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Chip R
08-03-2007, 10:29 AM
Lonnie Wheeler's column this morning/afternoon.

http://news.cincypost.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070803/SPT05/708030331/1035/SPT


Not easy being Wayne
Whether it's deal or no deal, he'll be criticized
Column by The Post's Lonnie Wheeler

Wayne Krivsky neglected to patch me into the conversations, so I don't know what went on at the trading deadline. Neither do you.

I do know that he tried mightily to revise the dysfunctional mix of players at Pete Mackanin's immediate disposal, and for whoever manages the Reds in 2008. I'm pretty sure that Adam Dunn's name came up, and Ken Griffey Jr.'s. Evidently, the bargain driven by the Cincinnati general manager was too hard for the other clubs to swallow.

As to whether there was wisdom in Krivsky's reluctance, I can't say with certainty. As to whether opportunity was left standing at the gate of Great American Ball Park, nobody can positively vouch. As to whether the entire scenario is saturated with irony, I can assure you in the affirmative.

The complaint I hear constantly about the Cincinnati GM is that he didn't get enough in return last year when he traded two young, talented, everyday players. A case could be made that Austin Kearns and Felipe Lopez have shown themselves to be no great shakes, and that horrible luck has attended Bill Bray and Gary Majewski, who were both highly regarded at the time and essential to the Reds' reeling bullpen; but that's not the point. The point is the nature of last year's bellowed objections. And this year's.

This time around, Krivsky's antagonists accuse him of not doing anything at all with the veteran inventory in his cupboard, save the obvious move of trading Kyle Lohse for a prospect. Maybe the current condemners are a different lot than last year's - but don't you see the contradiction?

Does Krivsky settle for too little or demand too much? Which is it?

Granted, it could, from time to time, be both. It's conceivable that Krivsky's courage has been compromised by the pummeling he took in 2006. But the bottom line is that, on this occasion, he did the very thing his critics charged him previously with failing to do: He asked for a lot and held his ground.

Party to all of this is the conspicuous prospect that Dunn and Griffey might not be the hot properties that Cincinnati takes them for. General managers listen to scouts. Scouts know the tough outs. In the Reds' lineup, there aren't many.

But these days, everybody thinks he's a GM. With the cosmic alignment of cyberspace and sabermetrics, all the numbers are truly at the fingertips of the diamond-minded mavens. They have access to enough statistical analyses to advance the arguments of their choosing. They can read scouting reports and even listen online to the live broadcasts of the farm teams. They can calculate and project a ballclub's payroll, all in all carrying on with enough intelligence to amplify any and every debate.

What they can't do is tap a cell phone and hear what Jim Bowden, Bill Stoneman or John Schuerholz has to offer. What they can't do is trust the GM and tolerate the inevitable taints of his track record.

And that's where I continue to be baffled by the smart, serious and studied followers of the Cincinnati Reds. If Krivsky were given any less slack, he couldn't make it to the coffee pot in the corner.

Essentially, the Reds' major-league roster includes three players whose services might he considered precious and indispensable. There's Brandon Phillips, whom Krivsky acquired by taking advantage of Cleveland. There's Josh Hamilton, whom he finagled by Rule 5. And there's Aaron Harang, whom he signed to a long-term contract in the offseason. (The brightest gems below - pitchers Homer Bailey and Johnny Cueto and outfielder Jay Bruce - were all brought in on Dan O'Brien's watch.)

The ranks also include three heavily paid players whom Krivsky inherited. Eric Milton is out for the season and finished in Cincinnati. Dunn and Griffey, the only Reds who have been around for all seven of the consecutive losing seasons, flank Phillips in the middle of the lineup and whoever's in center field.

It can assuredly be said that, in his determination to shore up the bullpen, Krivsky lost his gamble on Bray and Majewski - at least for the time being - and overpaid for Mike Stanton, who stands to make $3 million next year. It should also be pointed out that, in addition to the inspired acquisitions of Phillips and Hamilton, he did well by bringing in, for negligible outlay, Bronson Arroyo, Jeff Keppinger, Scott Hatteberg, Alex Gonzalez, David Ross, Jeff Conine, Jon Coutlangus, Jared Burton, Eddie Guardado and Bobby Livingston. Maybe even Jorge Cantu.

The latter represents a classic case of the curious disapproval that envelops Krivsky. Cantu, a 25-year-old infielder of dubious defensive skills, was brought in a week ago for relief pitcher Calvin Medlock, who had recently been promoted to Louisville. Medlock, 24, is a compactly built hard thrower who, in order to make the Cincinnati roster in 2008, would have had to overtake or somehow separate himself from at least eight relievers in a scrum of 14 that consists of David Weathers, Guardado (if the Reds pick up their option on his contract), Stanton, Burton, Coutlangus, Bray, Majewski, Brad Salmon, Marcus McBeth, Tyler Pelland, Michael Gosling, Todd Coffey, Josh Roenicke and Carlos Guevara. (Unlike Medlock, Roenicke and Guevera were appointed as closers at Chattanooga.) Meanwhile, Cantu, who suffered an injury last year and fell out of favor with the Tampa Bay organization, is a much-needed right-handed hitter two years removed from a season in which, at 23, he set a Devil Rays record with 117 RBIs. Goodness.

Cantu has been placed at Louisville, where the Reds' readiest prospects have lately been globbed together. Bailey is there, joined now by Cueto, another 21-year-old sensation. The golden Bruce has been promoted there at the age of 20. First baseman Joey Votto has spent the season there, joined along the way by shortstop Paul Janish, outfielder Chris Dickerson and such closely watched pitchers as Pelland, McBeth, Richie Gardner and Elizardo Ramirez. Phil Dumatrait was with the Bats until he started Thursday night for the Reds.

It all has the appearance of a movement, a concerted gathering of the young and highly regarded. Clearly, Krivsky has a plan.

Depending on how the phone calls go, the grand scheme may yet include waiver trades of Hatteberg, Conine, Stanton or even, though less likely, Griffey or Dunn. Disaster has not yet set in.

Nor will it. At the least, the Reds will embark on next year with accomplished sluggers in the corners of the outfield.

At the most, Krivsky will still be able to rearrange the roster in a fashion that gets the hackles up on less than half of you. If he's lucky.

nate
08-03-2007, 10:36 AM
It's not that easy bein' Wayne;
Having to spend each day
the GM of the team.

When I think it could be nicer
being Twins, or
Red Sox or A's-

or something much
more talented like that.

It's not easy bein' Wayne.
It seems you blend in
with so many other
ordinary things.

And people tend to pass you over
'cause you're not standing out like
flashy screenshots on the flatscreen
from Diamond View.

But Wayne's the GM of Reds.
And Wayne can be cool and sign Phillips.
And Wayne can be big trading Willy Mo,
or important Rule 5 draft pickups

When Wayne is all there is to be
It could make you wonder why,
but why wonder why?

Wonder, I am Wayne and it'll do fine,
it's beautiful!

And I think it's what I want to be.

BuckeyeRedleg
08-03-2007, 10:37 AM
Poor wittle fella.

Tom Servo
08-03-2007, 10:44 AM
Clearly, Krivsky has a plan.

Clearly.

GAC
08-03-2007, 11:26 AM
Overall - a good article IMO.

Johnny Footstool
08-03-2007, 11:49 AM
If you ignore the gross mis-characterization of our criticism of Wayne, it's an okay article.

puca
08-03-2007, 11:56 AM
It may be a plan, but I see it as a flawed plan.

Replacing high OBP hitters with low OBP hitters. Rewarding career years with extensions. Cobbling together a bullpen by signing over-the-hill relievers and trading for middle relievers while placing all future rotation hopes on a couple highly rated prospects. No arguing that he has acquired some good pieces, but they seem to be pieces to different jigsaw puzzles. They just don't fit together.


Simply put the results are not there. Case in point is all of the attention and resources he has put into the bullpen. The result: arguably one of the worst bullpens of all time.

redsmetz
08-03-2007, 01:11 PM
I think the article is spot on - I've got run again, so I can't elaborate any further. We're moving my younger daughter back to school today. I'll be back on Monday unless I get near another computer.

Mario-Rijo
08-03-2007, 01:32 PM
I also think it's an outstanding article and for the most part spot on. :thumbup:

Redsland
08-03-2007, 01:46 PM
It all has the appearance of a movement, a concerted gathering of the young and highly regarded. Clearly, Krivsky has a plan.
Ah, the old "hope every minor leaguer pans out" plan.

BRM
08-03-2007, 01:49 PM
The article makes it look like next year's bullpen could look an awful lot like this year's. Oh joy.

Mario-Rijo
08-03-2007, 01:55 PM
These are from a different thread but fit well. Teams are getting ludicrous and are thinking that these teams are just going to continue to give away major league players for nothing, it ain't going to happen. Or these small market teams would wither up and die away, unless they start actually spending big money in FA (not likely). And yet the die-hard fans blame their own GM's for a lack of activity.



It's a league wide epidemic, cheap talent is being hoarded, crap is the offer in most cases. At least at deadline time. That's the current state of things from what I can surmise.

http://houston.astros.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20070731&content_id=2119844&vkey=news_hou&fext=.jsp&c_id=hou

The Astros fielded many offers for infielders Mike Lamb and Mark Loretta, the two players who were coveted by other teams and available. Closer Brad Lidge is believed to have been off the table.

The offers, however, were far below what the Astros would want in exchange for their two veteran infielders. There was more interest in Loretta, but Purpura passed on accepting offers for either, mainly because interested clubs weren't offering future Major League talent.

"We were really underwhelmed with the kind of players that we were offered," Purpura said. "Basically, they were organizational-type players that weren't going to help us in the future. "You have a line that you draw as an organization, as far as what's acceptable compensation for a player. Why take on players that you don't project as Major League players? You're just cluttering your organization. We made proposals for better players. We couldn't get anybody to accept those kinds of proposals."


Purpura prefers to keep Loretta and Lamb and receive Draft picks for them should the club not re-sign them. The GM, however, has not ruled out making an attempt to re-sign one or both once they hit free agency this winter.



Clint Hurdle said the same thing WOY.

Rockies manager Clint Hurdle, who participated in trade deliberations with O'Dowd, said, "It just seemed like we were offered coal and they wanted gold nuggets."



JP Riccardi was on the FAN in Toronto (Sports radio station) for his weekly interview and basically said the same thing as Purpura. Teams were not willing to trade value for value.

REDREAD
08-03-2007, 03:02 PM
I really don't see it as a plan, or at least not a good one.

Wayne's plan last offseason was to spend all his money on players who would be average at best. He chose Stanton over better relievers that were available. He chose to spend on Conine. He extended Castro.. the list goes on and on.

The plan was to contend this year, but we ended up worse than the Nationals. The plan failed.

Every team in the majors moves its prospects up through the minors and hypes them up as saviors. I fail to see how that's a unique plan.

Wayne has put a trememdous amount of effort and planning into fixing the bullpen, yet he has not had a single success. Sure, Guarado was good for a couple of weeks, but that really doesn't count as a success. That's truely amazing, that he was given so much money in the offseason, yet could not an a single effective bullpen arm. Instead, he gobbled up Stanton, Sarloos, Burton, and Santos, and figured he was on his way to contending.

I will edit this a little, because I don't recall if Wayne or DanO picked up Countlangus on waivers.. If it was Wayne, then I supppose he's had one success, still, that's a poor record considering the resources and attention spent on the pen.

dougdirt
08-03-2007, 03:13 PM
Wayne has put a trememdous amount of effort and planning into fixing the bullpen, yet he has not had a single success. Sure, Guarado was good for a couple of weeks, but that really doesn't count as a success. That's truely amazing, that he was given so much money in the offseason, yet could not an a single effective bullpen arm. Instead, he gobbled up Stanton, Sarloos, Burton, and Santos, and figured he was on his way to contending.


To be fair, Burton was not a signing, he was claimed. That said, he has been much better than the other 3 people you grouped him in with.

REDREAD
08-03-2007, 08:16 PM
To be fair, Burton was not a signing, he was claimed. That said, he has been much better than the other 3 people you grouped him in with.


I was just lumping him in with all the people Wayne has added this offseason that really haven't contributed much.

There was no question that the Reds were "going for it" this year.

It's pretty sad when a GM adds quite of bit of money and turns a .500 team into a last place team, despite the team being very healthy this year.

Sure, it's not Burton's fault that he's being rushed to the majors.
He may eventually be good. The fact that a rule V pickup that was planned to be the mop up man is outperforming the key FA setup man (Stanton) is pretty sad.

Matt700wlw
08-03-2007, 08:18 PM
I can't imagine it's easy being a GM in MLB at all....

RedsManRick
08-03-2007, 10:58 PM
Why should 3 months of a mediocre veteran be worth 6 years of league average or better player? If you can get a guy who might be able to someday supplement a roster on the cheap for a few years, that's more useful to the organization the 3 months of a veteran who will only make the difference between 94 or 95 losses.

How many Reds fans really care that neither Travis Chick or Justin Germano worked out for us? Should we have held out for more and kept Randa?

The one thing I will give Krivsky is that he hasn't committed us to an anchor contract yet. He's still wasted money unnecessarily by bringing in replacement level talent like Cormier, Stanton, and Conine which has taken opportunity away from guys like Salmon or merely cheaper alternatives from within like Jesse Gutierrez.

The Royals and Pirates have been signing veteran rentals and waiting for their system to produce the whole of the winning team for the last 15 years. If that's the plan, I want a new GM. Or at least want some reason to believe that this system is capable of producing the caliber of player necessary to drive a team to contention. If you check out my post in the expectations thread, you'll see we don't have much reason for optimism on that front.

pedro
08-03-2007, 11:00 PM
Why should 3 months of a mediocre veteran be worth 6 years of league average or better player? If you can get a guy who might be able to someday supplement a roster on the cheap for a few years, that's more useful to the organization the 3 months of a veteran who will only make the difference between 94 or 95 losses.

How many Reds fans really care that neither Travis Chick or Justin Germano worked out for us? Should we have held out for more and kept Randa?

I don't think the Reds were even getting offered that. Although I will say we seemed to get a pretty fair deal for Lohse considering the supposed market.

edabbs44
08-03-2007, 11:43 PM
The one thing I will give Krivsky is that he hasn't committed us to an anchor contract yet.

I'm still scared of the Arroyo extension.

edabbs44
08-03-2007, 11:44 PM
I don't think the Reds were even getting offered that. Although I will say we seemed to get a pretty fair deal for Lohse considering the supposed market.

I was happy with the Lohse deal. Lohse had zero value for this team and they seemed to have gotten a pretty decent prospect for him. Even if this guy ends up as a decent #4 or 5, it's a win.