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Boss-Hog
12-28-2002, 11:17 PM
Time is Now for Lindner, Reds
by Edskin

Normally, I find "how they made their millions" stories a tad boring. It's usually through inheritance or some complex business dealings-yawn. However, the story of Cincinnati Reds owner Carl Lindner is quite interesting--- bananas. Yep, he sold a whole bunch of bananas and he turned them into millions of clams. We look at a banana split and say "mmmmmmmm," Lindner looks at a banana split and says, "cha-ching!"

Lindner sold so many bananas that he decided to buy himself a major league baseball team-that's a whole lotta bananas. Unfortunately, that's where my admiration for the man ceases.

Upon being named majority owner of the Reds, Lindner made it quite clear that he was not in it to make money, but he also made it quite clear that he wasn't about to lose money either. It's as if he just wanted a big playground for his grandkids that wasn't going to cost him anything. His reluctance to lose a few bananas off the back of the truck, have kept the mid-market Reds drifting in a sea of mediocrity-so close, yet so far.

Some say that it's his money, his team, he should be able to do as he sees fit. But is that accurate? Does the team really belong to him, or is he just a high-profile caretaker for the city and the fans? I tend to lean towards the latter. I believe that owners have an obligation to their fans to do all they can to produce a winner. If Linder knew from the get-go that he wasn't willing to make the necessary concessions to compete at a high level, then why buy in the first place?

And perhaps he is being a tad shortsighted when it comes to the bottom line. Linder has three HUGE factors in his favor:

--The city of Cincinnati loves the Reds. Right now, the fans are battling the negativity, complacency, and frustration that comes with seasons of disappointment and questionable moves from the front office. Nothing gnaws at a fan more than unloading a good player for next to nothing in return, just so the books balance. But the city has always been baseball crazy-give them hope and the turnstiles will explode.

--The Reds open a new stadium this season, which virtually ensures good attendance. Add a winner to a new stadium and Linder could be swimming in green with the increased concessions and merchandising sales that would be sure to follow.

--The number one note of comparison in Cincinnati is Bengals owner Mike Brown. Conduct a popularity poll between Brown and Saddam Hussein and Brown would probably win-by a hair. Lindner doesn't have to do much to make his team the only show in town.

Am I telling another man how he should spend his bananas? You bet. Lindner has a responsibility as a sports owner that owners of other corporations and businesses don't. Right now, the message he seems to send is, "we're probably not going to be all that great, but please, we still want you to come out to the park."

It's hard to say, but given his position, I truly believe I'd take a different approach. Lindner is a very old man, even if the Reds lost millions this year, it still wouldn't make much of a dent in his wallet. I think it would be worth the financial hit to compete for a World Series--to have your team playing in those magical October games. And as stated before, success on the field translates directly to financial success off the field through a variety of different means. He could very well make his money back-or more.

The Reds are not in need of an overhaul. Their general manager, Jim Bowden, who at times is his own worst enemy and at other times is the Reds only hope, has done a solid job of building a core of young players that is ready to bust out. Bowden is also a master at annually finding diamonds in the rough who come cheap (see Jimmy Haynes last year). So, the Reds don't need quantity, but they are desperate for quality in one key department--starting pitching. Add two good starting pitchers, or one great one, and the Reds go from a middling team to a true contender. Problem? It's going to cost some bananas. The Reds have the ammo (trade bait) to get a deal done to acquire any number of high quality pitchers (The Expos Bartolo Colon being the golden nugget at this point), but there doesn't seem to be any way to accomplish this without adding payroll.

Bowden can wheel and deal and find treasures in the trash heap until the cows come home, but the ball is ultimately in Lindner's court. He can keep the status quo and hope that the Reds have a magical season as they did in 1999. Or he can sign off on a bit of a risk venture--- a dare to be great opportunity. In the end, sports is a business, but you can't shake the natural instinct to want to be the best. Mr. Lindner, we know you're a good businessman, now show us that you can be a winner too.

Imagine what a hero Lindner would be if he signed off on the deal(s) that restored the Reds as a champion and gem to the Queen City. He would be the ultimate hero. The fans might just, dare I say………go bananas.

Edskin
12-29-2002, 12:10 AM
Thanks Boss :) Oh, and check your PM's!

GAC
12-29-2002, 06:37 AM
Originally posted by Edskin
Thanks Boss :) Oh, and check your PM's!

royalty check? ;)

Good article Ed.

I have agreements and disagreements with this position.

I can fully understand someone (such as us "average joe's) making the contention that it wouldn't hurt a billionaire like Lindner to lose several million investing in this team, if it could possibly bring a winner.

To be honest. If I was a billionaire, I'd probably have no problem doing it. But then I'm a baseball-addict (and Carl is not) ;)

But my question is... is it simply "his" money to be able to do this?

Yes, he's the CEO; but does that give him the right to lose money on a yearly basis (and that's what the trend would be), and then have to justify it to his LTD partners and shareholders of his various investments/company's? Would they stand for that?

I, and most of us, don't know what the situation is when it comes to his "readily available" or liquid assets.

Put yourself in the position of being one of those partners/investors.

Let's say you are an investor/shareholder in UDF, Chiquita, or one of Lindner's other holdings, and he's telling you each quarter/year that your dividends/profits will be alot smaller because he's taking that millions and putting it towards the Reds (and organization that you, as a shareholder, have no part with)?

And again I ask the question (which has been asked many times before; but no one seems to know the answer ;) )... How much is enough? Does it ever end? Or is Lindner and his partners suppose to be content with that situation year in and year out? Because looking at the economic environment in baseball, it's not a pleasant scenario.

Should we take the risk of say the D'backs owners, who have their team in a very precarious financial situation?

Some say they wish Lindner would sell the team to an owner who would pour millions into this franchise to bring the fans a winner. But teams like the Angels, A's, and Twins have shown that it's not simply about pouring money in, in order to be competitive and win; but having the right personnel, player development, etc.

Look at the payrolls of teams like LA, Boston, Baltimore, etc. When was their last WS? Organizations like the Angels, Twins, and A's embarass these guys IMHO.

And with the exception of owners like King George and the Red Sox, who else is following that philosophy of spend, spend, spend?

Some have held up Dolan as an example. Jacob sold the Indians at just the right time. Look what Dolan is now having to do. Economic losses within his personal investments/holdings, along with the fact that the revenue from the new stadium have finally reached a "saturation point", have forced him to cut payroll, loose key players, and begin to rebuild, after only owning the team a few short years.

My whole point is... regardless if Lindner sold this team. I don't think we'd see anyone come in here and just start pouring money into this franchise. Whether it's this team's geographic location, market size, or the limitations on generating large amounts of revenue... I just don't see that happening.

And if we start the 2003 season with a payroll near 60 Mil, then what is wrong with that? Most, at one point months ago, were saying they'd be ecstatic to see that kind of increase. Now it's not enough?

Team Tuck
12-29-2002, 06:40 AM
Be patient on the Colon thing. The Yanks are already out of the picture. The price to acquire him (the # and quality of prospects) will keep coming down as we get closer to spring training, and the Reds are one of the few teams that still have payroll room to work with. That's why I think the Walker and Dessens trades were necessary and well-timed - no way Bowden gets approval from Lindner on the Colon thing unless he's already freed up the payroll. If the Expos agree to take on Sullivan in return (or if the Reds can move Sullivan in another deal), I'd say you might be closer to a deal with the Expos than most realize.

Colon
Graves
Dempster
Haynes
Acevado

Chen
Reistma
White
Reidling
Willy

I'm telling you, there's plenty of room for improvement, but I think the above pitching staff at least gives us a chance.

GAC
12-29-2002, 06:49 AM
But if we can't sign Colon long term, then it was all wasted IMHO. he is due to make 8.25 Mil in 2003, before entering FA. If he has another solid year, is it preposterous to assume he will be demanding somewhere in the area of 12-14 Mil/year in a multi-year deal?

And if this organization was willing to pay that, could you see him being the highest paid player on this team? Not trying to assume or start anything; but could that lead to a "sticky" situation? ;)

Team Tuck
12-29-2002, 07:29 AM
I'm so tired of all this Lindner talk. It's so easy to say to you have to spend money to make money. BUT, spending $70 or $75m in 2003 doesn't guarantee the Reds will be playing in October. It improves your chances and raises expectations, but doesn't guarantee anything. Let's say things don't go as planned in 2003, even after you spend $75m. The disappointment is greater than ever, there go a bunch of season ticket holders, so the Reds then cut payroll to $60m for 2004. Oh my God, can you imagine the *****ing from the fans when they have to CUT payroll? I mean, look at the *****ing now that they're INCREASING payroll by $15m.

When the Pirates and Brewers were in the first year of their new stadiums (2001 I believe), what were their payroll levels? Why do Reds fans believe our payroll in 2003 should be higher than that?

And, even if the Reds are winning, to say the turnstiles will explode might be an exaggeration. What we saw here in '95 and '99 was well short of turnstiles exploding. Granted, the new stadium will help tremendously. But, any explosion of turnstiles is a short-term thing. Not to mention that clubs that spend big money do so from TV revenues, not turnstile explosions. I suspect that if the Reds spent $70m on player payroll this coming year, there are still those that would complain and say that they should spend $80m. Personally, mark me down as being ok with the $60m, as long as we maintain that over the next 2-3 years. With the development of Dunn and Kearns, with the Larkin contract expiring in '03, and with everybody but the Yanks and Red Sox watching their dollars a little closer these days, we can compete in the NL Central with $60m. I think we're a couple moves away, but moves that can be made by the start of spring training.

Baseball's a screwed up game right now. I don't blame Steinbrunner for wanting to win, but I also don't expect Lindner to spend like Steinbrunner. Steinbrunner has the market to do it - Uncle Carl doesn't. The game is a mess - thanks Bud.

GAC
12-29-2002, 08:36 AM
I agree with ya TT.

The vast majority of MLB owners/organizations are in the same boat as the Reds are. Even teams with payrolls in the 70-80 Mil range (some, not all) were mediocre teams with won-loss records that were nothing to brag about.

It tells me there is more to it, and may have alot to do with your organization's infra-structure, and having the right personnel in the right places to scout, develop, make those "key" baseball related and on-field decisions, and yes, at the right times, make acquisitions.

And I will agree that this may very well be the area where this organization has huge weaknesses.

Redsfaithful
12-29-2002, 08:51 AM
First of all, well written article Edskin, I enjoyed reading it. :thumbup:

I think 60 million is fine. The only things I would ask more of form Lindner would be:

1)Market the team better

This one pays him, and thus he could put that money back into the team. I really have to believe the Reds have got to be one of the worst advertised teams in the country.

2)Make the 60 million slightly flexible

Decide how flexible before the season, but tell Bowden that if he truly gets a deal that he can't pass up the payroll could jump 3 - 5 million. No more, but give him that much flexibility to make a deal in July. Not being able to trade for a Chuck Finley due to being short a few hundred thousand is ridiculous.

I'm a huge Bengals fan, so quite honestly the Reds organization and even Carl Lindner get huge thumbs up to me. It really could be worse than having an owner that just wants to break even. Ask Kansas City Royals fans, their owner is just in it to make a buck. Ask me and other Bengals fans who have to put up with a numbskull lining his pockets. Reds fans have it okay, maybe not ideal, but okay.

TampaBayRed
12-29-2002, 11:20 AM
Originally posted by GAC
royalty check? ;)
To be honest. If I was a billionaire, I'd probably have no problem doing it. But then I'm a baseball-addict (and Carl is not) ;)


Then perhaps he should have invested his billions in something other than a baseball team, as should the other LTD partners. By the way he really isnt out a dime is he? IIRC didnt he take his purchase price for the team from the teams revenues the first couple of seasons?

I have no problem with a $60 million payroll if indeed we do see that. I have a problem with a supposed business genius investing his money in a venture that "continually loses money" if you listen to over half the owners, and not expecting to do the same to remain competitive. Not that they do lose money, I really dont think most of us are naive enough to believe this. But a baseball team is NOT like other businesses. A truly savy businessman would have done the homework and realized that if he wanted a break even business from operating revenues perhapse he should have invested in something else. With the new mostly public financed stadium I guarantee you he has doubled his equity in the team. I compare owning a baseball team to owning real estate. You dont necessarily make a living from the rent, but you are building equity...paying off the mortgages etc.

Again I am satisfied with $60 million for payroll, however if its obvious come the trading deadline that we could compete with the acquisition of a Findley or Colon and he doesnt approve such a purchase, than I question his motives and intentions for buying our team. Why buy a baseball team to just compete? If as I have heard countless times baseball is a business, then why not treat it as such. Who invests in a business to just break even? I am a business owner as well and when I decided to start my own business, I didnt do it with the intention of "not losing money".

And if your not a baseball fan, I respectfully submit that perhaps your money would be better spent elsewhere.

Sorry if this has gone on or I didnt make sense, its still early for me and Ive only had one cup of coffee.

Edskin
12-29-2002, 11:29 AM
I had three main points in this article:

1. Lindner does NOT need to spend like the large market teams. But as it stands now, this team WILL NOT compete for anything special with the current rotation-- it would take a 99-like miracle for that to happen-- don't want to hold our breath for that. What we need is one or two pitchers-- and I'd be willing to part with salary from position players to make it work. I'm not asking for him to go crazy-- just raise it enough to get the one or two guys we need.

Does it guarantee anything? Of course not, but you've got to give yourself the best chance possible. I don't like the idea of keeping expectations low, so that fans will be pleasantly surprised if we win.

2. The fact that GAB is opening, pretty much guarantees that a good team would fill the seats just about every night. It's an added bonus that should be taken advantage of.

3. If Lindner simply wanted a business in which he could break even, then why choose Major League Baseball? If he pretty much knew that he wasn't willing to lose any money/investers, then why not pick something else?

Good points from all though, and thanks for reading :)

SandyD
12-29-2002, 12:33 PM
Thanks for the article, Edskin. Very well said. And Redsfaithful, I agree with you that the Reds need to be marketed better. I also agree that the $60 million payroll would be fine. I'm not sure the average fan cares much about the numbers. It's the flexibility or lack thereof that matters most. Not signing off on the Findley trade this past July when the team was competing. It's the loss of Walker and Dessens with very little in return. FeLo may turn out to be a great player, but who in Cincinnati had heard of him before the trade? All of that leaves the fans with a bad feeling about the Reds, IMHO.

Team Tuck
12-29-2002, 12:40 PM
Edskin - I see your points. But in all fairness, let's wait until March before we begin to criticize Lindner, Bowden, or the personnel moves that have been made thus far. Payroll room has been opened up - now let's see what Jimbo can do with it between now and March. Be patient.

Hey, I'm putting a season ticket purchase on hold until I see what develops over the next few months. So I recognize what everybody is saying, but I'm at least willing to give the FO time.

GAC
12-29-2002, 01:05 PM
I'm not making any determination/evaluations until i se who takes that field on Opening Day. There's still plenty of time for certain "key" moves to be made.

And I agree on our most important need right now being pitching. And I also think this FO realizes that too. It's the one ingredient that we need to add to a healthy squad.

RedFanAlways1966
12-29-2002, 01:18 PM
Originally posted by Edskin
2. The fact that GAB is opening, pretty much guarantees that a good team would fill the seats just about every night. It's an added bonus that should be taken advantage of.

Nice job on the column, Edskin. :) I look forward to future columns. These are great for debate during the off-season!

I have always wondered why a "new stadium" guarantees good attendance in the opinion of some. I do not feel this way. Especially in a city like Cincinnati. While the town has always shown great support for their beloved REDS, I do not think a new stadium will guarantee geat attendance. With a few exceptions (Cubs, Red Sox, Cards, Dodgers), I think winning is what sells tickets.

The GAB will definitely cause increased ticket sales. But for how long? When will the excitement of the GAB wear off? I think this will be directly correlated to the performance of the REDS. I do not believe that REDS fans are the types that find it to be the "trendy thing" to be seen at the new park. After 1 or 2 games at the new park, the average RED fan will buy more tickets to see a playoff contender (like Pitt & Milwaukee). Not an also-ran. I guess I am claiming that most REDS fans, God love us, are fair-weathered (like most sports fans).

I do not want to blame Uncle Carl either. The man did not become a billionaire by making "bad business decisions". We'd all love to have a George Steinbrenner or Mark Cuban type owner, without the personality disorders. I blame the dysfunctional "MLB setup". We, as REDS fans, find ourselves in the "MLB small market catch-22"... does Uncle Carl spend big bucks to attempt a return on the investment (winning and the $$$ that it generates) and risk losing serious cash in the process? I guess it depends on your opinion of being a MLB team owner... is it a business or a hobby?

letsgojunior
12-29-2002, 02:01 PM
Excellent column Edskin.

The "small market" excuse for mediocre seasons no longer works for me. Four of the seven teams that had lower payrolls than us in 2002 (Oakland, Minnesota, Montreal, Florida), all had better records than us. Each of these markets is equal to or in some cases signficantly worse than Cincinnati. It has been proven quite a few times through the nineties that you can win if you spend your money wisely, even if you have a low budget. Carl threw a fork in all those plans by giving Larkin a $27 M extension despite the fact that his baseball people told him that everything that is happening now would eventually happen. Not only is that bad spending, it is indicative of an owner who is not at all in tune with the salary structure of the team, or where the deficiencies in the team lie (read: starting pitching). I was reading about Mark Cuban this morning, who personally I think is an immature nut, and he had a really good quote: "If you are not an involved owner, you are an idiot".

I am not trying to pretend that I have any clue about the responsibilities of being a CEO, but one thing I know to be true is that you have to care. Your name is being stamped on everything. Every time a player doesn't try, or every time Bowden plays managerial musical chairs, or every time Allen blames the fans, it is a reflection on you and your business practices. Every time you hand out a big contract, you have to believe that not only is this person good at their respective field, but they are solid in character and will represent you well. That has not happened at all the last five or so years. The Oester incident, random opinions of Oester notwithstanding, was an incredibly embarrassing episode for the team, and it was barely addressed. It made us come off as crass and manipulative. That is just one example of the charades that go on down there. Why are all of our good FO people gone? Doc Rodgers, Gary Hughes, Kasey McKeon?

Redsfaithful summed up just what I was thinking extremely well. I don't need a Yankee level or even a Cardinals level payroll. All I want to see is sound baseball decisions and a little flexibility. We were not allowed to add a cent of payroll last year in July despite being in the thick of it. Finley was a really good move, as proven by his stint with the Cardinals. If we have the opportunity to get a bona fide, proven, stud commodity, I don't think it is too much to ask for a little leeway and flexibility. There were several deals on the table that would have SIGNIFICANTLY improved our team, yet we passed them up because of small financial considerations. As a fan, that is very, very tough to swallow.

RedFanAlways1966
12-29-2002, 04:27 PM
Originally posted by letsgojunior
I was reading about Mark Cuban this morning, who personally I think is an immature nut, and he had a really good quote: "If you are not an involved owner, you are an idiot".

Cuban may know software, but...!?! This quote makes me think of Mike Brown. Enough said.

lgj, I am afraid that the small market thing is the biggest problem in REDS land and other ML cities. Case in point... the World Series champs of late: NY Yankees, Florida Marlins (before the fire-sale), Arizona Diamondbacks and Anaheim Angels (spent $500,000 more per player than the REDS). No Twins, A's, Expos or Marlins. Th Expos and Marlins may of had better W-L records than the REDS, but they still did not come close to making the post-season. Why? SMALL MARKET. If they had better records than the Braves (BIG MARKET... for many years and how many playoff appearances during those $years$?), then they would have made the post-season. Here's how I see the "game" of MLB in a nutshell over the last few decades:

1970's: Great time. Teams like the REDS, Orioles, Pirates, A's, Yankees and Dodgers are strong. Economics arenot a big issue. Some teams dwell in the cellar for the decade, but money is not the big issue.

1980's: Still a good competitive balance, but the "slide starts". Teams like the Phillies, Twins, '84 Tigers, Cards and the who could forget the Brew Crew are remembered. Free agency becomes a big thing and usually the high-bidder wins. The REDS do not win a division title in the decade.

1990's: "Oh crap", says fans in many cities. We see the WS cancelled b/c of a strike. We see salaries go through the ceiling thanks to MLB hobbyists like Turner, Steinbrenner and Jacobs. Fans get educated on new terms like SMALL MARKET, revenue sharing, collective bargaining, etc. BIG MARKET teams start winning the World Series every year.

Your term "sound baseball decisions and flexibility" makes me wonder. Is it a "sound baseball decision and flexible" to lose money (Linder)? And if Lindner approves add'l spending to make these decisions, can the REDS still outbid the BIG MARKET teams to acquire this "good" player? A catch-22 for SMALL MARKET teams. Just look at who got the rights to sign the latest Japnese and Cuban players to hit the U.S. The Yankees.

In regard to Oester, it did cause embarassment for the club. A lot brought on by "nice guy" Oester's comments. While Ronnie had no ML managerial experience to base judgement and I am not a big Bob Boone backer, I am glad he did not get the manager's job. He could of had it, if he would have accepted the offer made (6 figures to do the laborous job of managing a MLB team and a nice raise from a coach's salary... that good ol' American gluttony). He waited and felt the screw. Welcome to America.

In regard to Larkin, I'd venture to guess that you (like me and most REDS loyalists) were happy at the time. Hindsight tells us better. The same goes for the money spent on Junior. Utter excitement at the time by all REDS loyalists. Now many think the REDS are better off without him (spend the money on pitching, I hear). Hindsight again.

MikeS21
12-29-2002, 04:45 PM
GAC wrote:
Let's say you are an investor/shareholder in UDF, Chiquita, or one of Lindner's other holdings, and he's telling you each quarter/year that your dividends/profits will be alot smaller because he's taking that millions and putting it towards the Reds (and organization that you, as a shareholder, have no part with)?
This is PRECISELY why the IRS and SEC would be all over Lindner if he did try to pull this. Far too many fans think all Lindner has to do is pull profits out of Chiquita, and pull profits out of Great American Insurance, and pull profits out of Provident Bank, and that will pay for the huge payrolls. I have no accounts with Provident Bank, but if I did and I heard he was taking profits out of the institution where I have MY life savings, in order to pay some baseball player, you better believe I'd be contacting someone with the SEC.

I agree with what letsgojunior said in the other thread. Lindner needs to get more involved in the front office power struggles and put an end to the three ring circus we've got going on right now. He needs to get a REAL PR department that actually does something besides feeding mid-game injury reports to Marty and Joe in the radio booth.

Enjoyable read, Edskin. I look forward to more of these columns.:thumbup:

letsgojunior
12-29-2002, 05:03 PM
RFA, I was quite sick during the whole Larkin re-signing, so I didn't really have an opinion of it at that time. But I would probably say I was more happy than annoyed, but it wasn't for the right reasons. It was because we got to keep a local icon, not because I thought that it would pay off in the long run. My point was this. Lindner did not listen to his baseball people at all on that move. Bowden et al knew that the move would strangle an already top-heavy payroll, and given Larkin's injury history and age, it didn't make sense. And there wasn't another team in baseball that would have given him that extension at that age. A lot of people have directed blame towards the fans for this one. However, I disagree. As an owner of a baseball team, an unforgiving, what have you done for me lately industry, you have to take some hits every once in awhile. What should have been done that year was to let Larkin finish out the season and become an FA. I am reasonably sure that no other team would have offered him such a lucrative package. Find out what the market was offering and increase it a little and go from there. Teams that grossly outbid the competition (see Hicks, Tom) always come out looking stupid.

I used other teams as examples for the strict purpose of saying that a lot of people seem to comment that you can't do any better than we have on such a small budget. Yes, you can. A LOT better. Oakland has made the playoffs the last three years, and lost to the mighty Yankees because Jeremy Giambi didn't slide, not because the Yanks had some $20 M superstar hitting 3 bombs in a game in Game 5. Minnesota came within 2 games of making it to the World Series this year. Florida and Montreal, despite not having a stadium full of sold-out luxury boxes, finished with better records and have correctly focused their team (on starting pitching).

The Reds will never be in the market for the Jose Contrerases of the world. But that doesn't mean we can't be good. I wouldn't be shocked if Contreras really turns out to be 35 or so. The GAB doesn't mean, as Daugherty eloquently put it, that we will all of a sudden become NYC on the Ohio River. But it does mean that if Bartolo Colon comes along, we should have a really good shot at him. It also means that we should be able to draft players with the highest ceilings (not the ones we think will just take slot money), and maximize the talent of our system.

Regarding Ronnie, I have never been a big fan of his. To me, he lost a lot of goodwill with what he did to Casey this ST. However, what happened to him was abominable. I read an article with Willie Randolph the other day. When asked about the Reds managerial position, he said he took himself out of the running because the offer was to become the lowest paid manager in baseball, and that he wouldn't even get to assemble his own staff. Oester was told that the job was his, and that there was no one else in the running. It's like my dad when he always buys cars. He always "dickers" with the salesman, trying to get this thrown in. It is not a sign of greed. If Ronnie had known other candidates were involved, I am pretty sure he would have accepted the job. And this is from a person who would prefer the reincarnation of Ray Knight as manager rather than Oester.

GAC
12-29-2002, 06:15 PM
I'm sorry, but Ron Oester not getting the manager's job is Ron Oester's fault.

I don't care what kind of money they offer you. You get the chance to manage...and you jump on it! He was the idiot in that scenario IMO.

And I don't blame the Reds for one second for passing up on Colon last year, knowing his pending free agent status. And I don't care what little the Expo's had to give up to get him either.

What were the Indian's demands (player-wise) from this organization for Colon? It was far greater than what they settled for from the Expos at the time.

And I don't think Colon would have made much of a difference anyway, due to the injuries to key offensive players we incurred anyway.

We're arguing over a moot issue here LOL

creek14
12-29-2002, 06:30 PM
Originally posted by MikeS21
Far too many fans think all Lindner has to do is pull profits out of Chiquita, and pull profits out of Great American Insurance, and pull profits out of Provident Bank, and that will pay for the huge payrolls.

I don't think that anyone thinks that Carl should mix money like that.

I do believe that people think that Carl and his band of merry men need to pull out the personal check book and thrown in a couple million each to get a pitcher. Which seems like a lot to you and me, but when you see your name on Forbes list each year, it isn't that much. 10 shares, kick in a million per share. That would work.

And I don't think that the fans expect that to be a donation to the city. If the owners would show the fans that they are that interested in trying to win, I believe the fans would reward them with higher attendence. Which would put more money back in their pockets.

Yes it might be a little extreme, but after the Bengal loss today, the fans of Cincinnati are more than a little testy. Carl and the limiteds are going to face a wrath a little more brutal than usual, at least for a while.

Team Tuck
12-29-2002, 08:46 PM
Originally posted by letsgojunior
Excellent column Edskin.

The "small market" excuse for mediocre seasons no longer works for me. Four of the seven teams that had lower payrolls than us in 2002 (Oakland, Minnesota, Montreal, Florida), all had better records than us. Each of these markets is equal to or in some cases signficantly worse than Cincinnati.



Oh, lgj, I have so much to teach you. What you say is true, but go ahead and present both sides to that story.

1. Let's include 1999 and 2000 in the analysis and let's see how the Reds compare with other small market teams, and even big market teams, in those years.

2. Share with us how many teams with higher payrolls last year had a worse record than the Reds.

To be totally fair, let's look at the last 5 years combined, total reg season w/l records and total cumulative payroll. Then let's see how things stack up - Oakland will be better, but I'm not sure if any other small mkt teams will fair better than the Reds. And I'm guessing there are several high payroll teams that have won fewer games than the Reds.

Point is, if this is your argument, I think you're supporting the Reds without even realizing it. Don't even consider discounting the importance of market size - it is a HUGE factor.

ps Not to mention that all 7 of those teams were within $10 million of the Reds $45 million payroll. In 2002, we weren't talking HUGE payroll differences between the Reds and the bottom of the league.

ps2 Not to mention that we've had the misfortune of having our best everyday player hurt for the past 2 years, a misfortune that few small market teams can survive.

Team Tuck
12-29-2002, 09:01 PM
Originally posted by letsgojunior

As an owner of a baseball team, an unforgiving, what have you done for me lately industry, you have to take some hits every once in awhile.

Regarding Ronnie, I have never been a big fan of his. To me, he lost a lot of goodwill with what he did to Casey this ST. However, what happened to him was abominable. I read an article with Willie Randolph the other day. When asked about the Reds managerial position, he said he took himself out of the running because the offer was to become the lowest paid manager in baseball, and that he wouldn't even get to assemble his own staff.

I agree on your first point re the Larkin signing. But if Jimbo had followed thru with his plan of either trading him or letting him become a FA, why do I get the feeling that at that time, you would have been one of the first to claim that Bowden is an insensitive, unforgiving jackass for not wanting to keep a local legend around.

I like the fact that we have the lowest paid manager in the game. To me, it's such an overrated position, particularly with a good pitching coach. Hell, Jack slept thru most of the games. ;)

Team Tuck
12-29-2002, 09:12 PM
One thing I agree with is that Carl needs to be a little more flexible, although I think Finley last year is a bad example. We finished 19 games out, so don't imply that we were playoff bound with Finley. And, Finley was having a rough season when the Cardinals picked him up. At the time of the transaction, primarily because of Finley's age, I thought both Dempster and Estes were better acquisitions, and I still think they were.

letsgojunior
12-29-2002, 10:55 PM
Oh, lgj, I have so much to teach you. What you say is true, but go ahead and present both sides to that story.

1. Let's include 1999 and 2000 in the analysis and let's see how the Reds compare with other small market teams, and even big market teams, in those years.

2. Share with us how many teams with higher payrolls last year had a worse record than the Reds.

I have included 1993-2002 in my analysis, Bowden's tenure as GM of the Reds. I have included two categories: teams that have spent more and won less than the Reds, and teams that have spent less and won more than the Reds. I have indicated win totals. My data came from usatoday.com for salary and from baseballreference.com from win totals.


why do I get the feeling that at that time, you would have been one of the first to claim that Bowden is an insensitive, unforgiving jackass for not wanting to keep a local legend around.

Because you don't know me well at all and because you often rely on making assumptions?? I wouldn't have a problem with Bowden trading close to anyone if he didn't do it in such a classless manner in many cases (ignoring handshake agreements, printing false salary demands in newspapers).

Anyways, on to the analysis:

1993

Reds payroll: $42,851,167
Teams with payrolls greater than the Reds: 1, Toronto
Teams with payrolls smaller than the Reds: 26
Reds win total: 73
Number of teams that had a lower payroll than Reds and finished with more wins: 18 (Yankees, 88; Kansas City, 84; Cubs, 84; Braves, 104; Dodgers, 81; Boston, 80; Detroit, 85; Texas, 86; CWS, 94; San Francisco, 103; Seattle, 82; Houston, 85; Baltimore, 85; Philly, 97; Pitt, 75; STL, 87; Montreal, 94; Cleveland, 76)
Number of teams that had a higher payroll than Reds and finished with less wins: 0

1994

Reds payroll: $39,826,333
Teams with payrolls greater than the Reds: 6 (Yankees, Braves, Royals, Tigers, Giants, Blue Jays)
Teams with payrolls smaller than the Reds: 21
Reds win total: 66
Number of teams that had a lower payroll than Reds and finished with more wins: 3
(CWS, 67; Oakland, 68; Montreal, 74)
Number of teams that had a higher payroll than Reds and finished with less wins: 4 (Toronto, 55; KC, 64; Tigers, 53; Giants, 54)

1995

Reds payroll: $37,240,667
Teams with payrolls greater than the Reds: 5 (Yankees, Braves, Blue Jays, Orioles, CWS)
Teams with payrolls smaller than the Reds: 22
Reds win total: 85
Number of teams that had a lower payroll than Reds and finished with more wins: 2 (Cleveland, 100; Boston, 86)
Number of teams that had a higher payroll than Reds and finished with less wins: 4 (Yankees, 79; Toronto, 56; Orioles, 71; CWS, 68)

1996

Reds payroll: $40,719,334
Teams with payrolls greater than the Reds: 5 (Yankees, Braves, Indians, Orioles, CWS)
Teams with payrolls smaller than the Reds: 22
Reds win total: 81
Number of teams that had a lower payroll than Reds and finished with more wins: 9 (Boston, 85; Seattle, 85; STL, 88; Texas, 90; Colorado, 83; Dodgers, 90; Padres, 91; Houston, 82; Montreal, 88)

Number of teams that had a higher payroll than Reds and finished with less wins: 0

1997

Reds payroll: $46,267,000
Teams with payrolls greater than the Reds: 7 (Yankees, Braves, Rangers, Orioles, CWS, Indians, Marlins)
Teams with payrolls smaller than the Reds: 20
Reds win total: 76
Number of teams that had a lower payroll than Reds and finished with more wins: 13 (Anaheim, 84; Expos, 78; Boston, 78; Dodgers, 88; Rockies, 83; Seattle, 90; Mets, 88; Giants, 90; Astros, 84; Angels, 84; Brewers, 78; Tigers, 79; Pirates, 79)
Number of teams that had a higher payroll than Reds and finished with less wins: 0

1998

Reds payroll: $21,995,000
Teams with payrolls greater than the Reds: 26
Teams with payrolls smaller than the Reds: 3
Reds win total: 77
Number of teams that had a lower payroll than Reds and finished with more wins: 0
Number of teams that had a higher payroll than Reds and finished with less wins: 10 (KC, 72; Arizona, 65; TB, 63; KC, 72; Det, 65; Min, 70; Florida, 54; Phillies, 75; Mil, 74; Sea, 76)

1999

Reds payroll: $42,142,761
Teams with payrolls greater than the Reds: 19
Teams with payrolls smaller than the Reds: 10
Reds win total: 96
Number of teams that had a lower payroll than Reds and finished with more wins: 0
Number of teams that had a higher payroll than Reds and finished with less wins: 13 (Bal, 78; Boston, 94; Dodgers, 77; SF, 86; SD, 74; Col, 72; Cubs, 67; Mil, 74; STL, 75; Ana 70; Sea, 79; Tex 95; Tor, 84)

2000

Reds payroll: $44,217,500
Teams with payrolls greater than the Reds: 21
Teams with payrolls smaller than the Reds: 8
Reds win total: 85
Number of teams that had a lower payroll than Reds and finished with more wins: 2 (Oakland, 91; CWS, 95)
Number of teams that had a higher payroll than Reds and finished with less wins: 11 (Bal, 74; TB, 2000; Det, 79; Phillies, 65; SD, 76; Col, 82; Cubs, 65; Astros, 72; Anaheim, 82; Texas, 71; Tor, 73)

2001

Reds payroll: $48,784,000
Teams with payrolls greater than the Reds: 20
Teams with payrolls smaller than the Reds: 9
Reds win total: 66
Number of teams that had a lower payroll than Reds and finished with more wins: 8
(Anaheim, 75; Minn, 85; Mon, 68; Marlins, 76; Phillies, 86; Padres, 79; Oakland, 102; Mil, 68)
Number of teams that had a higher payroll than Reds and finished with less wins: 3 (Bal, 63; TB, 62; Pitt, 62)

2002

Reds payroll: $45,050,390
Teams with payrolls greater than the Reds: 22
Teams with payrolls smaller than the Reds: 7
Reds win total: 78
Number of teams that had a lower payroll than Reds and finished with more wins: 4 (Oakland, 103; Minnesota, 94; Montreal, 83; Florida, 79)
Number of teams that had a higher payroll than Reds and finished with less wins: 9 (Baltimore, 67; Cleveland, 74; KC, 62; Det, 55; NYM, 75; Col, 73; Cubs, 67; Brewers, 56; Texas, 72)

Bowden’s Tenure as GM:
Number of teams with small payrolls and higher win totals: 59
Number of teams with larger payrolls and lower win totals: 54


Grand Conclusion: The Oaklands of the world have beaten the Reds to a greater extent than the Reds have beaten up the Orioles and Tigers.

SandyD
12-29-2002, 11:28 PM
There could have been more to the Findley thing than just money, and if so, that's ok. I wasn't sold on that trade anyway, but here are some of the things that we have heard from various sources, of varying degrees of credibility.

We can't go one dime over payroll.

We have to trade some of our better performers to free up their salary, and we might not get much in return (or the players we get may be works in progress).

The new ball park will put people in the seats. That may be true, but if you opened a movie theatre, would you take the attitude that folks will come just because it's new? Would you say it publicly, even if you did?

There will only be a slight increase in payroll. (slight can mean a lot of things: a couple of million? 10%? 20%? I admit I felt a lot better when they came out and said $60 mil, but even then, if we need a reasonable increase in payroll in July to "remain competive", we should just do it. You, Lindner, and I might define "reasonable" differently, but it is "unreasonable" to take a stance of "absolutely not" to any increase in payroll. I think we can agree we need some flexibility when it comes to these decisions.

Maybe it all comes down to the way it's presented. Marketing and public relations. I don't mind salary dumps if we make other moves to improve the team. I applaud Lindner for not going overboard, but what have they done to reassure the fans? I'm not even concerned about this year, if it looks like we are moving in the right direction ... in any direction.

Sorry for the proprietary "we". It's easy to fall into that pattern, and I really don't blame Lindner or any one person for all of it. It's more likely a system-wide problem, including the media, the local business community, and even the fans. Maybe we're expecting too much. Maybe we lack patience. I don't know about you, but I want the Reds to win every game. I know it's not going to happen, but when they lose two or three in a row, and don't we all feel like the team is going to go down the tubes, and ... well, we know the feeling all too well.

Team Tuck
12-30-2002, 09:19 PM
lgj, thanks for all the info. Now, based on YOUR analysis, the years we should have won more were '93, '96 and '97. Is that really what you were suggesting? In those three years, 40 teams with lower payrolls finished with better records and 0 teams with higher payrolls finished with worse records. Fair enough.

Over the past 5 years (1998-2002), when payroll inequities and competitive balance has been at its worst, only 14 teams with lower payrolls have won more, while 46 teams with higher payrolls have won less. So based on how you chose to look at it, recent history suggests that the Reds are doing quite well given their low payroll. That's what I suspected. Hey lgj, Bowden appreciates your support!!

Point is, if you want to start comparing wins and payrolls, we may look bad compared to Oakland, but we look pretty good relative to quite a few other organizations. Your theory works a lot better if you're talking about the Pirates, Brewers, Tigers, Orioles, Dodgers, Blue Jays, Rockies, Rangers - shall I keep going?

letsgojunior
12-30-2002, 09:40 PM
Originally posted by Team Tuck
lgj, thanks for all the info. Now, based on YOUR analysis, the years we should have won more were '93, '96 and '97. Is that really what you were suggesting? In those three years, 40 teams with lower payrolls finished with better records and 0 teams with higher payrolls finished with worse records. Fair enough.

Over the past 5 years (1998-2002), when payroll inequities and competitive balance has been at its worst, only 14 teams with lower payrolls have won more, while 46 teams with higher payrolls have won less. So based on how you chose to look at it, recent history suggests that the Reds are doing quite well given their low payroll. That's what I suspected. Hey lgj, Bowden appreciates your support!!

Point is, if you want to start comparing wins and payrolls, we may look bad compared to Oakland, but we look pretty good relative to quite a few other organizations. Your theory works a lot better if you're talking about the Pirates, Brewers, Tigers, Orioles, Dodgers, Blue Jays, Rockies, Rangers - shall I keep going?

Your point is that we should now crown Lindner, Allen, and Bowden kings of the universe because we have done better the last 5 years compared to the Rangers, Pirates, Tigers, and Devil Rays? That's like saying a kid with a C on his report card did really good because a few idiots got an F. You have stated countless times on this board "Who does better with less?" Even looking at the last 5 years, in which several clueless GM's walked around the Free Agent Market with credit cards, we still have an average of three teams a year beating us while using less revenue to do it.

My point is that it is ridiculous to assume that 78 wins should be our crowning achievement with a $45 M payroll.

In the 10 year tenure of Bowden, we have had more teams beat us using less revenue than we have beaten teams using more revenue. It's as simple as that.

You used the competitive balance argument from 1998-2002, which is fine. But how about when Marge was running the team early on, and countless teams beat us despite having smaller payrolls? We have been at both ends of the spectrum in Bowden's tenure, yet we have one playoff appearance and 0 World Series trophies to show for it.

Other teams, such as Atlanta and Cleveland, have experienced that same changing of the guard. Being at the bottom of the heap and then climbing to the top (or the reverse). So why is it they have a lot more hardware? Because they are run better.

You continue to change your argument on this matter. A few weeks ago, you asked "Which teams with LESS have done better"?

http://www.redszone.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&postid=78381#post78381

Now that it has been proven that through Bowden's tenure, more teams with less have done better than teams with more have done worse, all of a sudden you are compromising your argument to the Reds are doing pretty good (and not the best penny-pinching organization out there?)

My point was that the Reds have been beaten out more consistently by low budget teams in the past ten years. There is no refuting that. To compromise it by saying that the Tampa Bay's, Detroit's, Kansas City's of the world make us look like a first-rate organization is specious. The bottom line is that, maybe ten organizations are run worse. But twenty are run better. Not the penny-pinching organizational wonder that you portray.

Team Tuck
12-31-2002, 12:10 AM
I have not changed my argument at all. This all started when you stated that you don't buy the small market/payroll excuse (apparently forgetting that the Yankees have dominated baseball for the past 5 years). I questioned the narrow view you took when you said we could do a lot better despite our payroll, and 2002 was proof in that 4 out of 7 teams with lower payrolls had better records (albeit Montreal and Fla were 2 of those teams, and all 7 of those teams were w/in $10m of our payroll). I simply asked you to broaden your view a little. You did that.

From your research, it's clear that 1993, 1996 and 1997 are the years that support your 'terrible Reds' theory the best, all BEFORE the HUGE payroll inequities that exist today. Would you agree with that????? Remember, '97 was one of the first times a team was known to 'buy' a WS - the Marlins. If 93-97 was the time period you were referring to, then fine, I can accept that.

IMO, the more applicable time period to consider when talking big payroll vs small payroll would be the time period since that '97 Marlins WS. When I asked a few weeks ago, "Which teams with LESS have done BETTER?" I was referring to payrolls since '97 - that's when competitive balance and huge payroll discrepancies became such a problem. During the time frame I considered (98-02), I hardly consider Atlanta and Cleveland as having operated with less....their payrolls have nearly doubled ours. Cleveland has a lot more hardware? I must have missed their WS championships? And so, to answer my question, since the Marlins bought their WS, "Which teams with LESS have done BETTER?" you've answered emphatically Oakland and ............................Oakland and....................Oakland.

Look, could we be better despite our low payroll? Sure we could. But is it difficult to sustain success every single year with a small payroll? You bet it is. Oakland is the only one to refute that, because they developed some very good young starting pitching. Hopefully, we're doing the same, but unfortunately it's a year or two away.

lgj, agree with me on a couple of things. To argue that market size is a non-factor is ludicrous. I think you agree. And to say that so many others have overcome small payrolls better than the Reds is difficult to support at best.

Hey, stop by sometime this year, and we can argue over a beer.

:beerme:

M2
12-31-2002, 01:15 AM
If you're going to be selective about which years you choose why stop at '93, '96 and '97 (other than the fact that it arbitrarily allows you to make the conclusion you wish to make)?

After all, how many teams had lower payrolls than the Reds in 1998? One? Two? Not really much of an accomplishment being the least bitter of the league's dregs.

Obviously 1999 and 2000 were successes. The Reds struck a winning combination and looked as if they might be a force to reckon with in the new millennium. Since then? 12 teams with lower payrolls have done better and 12 teams with higher payrolls have done worse. Pure middle of the road.

All that tells me is Bowden did a good job of conquering new lands, but ultimately he didn't have what it takes to hold together a kingdom.

Bowden's tenure can be broken in four stages:

'93-'96 - up and down results with a high payroll
'97-'98 - rebuilding
'99-'00 - strikes gold, future looks bright
'01-'02 - lofty hopes dissolve and Bowden sputters

I used to be a huge Bowden supporter and I still consider the moves he made in '97 and '98 a brilliant run, but he's lost the touch. This guy hasn't landed a Sean Casey, Mike Cameron, Danny Graves or Dmitri Young since '98. He hasn't drafted an Adam Dunn, Austin Kearns or Scott Williamson since '98 either.

While it's possible some GMs might not do as well as Bowden on his budget, it's pretty nearsighted not to recognize at this point that others could do far better.

WVRedsFan
12-31-2002, 03:21 AM
Originally posted by creek14
I don't think that anyone thinks that Carl should mix money like that.

I do believe that people think that Carl and his band of merry men need to pull out the personal check book and thrown in a couple million each to get a pitcher. Which seems like a lot to you and me, but when you see your name on Forbes list each year, it isn't that much. 10 shares, kick in a million per share. That would work.

And I don't think that the fans expect that to be a donation to the city. If the owners would show the fans that they are that interested in trying to win, I believe the fans would reward them with higher attendence. Which would put more money back in their pockets.

Yes it might be a little extreme, but after the Bengal loss today, the fans of Cincinnati are more than a little testy. Carl and the limiteds are going to face a wrath a little more brutal than usual, at least for a while.

Creek..I'm with you on this one. You make perfect sense. Trouble is, everyone wants to do things on the cheap. WE spend our money and they don't. I'll guarantee you this...the money I spend on the Reds is a larger percentage of my income than a little extra booty from the "boys" would be for decent pitching. But, of course, I expect too much out of Carl.

REDREAD
12-31-2002, 01:56 PM
3. If Lindner simply wanted a business in which he could break even, then why choose Major League Baseball? If he pretty much knew that he wasn't willing to lose any money/investers, then why not pick something else?

Because Lindner is profiting from baseball. Not only is he getting franchise appreciation in $$, he is making yearly profits which are funneled into lobbying money, salaries for the partners, etc. Allen's magic acounting makes profits disappear.

The Reds had to only spend a minimal amount on the stadium, and the things they did buy were of the cheapest quality they could get away with (hopefully this means Carl is not in it for the long term).

I still laugh that most people believe that Marge was hemoraging money from the team. When did she ever have to put up her own money? Marge was probably running the team on a break even basis, which angered the limiteds. That's why they wanted uncle carl to own the team, so they could make a fortune off it. If Marge was losing so much money, why did she make a huge profit when she sold? Why were so many people interested in buying?

Carl would not make any investment which only had the potential to "Break even". The guy doesn't even like baseball. It's a pure investment.

If Carl is only "breaking even", then why did he buy the team? No one has ever answered that. He doesn't want it for his ego (silent owner), doesn't want to win, and doesn't even go to the games. It's an investment that is adding to his wealth, pure and simple.

REDREAD
12-31-2002, 02:05 PM
Let's say you are an investor/shareholder in UDF, Chiquita, or one of Lindner's other holdings, and he's telling you each quarter/year that your dividends/profits will be alot smaller because he's taking that millions and putting it towards the Reds (and organization that you, as a shareholder, have no part with)?


Isn't that exactly what he's doing with the GAB naming rights though? ;) ( I realize that in realty Lord only knows how that money is being funneled around.. certainly not to payroll though).

There was enough money to pick up Finley or Colon without causing a real loss. When a club is so cheap that they don't sign draft picks or block trades over 200k, they show their true colors.

Clubs with less revenue than us (i.e Montreal) manage to sign all their draft picks without dragging into December.

Team Tuck
12-31-2002, 06:40 PM
Originally posted by M2
If you're going to be selective about which years you choose why stop at '93, '96 and '97 (other than the fact that it arbitrarily allows you to make the conclusion you wish to make)?

After all, how many teams had lower payrolls than the Reds in 1998? One? Two? Not really much of an accomplishment being the least bitter of the league's dregs.

All that tells me is Bowden did a good job of conquering new lands, but ultimately he didn't have what it takes to hold together a kingdom.

'01-'02 - lofty hopes dissolve and Bowden sputters




lgj started the whole discussion by using 2002 as her sample. Talk about being selective. Hell, we could include 1989 and 1991 in the sample as well just to make the Reds look even worse. But what relevance does 1989, 1991, 1992-1996 have to the payroll disparities that exist today between big market clubs and small market clubs, when those disparities weren't NEARLY as prevelant back then. It's not like I'm trying to include '94 and '95 in my sample. IMO, payroll disparities started to become a BIG issue when the Marlins bought the WS in 1997. So, if I'm evaluating the effect payroll disparities have had on the game, I think 1997 is a great starting point. That's just my opinion. Remember, lgj started the whole thing by stating that she doesn't buy the whole small payroll excuse anymore, as if it's a non-factor in the game of baseball. Everybody who knows anything knows that it's very much a factor, especially in the last 3-5 years. I'm not saying it's the only factor, clearly not, but it's still a big factor.

I take it you don't like the Griffey trade. If you do support that trade, then is it Bowden's fault that 20% of his small payroll was tied up in an injured player for the past 2 years?

Is it Bowden's fault that another 20% of his small payroll was put towards an aging 37 yr old shortstop by his owner?

A lot of variables to consider here, that's all I'm saying. In today's game, it is extremely difficult to compare GMs and rank them, when each has a completely different set of circumstances to work with. So for every negative you come up with, I can easily come up with a defense or a corresponding positive.

And we could go on for weeks without resolving anything.

M2
12-31-2002, 06:55 PM
Sure, you can split hairs until kingdom come.

lgj, however, has done an exceedingly fair anyalysis. I don't think anyone would argue that Bowden's been a bad GM. Clearly the man has had his successes. It's just that those are past him now. If I judge him by his most recent work or by his total work, then what I get is a guy who's been a middle of the road GM.

During his tenure, the Reds have had three good, two fair, four poor and one really stinking bad season.

And if you hold Bowden to the standard he set during his heyday, then he's really been scuffling in recent years. TT, this organization has gone backward since that '98-'00 run (and IMO, very little of it has to do with Jr. or Larkin).

Team Tuck
12-31-2002, 07:28 PM
I guess I struggle with the concept that he had a brilliant run (your word, not mine) from '97-'00, but now suddenly he is middle of the road.

Over the past two years, Griffey and Larkin have taken up 40-45% of his $45 million payroll, which is a low payroll to begin with relative to the Cardinals, Cubs, and Astros. Regardless of what you may think, the Jr injuries and the Larkin contract certainly haven't helped his cause.

letsgojunior
12-31-2002, 10:50 PM
Let me clarify my small market comment. The way I meant it was that I am tired of hearing John Allen use it every time the Reds can't get a player or finish under .500. I am fully aware that the margin of error for a small market team is much, much smaller than it is for the Yankees. However, looking at the success of other teams in the league, one can't argue that no success is possible in a small market. It is harder, but doable. That was my point. The excuse I was referring to was the usage of the small market whenever we screw up or when Allen wants to comment about revenue sharing. We can do better than what we are doing now, it is obvious.

ForLoveOfTheGame
12-31-2002, 11:53 PM
The key to being competitive for small market teams is loading up on high ceiling prospects who are relatively affordable for a few years. The A's have done a fine job in producing a balance of good position players (Chavez and Tejada) and pitchers (Hudson, Mulder, and Zito). So far, the Reds have produced the young offensive players (Dunn, Kearns, Boone, and Larson), but are still waiting on an impact starter to develop. We have done a great job with relievers (Reidling and Williamson), but need for 2 of 3 of our young starters (Reitsma, Basham, Mosely, Howington, Hall, and Mosely) to come through for them to have a nice foundation for longterm success.

GAC
01-01-2003, 08:30 AM
I agree FTLOTG. And not only have the A's had success in doing this, but also the Twins.

But then at some point and time, when these players "hit", we see what can easliy happen, and is a "drawback" from being a small to mid market team on a limited budget. Where's Giambi at now? And why did he leave?

The Twin's GM has already came out and stated that they are probably not going to be able to retain all of their young star players, and OFer Hunter is one of them, due to their upcoming salary demands.

The point is that you can scout, develop, bring these young players through your system, and hold onto these players for several years before they are arb eligible, and then free agency. But sooner or later, you're gonna have to "face the music".

You have to have all the right personnel in place to keep "churning" out these young players in order to replace the ones you very well may lose in the future due to they amount of $$$'s they are going to demand, and what the market dictates.

We're going to face that with kids like Dunn and Kearns in a few years, among others.

It is so much harder on small to mid market teams. Impossible? NO..but alot harder.

I don't know the A's financial situation, or the contract situation of their star players. But lets see how long they can keep this star rotation together?

Where are all the big money players going to this off-season? Or for that matter, players, due to their performance, are DUE to get big money?

Yankees, Atlanta, Philadelphia (who are idiots IMO), and the Red Sox?

Some one explain why teams like KC, Pittsburgh, Fla, Milwaukee, Cincy, and so many others aren't in the bidding for these players?

MONEY

I guess if you want to, you can level the charge that their owners are just cheap. But I don't think that is the reasoning at all.

That's why teams are all huddled around the Expos right now. They know that they have as good a shot as anyone at meeting the Expo's demands, because those demands are high level, but currently inexpensive, prospects.

That's what it's gonna cost you at this point.

But at least you can "sit at the table" and make a viable a offer if you have the talent. The only "sticking point" IMO is that the Expos want someone to take Tatis (and his salary) off their hands. And that would cause the eligible bidders to dwindle down to only a few teams then. A team like the Red Sox or Yanks could afford to do that (eat that salary). But a team like the Reds would have to "make room" salary wise to be able to accomodate that, along with giving up some talented prospects. It makes it tougher.

MikeS21
01-01-2003, 09:54 AM
letsgojunior wrote:

Let me clarify my small market comment. The way I meant it was that I am tired of hearing John Allen use it every time the Reds can't get a player or finish under .500. I am fully aware that the margin of error for a small market team is much, much smaller than it is for the Yankees. However, looking at the success of other teams in the league, one can't argue that no success is possible in a small market. It is harder, but doable. That was my point. The excuse I was referring to was the usage of the small market whenever we screw up or when Allen wants to comment about revenue sharing. We can do better than what we are doing now, it is obvious.
Of course, it's doable for a small market team to compete IF they get extremely lucky and all the cards fall just right.

When you start tracking the teams that make the post season, you will discover that much of their season is filled with incredible good luck.. They might have 2-3 position players who have awesome seasons at the plate. A pitcher or two will come out of nowhere and put up great numbers. Most of the time, a few guys have career years. Injuries are at a minimum. The bench/bullpen has extraordinary years. That was the Reds in 1999.

PLUS, not only does it require a lot of luck, but it also requires that your division rivals have poor luck. If key injuries hits your division rival, or the rival team hits a slump, it ultimately helps your team. The Reds benefitted from this the first half of 2002. The Cards and Astros were struggling and that helped the Reds. Take the California Angels this year. if Seattle hadn't self destructed at times during the season, it kind of makes you wonder if the Angels would have even made the post-season.

That's how small market teams compete. Oakland has gotten lucky because certain players have been availible when they drafted them. And they have been lucky because they have been relatively injury free. You let a couple of those young stud pitchers develop arm trouble, and spend an extended amount of time on the DL, and suddenly the A's are back in the cellar with the rest of us small market flunkies.

The difference between the small market teams and the large market teams is that teams with $$$$ can overcome bad luck by replacing/moving slumping/injured players with more players. Even if the Reds bring in Bartolo Colon, and make all the fans happy, what happens when Colon goes on the DL for two months? There are no replacements and there's no money to bring in another Colon-caliber pitcher. OTOH, the Yankees can stock up on eight starting pitchers. If three of them go on the DL, they still have five others. If Derrick Jeter goes down to a season ending injury, the Yankees can afford to go out and trade for ARod to replace him. If Bernie Williams goes on the DL, the Yankees can go out and trade for Jim Edmunds. But if Larkin goes down, the Reds can only afford to pay Juan Castro. If Junior goes out, the Reds can only afford Reggie Taylor. THAT'S where being a small market team bites you in the rear.

Team Tuck
01-01-2003, 10:26 AM
Good points from all. As stated, one of the keys for the Yankees is they're able to retain all the great players that they develop in their system - Jeter, BWilliams, Soriano, Posada, etc. Small market teams can develop the talent, but how many can they retain? We've already seen Giambi and we'll see more take off in the next couple years, particularly from the A's and Twins.

The biggest criticism I can level at Bowden is that rebuilding was put off one or two years too long, OR that our young starting pitchers should be developing quicker. Our minor league system seemed to remain void of superstar talent until about 1998, when Kearns and Dunn were drafted. Since then, it's gotten better, but the one area we've yet to see results is starting pitching. Bowden deserves some criticism here, as does the previous owner's beliefs on minor league scouting/major league payroll. If we had started rebuilding and beefed up our scouting sooner, maybe a young starting pitcher or two would be ready to contribute in '03, which would have us closer to playoff contention. Anyhow, even as it sits now, I don't think we're as far from playoff contention in '03 as most here believe. One or two solid moves between now and the start of the season could make this season very interesting.

Team Tuck
01-01-2003, 10:33 AM
Mike, good points. Margin of error is small, as small as the payroll number itself. I've said it before, it is simply amazing how many things fell in place for this club in 1999. Ron Villone was tossing one-hitters left and right. Amazing. Is the talent level of the Reds that much lower in 2003 than it was in 1999? Most posters will say yes. What do you guys think?

Raisor
01-01-2003, 12:29 PM
Originally posted by GAC
Where's Giambi at now? And why did he leave?



He left Oakland because the A's wouldn't give him a no-trade contract, not because of money. Giambi and the A's had agreed on how much and how long, they just wouldn't give him an unlimited no-trade clause.

PSR

letsgojunior
01-01-2003, 12:49 PM
if Seattle hadn't self destructed at times during the season, it kind of makes you wonder if the Angels would have even made the post-season.


I wouldn't call winning 93 games self-destructing.


Oakland has gotten lucky because certain players have been availible when they drafted them.

If the Reds had drafted Mulder, Hudson, and Zito, then PROPERLY developed them, I hardly think you would use the word 'lucky'. Drafting is a LOT more than luck. It involves intensive scouting, workouts, etc. And it doesn't stop after drafting. The player has to be properly developed through the system, the perfect combination of patience and caution. Drafting and developing involves a lot of skill. And certain players have been available that the Reds didn't take in various situations. Strong drafting and development is not merely lucky -- good organizations do it well and bad organizations don't.

We've been drafting as high as Oakland in the recent years, yet don't have a pitcher to show for it while they have three bona fide studs. That reeks of an organizational deficiency and not pure luck.


You let a couple of those young stud pitchers develop arm trouble, and spend an extended amount of time on the DL, and suddenly the A's are back in the cellar with the rest of us small market flunkies.


Mulder was on the DL last season, and Hudson and Koch were wild and ineffective for portions and they won 103 games.


The difference between the small market teams and the large market teams is that teams with $$$$ can overcome bad luck by replacing/moving slumping/injured players with more players.

I agree with this.


Even if the Reds bring in Bartolo Colon, and make all the fans happy, what happens when Colon goes on the DL for two months? There are no replacements and there's no money to bring in another Colon-caliber pitcher.

Colon has rarely been on the DL for his career. He is a horse. But even if he did go on the DL, I would much prefer 4 months of him than anyone else on the Reds staff.


If Derrick Jeter goes down to a season ending injury, the Yankees can afford to go out and trade for ARod to replace him. If Bernie Williams goes on the DL, the Yankees can go out and trade for Jim Edmunds.

Jeter and Bernie have been out for periods in the past yet a single trade hasn't been made. The Yankees have NEVER made a trade of the caliber you describe to replace Jeter or Bernie, they have used in-house substitutions. And I am not sure how comparing this to Griffey is fair because he has never been out for the season. And the two teams you are mentioning would never trade ARod or Edmonds or any player of that caliber, it would be absolutely impossible for the Yankees to somehow upgrade despite an injury.


Our minor league system seemed to remain void of superstar talent until about 1998, when Kearns and Dunn were drafted. Since then, it's gotten better, but the one area we've yet to see results is starting pitching.

Our system is currently rated #26. Our top prospect is a guy who came out of nowhere (Basham).

MikeS21
01-01-2003, 12:55 PM
Team Tuck,

I think the TALENT level is better now than it was in 1999. It is PERFORMANCE that has faltered.

If you want an example, compare the Oakland A's and the Chicago Cubs. The A's have had great success with their young pitching studs. OTOH, the Cubs, who have as good or better young pitchers, have not seen the same kinds of perfomances.

The Reds OF has definitely improved in talent since 1999. But it has yet to produce Vaugn/Cameron/Young like numbers. The infield is in a state of flux based on who is going to play 2B. Casey has been hurt - he says it happened in spring training last year. But I wonder if it happned sometime before that. Doc Kremcheck said his shoulder looked pretty frayed. This may have been a 2-3 year old injury that began as a weakness - based on Casey's lack of power numbers. Larkin has obviously regressed, and Boone has pretty much remained the same.

IMHO, the pitching talent-wise is better now. Think about it. We had Neagle, Harnish, Villone, Parris, and Tomko. If we could get one ace to replace Neagle, I think Graves, Dempster, Haynes, and Reitsma is better than the other four. We've just not yet seen the results.

I do agree with your assesment of Bowden. It seems that the last two drafts have not been as good as you would want. Considering the high draft position the Reds held last June, I was VERY disappointed. Gruler was an OK pick for a high school pitcher, but, since Bullington was already gone, I would have MUCH rather seen Bobby Brownlie drafted because he is more polished and would been closer to the majors. And then during the compensation round, Mark Schrammeck ? Maybe it was just because he came from a small school, but the guy wasn't even on anyone's radar until the 8th or 9th round. And the 2nd and 3rd rounds went downhill from there.

I hope there is an improvement in the draft this year, or somebody's got some 'splainin' to do.

MikeS21
01-01-2003, 01:33 PM
If the Reds had drafted Mulder, Hudson, and Zito, then PROPERLY developed them, I hardly think you would use the word 'lucky'. Drafting is a LOT more than luck. It involves intensive scouting, workouts, etc. And it doesn't stop after drafting. The player has to be properly developed through the system, the perfect combination of patience and caution. Drafting and developing involves a lot of skill. And certain players have been available that the Reds didn't take in various situations. Strong drafting and development is not merely lucky -- good organizations do it well and bad organizations don't.
I don't dispute what you are saying. In fact, you are making my point. The Reds' INABILITY to do these things is good luck to those teams who take advantage.

Two years ago, Ty Howington was the #2 ranked left-hander in the minor leagues(according to BA). I would call his injuries in 2002 "bad luck" while it stifled his proper development. (By the way, if you want "bad luck," look at the #1 ranked left-hander in the minors: Rayn Anderson. How many injuries has he had?)

As far as the Reds' troubles in the draft, see my other post in this thread.

M2
01-01-2003, 07:39 PM
The Reds' 1999 OF also had Michael Tucker and Jeff Hammonds ON THE BENCH. Reggie Taylor and Ruben Mateo are poor substitutes.


I guess I struggle with the concept that he had a brilliant run (your word, not mine) from '97-'00, but now suddenly he is middle of the road.

What's so difficult about it? Once upon a time JimBo got great returns for guys like John Smiley, Dave Burba, Jeff Brantley and Jeff Shaw - all of whom were overrated or washed up.

JimBo used to have the knack for plucking players who were ready to step in and play immediately. He didn't really deal for prospects so much as he went out and collected young talent. That's what a GM on a small-to-medium market team needs to do to keep his team afloat - cashier your second-tier vets for definites and turn your nose up at anyone offering you a maybe. JimBo doesn't make those deals anymore. He's spent two-plus years collecting maybes.

I give credit to the guy for the days when he was "on" and putting together what became the '99-'00 club. Yet I find when I give him proper credit for those successes it underscores what he hasn't been able to do in recent years. He's no longer a trade svengali. He's never been a development guy (a decade of failure in developing so much as one quality starting pitcher speaks for itself). That leaves you with a GM whose chief skill is rummaging through the bulk bins and finding something of modest value.

Quite frankly JimBo only had limited skills when it came to his job in the first place. He couldn't afford to backslide on the few things he did well. Well now he's done exactly that. People obsess about Jr. and Larkin, but IMO JimBo's future rests on the backs of Ryan Dempster, Jimmy Haynes, Sean Casey, Aaron Boone, Jason LaRue and Felipe Lopez - because ultimately it's the performance of the water carriers which makes or breaks a team.

MikeS21
01-01-2003, 11:07 PM
OK, based on what M2 just said - and I think he's made a pretty valid point - JimBo USED to make those deals where he got the great returns for the washed up players. So, why ISN'T he making those deals now?

Could it be that the "GREAT returns" are the guys who aren't getting it done now? Or do you think that the other GM's are a little more careful now when dealing with Bowden?

I have no doubt Bowden goes into any negotiation looking for a "Burba for Casey" deal, a "Bichette for Reitsma/Curtice" deal, or a "Shaw for Reyes/Konerko" deal. But I wonder if the other GM's - either out of respect or revenge - aren't about to let themselves be taken by Jim Bowden? Three years ago, Bowden could have traded guys like Walker and Dessens, and would have stocked the farm system for years to come. So what has happned? Has he lost it, or has he been targeted by other GM's?

I'm just thinking out loud here.

M2
01-02-2003, 03:19 AM
That's a fair question. I think JimBo patted himself on the back a little too often for some.

The market has changed too.

That said, I think JimBo needed to walk away from a few deals over the past few years rather than make them. I know he's got payroll issues, but I think he had to establish the worth of his players on the market. The recent Todd Walker trade is an example. Player-wise the deal makes no sense. It's not shooting the moon to ask for someone who can make your team.

The phrase "lost it" probably doesn't describe him properly. I get the feeling he's worn down and that he doesn't have the same sense of what kids are about to break through that he once did.

Spring~Fields
01-02-2003, 04:53 AM
That's like saying a kid with a C on his report card did really good because a few idiots got an F.

~letsgojunior~



That quote should go into the Redszone Hall of Fame, a slam dunk from here to there. :lol:

GAC
01-02-2003, 06:24 AM
Originally posted by letsgojunior
I wouldn't call winning 93 games self-destructing.

I agree. I prefer to use the word "choking" ;)

I stand corrected Raisor. Though I think $$$'s had something to do with it also. And I hate "no trade" clauses :mad: . Talk about hamstringing an organization. It's not like they aren't giving these players the "sun and the moon" already.

lgj says further..."We've been drafting as high as Oakland in the recent years, yet don't have a pitcher to show for it while they have three bona fide studs. That reeks of an organizational deficiency and not pure luck."

You hit the "nail on the head" right there girl ;). IMHO, this is the one area where this organization has shown me that they have huge deficiencies (possibly ;) ).

If you're telling me that, as a small market team, you can't afford to enter the FA market and basically "run with the big boys", so you must therefore focus your attention/efforts on scouting, drafting and development youth. Then you had better have the right personnel in those places to accomplish this goal. And I'm referring to scouts, coaches, trainers, etc. And I've stated that numerous times over the last few weeks on here. Marge Schott completely down played the importance of this, and destroyed these progams throughout most of the 90's. She hated paying scouts.

Building new facilities, such as in Dayton & Louisville, and reorganizing your farm system is great. And this organization has done that in the last 3-4 years, and I think that is movement in the right direction.

But when I hear of guys like Grant Jackson walking out, and also hear stories of scouts quiting, then that disturbs me somewhat.

And we seem to have a huge "turnaround" in some of our coaching areas.

Now does that necessarily mean that there is something wrong, or that they were simply tendered better offers elsewhere? That I do not know. But that still shows me an indication of a problem somewhere, if we can't retain these people.

And we seem to have made great strides in drafting when it comes to developing "position" players, such as a Dunn, Kearns, etc.

And while in the last 2-3 years we have loaded up on alot of young arms... how many times have we fans seen us make a deal/trade a player and get a pitching prospect in return?... how long (in years) should it take before we start to see results, or if this young pitcher has it or not?

Because I really don't think we seriously started loading up on alot of these young arms until around the '99 season. We traded for Graves. Willy was brought up through the system. But beyond that...our program for most of the 90's was stripped and in shambles.

So, if we didn't start seriously making this effort until within the last 3 years.... how long before we start seeing results?

Or are we going to make the same mistake we did in 2001, nd end up rushing (and possibly ruining) some of these young arms?

Is it feasible for us to expect to see some of these pitchers to show they are ready for 2003? or should we be showing more patience, and expect it more in '04 or '05?

Especially when we are drafting high school kids? I mean, to me, it would look like they'd have to be in the system for 5-6 years before we would be able to see results, if any at all.

I'm not making excuses here. Just asking a question on this issue... "Are we expecting too much too soon when looking at the starting point when this FO started to seriously pursue this?"

Raisor
01-02-2003, 09:52 AM
One of the mantras of the Bowden backer is that he gets more "Bang for the Buck" then anyone else.

But is this true?

The following seven teams have to be considered in the equation (some are going to be a surprise)

(Note: These numbers are based on the 2000, 2001, and 2002 seasons. Win totals include playoffs)


Oakland: 31% more wins then the Reds (302 vs 229), 24% LESS payroll ($105,612,329 total for three year period vs $138,253,890)

Minnesota: 10% more wins (252 vs 229), 43% LESS payroll ($80,009,500 vs $138,253,890)

Florida: 2% more wins (234 vs 229), 29% LESS payroll ($97,612,417 vs $138,253,890)

San Diego: 2% less wins (222 vs 229), 2% less payroll ($135,278,833 vs $138,253,890)

Montreal: 5% less wins (218 vs 229), 22% less payroll
($107,397,667 vs $138,253,890)

Kansas City: 11% less wins (204 vs 229), 23% less payroll
($105,812,000 vs $138,253,890)

Chicago (AL): 13% more wins (259 vs 229), 11% ,more payroll
($153,840,500 vs $138,253,890)

Redsfaithful
01-02-2003, 04:28 PM
Why not put '99 in those numbers? This discussion is too much like a political one for me .... everyone wants to champion their own selective stats that proves their own case.

Raisor
01-02-2003, 04:39 PM
Originally posted by Redsfaithful
Why not put '99 in those numbers? This discussion is too much like a political one for me .... everyone wants to champion their own selective stats that proves their own case.

Check out the "Bang for the buck" thread.

PSR

Redsfaithful
01-02-2003, 04:42 PM
Doh, sorry about that, I start reading threads at the top and work my way down. ;)

Team Tuck
01-02-2003, 10:52 PM
Originally posted by letsgojunior


we have done better the last 5 years compared to the Rangers, Pirates, Tigers, and Devil Rays? That's like saying a kid with a C on his report card did really good because a few idiots got an F.

My point was that the Reds have been beaten out more consistently by low budget teams in the past ten years. There is no refuting that. To compromise it by saying that the Tampa Bay's, Detroit's, Kansas City's of the world make us look like a first-rate organization is specious.

lgj, who in the hell are the small market/low budget teams? Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, Milwaukee, Kansas City, San Diego, Montreal, Florida, Oakland. We've established that Oakland has out-performed the Reds, but am I to eliminate the other teams from my small market/low budget pool simply because the Reds have performed just as well or better than many of those clubs? Talk about changing arguments. I thought that was the whole point of the discussion to begin with. Sorry the pool of teams doesn't support your argument. You're welcome to name those small market/low budget teams that have CONSISTENTLY outperformed the Reds. I'll be waiting. So far, I've heard Oakland.....and Oakland.....and Oakland.

M2
01-03-2003, 01:32 AM
You've also heard Minnesota.

Beyond that, Montreal, Florida and San Diego all seem to be on at least equal footing with the Reds.

St. Louis, Colorado and Phoenix have population bases pretty much the same size as the Reds do, yet no one perceives them to be second-class citizens. I understand the reason for that discrepancy isn't JimBo's fault, but that's who I look to when I'm doing a comparison.

I don't really care that the Reds are better than the Pirates, Brewers, Royals, Tigers and Devil Rays. They damn-well better be.

letsgojunior
01-03-2003, 01:34 AM
Originally posted by Team Tuck
lgj, who in the hell are the small market/low budget teams? Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, Milwaukee, Kansas City, San Diego, Montreal, Florida, Oakland. We've established that Oakland has out-performed the Reds, but am I to eliminate the other teams from my small market/low budget pool simply because the Reds have performed just as well or better than many of those clubs? Talk about changing arguments. I thought that was the whole point of the discussion to begin with. Sorry the pool of teams doesn't support your argument. You're welcome to name those small market/low budget teams that have CONSISTENTLY outperformed the Reds. I'll be waiting. So far, I've heard Oakland.....and Oakland.....and Oakland.

How have I changed arguments?? I never have. I said that to compare the Reds to Tampa Bay (a team that generally had a HIGHER payroll than the Reds, and has a completely idiotic GM) and such in order to enhance their greatness is ridiculous. Since you are using Oakland as your threshold (a team that has posted a better record than the Reds four times on a smaller budget), well I have got news for you. Montreal, the team without a home, without luxury boxes or a new stadium, or any stadium at all for that matter right now, has posted a better record than the Reds on less money in six of the ten years Bowden has been GM. Boston has outperformed the Reds four times, the same as Oakland, on smaller budgets. Houston has outperformed the Reds three times. Seattle three times. The White Sox three times. The Dodgers three times. Anaheim three times. Is that enough yet??

I am sure you will instantly discount the Dodgers, Boston, and the White Sox because of their "big market" label. Yet Montreal, the stepchild of baseball, along with Houston, Anaheim (which plays second fiddle to the Dodgers), Oakland, and Seattle (a team that was nearly moved in 1995) have all outperformed them on lower budgets three or more times.

Spring~Fields
01-03-2003, 04:50 AM
Letsgojunior,

Based upon your research and findings, and while fully considering the on going financial constraints do you foresee the historical record for Mr. Bowden and the performance record of the operations side of the Cincinnati Reds significantly improving by the close of the following seasons 2003 and 2004 over his past ten year tenure?

Further if you would consider a significant improvement a strong possibility by the close of either season forthcoming, what would you point to as the supporting factors respectively? Would you consider it a high-risk statement that the Reds in all probability will not win the National League Pennant or their division in either season?

letsgojunior
01-03-2003, 07:16 PM
SF,

To me, 2003 and 2004 are two of the most critical years in the history of the franchise. Why? Because right now we are at a big fork in the road. On one side there are franchises like the Mariners, Indians 95-01, and Giants, who used new stadiums to turn their franchises into wildly successful, popular, and money making enterprises. They went from being bottom of the barrel to the cream of the crop. Unfortunately, on the other side are the Milwaukee Brewers, Pittsburgh Pirates, and Detroit Tigers, who thought that the concept of a new stadium would be a panacea that would mask all of the tremendous deficiencies in their team. One year later, all of their stadiums have empty seats.

If the status quo for the Reds is largely maintained, i.e. we make a few fringe moves, I can't see us winning anything (and that hurts to say that). One word: pitching. We do not have a Roy Oswalt. A Mark Prior. A Matt Morris. A Woody Williams. A Kerry Wood. A Wade Miller. A Carlos Zambrano. Our best ERA pitcher (that we still have), is an unproven starter and only made the transition 3 months ago. Haynes and Dempster both posted WHIP's close to 1.5, meaning they allow quite a few baserunners, and given the uncertain infield defense, those may score.

The problem with the pitching doesn't only exist at the big league club, it has permeated into all levels of the team, meaning no help is in sight. Our highest rated prospect came out of nowhere (Basham). Pitchers are rushed through the organization with seemingly no regard for their health.

And that doesn't even get to the main problem in my opinion, which is the complete lack of flexibility with payroll. Lets say in 2003 we are where we were circa trading deadline 2002. We had opportunities for and the farm system to get Bartolo Colon, who would have instantly elevated our rotation dramatically. Chuck Finley, Rolen, etc. The list goes on and on. We passed up deals that would have significantly improved our club for minimal financial obligation. As long as Lindner is owner, I don't see this changing. Which means that as long as he is in charge we will see success a firm second to the bottom line.

Honestly, I see below .500 as a total bust in 2003, because if the ship starts to sink people are going to get mad because they essentially funded the stadium and were given promises of grandeur about how we would be in the thick of things. That would be a very depressing thing to watch, because it would mean we were in the fast-lane to Milwaukee-ville and that any night below 40 degrees half the seats would be empty.

Given the state of the franchise right now (barring any additional big time moves -- i.e. Colon, Vazquez, Penny), my heart says maybe we can compete, but my head says no.

GAC
01-04-2003, 09:10 AM
I fully understand what you are saying lgj; but what kind of market/payroll do those 3 teams you list (M's, SF, and Indians) have and exist in?

I have never "bought into" the logic teams use when they say building a new stadium will greatly help a teams chances to compete. Sure, it will help some; but it is always a temporary fix. I look at the Indians. Where are they at now? Sooner or later you will reach that "saturation point" where the revenue brought in will be out paced by the expenditures. If you cannot control the other various costs, then in the long run, you are fighting a losing battle.

And organizations such as the Brewers and Pittsburgh, who have just opened new stadiums, is further example of that IMO. It simply "stifles" or slows a process that is continuous, out of control, and will sooner than later catch right back up, out pace, and put a team right back in the situation they were before.

If a new stadium brings in 20-25 Mil in extra revenue, there is still no way any team is gonna be able to invest more than 50-60 % of it back into payroll due to other misc costs that they will incur with the building of that stadium (stadium lease? any agreement made with the city where located? etc etc.).

So yeah, an extra 15 Mil ain't gonna hurt; but looking at today's economy in MLB... it'll be eaten up very fast with the way player's salaries are escalating.

10 years ago, we were one of the top teams in MLB with a 42 Mil payroll. And in a short period of time, a team with that kind of payroll is NOW considered at the bottom tier. That's one heck of an inflation rate when looking at player's salaries.

And whose fault is that? I cannot fault alot of ML teams who are unable to keep pace with that.

And the fans solution is...owners need to cough up more and more money, year in and year out, to keep pace with that phenomenal rate of growth in player salaries.

What good is that gonna do when you have characters in NYC who will always out spend you, and even with a new CBA, shows no regard for the game at all IMHO?

The vast majority of teams in MLB cannot compete in spending of that types.

Teams like the A's, Twins, and Anaheim have shown that it can be done by scouting and developing players, while holding down payroll for a time. But unless you can keep "churning" those lplayers out year in and year out, you're still facing an up hill battle come contract time with alot of those players. They want their money, and will go where it's at...PERIOD!

We can all argue this issue forever. But the problem is alot bigger than what we are facing as an organization.

Having the money is not the only problem this orgainzation, and so many others are facing.

Team Tuck
01-04-2003, 12:01 PM
Let's assume from '93-'97, I spend $40m and the rest of the league spends $35m. They all finish with better records. I get a -29, right?

From '98-'02, I spend $40m and the rest of the league spends $75m and I finish with a better record than everybody else. I get a +29, right?

-29+29 = 0

I am a middle of the road GM, right? lgj, don't start arguing with the facts, because these facts apply to me in my fantasy league. Just tell me if I did a fair analysis??

Team Tuck
01-04-2003, 12:07 PM
Originally posted by M2
You've also heard Minnesota.

Beyond that, Montreal, Florida and San Diego all seem to be on at least equal footing with the Reds.

St. Louis, Colorado and Phoenix have population bases pretty much the same size as the Reds do, yet no one perceives them to be second-class citizens. I understand the reason for that discrepancy isn't JimBo's fault, but that's who I look to when I'm doing a comparison.

I don't really care that the Reds are better than the Pirates, Brewers, Royals, Tigers and Devil Rays. They damn-well better be.

I agree with many of your points. And yes, the St. L and Arizona GMs have historically had a little more margin for error than Bowden.

I understand your point about the bottom feeders, but why would any COMPLETE analysis of small market/small payroll teams exclude the Royals, Brewers, Pirates, etc. They are small markets, and have historically been small payroll teams.

Team Tuck
01-04-2003, 12:47 PM
lgj, we obvioulsy have different perceptions of what a small market/small payroll team is. In this thread, you've mentioned Atlanta, Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago, Houston, some of the largest markets in the US and some of the payrolls that have doubled ours over the past few years.

You've also mentioned Seattle and Cleveland. M2 threw in Arizona, St. Louis, and Colorado. Maybe similar in market size, but no where near a similar payroll to the Reds over the past few years. All with new stadiums except St. Louis, and St. Louis has the best fans in the country.

I'm relieved to know that the Yankees have not yet entered the small market/small payroll arena.

You completely ignored my point about how much payroll discrepancies between big and small spenders has grown since the early and mid-90s. Most teams used to be in the 25-40m range as recently as 1995 and 1996. Now that range is 40-150m and even excluding the Yankees, 40-110m. It's a different ballgame now vs early and mid 90s. To ignore that and act as if your analysis can be accurately applied to all eras and that your analysis is all the proof we need is very simplistic thinking at best.

Unfortunately, in an era of HUGE payroll discrepancies, the teams that have historically had payrolls similar to the Reds are the bottom feeders of the league. Now, just because we beat out the Pirates, Brewers, Royals of the world, am I excited about that? NO. But it does point out that things could be a lot worse than the Reds. No, Bowden is not Billy Beane. But, several other small market teams have done worse. AND, quite a few bigger market/bigger payroll teams have done worse (Rangers, Tigers, Orioles, Rockies). Hard to argue that Bowden's not at least a top half GM.

M2
01-04-2003, 01:22 PM
I'll give you top half, but I wouldn't list JimBo as a top-10 GM.

I'd put him between 11 and 15 with guys like Steve Phillips and Dan Evans.

I understand your point that the Royals, Pirates and Brewers are examples that things could be far worse for the Reds. JimBo probably has the skills to prevent that kind of debacle from happening in Cincinnati. Yet I no longer hold out much hope that he's got the vision and ability to make the Reds a substantially better team.

The ugly truth may be that the Reds need to cut JimBo loose and suffer under the yoke of a can't-do ownership/GM combo for a few years before something better rolls into town.

There will be a post-JimBo era and no matter how unpleasant it might be the JimBo era has flagged enough that I no longer see much of a reason to forestall the future.

Team Tuck
01-04-2003, 03:36 PM
M2 - good points. In all fairness, I'm willing to give Bowden 2 more years for the following reasons:

1. It'll be the first time he's had new stadium revenues to work with. I think he deserves that opportunity after spending 3-4 years in small payroll hell. Plus, he won't have the Larkin contract on his hands in 2004. So far, we've seen very few moves to make us optimistic and one that is very difficult to assess (Lopez deal). I'll be disappointed if we don't make a couple moves between now and Opening Day. With the payroll currently under the $60m plan, I'm almost certain we will.

2. I think a small market GM should at least have the benefit of having his premier player (Griffey) healthy for a season or two.

3. Let's see if any of the young starters at AA develop into big league starters.

Now, if we don't see success on the field in the next 2 years and/or we don't see some development of starting pitchers, then I agree it's time to move on. Until then, I remain confident that we're not done seeing the Jimmy Bowden who had that nice run from 1997-2000.