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View Full Version : Krivsky's attempts at solidifying the SS position.



Eric_Davis
06-19-2007, 08:20 AM
The SS position has been a major focus of Wayne Krivsky since he took over as G.M., and by all right's it should be. It's very important.

We had Concepcion followed by Larkin and always had a solid defensive SS.

Krivsky took over and saw that Lopez was horrible. He didn't do anything right away as he needed to look at his players in the entire organization through Spring Training so he could have a sound book on every one of his players.

He picked up Phillips, a SS. Though he was the Expos Minor League Player-of-the-Year in 2001 as a SS, and Double-A All-Star SS and Baseball America Minor League 2nd-Team All-Star SS in 2002, he committed a high percentage of errors everywhere he went as a SS.

But, Phillips improved his Fielding Percentage every year by about 7 points from his .915 at the age of 18 to his .958 at the age of 24 (2005 with Buffalo). So, defensively as a SS, he'd be fine if given the chance. At 2nd Base though, Phillips has been better with a .977 last year and .988 this year. His Zone Rating and Range Factors are improved this year, too, ranking 3rd, 4th, and 2nd in the league respectively in those areas. So, he's one of the best 2nd baseman in the league, which may be harder to find than a top SS.

So, at the time of "The Trade", and he wanted to fix the SS position, he decided he had to get rid of Lopez and that he'd go after Gonzalez in the Winter. So, why ask for Harris in the deal? Harris had a reputation similar to Gonzalez and Krivsky doesn't like that type of player. I'm guessing that he took him only so that he could trade him to someone else right away for whatever he could get because he didn't value him in his system. The "cash in return" for Harris would indicate this.

The season ends and he does his two transactions, signing what he believed to be was one of the best defensive SS's in the game in Gonzalez followed by Harris being jettisoned away for some cash ( :bang: ) . I know Harris isn't a SS, but he is a 2B, and as someone said, a Phillips/Harris SS/2B combo with the money for Gonzo spent elsewhere would be pretty good. Before trading away Harris, the notion of making Phillips a SS and using Harris at 2B had to be thrown out. At the time (December) their plan was for Freel to be the starting CF, so whatever they used as advice for Harris' ability to play 2B at the Major League level was faulty and wrong. The same may be said for their advice they used to judge the level of Gonzalez' ability at SS.

If you look at the REDS' depth chart at SS in the organization one year ago, you can see why Krivsky felt he needed someone to play solid defense for the next three years, and he went after what he and others considered to be the best available defensive SS of last year's Free Agents. 11 months later, the organization's SS depth chart still justifies the signing. It doesn't justify not moving Phillips over to SS and having someone else play 2B, though. But, clearly, they want Phillips at 2B.

The poor depth at SS is why we still have Juan Castro. There are a number of moves by the REDS that shows us that Krivsky's no more satisfied with Castro than any of us.

1. The signing of 32-year old Mark Bellhorn with an OPS of .837 has 13 games at SS this year in AAA. Bellhorn could easily stink if called up, but not as bad as Castro has been. The problem with moving Castro is the money he's been given. They'll have to pay Castro if no one claims him and you know no one will.

2. 26-year old Anderson Machado is only batting .206 in AAA, though he does have a .350 OBP , but a dismal .344 SLG. You can't bring him up.

3. 24-year old Paul Janish is a disappointment batting .239/.347/.343 at AA. He's played 52 games at SS this year.

4. Krivsky picked up 25-year old Enrique Cruz this year, who's played 11 games at SS this year, but with this being his 9th year in the Minor Leagues he's still only batting .271/.340/.393 at AA. He's also played 49 games at 3rd. His June numbers are phenomenal though ... .441/.593/1.034. Maybe the coaches have found something that's helped him. His power is increasing and his K/AB is decreasing as the season goes on.

5. Earl Snyder played one game at SS in AAA. He's no longer in the organization. Jeff Bannon has played 2 games at SS in AAA, but all his other games are in RF.

6. Jeff Keppinger was brought up from AAA Louisville to help out while Edwin was down in Louisville in May. Keppinger played perfect defense while at Cincy and singled twice and walked once in his 9 plate appearances without striking out once. I'm sure Krivsky wanted to see how the 27-year old would look like in the Majors. Having formed an opinion, they sent him to AAA where they played him at SS 3 times, 3B 13 times, 2B 15 times and LF 10 times (there's another hint that Dunn will be gone). They seem to be grooming him for Freel's spot. Offensively, he's been a juggernaut, hitting .360/.414/.400 in April, .375/.425/.500 in May, and .362/.449/.466 in June while striking out only 11 times in 183 at-bats. But, there's a glaring weakness in him where he seems to choke when it counts. With RISP, he's only hitting .185/.385/.222 with 7 of his 11 strikeouts in only 37 plate appearances. With no one on base he's hitting .403.

7. The problem of backup SS doesn't seem to be solved with Keppinger, so Krivsky picked up another SS in 23-year old Pedro Lopez. He instantly became the top SS on the depth chart who would be closest to being ready to step into the SS role in the Majors. As a 22-year old w/ Birmingham in the Southern League he hit .322/.358/.453 before splitting the rest of the year at AAA Charlotte hitting .274/.320/.404. He regressed further this year at Charlotte hitting .242/.307/.323. The REDS have had him now for 19 games and in his last 7 games he's hitting .360...all singles, but it's a good sign. Maybe he's stroking it harder to get it through the infield or the REDS' coaches have him doing something different. He's always been a good contact hitter being one of the toughest to strike out.
He's played 54 games at SS this year and 5 at 2B, a trend that's reversing where he spent more time at 2B than SS as he went through the Minors. Since the REDS claimed him off waivers from the White Sox, he must remain on their 40-man roster. He's been up and down defensively at SS. In 2005 at AA he had a fielding percentage of .970, then at Charlotte in AAA in 2005 it was .943 at SS. His last two Spring Trainings in 2006/7 he hit a combined .297/.333/.486 with 1 strikeout in 39 PA's.

8. The Switch-hitting 26-year-old Luis Bolivar is playing the same musical chairs as Keppinger with 3 games at SS, 8 at LF, 12 at 3B, and 13 at 2B. Problem is he's not hitting... .247/.314/.364. But, most of AA-Chattanooga seems to be struggling or just getting by. No one's forcing management to think too hard about promoting them.

9. High-A Sarasota is absent of shortstops who deserve a promotion but help is on the way in Low-A through 21-year-old Chris Valaika who's hitting .318/.356/.500.

Looking through this SS depth, I can see why Krivsky wanted to give the contract to Gonzalez that he did.

If I got something wrong feel free to correct it, and comment all you want, please.

redsmetz
06-19-2007, 03:31 PM
Harris had a reputation similar to Gonzalez and Krivsky doesn't like that type of player. I'm guessing that he took him only so that he could trade him to someone else right away for whatever he could get because he didn't value him in his system. The "cash in return" for Harris would indicate this.

Did you mean to say Gonzalez? I'm thinking not.

That said, I agree that Gonzo's signing was clearly to cover the position until we develop another shortstop or trade for one.

Nice analysis.

cincrazy
06-19-2007, 03:54 PM
It just seems to me that Gonzo loses focus in the field. The guy will make an absolutely spectacular play, and then turn around and boot a routine groundball. This regime has taken Edwin to task for this perceived lack of focus, but with Gonzo it's "Oh, he can go 80 games without making one error, so we're not worried about him." I feel that there's a double standard in this clubhouse, and that can't be a good thing when it comes to the clubhouse culture.

Eric_Davis
06-19-2007, 04:23 PM
Did you mean to say Gonzalez? I'm thinking not.

That said, I agree that Gonzo's signing was clearly to cover the position until we develop another shortstop or trade for one.

Nice analysis.

Thanks. Yes, I meant Lopez, not Gonzo...I'll change it.

Eric_Davis
06-19-2007, 04:24 PM
... I tried to edit it, but I hit quote instead because the edit button isn't available to me on the 1st post of this thread. Odd.

Red Leader
06-19-2007, 04:33 PM
... I tried to edit it, but I hit quote instead because the edit button isn't available to me on the 1st post of this thread. Odd.

The edit feature is only available, IIRC up to 6 hours after the original post. After 6 hours, you cannot edit the post. Just FYI.

Ltlabner
06-19-2007, 04:59 PM
It just seems to me that Gonzo loses focus in the field. The guy will make an absolutely spectacular play, and then turn around and boot a routine groundball. This regime has taken Edwin to task for this perceived lack of focus, but with Gonzo it's "Oh, he can go 80 games without making one error, so we're not worried about him." I feel that there's a double standard in this clubhouse, and that can't be a good thing when it comes to the clubhouse culture.

I would suggest that a tweaked hammy, serrious health issues with his child and being surrounded by a "culture of crappyness" might be worth considering as possible reasons for increased errors by Gonzo before just laying out the tired old "the ragime is mean to Edwin" song.

Johnny Footstool
06-19-2007, 05:15 PM
Nothing in Harris' minor league record suggested he'd blow up like he has this season. It's a fluke. Not on the level of Pokey Reese in 1999, but a fluke nonetheless. I don't really fault Krivsky for getting rid of him; I just don't see why he bothered to acquire him in the first place.

Kc61
06-19-2007, 05:18 PM
I would suggest that a tweaked hammy, serrious health issues with his child and being surrounded by a "culture of crappyness" might be worth considering as possible reasons for increased errors by Gonzo before just laying out the tired old "the ragime is mean to Edwin" song.


Agree strongly. Early in his career Gonzalez had some high error years. Since 2003, his error totals have been 16, 16, 16, and 7. 2003 and 2004, with Florida, were full years. The last two were less than full seasons, but a substantial number of games (111 last year).

You can criticize his range, whatever, but this guy is a proven, veteran low-error shortstop. Gonzo has been the shortstop on championship teams and contending teams. He is still pretty young -- I just don't buy that suddenly he is no good.

Why has he had defensive problems this year? I don't know except that it may be hard for some players to keep their edge when playing for an awful team -- particularly one that won't change managers, won't make major personnel changes, and does indeed now have a "culture of losing."

I am glad the Reds signed Gonzo and, if this team ever does take the steps needed to win, I think he can be a part of it.

pedro
06-19-2007, 05:18 PM
Nothing in Harris' minor league record suggested he'd blow up like he has this season. It's a fluke. Not on the level of Pokey Reese in 1999, but a fluke nonetheless. I don't really fault Krivsky for getting rid of him; I just don't see why he bothered to acquire him in the first place.

He had a .832 lifetime minor league OPS. It's not like he was dog meat.

remdog
06-19-2007, 05:26 PM
.....before just laying out the tired old "the ragime is mean to Edwin" song.

It's not tired if it's true. Do I have proof that it's true? No.

Do you have proof that it isn't true. I suspect not. So, until someone proves it's not true it's an acceptable opinion as far as I'm concerned.

Much more likely is that Gonzo is simply having a bad year and/or his skills are starting to erode. Right now he can't average 8 games without an error much less 80 straight.

Rem

Johnny Footstool
06-19-2007, 05:36 PM
He had a .832 lifetime minor league OPS. It's not like he was dog meat.

No, but an .832 OPS in the minors does not usually translate to a 1.000 OPS in the majors. It usually translates to something in the .700s, which is decent but not great.

And like I said, I'm not baffled by Krivsky giving him away as much as I'm baffled by Krivsky acquiring him in the first place.

cincrazy
06-19-2007, 06:32 PM
I haven't been singing the "the regime bashes Edwin" tune at all this season, but the fact is, there seems to be a double standard. When Josh Hamilton failed to run out a ball that he lost sight of, we heard nothing from Narron or anyone else about it. When Edwin failed to do the same, he was removed from the game.

I feel bad for Gonzo, and I hope all is well with him and his family, but the fact is, he's continued to be given the benefit of the doubt, while guys like Edwin and Coffey are shipped to Louisville. I've supported this "regime" as much as anyone around here, but I call it like I see it, and what I see is a double standard at times in this clubhouse. Gonzo and Hamilton are acquisitions of the current administration, and Edwin and Coffey are not. Coincidence? Maybe. But I'm not so sure anymore.

Chip R
06-19-2007, 07:38 PM
I feel bad for Gonzo, and I hope all is well with him and his family, but the fact is, he's continued to be given the benefit of the doubt, while guys like Edwin and Coffey are shipped to Louisville. I've supported this "regime" as much as anyone around here, but I call it like I see it, and what I see is a double standard at times in this clubhouse. Gonzo and Hamilton are acquisitions of the current administration, and Edwin and Coffey are not. Coincidence? Maybe. But I'm not so sure anymore.


I understand what you're saying and I agree with some of it. We know there is a double standard with Narron and the players. EE doesn't run out a pop fly to 2nd, he gets benched. Josh doesn't run out a grounder he just gets a stern talking to from another player. But the difference is that if you bench a guy like Gonzo for making errors, you have to put Castro in there. He's also a veteran so you can't ship him to LOU. Coffey and EE were not performing up to par and that's why they were sent to LOU. Hamilton also can't be sent to LOU without risking losing him.

cincrazy
06-19-2007, 08:33 PM
I agree with you Chip. They are different situations, and can't be handled the same way. However, in regards to how it's handled through the media, I think there's a difference. Then again, none of us can ever be sure exactly of what's going on in a player's personal life, so maybe Narron's handling of player's differently is justified. The only one's that truly know are the guy's in the clubhouse, and Narron and Krivsky themselves.

Ltlabner
06-19-2007, 08:48 PM
I've supported this "regime" as much as anyone around here, but I call it like I see it, and what I see is a double standard at times in this clubhouse. Gonzo and Hamilton are acquisitions of the current administration, and Edwin and Coffey are not. Coincidence? Maybe. But I'm not so sure anymore.

Yet EE's trip to Louisville seems to have shaken him from his doldrums. He's hitting far better than before his trip, and my perception is that his fielding errors have decreased also. To a lesser extent, Coffee's trip to Louisvlle seems to have helped him get focused.

One could argue that it's just shear coinidence that these two players happened to finally get hot exactly at the same time they went to Louisville, however, seems to me, double standard and all, the move with EE and TC worked.

Hamiltons a special excption because of his rule 5 status. He's going to get a lot more rope. He also doesn't have a track record of the problems (fielding and lack of focus for EE, Coffey's apparent lack of self confidence) the other players have.

Gonzo is likely to get more rope also since this is his first trip at the rodeo with Cincy, the situation with his children, and, oh yea, he's been over-achieving at the plate to offset his errors in the field.

Players are different and are motivated by different things. Treating them all exactly the same to protect their self-esteme makes little sense, IMO,.

mth123
06-19-2007, 08:54 PM
Nothing in Harris' minor league record suggested he'd blow up like he has this season. It's a fluke. Not on the level of Pokey Reese in 1999, but a fluke nonetheless. I don't really fault Krivsky for getting rid of him; I just don't see why he bothered to acquire him in the first place.

What I fault him for is not giving him a better look last September when the Reds had blown it. If you're going to give up on a guy at least look at him first. I was an advocate of Harris playing the RH half of the 1B platoon a la Rich if no impact bat could be acquired. Conine is not an impact bat, but hey, he costs a lot more so he must be worth more in Wayne's world.

Tony Cloninger
06-19-2007, 11:57 PM
Maybe EE has a little D Jimenez in him......not as bad...but enough that you need to kick him in the behind more than pther players.

Kc61
06-20-2007, 12:40 AM
I haven't been singing the "the regime bashes Edwin" tune at all this season, but the fact is, there seems to be a double standard. When Josh Hamilton failed to run out a ball that he lost sight of, we heard nothing from Narron or anyone else about it. When Edwin failed to do the same, he was removed from the game.

I feel bad for Gonzo, and I hope all is well with him and his family, but the fact is, he's continued to be given the benefit of the doubt, while guys like Edwin and Coffey are shipped to Louisville. I've supported this "regime" as much as anyone around here, but I call it like I see it, and what I see is a double standard at times in this clubhouse. Gonzo and Hamilton are acquisitions of the current administration, and Edwin and Coffey are not. Coincidence? Maybe. But I'm not so sure anymore.

Disagree completely with this. EE and Coffey are young players without much major league experience. EE, I think, isn't even 25 yet. They went down to AAA because they are both still learning. EE especially is a work in progress. Gonzo is a veteran, about 30 years old, who has started on championship teams and is well into his prime. It is unheard of to send him to AAA because he's made some errors this year. And Gonzo has hit well, EE was struggling both at bat and in the field.

I don't agree with all this stuff about EE's treatment by the team. The Reds see him as a very young, raw player who needs more work. Both last year and this, it was obvious that he worked on throwing when in AAA. He went down there for a reason, not anybody's "double standard." And Narron has given him "tough love" sometimes by lifting him from games or benching him. Narron is experienced enough to judge if a young player needs that.

This has nothing to do with whether Krivsky acquired a guy or not. Indeed, Coffey got an extension for next year -- if anything, Krivsky was too kind to him given his performance.

As for Hamilton, again, the young man has a particular background which is publicly known. He obviously needs to be handled in an individualized manner, suitable for his particular situation.

I really do not see any conspiracy here.

cincrazy
06-20-2007, 01:09 AM
I certainly don't believe in a conspiracy, and I agree completely that veteran's are, and should be, handled different than younger players. When I was talking of a double standard, I was pointing more specifically to Edwin being benched during a game for not running out a play, yet Hamilton not even being approached during the game about such an incident. I love Josh Hamilton, but I'm of the opinion that if you treated one player such a way, you should treat the other player the exact same way in a similar situation.

Perhaps Narron handled it the same way behind closed doors, and that's all that matters. And if that's the case, I'll gladly eat a bowl full of crow :D

Eric_Davis
06-20-2007, 05:35 AM
I would suggest that a tweaked hammy, serrious health issues with his child and being surrounded by a "culture of crappyness" might be worth considering as possible reasons for increased errors by Gonzo before just laying out the tired old "the ragime is mean to Edwin" song.

You're right. It's too easy for us to forget that there's so much human emotion involved. They have lives they have to think about when they wake up and baseball is just a part of it. As Dan Johnson said yesterday, "Baseball is played between the ears", and that's why there are so many highs and lows in sports. The physics of the body doesn't change, but what goes on between the ears does from moment to moment. That's the real reason for swings in statistics, not "luck".

Eric_Davis
06-20-2007, 05:38 AM
The edit feature is only available, IIRC up to 6 hours after the original post. After 6 hours, you cannot edit the post. Just FYI.

Well, it only took me about 10 years to figure out what IIRC means as I just figured it out right now. :laugh: If I Remember Correctly. So, I might not make my edits within 6 hours sometimes. :laugh:

Eric_Davis
06-20-2007, 05:47 AM
Nothing in Harris' minor league record suggested he'd blow up like he has this season. It's a fluke. Not on the level of Pokey Reese in 1999, but a fluke nonetheless. I don't really fault Krivsky for getting rid of him; I just don't see why he bothered to acquire him in the first place.

ASSETS: Harris is an athletic infielder, able to play second, third or short quite well. At the plate, he hits line drives consistently with some pop.

FLAWS: At times, he can be too intense and he could stand to walk more often.

CAREER POTENTIAL: If he catches a break, a solid everyday infielder, better at second than third.

WOY found this from the Tampa Bay Star the day of the trade.

"Real" scouting reports, not ones from fantasy league websites, also reported him as being an above average fielder. He's not going anywhere in Tampa. He'll play for 4 good years there just as Craig Monroe gave 4 good years to Detroit. They are very similar players: Good Defense and Good Offense for 4 years, Monroe with better power and Harris with better average. Both excellent role players.

Eric_Davis
06-20-2007, 05:54 AM
What I fault him for is not giving him a better look last September when the Reds had blown it. If you're going to give up on a guy at least look at him first. I was an advocate of Harris playing the RH half of the 1B platoon a la Rich if no impact bat could be acquired. Conine is not an impact bat, but hey, he costs a lot more so he must be worth more in Wayne's world.

You know, I went back and read the REDSZONE posts about Harris last summer, and surprisingly, most here did like him as part of the trade and gave him the benefit of the doubt that he might become serviceable, and when Phillips was moved to SS "for one day", most here again were shocked that the experiment was ended so quickly. When Harris was recalled on Sep 1, and then sat and never played, again, most here were shocked that he wasn't being looked at. In hindsight, it seems pretty clear that Krivsky had a poor opinion of Harris, because the solution to the backup SS position was sitting there right in his lap.

I also have to ask those of you who are near the situation and live in the Tri-County area about John Allen. How much influence on the decision processes does he still have for the REDS?

Johnny Footstool
06-20-2007, 10:15 AM
ASSETS: Harris is an athletic infielder, able to play second, third or short quite well. At the plate, he hits line drives consistently with some pop.

FLAWS: At times, he can be too intense and he could stand to walk more often.

CAREER POTENTIAL: If he catches a break, a solid everyday infielder, better at second than third.

WOY found this from the Tampa Bay Star the day of the trade.

"Real" scouting reports, not ones from fantasy league websites, also reported him as being an above average fielder. He's not going anywhere in Tampa. He'll play for 4 good years there just as Craig Monroe gave 4 good years to Detroit. They are very similar players: Good Defense and Good Offense for 4 years, Monroe with better power and Harris with better average. Both excellent role players.

Oh, I understand that Harris had some upside and could be a decent role player. My question is why bother to have a guy, ANY guy, included in a trade if you're just going to let him go for cash without giving him a chance to play? Why did Krivsky get Harris in the first place if he wasn't going to give him a chance? Why not get another minor league pitcher instead?

Redsland
06-20-2007, 11:26 AM
I also have to ask those of you who are near the situation and live in the Tri-County area about John Allen. How much influence on the decision processes does he still have for the REDS?
Supposedly none, with respect to baseball operations.