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reds44
02-02-2007, 01:13 AM
http://cincinnati.reds.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20070130&content_id=1789654&vkey=news_cin&fext=.jsp&c_id=cin


CINCINNATI -- For Reds fans spoiled on scoring and 12-11 slugfests since Great American Ball Park opened in 2003, last season might have seemed like one lengthy cold splash of water to the face.
From 2005 to 2006, Cincinnati drifted down from first to ninth in runs scored with 749, down from 820 runs. The Reds scored a Major League-low 91 runs in September.

"I think that kept us from getting into the postseason," said Reds manager Jerry Narron, whose club finished with an 80-82 third-place record in the National League Central Division after being in the race most of the way.

In response to the offensive shortfall, Reds general manager Wayne Krivsky didn't spend his winter making massive upgrades to the lineup. In fact, he went in the other direction and stayed true to his mission of trying to improve his team's pitching and defense.

"It's the fastest way to get competitive, I think," Krivsky said. "Good pitching and good defense."

The addition of starter Bronson Arroyo, the continued improvement of Aaron Harang and a bullpen near completely overhauled during the season helped the Reds improve their status from the NL's worst pitching staff in 2005 to a middle-of-the-pack seventh in 2006.

Unlike division rivals Houston and Chicago, which spent big on free agent stars, the Reds made no league-rattling maneuvers. Veteran Mike Stanton gave the bullpen another late-inning lefty. Right-hander Kirk Saarloos was brought in from Oakland in a trade to add competition to the fifth starter's spot.

Their biggest move was signing free agent shortstop Alex Gonzalez to a three-year deal. Gonzalez, who has one of the best gloves in baseball at his position, will undoubtedly improve the Majors' second-worst defense from a season ago when he teams up the middle with talented second baseman Brandon Phillips.

However, Gonzalez lacks much of a track record for hitting.

The only significant offensive player added was 40-year-old outfielder/first baseman Jeff Conine, and that was in response to the free agent departure of Rich Aurilia, who was the Reds' most consistent hitter last season. Conine, who had 10 homers and 66 RBIs combined with the Orioles and Phillies, will likely serve as a role player.

Judging by the types of moves he made, Krivsky wasn't concerned about a continued offensive deficit heading into the 2007 season.



"Our pitching has improved. Our defense has improved," Krivsky said. "Theoretically, maybe it doesn't take scoring that many runs, but obviously you still have to score runs to win. But if you pitch better and catch the ball better, it won't take as many runs to win a game."

Just how will they score those runs?

Expect small ball to be one avenue.

Krivsky and Narron's philosophy of fundamental, team-oriented baseball was introduced last year with mixed results. While the Reds pitched better, the team was awful at situational hitting with an NL-worst .243 with runners in scoring position.

Reds Spring Training opens when pitchers and catchers report Feb. 17 in Sarasota, Fla. As workouts begin, look for Narron and his coaches to drive home the importance of doing the little things to win.

"That philosophy is there. It's what I believe in," Narron said. "We'll see if we can get it done and execute it."

In recent years, the Reds were scoring a lot but sure weren't winning a lot. In 2005, they only won 73 games while leading the NL in home runs and runs scored.

"Do the little things it takes to win ballgames, whether it's taking the extra base, being heads up on the bases to take advantage of a mistake, moving runners," Krivsky explained. "It's doing all those types of things that help win ballgames. You can't always depend on the three-run homer. We have to execute better than we did last year doing the little things."

Krivsky was quick to point out that there is still plenty to like about the Reds' offense. It boasts power hitters Adam Dunn and Ken Griffey Jr., still developing hitters like Phillips and Edwin Encarnacion and steady hitter Scott Hatteberg.

Will the offense and improved pitching and defense be enough to give the Reds their first winning record since 2000 and first playoff berth since 1995?

"We've got an offense if everybody stays healthy and avoids the injuries. I think we'll be fine," Krivsky said. "We need help just like everybody else. You need to keep regulars on the field and avoid injuries. That's always part of a successful season."

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

It's almost here!
:beerme:

TOBTTReds
02-02-2007, 01:15 AM
:beerme:

Never too young...

Ron Madden
02-02-2007, 03:23 AM
I love Baseball and all of the little things it takes to win ball games.

Little things like hitters who avoid making outs and pitchers with the talent to record outs.

RANDY IN INDY
02-02-2007, 06:55 AM
Yeah, you have to have talented players, but I don't see a thing wrong with wanting to see your team execute better and to do the lttle things that it takes to win ballgames. I don't know why it is necessary to be "snarky" every time Krivsky or Narron say that they want their teams to execute and play smart baseball. I don't want to see a talented bonehead team that just throws away games because they can't execute. Playing smart baseball is not a bad thing.

redsmetz
02-02-2007, 07:28 AM
Yeah, you have to have talented players, but I don't see a thing wrong with wanting to see your team execute better and to do the lttle things that it takes to win ballgames. I don't know why it is necessary to be "snarky" every time Krivsky or Narron say that they want their teams to execute and play smart baseball. I don't want to see a talented bonehead team that just throws away games because they can't execute. Playing smart baseball is not a bad thing.

One interesting thing I read recently (and I don't recall where), is that Krivsky or Narron said they're not talking about "station to station" base running, but a more total approach; taking the extra base, moving runners over, getting the guy in from third. I think there is a difference there, rather than just moving from base to base. Hopefully that's what we're going to see - not an all or nothing approach.

RANDY IN INDY
02-02-2007, 07:32 AM
Station to station baserunning usually coincides with waiting for the three run homer.

Ltlabner
02-02-2007, 07:34 AM
Yeah, you have to have talented players, but I don't see a thing wrong with wanting to see your team execute better and to do the lttle things that it takes to win ballgames. I don't know why it is necessary to be "snarky" every time Krivsky or Narron say that they want their teams to execute and play smart baseball. I don't want to see a talented bonehead team that just throws away games because they can't execute. Playing smart baseball is not a bad thing.

Good point RIC. I'm sure this article will inspire several clever "plays the game the right way" or "small ball" type comments.

But you are right, there are many ways to play smarter while avoiding giving up unecessary outs. I'd love to see them reduce or eliminate the host of baserunning errors they've made the past few years. Freel would be public enemy number 1 here but there were plenty of other mistakes over the past few years that gave up outs and in some cases killed scoring oportunities.

RANDY IN INDY
02-02-2007, 07:39 AM
I personally don't see any downside to playing smart, fundamental baseball. Whether you have guys that can hit lots of homeruns, a gap to gap bunch of hitters, a small ball type offense, or whatever, it just doesn't hurt to play fundamentally sound, smart baseball where you don't give opportunities or games away. To think otherwise is just "baseball ignorant."

Red Heeler
02-02-2007, 07:56 AM
Yeah, you have to have talented players, but I don't see a thing wrong with wanting to see your team execute better and to do the lttle things that it takes to win ballgames. I don't know why it is necessary to be "snarky" every time Krivsky or Narron say that they want their teams to execute and play smart baseball. I don't want to see a talented bonehead team that just throws away games because they can't execute. Playing smart baseball is not a bad thing.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to have a team who can play good baseball without a lot of goof-ups. However, a 749 run scoring team requires that its pitching/defense puts up a 4.62 runs against per game just to be a .500 team. For 90 wins, it takes a 4.18 RA/G. To get to 95 wins, a 3.88 RA/G. For the record, last year, the Reds were at 4.98. Do you think that AGon, Saarloos, and Stanton will shave over a run per game in 2007?

If the offense can score 820 runs, then it takes 4.25 RA/G to get to 95 wins.

jojo
02-02-2007, 08:20 AM
The Reds scored a Major League-low 91 runs in September. "I think that kept us from getting into the postseason," said Reds manager Jerry Narron...

Ya think?

2006 was a missed opportunity for the Reds of huge, gigantic, enormous, massive, mammoth, colossal, titanic, giant proportions...


:explode:

RANDY IN INDY
02-02-2007, 08:40 AM
There is nothing wrong with wanting to have a team who can play good baseball without a lot of goof-ups. However, a 749 run scoring team requires that its pitching/defense puts up a 4.62 runs against per game just to be a .500 team. For 90 wins, it takes a 4.18 RA/G. To get to 95 wins, a 3.88 RA/G. For the record, last year, the Reds were at 4.98. Do you think that AGon, Saarloos, and Stanton will shave over a run per game in 2007?

If the offense can score 820 runs, then it takes 4.25 RA/G to get to 95 wins.

I didn't say anything about not scoring runs or having a good offense. Regardless of the type offense, defense, or pitching that you have, it really pays to play good fundamental baseball and not throw away opportunities because you can't execute. For anyone to say otherwise is senseless.

flyer85
02-02-2007, 09:21 AM
consider me skeptical, especially on the pitching side. Also without a new CF, the defensive improvements are a total of 1 player.

The Reds certainly don't have the look of a contender. Their pitching stinks, the defense will be average at best and the offense looks to be nothing special.

Chip R
02-02-2007, 09:38 AM
I didn't say anything about not scoring runs or having a good offense. Regardless of the type offense, defense, or pitching that you have, it really pays to play good fundamental baseball and not throw away opportunities because you can't execute. For anyone to say otherwise is senseless.

I agree, I'd like to see the Reds play better defense. But until I see them get serious about moving Jr. to RF, I'm just assuming they are just paying lip service to defense.

gonelong
02-02-2007, 10:07 AM
Yeah, you have to have talented players, but I don't see a thing wrong with wanting to see your team execute better and to do the lttle things that it takes to win ballgames. I don't know why it is necessary to be "snarky" every time Krivsky or Narron say that they want their teams to execute and play smart baseball.

We all want the team to execute and play smart baseball. (Though we might differ on what that acutally means.) However, I have been hearing Narron say that for his entire tenure and not seen a lick of improvement along those lines. I want a billion dollars, Jessica Beal, and Jessica Alba. Simply stating what I'd like isn't going to make it happen.

You either have to obtain those type of players or train them.

It doesn't look good on the training part. I see no discernable uptick in the overall team "baseball smarts" during Narron's tenure. I guess we might see a bit this year, but to date I just haven't seen it.

Have we obtained players that will significantly enhance our chances to win? I'd argue that Gonzalez was a reasonable stab at that. Other than that, thats pretty bare as well.

When Krivsky and/or Narron are attaching a "plays the right way" tag to a player that doesn't have enough talent to make any difference to begin with those phrases begin to lose their meaning coming out of their mouths. As you stated above you have to have talented players. I think you's agree that you could have a little league team with flawless execution and a genious level of baseball smarts and they aren't going to win at the MLB level.


I don't want to see a talented bonehead team that just throws away games because they can't execute. Playing smart baseball is not a bad thing.

Who does? On the flipside, nobody wants to see a team that executes perfectly and loses 100 games either. I think teaching your players a system ("the Reds way" or "the right way") is the correct way to go about things. I guess the catch 22 is do you get the talent first and train them yourself, or do you seek players that already have the talent and know-how. The Reds can't afford very many of those guys.

IMO one of the large problems the Reds have had in recent years is that they don't have a manager who "manages the right way" or "does the little things" to help the team win. IMO Narron mismanages his resources very badly. He doesn't put his players in the best position to succeed. (Granted he hasn't had a complete team to work with either)

GL

UK Reds Fan
02-02-2007, 10:26 AM
I hear all of this talk about smart baseball...but at what point is it intelligent to watch our 2 big bats in Griffey and Dunn just wail away into drastic shifts while never attempting to hit the other way and get on and move guys around a bit.

When you see the SS playing on other side of 2nd base and those 2 just wail away even with 2 strikes, it is really just talk from Narron/Krivs... This offense isn't really about Freel, Phillips, Ross, or even the bad bat of Gonzalez. It is about getting more production from the middle of our lineup. I don't think we got the production out of the 3 or 4 hole all year long like other teams did.

5DOLLAR-BLEACHERBUM
02-02-2007, 12:40 PM
consider me skeptical, especially on the pitching side. Also without a new CF, the defensive improvements are a total of 1 player.

The Reds certainly don't have the look of a contender. Their pitching stinks, the defense will be average at best and the offense looks to be nothing special.
Just like last year right. That didn't turn out so bad. It was alot of fun to watch too.

BRM
02-02-2007, 12:42 PM
Just like last year right. That didn't turn out so bad. It was alot of fun to watch too.

Not quite like last year. The offense was very good until August.

Red Heeler
02-02-2007, 12:53 PM
I didn't say anything about not scoring runs or having a good offense. Regardless of the type offense, defense, or pitching that you have, it really pays to play good fundamental baseball and not throw away opportunities because you can't execute. For anyone to say otherwise is senseless.

Well, my post was mainly in reference to those who justify Krivsky's building of the team as a "pitching and defense" team. I was trying to point out that with a 750 run offense, it is darn near impossible to pitch and field well enough to make the playoffs. The Reds needed to ADD better pitching and defense to their offense, not trade one for the other.

Spitball
02-02-2007, 06:37 PM
Well, my post was mainly in reference to those who justify Krivsky's building of the team as a "pitching and defense" team. I was trying to point out that with a 750 run offense, it is darn near impossible to pitch and field well enough to make the playoffs. The Reds needed to ADD better pitching and defense to their offense, not trade one for the other.

But, the Padres performed the "darned near impossible" when they made the playoffs while scoring a mere 731 runs. The Astros just missed the playoffs by 1.5 games while scoring 735 runs.

I'm not saying I'm advocating a team that does not score runs. However, the Reds have been scoring tons of runs in recent seasons, and they still have lost lots of games and not made the playoffs. They need to change direction and start the difficult task of building a stronger foundation of defense and pitching. If I have to watch a team lose, I'd rather not watch a team that beats itself with errors and poor fundamental play.

edabbs44
02-02-2007, 08:23 PM
But, the Padres performed the "darned near impossible" when they made the playoffs while scoring a mere 731 runs. The Astros just missed the playoffs by 1.5 games while scoring 735 runs.

I'm not saying I'm advocating a team that does not score runs. However, the Reds have been scoring tons of runs in recent seasons, and they still have lost lots of games and not made the playoffs. They need to change direction and start the difficult task of building a stronger foundation of defense and pitching. If I have to watch a team lose, I'd rather not watch a team that beats itself with errors and poor fundamental play.

These are the steps of a team that flat-out refuses to spend money for starting pitching for whatever reason:

1) Recruit a plethora of has-beens, trying to catch lightning in a bottle.
2) Build the bullpen.
3) Build the defense.

Has-beens, BP arms and "defensive" players have one thing in common: They are cheaper than starting pitching.

Here's an idea...spend some money instead of trading your hitting to get relievers. Spend some money on starting pitching rather than signing over the hill relievers and shortstops who can't hit.

TexasRed
02-02-2007, 10:30 PM
This is a bit off topic, but I'd like some opinions on Brandon Phillips. He seems to my untrained eye to have emense natural talent. What (other than experience) is it going to take for this guy to be our stud #2 hitter/great D
2nd baseman.... Can it happen?

Ron Madden
02-03-2007, 02:03 AM
Yeah, you have to have talented players, but I don't see a thing wrong with wanting to see your team execute better and to do the lttle things that it takes to win ballgames. I don't know why it is necessary to be "snarky" every time Krivsky or Narron say that they want their teams to execute and play smart baseball. I don't want to see a talented bonehead team that just throws away games because they can't execute. Playing smart baseball is not a bad thing.

My post was not intended to be "snarKy" at all. (Just My Humble Opinion)Pitching, Defense and Offense all play a part in winning games.

It's hard to win games when you score 820 runs and allow 900 runs. It's even harder to blame the offense for those loses.

Ron Madden
02-03-2007, 02:15 AM
We all want the team to execute and play smart baseball. (Though we might differ on what that acutally means.) However, I have been hearing Narron say that for his entire tenure and not seen a lick of improvement along those lines. I want a billion dollars, Jessica Beal, and Jessica Alba. Simply stating what I'd like isn't going to make it happen.

You either have to obtain those type of players or train them.

It doesn't look good on the training part. I see no discernable uptick in the overall team "baseball smarts" during Narron's tenure. I guess we might see a bit this year, but to date I just haven't seen it.

Have we obtained players that will significantly enhance our chances to win? I'd argue that Gonzalez was a reasonable stab at that. Other than that, thats pretty bare as well.

When Krivsky and/or Narron are attaching a "plays the right way" tag to a player that doesn't have enough talent to make any difference to begin with those phrases begin to lose their meaning coming out of their mouths. As you stated above you have to have talented players. I think you's agree that you could have a little league team with flawless execution and a genious level of baseball smarts and they aren't going to win at the MLB level.



Who does? On the flipside, nobody wants to see a team that executes perfectly and loses 100 games either. I think teaching your players a system ("the Reds way" or "the right way") is the correct way to go about things. I guess the catch 22 is do you get the talent first and train them yourself, or do you seek players that already have the talent and know-how. The Reds can't afford very many of those guys.

IMO one of the large problems the Reds have had in recent years is that they don't have a manager who "manages the right way" or "does the little things" to help the team win. IMO Narron mismanages his resources very badly. He doesn't put his players in the best position to succeed. (Granted he hasn't had a complete team to work with either)

GL

:beerme:

Raisor
02-03-2007, 07:19 AM
It's hard to win games when you score 820 runs and allow 900 runs. It's even harder to blame the offense for those loses.

Exactamundo.

RANDY IN INDY
02-03-2007, 08:34 AM
My post was not intended to be "snarKy" at all. (Just My Humble Opinion)Pitching, Defense and Offense all play a part in winning games.

It's hard to win games when you score 820 runs and allow 900 runs. It's even harder to blame the offense for those loses.

It isn't when most of them are playing defense.

Red Heeler
02-03-2007, 08:51 AM
It isn't when most of them are playing defense.

While I agree that having good defensive players, especially up the middle, is optimum, the early run A's are proof that you can win a lot of ballgames with very good pitching and a bunch of stone-gloved mashers in the field.

Spitball
02-03-2007, 09:40 AM
These are the steps of a team that flat-out refuses to spend money for starting pitching for whatever reason:

Hmmm...and that money would have been spent on whom??? Zito? Meche? Weaver? Marquis? Ortiz?

I don't believe the Reds refused to spend the money on starting pitching. There simply was not a pitcher worth the money that was spent.



Has-beens, BP arms and "defensive" players have one thing in common: They are cheaper than starting pitching.

Excellent point.


Here's an idea...spend some money instead of trading your hitting to get relievers. Spend some money on starting pitching rather than signing over the hill relievers and shortstops who can't hit.

Hey, see Eric Milton, Russ Ortiz, Matt Clement, Jaret Wright, Carl Pavano, Chan Ho Park...It isn't the answer...It's just a whine.

edabbs44
02-03-2007, 11:26 AM
Hmmm...and that money would have been spent on whom??? Zito? Meche? Weaver? Marquis? Ortiz?

I don't believe the Reds refused to spend the money on starting pitching. There simply was not a pitcher worth the money that was spent.

Given their history, I have to believe that they refuse to spend money on starters until they do spend money on starters. I know Cincy doesn't have the glitz and glamour of LA or NY but in a lot of cases, money talks.

Sorry...the cost of a legit starter has gone through the roof and next year we could all be here saying the same thing. What if top tiers cost over $15 million and mid tier btw $8-11 mil again? WK will start the bidding at $3 million and see what he can get at the garage sales. Don't forget...Homer hopefully replaces Milton next opening day. Who replaces Lohse and Saarloos/Santos?

dsmith421
02-03-2007, 12:50 PM
Just like last year right. That didn't turn out so bad. It was alot of fun to watch too.

Our offense was pretty good last year, at least until Wayne traded half of it away for complete garbage.

The "play the right way" stuff is empty rhetoric, a snow job trying to cover up the fact that they've done nothing to improve the team in the offseason.

Matt700wlw
02-03-2007, 01:00 PM
Yeah, you have to have talented players, but I don't see a thing wrong with wanting to see your team execute better and to do the lttle things that it takes to win ballgames. I don't know why it is necessary to be "snarky" every time Krivsky or Narron say that they want their teams to execute and play smart baseball.

I've heard it preached and preached and preached and preached.

Still waiting for it to actually be done.


Maybe this is the year? Maybe..?

Eric_Davis
02-03-2007, 01:20 PM
I agree, I'd like to see the Reds play better defense. But until I see them get serious about moving Jr. to RF, I'm just assuming they are just paying lip service to defense.

That couldn't be more true. Who do they think they're fooling? :bang: :bang:

RANDY IN INDY
02-03-2007, 03:38 PM
I've heard it preached and preached and preached and preached.

Still waiting for it to actually be done.


Maybe this is the year? Maybe..?

It has to be preached at the minor league level, and there has to be an expectation that when they reach the majors, they know how to play baseball the "Reds way." It's ridiculous that major league managers should have to teach fundamentals at the big league level. It should be automatic with major leaguers, and nothing less should be expected. Play the game the right way. If you guys haven't noticed, I don't have a lot of tolerance for fundamentally bad baseball at the major league level.

RANDY IN INDY
02-03-2007, 03:41 PM
While I agree that having good defensive players, especially up the middle, is optimum, the early run A's are proof that you can win a lot of ballgames with very good pitching and a bunch of stone-gloved mashers in the field.

What A's are you talking about?

reds44
02-03-2007, 04:49 PM
That couldn't be more true. Who do they think they're fooling? :bang: :bang:
I'm not sure I agree with that. Why would they bring it up to him if they weren't serious about doing it? Maybe I am too optomistic, but I think the wait and see approach coming into ST is just out of respect for Junior. I think WK and Narron know he wont' be in CF on opening day. I'll be surprised if he starts in CF on opening day, very surprised and dissapointed.

Red Heeler
02-03-2007, 10:09 PM
What A's are you talking about?

These guys:


C Ramon Hernandez 24 143 419 52 101 19 0 14 62 38 64 .241 .311 .387 1 0 14 7 10 5 1 80
1B *Jason Giambi 29 152 510 108 170 29 1 43 137 137 96 .333 .476 .647 2 0 9 9 0 8 6 188
2B Randy Velarde 37 122 485 82 135 23 0 12 41 54 95 .278 .354 .400 9 3 15 3 3 1 0 95
3B *Eric Chavez 22 153 501 89 139 23 4 26 86 62 94 .277 .355 .495 2 2 9 1 0 5 8 118
SS Miguel Tejada 24 160 607 105 167 32 1 30 115 66 102 .275 .349 .479 6 0 15 4 2 2 6 112
LF *Ben Grieve 24 158 594 92 166 40 1 27 104 73 130 .279 .359 .487 3 0 32 3 0 5 2 117
CF *Terrence Long 24 138 584 104 168 34 4 18 80 43 77 .288 .336 .452 5 0 18 1 0 3 1 102
RF *Matt Stairs 32 143 476 74 108 26 0 21 81 78 122 .227 .333 .414 5 2 7 1 1 6 4 93

RedFanAlways1966
02-03-2007, 11:19 PM
Our offense was pretty good last year, at least until Wayne traded half of it away for complete garbage.


Not quite like last year. The offense was very good until August.

Let us not forget the month of May 2006. A month that had all the studs on offense.

A month that saw the powerful offense score 3 runs or less in 15 of the 28 games played. A month that saw the powerful offense get shutout 5 times. A month that saw the team go 12-16. A month that saw the starting pitching post a 3.89 ERA for the month. A team that finished 3.5 games out of 1st place in the end. Ah... what a month.

2 of 8 is 1/4, not 1/2. ;)