Re: In Defense Of Dan O'Brien
Thanks to all for the feedback so far. Another thing I intended to include in the original post is a list of what Dan O'Brien has done so far in his tenure with the Reds:
(1) Hired Dave Miley, who in turn hired a solid, professional coaching staff (Chambliss, Whisler, O'Berry) to complement Tom Hume, and Don Gullett.
(2) Hired Ron Oester as minor league field coordinator
(3) Restructured the scouting program and invested more in scouting the Dominican Republic, which is a treasure-ridden resource the Reds have never effectively tapped into before.
(4) Has instilled a professional attitude that starts at the top
Now maybe these actions don't translate into wins for the Reds in 2004, and perhaps it creates the appearance of "marking time" as Princeton says. But O'Brien is laying a foundation that certainly could mean wins in 2006, 2007, and beyond. Yeah sure, it stinks that we have to wait because Bowden asked us to wait until last year - but we can't blame O'Brien or hold him accountable for what Bowden did.
Speaking of what Bowden did, have you all really thought about the severity of the attrocity that O'Brien inherited from the defunct Bowden regime?
O'Brien hasn't gone out to sign Vladimir Guerrerro or other big-name free agents because right now it's not going to help. One player - even if he is a pitcher - does not a contending team make. Let's face it, if O'Brien wants to win now he needs to sign /trade for several big league-caliber players: a second baseman, a shortstop, a third baseman, five starting pitchers, a left-handed reliever, and a closer. (I'll take my chances with Casey, LaRue, and the outfielders.) We all know that the reality of the market and the Reds ownership is such that O'Brien is not enabled to do this right now, so we cannot fault O'Brien there. Consequently, O'Brien has to depend on the draft to develop this team, and common sense tells you that this will take time. I don't care if your name is Dan O'Brien or Billy Beane; nobody who was just hired as the Reds GM is going to make this team win in 2004 as long as Carl Lindner and his cohorts remain the ownership group. So let's not confuse the issue.
M2, you said that O'Brien needs to do more roster manipulations before we can know too much about him. "Roster manipulation" makes me think of Bob Boone, who manipulated his roster daily: playing Dmitri Young at 3B, batting Adam Dunn leadoff or any number of places in the batting order, putting Graves in the rotation, etc., etc. The players have made it no secret that such manipulation lead to poor play because people's roles were confused and no routine was established. Roster manipulation doesn't sound like a good thing to me, and not overly manipulating the roster gives players an opportunity to get into a routine to establish their role and their playing ability. If this isn't what you mean, can you clarify what you do mean by roster manipulating???
O'Brien has surrounded himself with guys who were connected with the Reds during their glory days of the 70s: a team that won with mostly homegrown products like Bench, Rose, Perez, Gullett, Griffey, Concepcion, etc. etc. I would much rather see the Reds win with homegrown guys in 2008 than win with a bunch of purchased veterans now and then lose them to free agency. O'Brien has said he wants to get back to that model, and if he comes anywhere close to achieving that then I think it's well worth the wait.
As for O'Brien's decisions in the amateur draft, let's discuss that in 2014. Was I shocked and maybe even a little disappointed that our first round selection was a high-school player? Yes. But do I even pretend to know what the Reds scouts know? No. Have I seen what they have seen? No. Do I trust their opinion? Maybe. Is it way too early to tell? Yes.
"It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come out, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone.”
-A. Barlett Giamatti