Re: Reds trade Dustin Moseley for Ramon Ortiz
After digesting this trade for a while, here's by take:
1) DMos was the most notable among the many cookie cutter pitching prospects JimBo and his henchmen brought into the farm system. By cookie cutter, I mean a right-hander who had a decent breaking ball, but had a very average fastball. Gillman, Reith, Basham, Hall, Belisle - and some folks would argue Gruler - all fit into that same mold. While Moseley was high on the Reds' list, most would have to agree that in the larger scheme of things, he wasn't anyone to get overly excited about. As others have said, trading away Moseley doesn't contradict DanO's plan for building through the farm system. With guys like Gardner and Pauly around, we can survive without DMos.
2) There were no guarantees the Angels were going to non-tender Ortiz. Had they non-tendered him, he would have become a FA and the Reds would have lost out in the inevitable bidding war.
3) There were also no guarantees that had the Reds saved their money and pursued Clement or Perez that they would have landed either pitcher. Had this been the case, most would have complained about DanO not doing anything.
4) Ortiz is nothing special. I'm about as excited over Ortiz as I was over the signing of Haynes, Anderson, and Lidle. But I had that same knot in the stomach when they signed Paul Wilson, too. I don't think he is the answer, nor do I think he is a disaster.
I think the thing that bugs me the most is that Ortiz is the kind of guy the Braves, the Cardinals, the Yankees, or the Mariners would sign to be back of the rotation (#4 or #5) filler. OTOH, the Reds are thinking of him as a #2 starter. Which makes sense for a team who thinks Paul Wilson is a #1 starter.
5) Finally, this episode also is a painful reminder of the sorry state of talent within this organization. The thing is that for whatever reason - there are probably only about four players in the entire organization - ie. Dunn, Kearns, Pena, and EddyE - who could be flipped for talent that might actually help this team. But the flip side is that if you traded any of the four, you are seriously weakening what would otherwise be a future strength. Even if you traded, say Kearns for a decent pitcher, that would only translate into losing games by a score of 3-1 instead of 7-4.
Many hound DanO because of his lack of aquisitions at the ML level. I don't fault him there because he already told us that was going to happen. But the one area I have been extremely disappointed with OB in is his inability to produce a viable minor league prospect. I've seen reorganization, I've seen new scouts and advisors, I've seen demotions and promotions among minor league instructors, I've heard Tim Neahring talk up prospects like a used car salesman, and I've even heard the word "plan" thrown around. But there's one thing that missing that I haven't seen. And that's progress. I'm having a real hard time seeing any difference between where the farm system is now than where it was a year ago when DanO took over.
In the 2004 edition of the BA Prospect Handbook, the Reds were ranked #26 out of thirty teams as far as minor league talent. I have to tell you that I am dreading to see the 2005 rankings because I am 99% sure the Reds will DROP to an even lower position. I was extremely disappointed in the June 2004 draft. Granted, Homer Bailey could turn into a stud. But, given the track record of most high school pitching prospects, there's a better chance he'll wind up a dud.
Most of you who have been around here for awhile know that I tend to be one who calls for a little slack to be cut for the GM. But this GM promised to build through the farm system, and I haven't see any signs of it yet. Perhaps a year is too soon to expect visable results. I'm not asking for a miracle, only for an upgrade. But if the 2005 draft is as disappointing as the 2004 draft, I'm afraid my patience with Mr. O'Brien will officially run out.
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