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View Full Version : The Promise and why it can't be kept



David Cubbedge
12-24-2006, 10:27 PM
We all remember the day we listened to the Castelinni press conference and he spoke those words that this franchise has been waiting to hear for many years. "I promise we will bring championship baseball to Cincinnati."

The headlines were written as every Reds fan gazed in excitement. The Reds Nation was swept with the feeling of change. Not the kind of change you see in a corporate venture, but the kind of change every sports fan dreams of. We all fealt we finally had an owner that not only would do everything he could to remake a name for this franchise, but he would also hold himself accountable for failures.

It was a dream day, a day where many Reds fans sat at their desk at work while listening to the radio hosts analyse the situation the best they could, all the while not getting a lick of work done. Visions of high-caliber pitchers became more than just a wet dream but fealt close to a possibility.

The owner was named, the stars were aligned, now he simply had to produce on his promise. In came Wayne Krivsky. Reds fans cheered the newcomer because anything was better than the man he replaced. But he didn't have much time or much else to shop for upon his hiring. He put a few things together during the season, which somehow all worked out better than imagined. People were calling Krivsky an extremely trustworthy General Manager. We were all glad to have him on our side. A God's gift to eye talent. "In Krivsky We Trust," remember that?

The dust settled and the Reds found themselves a few games away from playing in October. What a pleasant surprise. But as all fans do, you expect more for the next season and hope to see a contender. Reds fans went into this offseason with the highest of expectations, and for good reason. This is when we get to see Krivsky do what he didn't have the chance to do last year. Here is where Castelinni starts building on his promise.

Along with the promise came the words Castelinni spoke to Wayne Krivsky at a press conference:



"I'll just throw this out to Wayne Krivsky," the Reds' CEO said at a Tuesday afternoon press conference. "If you can put together as good a team on the field as John Allen has put together in the broadcasting booths, we'll be in the World Series next year."


Reds fans started buzzing about the possibility of seeing big things happen. Castelinni flat out stating that the money is there, just find the guys we need to win. All of us started looking for a personalized Jason Schmidt jersey or a Barry Zito one with the Reds logo on it. Thankfully we all remembered that the Reds were to produce new uniforms for next season or some of us would have made a major mistake.

Schmidt signed with the Dodgers and Zito is set to make crazy money. What went wrong? Castelinni had us expectant, Krivsky was the perfect GM to get it done, why couldn't we get one of these guys?

The fact of the matter is, the market for free agents rose from incredibly expensive to shockingly brutal. Were the newly owned Reds ill-prepared for such an endeavor? I believe the answer to that is; absolutely.

The major question from this year's off-season happenings is whether we should be concerned for our beloved Reds or whether we should sit back and watch other franchises destroy their futures. But is that the truth? Are teams like the Cubs and Mariners spending too outrageously? Are these owners going well beyond the bounds of good taste?

I don't believe that these owners are all-in and sitting across from Phil Ivey hoping for the best. Its my belief that the state of baseball has once again met intensely drastic variables which causes more owners to open their wallets in hopes to create the dynasty all fans hope for. Baseball has become a money game and money has a lot more to do with this sport than any other. Once again, baseball has raised the bar and the team that doesn't spend the money will be left wondering what happened.

I don't worry about the futures of these ballclubs. These teams will maintain their high level of spending because it is where the business of this sport is going. New owners like Castelinni get taken off guard and are left with a dream and the feeling of whether they should keep up or just sulk in unexpected shame.

The promise is still written and Mr. Castelinni has a choice to make. Follow the raised bar or stick with the original plan; become mediocre and simply hope for the best. Which way builds on the promise and which way abolishes it?

paulrichjr
12-24-2006, 11:19 PM
There is basically no free agents that have been signed so far that makes me mad that the Reds didn't sign them. None. I do not like WayneK at all...I mean at all...but I agree 100% that the Reds were better off holding their wallet closed this year than spend crazy and be locked out next year and the next. A lot of teams will suffer from this garbage this year...just like the Reds have done with Milton. Frankly I don't care for another Milton deal.

David Cubbedge
12-24-2006, 11:38 PM
My thinking is that more teams are considering the increased payroll in hopes their franchise will win more games and contend with a better quality of players. Granted, this year's FA was a mess and didn't host a lot of talent, but you cannot tell me that Zito would have not made a difference.

We all know that he likely wouldn't play for the Reds even if offered more from the Reds than any other team. Its not a pitcher's park by any stretch of the imagination and generally players don't feel the Reds can contend. But it would be nice to see what Castelinni is going to do in the future regarding this years FA.

The point is, free agents have been getting signed for mega money the last few years and it increases every offseason. It won't stop and it will lead to increased payrolls and eventually what the Red Sox are paying now will become the minimum standard to keep a franchise alive.

realistic
12-24-2006, 11:48 PM
One of the most common threads we see around here are the "lock up Dunn" or "lets get harang signed lognterm"

Lets be realistic, other teams have been doing the same thing the past few years. The free agent market this year was not really that appealing. Zito? Thatd be nice, but I think he will be getting paid more than hes worth based on what he was doing 3-4 yrs ago. This year he was no dominant organizational changing player, but i expect him to get ARod money. Pretty much no one else that could really make an impact worthy of overpaying in this years market. Maybe Soriano is worth the price he got, thats about it in my opinion. Better off to use money elsewhere and get better return on investment and then spluge at the 07 or 08 winter meetings.

I know,I know that hurts to accept right now, but its best for the team. Yankees,Rangers, Redskins,etc have all shown that you can not buy a world series ring.

A few years ago it took the new ownership in St Louis more than 11 months to turn it around. Thats the lead the Reds should follow.

It takes time and development to get to that level where spending an extra 50mill is really worth it. Thats like playing poker and your pot heavy at the turn with good pot odds. The Reds still need to see the flop a couple times before throwing in a lot of chips.

redsfan4445
12-25-2006, 12:03 AM
It takes time and development to get to that level where spending an extra 50mill is really worth it. Thats like playing poker and your pot heavy at the turn with good pot odds. The Reds still need to see the flop a couple times before throwing in a lot of chips.

Well i guess it will be another 6-10 years of losing waiting on a future that will never exist for the Reds. I am tired of losing.. i guess some on here are ok with it.. sorry paying more money for tickets to watch a team that will be lucky to win 70-75 games a year is not my enjoyment!

Plus we dont have a manager that players come calling the Reds eager to play for!!

David Cubbedge
12-25-2006, 12:11 AM
Better off to use money elsewhere and get better return on investment and then spluge at the 07 or 08 winter meetings.

I totally see what you are saying and I get your point, its a great point. But we have to all be realistic on this as well. You really think the Reds will ever pay for marquee FA?

This is the exact nature of my point. I am fine with not spending too much money on useless talent. Stay away from the Milton mistake for sure. But why wait another year to spend on a Zito? This trend has been with the Reds since the old regime and it is recreating itself with this one. I have little faith in this organization spending money because its too much dollar not enough talent. One day owners and GMs are going to have to realize that this is not the case. Its just that player's salaries or on a rise as a whole. It doesn't matter who you pay, it going to be more money than they WERE worth last year. Its a business on a rise and the money keeps piling up.

Chip R
12-25-2006, 12:12 AM
Plus we dont have a manager that players come calling the Reds eager to play for!!

Unless the players are in their late 30s-early 40s.

reds44
12-25-2006, 12:45 AM
This team won't be a legit championship competitor (sp?) until Griffey and Milton's contacts are off the books. They'll make around $20M this year. That's too much money and not enough production. If you would sign a big name free agent, you'll have way to much of your payroll tied up in not enough players. Once Milton and Griffey are gone, you'll see us get another big named guy. Until then, we need to focus on locking up guys like Harang, Dunn, Edwin (in a few years), and Arroyo. Build a solid core, and when the time comes we'll go after some guys.

I think Krivsky is doing a decent job with the resource he had. He would be doing a great job, but "The Trade" cost him that.

George Foster
12-25-2006, 12:46 AM
The main problem is the luxury tax is a joke. The purpose of the tax was to slow down the spending of the rich teams, it has not. It should be a 100% tax, dollar for dollar. If you are over the limit by 20 million you pay 20 million. MLB's front office could care less what is best for the game and all of the teams as long as they are making money. Baseball needs a Pete Rozelle, he was a visionary and made the NFL what it is today, the best professional sports organization in the world. Pete knew that the health of your league is measured buy your smallest market. Pete's vision is why a NFL market can survive in GreenBay, and Buffalo. Where is our Pete Rozelle?

realistic
12-25-2006, 01:30 AM
I totally see what you are saying and I get your point, its a great point. But we have to all be realistic on this as well. You really think the Reds will ever pay for marquee FA?

This is the exact nature of my point. I am fine with not spending too much money on useless talent. Stay away from the Milton mistake for sure. But why wait another year to spend on a Zito? This trend has been with the Reds since the old regime and it is recreating itself with this one. I have little faith in this organization spending money because its too much dollar not enough talent. One day owners and GMs are going to have to realize that this is not the case. Its just that player's salaries or on a rise as a whole. It doesn't matter who you pay, it going to be more money than they WERE worth last year. Its a business on a rise and the money keeps piling up.

Dave Parker, Danny Jackson were marquee FA's. 20 years ago ::)

But seriously, do you think Zito joining the Reds would make them instant pennant contendors? I dont. Looking at his past 5 yrs his k's go down while his whip is going up. Imagine throwing him 100 million for 5 years and watching his ERA climb up to 4.50. He one of the top 20 starters in the majors but will get top 5 money. Pass. Signing him to an insane contract would also add serious bargaining chips for Arroyo and Harang should they out perform him over the next 2 seasons and all but assure their dual departure.

The Reds would be better off hunting down a 3rd and 4th starter for now. Put the building blocks in place for 2008 ,via a small stealthy March trade Arroyo-style. Then with Homer primed for 2008 spend money next winter for Zambrano or Andruw Jones (imagine a CF with range!) . Either of those would bring more to the Reds in 2008 than Zito possibly could in 2007. We have some young bats that are works in progress that should be better prepared for a run in 2008 than in 2007 also.

Id love to win right now myself, but Dan Synder went all in his first year or two as the Redskins owner and look where hes at now. What a mess. Give this ownership 2 or 3 years to get the house in order first at least.

redsfan4445
12-25-2006, 02:15 AM
This team won't be a legit championship competitor (sp?) until Griffey and Milton's contacts are off the books. They'll make around $20M this year. That's too much money and not enough production. If you would sign a big name free agent, you'll have way to much of your payroll tied up in not enough players. Once Milton and Griffey are gone, you'll see us get another big named guy. Until then, we need to focus on locking up guys like Harang, Dunn, Edwin (in a few years), and Arroyo. Build a solid core, and when the time comes we'll go after some guys.

I think Krivsky is doing a decent job with the resource he had. He would be doing a great job, but "The Trade" cost him that.

PLEASEEE IF there is another big name.. you think with the ridiculous salaries given out for mediocre talent, you think one player in 2 years and is a big name wont get $15million a year for ONE PLAYER???? plus Dunn now makes 10 million.. did you forget that?

redsfanmia
12-25-2006, 06:08 AM
Dave Parker, Danny Jackson were marquee FA's. 20 years ago

Dave Parker was coming off injury/bad years and drug suspensions and gave the Reds a home town discount. Danny Jackson was acquired in a trade for Kurt Stillwell. Other than Milton the last "big time" free agent the Reds signed was John Smiley.

IslandRed
12-25-2006, 09:54 AM
The Reds ownership may have changed and baseball may be having one of its periodic bumps in the player market, but the Reds' basic competitive position hasn't changed. Most teams still have more money than we do. Maybe Castellini could have broken the bank for a marquee free agent. A marquee free agent, singular. But one player isn't going to get us much farther down the road.

My strategy, not that anyone asked, would be to use whatever money's available to try and extend the guys we have worth keeping, so they'll still be here when Bailey, Votto and Bruce arrive. Add those guys to the mix and maybe we'll have something going -- something that will get us close enough to say, maybe that marquee free agent can put us over the top.

Falls City Beer
12-25-2006, 10:03 AM
The Reds ownership may have changed and baseball may be having one of its periodic bumps in the player market, but the Reds' basic competitive position hasn't changed. Most teams still have more money than we do. Maybe Castellini could have broken the bank for a marquee free agent. A marquee free agent, singular. But one player isn't going to get us much farther down the road.

My strategy, not that anyone asked, would be to use whatever money's available to try and extend the guys we have worth keeping, so they'll still be here when Bailey, Votto and Bruce arrive. Add those guys to the mix and maybe we'll have something going -- something that will get us close enough to say, maybe that marquee free agent can put us over the top.

I'm not picking on you specifically, Island, but I hear your strategy fairly often on this site, and I want to address just one aspect of it.

While I agree it would be smart to lock up Harang, Dunn, and EdE--and I would make that a priority of my GMship, I wonder about the somewhat strained hope of banking on Votto, Bruce, and Bailey to arrive. Even the very best of prospect hopes seldom ever make it, even with the best of development teams. So it's likely--highly likely--that only one of three of those players will ever contribute to the MLB team in any substantial way.

So I think the strategy should account for those kinds of odds and operate on those kinds of assumptions when tapping the FA and trade market.

cincy09
12-25-2006, 10:59 AM
The main problem is the luxury tax is a joke. The purpose of the tax was to slow down the spending of the rich teams, it has not. It should be a 100% tax, dollar for dollar. If you are over the limit by 20 million you pay 20 million. MLB's front office could care less what is best for the game and all of the teams as long as they are making money. Baseball needs a Pete Rozelle, he was a visionary and made the NFL what it is today, the best professional sports organization in the world. Pete knew that the health of your league is measured buy your smallest market. Pete's vision is why a NFL market can survive in GreenBay, and Buffalo. Where is our Pete Rozelle?

This is a great post and I think in the next few years we are going to see something happen in baseball. Hopefuly the new comish will have some balls and see that the system needs change. I know nobody wants another strike but it may come down to that. Maybe ten years from now baseball will be alive in all of it's cities and not just a select few.

redsfan4445
12-25-2006, 02:14 PM
The main problem is the luxury tax is a joke. The purpose of the tax was to slow down the spending of the rich teams, it has not. It should be a 100% tax, dollar for dollar. If you are over the limit by 20 million you pay 20 million. MLB's front office could care less what is best for the game and all of the teams as long as they are making money. Baseball needs a Pete Rozelle, he was a visionary and made the NFL what it is today, the best professional sports organization in the world. Pete knew that the health of your league is measured buy your smallest market. Pete's vision is why a NFL market can survive in GreenBay, and Buffalo. Where is our Pete Rozelle?

mabybe when Selig retires, then a different direction will occur, but since the owners and players signed the agreement.. it says to me nothing will change and the owners that spend will always spend and the others will pocket revenue and cry small market blues!!! sad

IslandRed
12-25-2006, 04:43 PM
I'm not picking on you specifically, Island, but I hear your strategy fairly often on this site, and I want to address just one aspect of it.

While I agree it would be smart to lock up Harang, Dunn, and EdE--and I would make that a priority of my GMship, I wonder about the somewhat strained hope of banking on Votto, Bruce, and Bailey to arrive. Even the very best of prospect hopes seldom ever make it, even with the best of development teams. So it's likely--highly likely--that only one of three of those players will ever contribute to the MLB team in any substantial way.

So I think the strategy should account for those kinds of odds and operate on those kinds of assumptions when tapping the FA and trade market.

Oh, I agree with that. Having that trio hit the show in a 1-2 year window, while holding the window open with extending certain contracts, is our best chance for being relevant in the near future. But it's not the only way it can be done and we certainly shouldn't put all the eggs in that basket. Like you said, there are no guarantees for any of them much less all of them.

I guess it's the difference between pinning our hopes on a prospect (not a good idea) and pinning our hopes on prospects (essential in the long term). Maybe it won't be Bailey and Votto specifically, but if we don't get the farm system cranked up to high over the next few years, we're going to continue having a tough time of it. Whether we like it or not, we all know we can't beat the big boys in checkbook baseball.

Falls City Beer
12-25-2006, 05:06 PM
Oh, I agree with that. Having that trio hit the show in a 1-2 year window, while holding the window open with extending certain contracts, is our best chance for being relevant in the near future. But it's not the only way it can be done and we certainly shouldn't put all the eggs in that basket. Like you said, there are no guarantees for any of them much less all of them.

I guess it's the difference between pinning our hopes on a prospect (not a good idea) and pinning our hopes on prospects (essential in the long term). Maybe it won't be Bailey and Votto specifically, but if we don't get the farm system cranked up to high over the next few years, we're going to continue having a tough time of it. Whether we like it or not, we all know we can't beat the big boys in checkbook baseball.

Which is why I say, trust in your farm and your ability to frame your prospects' worth for other GMs in trade. And never get attached to any single prospect (i.e. Bailey) if the real thing (a proven MLB starter) is being offered in return. What's irritating to me is the rigid insistence on clinging to these kids for life when they will likely mean much more to the franchise in trade than in them themselves.

IslandRed
12-25-2006, 09:20 PM
Which is why I say, trust in your farm and your ability to frame your prospects' worth for other GMs in trade. And never get attached to any single prospect (i.e. Bailey) if the real thing (a proven MLB starter) is being offered in return. What's irritating to me is the rigid insistence on clinging to these kids for life when they will likely mean much more to the franchise in trade than in them themselves.

It's been mentioned several times, but I think one of the secrets of the Braves' long run was just what you mentioned -- they knew how to shine up their prospects and use them to obtain the help they needed for the big club. At the same time -- and this is where it gets tricky -- Schuerholz also had a pretty good sense of who the real crown jewels were, and generally kept them for himself. When he thought he had a real difference-maker, he didn't deal the prospect at a talent discount just to dump the risk. If someone made him an offer he couldn't refuse, fine, but otherwise...

It's a balancing act. You can't trade them all or you'll never have premium young talent. You can't keep them all or you won't be able to fill the holes on the big club. It always comes down to making the right calls on who to trade and who to keep. The GMs that do it best, win. The ones that can't tell gold from pyrite, don't.

Falls City Beer
12-25-2006, 09:29 PM
It's been mentioned several times, but I think one of the secrets of the Braves' long run was just what you mentioned -- they knew how to shine up their prospects and use them to obtain the help they needed for the big club. At the same time -- and this is where it gets tricky -- Schuerholz also had a pretty good sense of who the real crown jewels were, and generally kept them for himself. When he thought he had a real difference-maker, he didn't deal the prospect at a talent discount just to dump the risk. If someone made him an offer he couldn't refuse, fine, but otherwise...

It's a balancing act. You can't trade them all or you'll never have premium young talent. You can't keep them all or you won't be able to fill the holes on the big club. It always comes down to making the right calls on who to trade and who to keep. The GMs that do it best, win. The ones that can't tell gold from pyrite, don't.

I'd add that you should even be willing to let go a crown jewel of the future for real success right now. Not all the time, but you should have the gumption and, as I said, the faith that your farm will continue to crank out both the real thing and pyrite. In the end, the focus of any team's energy should be the MLB product, and exploiting one's minors to the fullest.