want to hear.

Cedric
10-04-2006, 10:45 PM
He's been horrible since the beginning in Boston.

I think he is one of the worst five gm's in baseball. I'm damn glad he isn't here in Cincy.

SteelSD
10-04-2006, 10:47 PM
He's been horrible since the beginning in Boston.

I think he is one of the worst five gm's in baseball. I'm damn glad he isn't here in Cincy.

Um...what?

Cedric
10-04-2006, 10:51 PM
If any Reds gm traded Freddy Sanchez and Mike Gonzalez for Jeff Suppan they would be hanged. I don't care about the loss of young talent that Boston is allowed to sustain.

Bobby Abreu should be a Red Sox. Don't overpay for a Marlins pitcher, and surely don't sign him to that contract.

Don't sign Matt Clement. That's not hindsight, I can't believe people ever thought he was good.

Now I'll just start throwing out names of his failures. Javy Lopez, Pena, Hinske, and even Wily Mo.

The handling of the Colorado trade is even more embarrasing.

Forgot about Renteria.

Falls City Beer
10-04-2006, 11:03 PM
He's been horrible since the beginning in Boston.

I think he is one of the worst five gm's in baseball. I'm damn glad he isn't here in Cincy.

And you blame me for "having a schtick."

Dude, your blind hatred (and that's all it is) for all things intellectual and self-evaluative is, well, transparent.

We get it. You can say something new anytime you wish.

Cedric
10-04-2006, 11:04 PM
The bottom five comment was a little over the top, but I don't think his hits on Ortiz and Foulke are enough to make him a great gm.

He has failed pretty bad in building a bullpen and meshing his young farm system with his already talent. I also don't think Dan Duquette get's enough credit for the nucleus of that 04 team.

Cedric
10-04-2006, 11:05 PM
And you blame me for "having a schtick."

Dude, your blind hatred (and that's all it is) for all things intellectual and self-evaluative is, well, transparent.

We get it. You can say something new anytime you wish.

If you got a problem with me personally, take it private.

vaticanplum
10-04-2006, 11:25 PM
The above article is representative of one reason I am a Yankees fan despite the fact that as an organization they often make me want to remove my eyelids with a shrimp fork. When they blow it, they take responsibility. Teams with high payrolls, for all of their inequities, generally come equipped with high standards to match. I do not tolerate acceptance of mediocrity in life; it's only through blind love that I have accepted it for 6+ years from one of my baseball teams.

And I've never before agreed with Cedric, ever, but I will say that I have always thought that Epstein is slightly overrated as a GM. He has ridden -- through no fault of his own -- the boy genius train through some very rough spots. He makes some absolutely brilliant moves and I think the moves he made mid-2004 were the peak of that, and the postseason proved it, however questionable some thought they were at the time. But he's made some terrible moves too. Whether they're risks that failed (which I respect) or moves made in stupidity and an eagerness to please, I'm not sure. But all told it evens out closer to the middle than I think I lot of other people believe.

REDREAD
10-04-2006, 11:28 PM
Whether you like Epstein or not, it sure would be nice to get a quote from a Reds GM like that. I don't think we've ever had a frank discussion from a GM like that. Although, in all fairness, GMs nowdays have so many more outlets to communicate. In the pre-Bowden era, the only Reds coverage most people got was Hal McCoy's weekly sporting news column.

I liked Bowden more than most people here, but he was the king of Spin Doctoring and exageration :lol: DanO liked to talk for 15 minutes without saying anything, and so far it appears that Wayne refuses to acknowledge mistakes (prefering to blame it on someone or something else).

flyer85
10-04-2006, 11:45 PM
I could care less if a GM acknowledges a mistake publicly. What I want is one that will acknowledge it to himself and take the steps to make sure the reasoning that lead to the problem is not repeated.

TOBTTReds
10-05-2006, 12:08 AM
I could care less if a GM acknowledges a mistake publicly. What I want is one that will acknowledge it to himself and take the steps to make sure the reasoning that lead to the problem is not repeated.

Very well stated.

Unassisted
10-05-2006, 08:56 AM
I think self-effacement is a quality that would not be valued in most MLB organizations. Most owners would prefer to preserve the illusion of a steady hand on the tiller than to have the person attached to that hand announcing his failings publicly. I'm not saying it's wrong for a GM to admit mistakes... it's just different and unusual in the bravado-filled world of sports.

The circumstances under which Theo returned to Boston seem to have imparted a special kind of leverage. It took brass to hand his owner, via the media, a short list of reasons to negatively view his performance. I don't think it would be a wise move for his counterpart in Cincinnati to do the same, given Castellini's publicly stated goals of success.

lollipopcurve
10-05-2006, 09:14 AM
There are writers up here in New England who skewer Theo every chance they get, just like there are posters on this board who pound on Krivsky. Genius is in the eye of the beholder.

They all make moves that work out well and moves that don't. Nature of the business.

Some have money to cover their mistakes. Some don't.

redsmetz
10-05-2006, 09:29 AM
The circumstances under which Theo returned to Boston seem to have imparted a special kind of leverage. It took brass to hand his owner, via the media, a short list of reasons to negatively view his performance. I don't think it would be a wise move for his counterpart in Cincinnati to do the same, given Castellini's publicly stated goals of success.

I'm puzzled by this, to say the least. I think WK was upfront on his most controversial trade (Kearns/Lopez) that he understood he might have overpaid. And while early indications are that it may not have worked, it's still too early to tell. As many have said, these things take time to see how they balance out. I think he's been fairly candid that with regardings to finding pitching help, he was going to turn over every stone.

For a GM who came in within a week of the start of Spring Training with a roster (and an organization) that had quite a lot of holes, he juggled things reasonably well. There are always certain things GM's can't talk about, particularly as they go into negotiations with their own players and possible free agents. There's something to be said for not tipping your hand too.

I often think folks here believe things are much more underhanded than they actually are. As Freud once said, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

blumj
10-05-2006, 10:42 AM
The circumstances under which Theo returned to Boston seem to have imparted a special kind of leverage. It took brass to hand his owner, via the media, a short list of reasons to negatively view his performance. I don't think it would be a wise move for his counterpart in Cincinnati to do the same, given Castellini's publicly stated goals of success.
I'm assuming that Castellini and Krivsky don't have quite the same relationship that John Henry does with Theo. Henry went through a lot to bring Theo back, he'd look like a complete ass in every way if he waffled now. I doubt it's in his nature anyway. I don't know how Theo could have made it any clearer that he simply wouldn't want the job anymore if he had to do it without Henry's support.

vaticanplum
10-05-2006, 11:30 AM
I'm puzzled by this, to say the least. I think WK was upfront on his most controversial trade (Kearns/Lopez) that he understood he might have overpaid. And while early indications are that it may not have worked, it's still too early to tell. As many have said, these things take time to see how they balance out. I think he's been fairly candid that with regardings to finding pitching help, he was going to turn over every stone.

For a GM who came in within a week of the start of Spring Training with a roster (and an organization) that had quite a lot of holes, he juggled things reasonably well. There are always certain things GM's can't talk about, particularly as they go into negotiations with their own players and possible free agents. There's something to be said for not tipping your hand too.

I often think folks here believe things are much more underhanded than they actually are. As Freud once said, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

I have to say that I do agree with this. The tone of the relationship of the GM to the public has changed since the time Krivsky came in.

Falls City Beer
10-05-2006, 11:49 AM
While I agree with those saying Theo's had something of a rocky tenure in Boston, I have to say that I'm deeply impressed by a guy who's willing to concede his mistakes. There was a time--maybe a golden age of my own devising--when it was a badge of honor to be a stand-up guy and admit one's mistakes. I think it says quite a bit about the culture in Boston's FO--and most of it is healthy.

johngalt
10-05-2006, 11:49 AM
Curt Schilling
Keith Foulke
David Ortiz
Orlando Cabrera
Bronson Arroyo
Kevin Millar
Mark Bellhorn
Bill Mueller
Mike Timlin
Scott Williamson

I'd say that's a pretty good chunk of that '04 team that Epstein assembled and helped push the Red Sox over the top and past the Yankees. Sure, you had Damon, Varitek, Ramirez and Martinez already in the fold, but it was Epstein's pieces that made the difference.

dabvu2498
10-05-2006, 12:05 PM
From my experience, most Boston fans are better equipped to handle "the truth" than most Reds fans, who prefer soundbites about "improvement" or "hustle" or "playing the game the right way." Of course, the culture change of an organization that won it's first WS after 86 years of futility has alot to do with that. Theo's still got some rope to play with, but this season certainly shortened that. If they miss the playoffs next year, he's in trouble, no matter how much of a "genius" he is.

M2
10-05-2006, 12:09 PM
I could have sworn Theo's first three teams made the playoffs and won a World Series along the way.

I also thought he picked up David Ortiz for next to nothing, traded for Curt Schilling, brought in Keith Foulke and mined veterans like Bill Mueller, Kevin Millar and Mark Bellhorn.

I must apparently be mistaken that in 2004 he made one of the gutsiest and most controversial trades in Red Sox history when he parted with franchise icon Nomar Garciaparra, insisting his team wasn't currently built to win in October. As this evidently fictional memory goes, Epstein showed an uncanny sense of what his team needed at that juncture. If it had happened it would be the perfect counterpoint to what Wayne Krivsky didn't manage to do with the Reds this season.

If the Sox had averaged 93.5 wins during his four seasons at the helm and won a World Series then I suppose it would sound fairly ridiclous to insist he's a lousy GM. Though clearly the results haven't been anywhere near that good.

RedsManRick
10-05-2006, 12:15 PM
On the MLB Radio Fantasy 411, they have a couple points they bring up in this vein:

1.) "Show your work" - In their context, this just means be accountable for the decisions you've made and understand why you made them at the time. When you look back and see you traded away Pujols in May, you should be clear on what your logic was for doing so. If you do this, you are prepared to...

2.) "Don't confuse the outcome with the decision" - Sometimes, good decisions lead to bad outcomes. That's just how luck works. Don't misinterperet the bad outcome as a bad decision. There are some obvious corralaries here that are quite applicable:
- Don't let a bad outcome prevent you from making a similar good decision in the future.
- Don't let a good outcome trick you in to thinking a bad decision was a good one. This one is something that absolutely hounds bad teams. They give an aging vet a bad contract and he, through luck, comes up with a good year. Next year they go out and give similar contracts to 3 more guys.

3. "Constantly re-examine your strategy" - Nobody has it all figured out. It's impossible to accurately judge good and bad decisions unless you keep revisiting the logic. Sometimes a string of bad outcomes really is a sign that what you thought was a good decision actually wasn't. You won't know unless you check your work, reanalyze your thought processes, and reaffirm your logic.

It's amazing that the leadership of crappy teams stays in place for as long as it does -- particularly the Royals and Pirates who have gone through an entire generation of players without winning. They keep making the same mistakes over and over again. Like Theo or hate him, he understands all of the above points. He knows he screwed up some things and he knows some things happened that were out of his control. He's determined to address his process to fix his own errors and to be better prepared for the uncontrollable.

To me, and I mean this in a VERY non-political way (I don't want this to become a political debate), he reminds me as Bill Clinton. Regardless of whether or not you agree with his specific conclusions, the man just comes across as somebody who is incredibly intelligent and has a firm handle on things. Sometimes you get GM speak and you attribute it to the fact that that's the actual logic the GM uses -- sometimes you can tell he's just being diplomatic. With Krivsky, I'm still not sure.

NJReds
10-05-2006, 12:19 PM
I could have sworn Theo's first three teams made the playoffs and won a World Series along the way.

I also thought he picked up David Ortiz for next to nothing, traded for Curt Schilling, brought in Keith Foulke and mined veterans like Bill Mueller, Kevin Millar and Mark Bellhorn.

I must apparently be mistaken that in 2004 he made one of the gutsiest and most controversial trades in Red Sox history when he parted with franchise icon Nomar Garciaparra, insisting his team wasn't currently built to win in October. As this evidently fictional memory goes, Epstein showed an uncanny sense of what his team needed at that juncture. If it had happened it would be the perfect counterpoint to what Wayne Krivsky didn't manage to do with the Reds this season.

If the Sox had averaged 93.5 wins during his four seasons at the helm and won a World Series then I suppose it would sound fairly ridiclous to insist he's a lousy GM. Though clearly the results haven't been anywhere near that good.

He also nearly traded Manny for ARod, except the top brass balked at paying about $5M/year. But most of the time he's got a pretty unlimited checkbook. He's made a lot of good and bad moves; as all GMs have. But I think each team's fans tend to focus only on the negative.

If Theo was here, he'd be raked over the coals for some of those moves. If he had traded Barry Larkin and Austin Kearns for Doug Mienkiewitz and Orlando Cabrera, the outcry would've been long and loud. If not for one of the all time great comebacks (or collapses, depending on your point of view) that Garciaparra deal would be looked at in a completely different light.

M2
10-05-2006, 12:26 PM
From my experience, most Boston fans are better equipped to handle "the truth" than most Reds fans, who prefer soundbites about "improvement" or "hustle" or "playing the game the right way." Of course, the culture change of an organization that won it's first WS after 86 years of futility has alot to do with that. Theo's still got some rope to play with, but this season certainly shortened that. If they miss the playoffs next year, he's in trouble, no matter how much of a "genius" he is.

Living in Boston, I can tell you the tone the team takes has changed drastically since John Henry bought the team. It's incredibly open. It beats the steady stream of flintiness and BS coming from Jimy Williams, Dan Duquette and John Harrington.

Though it's a page they've stolen out of the Yankees handbook. Joe Torre and Brian Cashman seemingly minted the forthright discussion of what's going on with the team.

I get the sense that in both cases, it's made the fans feel like they're respected by the organization (which is no longer talking down to them). Krivsky seems to operate along those lines (one of the things I like about him). DanO was the complete opposite (and it was one of the reasons I found him repugnant). Narron seems to take advantage of the fact that the Reds have a relatively small press corps and he doesn't have to answer a battery of questions about every move he makes. While I'm sure it's a relief not to have to justify your every move in the wake of each game (win or lose), it does create the perception of a "just shut up and buy some tickets" mentality.

jimbo
10-05-2006, 12:28 PM
I could care less if a GM acknowledges a mistake publicly. What I want is one that will acknowledge it to himself and take the steps to make sure the reasoning that lead to the problem is not repeated.

Very well said. I don't quite understand the uproar on why some feel that Krivsky has to make some public statement about mistakes he may have made. As long as he realizes and understands his mistakes, I for one do not need a public announcement. Actions speak louder than words.

M2
10-05-2006, 12:28 PM
On the MLB Radio Fantasy 411, they have a couple points they bring up in this vein:

1.) "Show your work" - In their context, this just means be accountable for the decisions you've made and understand why you made them at the time. When you look back and see you traded away Pujols in May, you should be clear on what your logic was for doing so. If you do this, you are prepared to...

2.) "Don't confuse the outcome with the decision" - Sometimes, good decisions lead to bad outcomes. That's just how luck works. Don't misinterperet the bad outcome as a bad decision. There are some obvious corralaries here that are quite applicable:
- Don't let a bad outcome prevent you from making a similar good decision in the future.
- Don't let a good outcome trick you in to thinking a bad decision was a good one. This one is something that absolutely hounds bad teams. They give an aging vet a bad contract and he, through luck, comes up with a good year. Next year they go out and give similar contracts to 3 more guys.

3. "Constantly re-examine your strategy" - Nobody has it all figured out. It's impossible to accurately judge good and bad decisions unless you keep revisiting the logic. Sometimes a string of bad outcomes really is a sign that what you thought was a good decision actually wasn't. You won't know unless you check your work, reanalyze your thought processes, and reaffirm your logic.

It's amazing that the leadership of crappy teams stays in place for as long as it does -- particularly the Royals and Pirates who have gone through an entire generation of players without winning. They keep making the same mistakes over and over again. Like Theo or hate him, he understands all of the above points. He knows he screwed up some things and he knows some things happened that were out of his control. He's determined to address his process to fix his own errors and to be better prepared for the uncontrollable.

To me, and I mean this in a VERY non-political way (I don't want this to become a political debate), he reminds me as Bill Clinton. Regardless of whether or not you agree with his specific conclusions, the man just comes across as somebody who is incredibly intelligent and has a firm handle on things. Sometimes you get GM speak and you attribute it to the fact that that's the actual logic the GM uses -- sometimes you can tell he's just being diplomatic. With Krivsky, I'm still not sure.

Great, great, great post.

RedsManRick
10-05-2006, 12:30 PM
Very well said. I don't quite understand the uproar on why some feel that Krivsky has to make some public statement about mistakes he may have made. As long as he realizes and understands his mistakes, I for one do not need a public announcement. Actions speak louder than words.

Well, one might argue that signing Castro to an extention is an action which shows he doesn't quite get his mistakes. Yes, this isn't the same mistake as the bullpen acquisitions out of desperation, but it hints that his public statements are indeed accurate reflections of his intent and depth of undetstanding.

johngalt
10-05-2006, 12:31 PM
If Theo was here, he'd be raked over the coals for some of those moves. If he had traded Barry Larkin and Austin Kearns for Doug Mienkiewitz and Orlando Cabrera, the outcry would've been long and loud. If not for one of the all time great comebacks (or collapses, depending on your point of view) that Garciaparra deal would be looked at in a completely different light.


He traded a talented but disgruntled, often-injured shortstop who was wearing out his welcome with the organization and a decent-but-not-great outfield prospect for a former Gold Glove shortstop with an acceptable stick and a former Gold Glove first baseman to radically upgrade the team's infield defense without sacrificing too much offense to do it.

That deal has no comparison to the Kearns/Lopez/Majewski/Bray abomination.

jimbo
10-05-2006, 12:33 PM
Well, one might argue that signing Castro to an extention is an action which shows he doesn't quite get his mistakes.

An argument doesn't equate to a mistake.

M2
10-05-2006, 12:34 PM
f Theo was here, he'd be raked over the coals for some of those moves. If he had traded Barry Larkin and Austin Kearns for Doug Mienkiewitz and Orlando Cabrera, the outcry would've been long and loud. If not for one of the all time great comebacks (or collapses, depending on your point of view) that Garciaparra deal would be looked at in a completely different light.

True enough. What strikes me as the shrewdest part of that move is Theo rightly guessed that Cabrera had more in his tank for the remainder of 2004 than Nomar.

Though the guy who got Theo dubbed a genius was Dave Roberts. Two critical stolen bases for a franchise that never has and still doesn't run made Epstein look like a four-dimensional thinker.

flyer85
10-05-2006, 12:40 PM
made Epstein look like a four-dimensional thinker.But he ain't no Buckaroo Banzai. :D

NJReds
10-05-2006, 01:01 PM
He traded a talented but disgruntled, often-injured shortstop who was wearing out his welcome with the organization and a decent-but-not-great outfield prospect for a former Gold Glove shortstop with an acceptable stick and a former Gold Glove first baseman to radically upgrade the team's infield defense without sacrificing too much offense to do it.

That deal has no comparison to the Kearns/Lopez/Majewski/Bray abomination.


I wasn't comparing it to that at all.

NJReds
10-05-2006, 01:03 PM
True enough. What strikes me as the shrewdest part of that move is Theo rightly guessed that Cabrera had more in his tank for the remainder of 2004 than Nomar.

Though the guy who got Theo dubbed a genius was Dave Roberts. Two critical stolen bases for a franchise that never has and still doesn't run made Epstein look like a four-dimensional thinker.

I like Theo, and I think guys like him and Cashman don't get enough credit because of the payroll they have to work with.

And I'm not ready to close the door on WK because of the Washington deal, either.

vaticanplum
10-05-2006, 01:48 PM
He traded a talented but disgruntled, often-injured shortstop who was wearing out his welcome with the organization and a decent-but-not-great outfield prospect for a former Gold Glove shortstop with an acceptable stick and a former Gold Glove first baseman to radically upgrade the team's infield defense without sacrificing too much offense to do it.

That deal has no comparison to the Kearns/Lopez/Majewski/Bray abomination.

You're absolutely right, but I don't think a lot of fans saw it that way at the time.

Not that that should matter in the analysis of a GM.

traderumor
10-05-2006, 01:53 PM
Regardless of one's making such communications a standard, Epstein certainly has some accountability to someone for his pitching staff.

Cyclone792
10-05-2006, 05:40 PM
On the MLB Radio Fantasy 411, they have a couple points they bring up in this vein:

1.) "Show your work" - In their context, this just means be accountable for the decisions you've made and understand why you made them at the time. When you look back and see you traded away Pujols in May, you should be clear on what your logic was for doing so. If you do this, you are prepared to...

2.) "Don't confuse the outcome with the decision" - Sometimes, good decisions lead to bad outcomes. That's just how luck works. Don't misinterperet the bad outcome as a bad decision. There are some obvious corralaries here that are quite applicable:
- Don't let a bad outcome prevent you from making a similar good decision in the future.
- Don't let a good outcome trick you in to thinking a bad decision was a good one. This one is something that absolutely hounds bad teams. They give an aging vet a bad contract and he, through luck, comes up with a good year. Next year they go out and give similar contracts to 3 more guys.

3. "Constantly re-examine your strategy" - Nobody has it all figured out. It's impossible to accurately judge good and bad decisions unless you keep revisiting the logic. Sometimes a string of bad outcomes really is a sign that what you thought was a good decision actually wasn't. You won't know unless you check your work, reanalyze your thought processes, and reaffirm your logic.

It's amazing that the leadership of crappy teams stays in place for as long as it does -- particularly the Royals and Pirates who have gone through an entire generation of players without winning. They keep making the same mistakes over and over again. Like Theo or hate him, he understands all of the above points. He knows he screwed up some things and he knows some things happened that were out of his control. He's determined to address his process to fix his own errors and to be better prepared for the uncontrollable.

To me, and I mean this in a VERY non-political way (I don't want this to become a political debate), he reminds me as Bill Clinton. Regardless of whether or not you agree with his specific conclusions, the man just comes across as somebody who is incredibly intelligent and has a firm handle on things. Sometimes you get GM speak and you attribute it to the fact that that's the actual logic the GM uses -- sometimes you can tell he's just being diplomatic. With Krivsky, I'm still not sure.

This is an absolutely brilliant post, Rick.

Like you, I'm still not sure if Krivsky is going to line himself up in a similar mold as a Theo Epstein, but the next six months with what transpires this offseason will provide us with a ton of clues and possibly an answer, and I want to try to expand on it.

There are internal changes with the makeup of the roster itself that will provide clues as to whether Krivsky is making strides in the right direction (center field, I'm looking in your direction). What type of fielding models does this organization use? If their systems give them useful data, will the organization be mindful of that data and proactively make changes based on that data, or will they ignore it? If the system itself is useless, well let's just say that's very troubling on its own footing.

Krivsky took a few steps forward in certain ways with this organization in 2006, steps that I'm skeptical of Dan O'Brien making if he was still around.

Some necessary front office overhaul is occurring right now, which is probably a good thing considering some of the holdovers from the previous regime likely weren't helping much either. I thought the Arroyo/Pena trade was beneficial to the franchise when it happened, it proved beneficial in 2006, and I think it can continue to be beneficial at least again in 2007. It's a checkmark in Krivsky's favor on his report card.

Also, since his hiring I've believed that Krivsky's main asset may actually be developing pitching in the minor league system, and the results from guys such as Bailey and Cueto have been very promising in that area (I will say kudos to Krivsky for not promoting Bailey to the Reds this season). The hope is the improvement we've seen with pitching in the farm is a result of an improved approach rather than blind luck. There were several pitchers drafted this season in the early rounds after Stubbs, and while it's too early now to tell what we've got in those pitchers, we'll start seeing more meaningful results in 2007. It is important that Krivsky knows what he's doing with these young, developing arms, and the success of the franchise likely depends on it. I think he does know what he's doing in this aspect, but we'll find out for sure soon.

Now while Krivsky took some nice positive steps forward, however, he's also taken a few steps back.

The Kearns/Lopez trade was nothing short of an unmitigated disaster. Dan O'Brien committed a similar unmitigated disaster during the 2004-05 offseason by burning a pile of cash at Eric Milton's feet. The organization paid for O'Brien's mistake immediately, and it's still paying for it right now. Likewise, the organization paid for the Kearns/Lopez trade immediately in 2006, and it's very possible it will continue to pay for that trade in the future.

When valuable resources - cash, talent, you name it - are abused and exchanged for less valuable resources, teams tend to start trending in the wrong direction. Any franchise, especially a franchise such as the Reds who won't be known to spend a ton of money, has to avoid those types of transactions. Those two moves are microcosms of the types of moves that lousy teams make over and over again when they remain lousy for years on end, and it's telling that when teams usually break out of their abysmal state, one of the reasons for doing so is being able to avoid horrible transactions.

Continual good decisions (not to be confused with continual luck-based decisions, which generally aren't good), learning from mistakes, constant evaluation and evolution of evaluation, avoiding bad transactions, showing accountability. These are all signs of a strong front office, and it's all signs that I'm looking for out of Krivsky and the Reds' front office.

No, this team likely cannot be turned around in this offseason alone. Without the disaster in July, there'd be a better chance for that result, but right now it's just not that plausible, and it shouldn't be expected. But what should be expected this offseason is good decisions. We should expect to see decisions that show us, the fans, that Krivsky is intent on correcting his mistakes rather than ignoring them. We should expect to see decisions that help correct the organization's current flaws without creating massive new flaws elsewhere in the organization. We should see accurate talent evaluation, and we should see some evolution of the Reds' talent evaluation. We should expect this front office to not make any lousy decisions or transactions, be it wasting a large sum of money on a not-so-good player, trading pieces for less than their true value, or failing to make a number of viable internal changes with players we already have.

I'm not expecting Krivsky to come out and give us a mea culpa for his bad decisions in 2006 like Theo Epstein did. Sure, it'd be nice and refreshing because there'd be hope that hearing him outlining his mistakes would lead to a reduced chance of those mistakes happening again, but it's not necessary. What's necessary is Krivsky rolling through this offseason by making steps in the right direction. I don't want to see piles of resources exchanged for less valuable resources, rather, I want to see meaningful positive gains made.

For this franchise to start ascending on a path of success, more positive gains are going to have to be made, and they need to start happening immediately this offseason.

johngalt
10-05-2006, 10:50 PM
I wasn't comparing it to that at all.

Then why did you put Kearns in the mix in your hypothetical situation? There's no way Kearns at this point in his career is the equivalent of Matt Murton in '04.

Cedric
10-05-2006, 11:14 PM
If the Sox had averaged 93.5 wins during his four seasons at the helm and won a World Series then I suppose it would sound fairly ridiclous to insist he's a lousy GM. Though clearly the results haven't been anywhere near that good.

The Sox averaged 90 wins the four years prior to Epstein also. Considering Jimmy Williams was that teams manager, I think it's basically a wash.
Also some Gm's get slack on this board for not winning a title because it's a "crap shoot" in the playoffs. .

Should go both ways with his one win then. Multiple titles is one thing. I don't consider Steve Phillips a good gm because he was one four game set from a title.

M2
10-06-2006, 01:35 AM
The Sox averaged 90 wins the four years prior to Epstein also.

88.5 with only one playoff appearance in those four seasons. It's a common misperception that the Sox constantly make the playoffs. They made it three times in the 1990s and three times in the 1980s. Theo made it three times in his first three seasons with the three winningest Boston teams of the last two decades. In terms of winning and losing, the Sox are on their best run since the late 1940s. What they did in the late '70s is comparable, but I suspect veteran Sox fans could tell you how good they've had it under Theo.

NJReds
10-06-2006, 10:50 AM
Then why did you put Kearns in the mix in your hypothetical situation? There's no way Kearns at this point in his career is the equivalent of Matt Murton in '04.

The correlation was that the Sox traded a high-priced star SS (Garciaparra) and an OF prospect with very good minor league numbers.

If the Reds back in 1999 or 2000 traded Larkin and "prospect" Kearns for players of the stature of Doug Mienkeiwitz and Orlando Cabrera, the outcry would've been at least on par with what happened after this year's deal with the Nationals.

In retrospect, I agree that it was a confusing point to try to get across on a message board.

M2 got my drift, but he's a super genius...;)

johngalt
10-06-2006, 12:45 PM
The correlation was that the Sox traded a high-priced star SS (Garciaparra) and an OF prospect with very good minor league numbers.

If the Reds back in 1999 or 2000 traded Larkin and "prospect" Kearns for players of the stature of Doug Mienkeiwitz and Orlando Cabrera, the outcry would've been at least on par with what happened after this year's deal with the Nationals.


In that sense, yes, I can somewhat see where you're coming from. At the same time, I think it all would depend on the value of the return and what remains of the team.



In retrospect, I agree that it was a confusing point to try to get across on a message board.

M2 got my drift, but he's a super genius...;)

Well, I'm a mythical literary character, so cut me some slack. ;)

NJReds
10-06-2006, 01:09 PM
At the same time, I think it all would depend on the value of the return and what remains of the team.

Since when do facts get in the way of a good 'ol message board rant...;)




Well, I'm a mythical literary character, so cut me some slack. ;)

You got it. :thumbup:

wheels
10-06-2006, 06:46 PM
This thread is a good example of what redszone once was, and what I believe it will be again.

I don't like posting in these threads for fear of fouling them up, but I just had to let you folks know how enjoyable of a read it's been for me.

Wish I could rep you all.