Originally Posted by RedsManRick
So what happens if those two pitchers you acquire don't pan out the way they did. The key issue is that with a team like the Reds, you have to get star level talent to really improve. If you trade Griffey and get a league average starter, how much better are you? Are you going to get Joe Nathan for Jay Bruce?
Where you say "the Reds can be turned around fairly quickly if the Reds take a few chances on players"
I say "the Reds can be turned around fairly quickly if the Reds take a few chances on players and those chances work". You cannot overstate that last point and just how difficult it is. If it were easy to trade mediocre players for stars, you'd see it happen a lot more often. More often than not though, you end up just swapping your mediocrity for somebody else's. It takes skill and luck to trade your way to success, not just skill.
I agree with your points 100%. This sort of analysis isn't the be-all end-all. However, what's truly telling to me is the lack of teams in the 3S quadrant. Teams with star level players (and thus a great variation -- aka Sharp) just don't suck, regardless of the rest of their talent-base unless it's truly horrible.
As an organization, my focus would be on developing that core of a few star players and spend less time and resources on the rest. Once you've got a core in place, then fill the gaps, hopefully on the cheap with talent that might develop in to your next stars. The Reds never were able to get a core of top talent good enough to take them to the top. The kept on throwing dirt around the sides hoping it would build the mountain higher when they were just flattening it out.
As Stormy has very well articulated, if this team cannot win in it's current configuration, it should be devoting itself to identifying the core that can. Yes, I've oversimplified the issue. However, the Reds continue to fill our a roster with low upside, low-mid salary guys. The Reds have spent an all-star's worth of money on players that will not be positively contributing to the team. For a team with limited financial resources, those resources need to go towards production that cannot be gained elsewhere, not on production that is more easily replaced on the cheap. Meanwhile, they need to be taking every opportunity to realize potential talent from within.
You're right, it can be turned around quickly by trimming frivolous payroll expenses and focusing it on talent that is more difficult to develop in house, freeing roster spots for higher potential youth, and making a few smart trades than pan out to build that star level producing core. I'm just not convinced that current leadership is following that plan.
Every year there are a half-dozen or so players (pitchers especially) that dramatically emerge to make a huge impact:
*Pierzynski was traded for Liriano, Bonser, AND Nathan when he was a struggling starter.
*Esteban Loaiza was picked up for a few $M and won a Cy Young Award.
*Loaiza was flipped for Jose Contreras, the proverbial high-risk high impact pitcher. And Contreras fronted a WS champion.
*Foulke was swapped at his lowest point in his career for Koch at his highest point.
*Randy Johnson (THE Randy Johnson!!) was traded last offseason. Of course there were mitigating circumstances, but he WAS available.
Is it easy to find and acquire these guys? No. But it does happen every year. You're right, if the front office was willing to accept risk (both the good and bad), AND devoted resources to identifying and trading for the *right* guy, then we wouldn't be having this discussion now.