View Full Version : What could the Reds do to become as successful a franchise as the Indians are?

10-18-2007, 01:13 AM
What makes the Indians, our northern neighbors and seemingly in the same type of financial market, overall a much more successful organization? Is this strictly a management issue?
-- Craig W., Columbus, Ohio

It's not just management, but Cleveland's stability at the top is a big reason. GM Mark Shapiro has been running the show since 2002 and manager Eric Wedge has held the job since 2003 after the previous five years in the Indians' farm system.

Cleveland also had a plan and patiently stuck it with during a few lean seasons as the Twins and White Sox dominated the American League Central. Shapiro slashed payroll, parted with popular players, made shrewd trades and rebuilt the farm system. The plan bore fruit with C.C. Sabathia, Grady Sizemore, Jhonny Peralta and Travis Hafner -- among others.

Since Shapiro took over in November 2001, the Reds have had one ownership change, two GM changes and four different managers ... make that five with Baker.

I took this from the Reds mail bag. Often stability is underrated when we get to talking about things that make a successful franchise. It is true that it has to be the right sort of stability. It will not help the Reds if they have the wrong owner and GM leading the team. I think Castellini is a good owner and will spend the necessary money to improve the team, and Krivsky will try and make good trades, and work on rebuilding the farm system. We now have some stability with our management. I believe that Krivsky's plan is to make the Reds follow the Minnesota model and work on improving pitching and defense. We might have a couple more lean seasons, but hopefully we will see the Reds turn the corner, and we might see them reach the playoffs and even make the World Series like Cleveland will this year. Krivsky has also done his own slashing of payroll in getting rid of players that did not have a future with the Reds like Jason LaRue, Kyle Lohse, Eric Milton, and some others who could be mentioned. He has shown a willingness to reward players who have performed on the field such as Aaron Harang, Bronson Arroyo, and possibly even Adam Dunn. I will be watching with great interest to see what Krivsky does to improve the Reds in the off-season.

10-18-2007, 01:52 AM
Stability is important, but you are right in that it has to be the right guys leading the organization. Look to Colorado - if I recall Dan O'Dowd used to get talked about pretty regularly as one of the worst GMs in baseball, but with time he built that team into a contender. My point is that it takes time to see whether the guy you have is the right guy. When you hire a GM, I think you should give him around 5 years to get a winner on the field (especially when inheriting a mess like we had here). If a guy was doing some irreparable harm to the organization, then he doesn't get the five years. Not to turn this into a WK argument, but even though you can argue some of his lesser moves, WK has not done anything to harm the future of this franchise. From where I sit, he has added a few build-around type players (Phillips, Arroyo, Hamilton) and given away no build-around type players. We can argue his smaller moves all day long, but at this point I think the Reds are in better shape than they were when WK got here. Eventually it has to show up in wins on the field, but that takes time.

As for Cleveland, I think the Reds have a chance to be that type of team in 2009 or 2010. The young guys should be up and ready to go, and guys like Harang/Arroyo/Dunn will still be in their peaks. We may have to endure a couple years of potential-filled young teams struggling to put it together (like Cleveland did) but I think we are capable of getting to contender status.

10-18-2007, 12:52 PM
Rockies what Reds could be
Right plan - and time to execute it - could get them there, Krivsky says

The Colorado Rockies are in the World Series. If you've read that sentence and you're still awake, try this:

They're who the Reds could be. Humidor and all.

On the radio Tuesday night, I asked Reds general manager Wayne Krivsky for one trait the Rockies, Cleveland Indians and Arizona Diamondbacks had in common. Generally, Krivsky is so buttoned-up with the media, his top button rides just beneath his nose. Getting something revealing from him is like catching a soap bubble in a wind tunnel.

"Patience," Krivsky said, clearly, emphatically and very un-Wayne-like.

In other words; If you want the Reds to win like those guys, gimme some time.

It was self-serving, given that Krivsky is approaching the third year of a three-year contract and, well, firing him wouldn't be the patient thing to do. But he was right.

The Colorado Rockies prove it. Whoever they are.

In 15 years of existence, the Rockies spent much time trying to come to grips with the mile-high weirdness that affected their home games. They judged the ball traveled 10 percent farther in the thin air, so they loaded up on power hitters and spent many millions on sinkerballers. They signed fast outfielders who could roam the back 40 of Coors Field for stray line drives.

Finally, they stored their baseballs in humidors, moistening them a hair to deaden them in the thin, dry air.

They didn't get to the World Series until they started dumping money into player development. Now they've arrived, with a team of players barely old enough to remember last Tuesday. It's easier to name five peaks in the Andes than five Rockies. If you said Holliday, Helton, Hawpe, Francis and Tulowitzki, give yourself a hand and ask yourself what you're doing with your life.

The Rockies' payroll amounts to about a dozen cases of Coors Extra Gold. Actually, it's $54 million, some $15 million less than the Reds'. They're in the same league with the Indians and Diamondbacks. Thanks to revenue-sharing, luxury taxation and the Yankees' annual postseason tank, it has become obvious that money might buy A-Rod, but it won't buy love. It's a very good time to be a mid-market baseball team.

It also eliminates any and all "small market" excuses. Which brings us back to Krivsky, who'd like some patience.

"We want to win now," he said, a good thing to say given it's been awhile. What Krivsky would like more is the time that a little winning would buy. Krivsky knows the Reds are probably a year away, at least. After '08, they're out from under Junior Griffey's salary and stature; will have had a full season of Homer Bailey, Joey Votto, Jeff Keppinger, etc.; and are likely to have a good read on Jay Bruce and Johnny Cueto.

Point is, a year or two of patience is what Krivsky needs.

Are you with him?

Krivsky has done well with scrap-heap acquisitions, blue-light guys such as Brandon Phillips, Josh Hamilton and Jared Burton. He acquired Keppinger for some pitcher I couldn't find listed on baseball-reference.com. He has blown up the personnel department and retooled it to his liking. He started talking to Dusty Baker in July.

The Reds are still light in Latin America - a place the Rockies have put considerable resources - where 15-year-olds who can play come for pennies on the dollar. "We're doing better," Krivsky said, meaning things aren't great for us but at least we realize it.

The Reds aren't exactly poised for a Rockies-like rebirth. But that's the goal. Nobody named Castellini is going to be paying a pitcher $90 million any time soon. Patience is required, but patience without vision is a road to nowhere.

As a GM, Krivsky has been a good scout. He can be brusque, defensive and hard to talk to. If he wants you to be patient, he needs to tell you why. More important, he needs to have a clearly articulated plan that everyone from fans to media to his own people understands.

We loved the Phillips pick-up, Wayne. Now give us a master plan that's equally thoughtful. Tell us how the Reds get where Colorado, Arizona and Cleveland have been. We're waiting, patiently.

A very good article. Both the Indians and the Rockies are teams that are similar to the Reds, but have had a plan to make it to the playoffs and ultimately the World Series. Wayne seems to have had a plan to make the Reds like the Minnesota model, but he likes this secrecy stuff a little too much. He needs to work on building up the public relations side of the organization, and learn to explain better to the fanbase what his plan is and what he will do to make the team better. Wayne obviously would like some more time to put his plan into effect, but he also needs to communicate better to the City and the fanbase, and make sure they are completely behind his plan. He will get the time he is looking for if he will simply put a little effort into communication. It will not do him any good if he turns the Reds franchise around, but nobody attends the games.

10-18-2007, 02:41 PM
Comparing the relative philosophies of the Reds and the Indians, and how that influences the direction they steer their respective franchises? Pray.

The Reds hiring Baker signifies that they are going as old-school as old-school gets. The Indians have incorporated much of the "new school" into how they run their organization. The Reds are still woefully 20th century, unfortunately.

10-18-2007, 06:26 PM
Patience is good.
Wish I had some left.

10-18-2007, 08:29 PM
Patience may be a key but the that's not why the Indians are successful. The reason the Indians are good is that they lock up their best players. That's something we have seen with Harang and Arroyo. Let's hope they continue this trend.

Carolina Red
10-18-2007, 09:16 PM
They could have started by hiring Joe Torre instead of Dusty Baker.

10-18-2007, 10:59 PM
They could have started by hiring Joe Torre instead of Dusty Baker.Let's not go there. Torre would have cost the Reds atleast 5 million a year. It would probably be more like 7. I think that we hired the right man for the money. By the way, with his deal, Dusty Baker becomes tied for the highest paid manager in the majors. That is with Joe Torre being fired. He is tied with Lou Pinella.:)