Krivsky his own enemy
By Hal McCoy | Wednesday, April 23, 2008, 12:48 PM
What do you think?
Bob Castellini is a businessman, the nation’s leading fruit and vegetable magnate, and if the price of lettuce and tomatoes has soared the last couple of years, it might be traced back to Wayne Krivsky.
Castellini, CEO of the Cincinnati Reds, fired general manager Krivsky today, replacing him with Walt Jocketty.
During Krivsky’s regime, the team has had to eat more dollar bills than the number of heads of lettuce Castellini sells.
Some questionable contracts that forced the team to pay money to players no longer playing for the Reds didn’t help Krivsky’s cause.
It started with when he signed pitcher Rheal Cormier to a two-year contract. When the team released him it had to pay him something like $3 million NOT to pitch.
When the Reds released pitcher Mike Stanton this spring, it forced them to pay him $3.5 million this year NOT to pitch.
And there is that curious contract he gave outfielder Corey Patterson, who was sitting at home doing nothing during spring training, pursued by no other teams. Krivsky signed him for $3 million when Patterson probably would have taken $500,000 and paid his own way to camp.
He gave utility player Ryan Freel a deal that pays him $3 million this year and $4 million next year and couldn’t trade him unless the team absorbed some of that money.
He gave pitcher Josh Fogg a $1.5 million deal mid-spring training when no other teams were pursuing him, a panic move when Krivsky wasn’t certain how good Johnny Cueto and Edinson Volquez would be.
The $46 million, three-deal for closer Francisco Cordero looked good at the time, but so far, after 21 games, he has had only two save opportunities. That contract may pan out, but right now one wonders.
All this could be overlooked by Castellini if the team showed a propensity for winning, which it hasn’t during Krivsky’s tenure. After all, Castellini signed off on all those deals, taking Krivsky’s advice. Castellini wants to win and he wants to win now.
He and Jocketty worked together in St. Louis when Jocketty helped piece together a team that was not contending to one that contended for more than a decade.
Krivsky and I were friends long before he was named Reds GM. When he worked for the Minnesota Twins, he traveled the country scouting other teams and I encountered him often. We had many lunches together and talked often.
His ambition, of course, was to be a GM and he would say, “If I’d get the Reds job, there are a lot of things I would do and we’d have a lot of fun.”
It wasn’t fun. Krivsky remained my friend, but he changed. He was not forthcoming with information to the media, not even on the most menial things. He was guarded, overly guarded.
Two years ago during the winter meetings in Orlando, I took him aside in his suite after another unproductive media meeting in which he divulged nothing about what the team was doing or trying to do.
I said, “Wayne, remember when we had lunches and chatted about your future and how much fun we’d have together with the Reds?”
“Yes,” he said.
“Well, I’m not having fun,” I said. “Remember when I told you how difficult it was sometimes getting information from your predecessor, Dan O’Brien? Well, you’re worse.”
Krivsky seemed to think about it, but nothing changed. And nothing changed with the Reds.
Nobody likes to see anybody lose his job, especially a friend. But Krivsky cut his own throat.
Jocketty is a good man, too, and a solid baseball man. Things should change, and much for the better.