Re: What did Walt Jocketty do differently?
I don't think that anyone can argue against the acquisitions of guys like Arroyo and Phillips. Hamilton/Volquez as well. These were very good trades/moves that were made which benefitted the Cincy organization. But these cannot and should not be used as any sort of "evidence" that the GM who made these moves was taking this team in the right direction or that he was the one that was getting the team to October.
A GM is very much like a portfolio manager. Say for example that you had $500k and gave it to a portfolio manager to invest for you. He makes 10 different investments with your money, 3 pan out beautifully and 7 do poorly. Your portfolio is now worth $400k. Are you going to continually say that this portfolio manager was doing well because he was able to pick 3 winners out? I doubt it. This is what Wayne's tenure was like. He had a few nice hits, but other than that he was unable to improve the major league product on the whole even though he was investing most of his resources at that level.
Now you might say that he wasn't given enough time. That's fair, but he wasn't laying out the blueprint for a medium to long term plan so I don't think that he deserved more time. More time could have led to additional setbacks. He was investing far more in the major league product in the short term so we should have seen significant improvement there, which we did not. If you recall, we saw the major league team actually reach KC-like levels at times.
Plus, he was gunning for the 2008-2011 window when we all knew that such a plan was foolish. The team had neither the financial power nor the in house talent to target such a time frame. Yet we saw so much invested for these years.
Here's a question for those who think that WK should have been given more time...what do you think he would have done with the past two years? Do you think he would have been able to produce a winner in 2009 (since we all know the 2008 team was an embarrassment no matter if WK was or wasn't fired)? Do you think he would have had this team in the position to win in 2010? Because this would have definitely been the end of the line for WK if he didn't have them at least challenging for the playoffs. He invested so much money (relatively speaking) in the 2007-2010 window and would have had zero excuse if he didn't hit by this year. And this is where the road would have ended since Arroyo and Harang would be coming off the books with guys like Gonzo and Stanton long gone and Cordero on his way out.
The reason why I had zero issue with WK being launched when he did was because I believe he would not have had the team in position to win by now without something drastic taking place, such as Cincy starting to spend like a New York team. The fact is that we will most likely see this season end with over $100MM invested in guys like Harang, Arroyo, Cordero and Gonzo and not much to show for it. That is awful.
And we can discuss the effectiveness of guys like Arroyo and Cordero and that isn't being disputed. They have obviously provided value for this franchise. But no one would be able to get me to believe that the money spent on these guys made any sense. It didn't take a genius to figure out that the team was not going to be winning anything in this time frame. Having these guys on the team over the past few years has basically just made the team less embarrassing. I'm not sure if the price tag for less embarrassing is $100MM or not, but I think, if given the choice, most FOs would have rather had sucked it up over the past couple of years, picked up some vet FA pitchers on one year deals to take their places and saved $100MM if it just meant finishing 55 games under .500 over the past 4 years rather than 40 games.
Bottom line is that we finally have a true GM at the helm. I can't say it enough...being a GM is so much more than picking up a recovered drug addict in the Rule V draft or acquiring some flamed out top prospect for pennies on the dollar. It's about having a vision. It's about playing the market effectively. It's about building an organization, not one aspect of a team. It's about knowing when to sit back and knowing when to move ahead. It's about winning baseball games. It's about so much more than hitting on a trade now and then.