RFA, I was quite sick during the whole Larkin re-signing, so I didn't really have an opinion of it at that time. But I would probably say I was more happy than annoyed, but it wasn't for the right reasons. It was because we got to keep a local icon, not because I thought that it would pay off in the long run. My point was this. Lindner did not listen to his baseball people at all on that move. Bowden et al knew that the move would strangle an already top-heavy payroll, and given Larkin's injury history and age, it didn't make sense. And there wasn't another team in baseball that would have given him that extension at that age. A lot of people have directed blame towards the fans for this one. However, I disagree. As an owner of a baseball team, an unforgiving, what have you done for me lately industry, you have to take some hits every once in awhile. What should have been done that year was to let Larkin finish out the season and become an FA. I am reasonably sure that no other team would have offered him such a lucrative package. Find out what the market was offering and increase it a little and go from there. Teams that grossly outbid the competition (see Hicks, Tom) always come out looking stupid.
I used other teams as examples for the strict purpose of saying that a lot of people seem to comment that you can't do any better than we have on such a small budget. Yes, you can. A LOT better. Oakland has made the playoffs the last three years, and lost to the mighty Yankees because Jeremy Giambi didn't slide, not because the Yanks had some $20 M superstar hitting 3 bombs in a game in Game 5. Minnesota came within 2 games of making it to the World Series this year. Florida and Montreal, despite not having a stadium full of sold-out luxury boxes, finished with better records and have correctly focused their team (on starting pitching).
The Reds will never be in the market for the Jose Contrerases of the world. But that doesn't mean we can't be good. I wouldn't be shocked if Contreras really turns out to be 35 or so. The GAB doesn't mean, as Daugherty eloquently put it, that we will all of a sudden become NYC on the Ohio River. But it does mean that if Bartolo Colon comes along, we should have a really good shot at him. It also means that we should be able to draft players with the highest ceilings (not the ones we think will just take slot money), and maximize the talent of our system.
Regarding Ronnie, I have never been a big fan of his. To me, he lost a lot of goodwill with what he did to Casey this ST. However, what happened to him was abominable. I read an article with Willie Randolph the other day. When asked about the Reds managerial position, he said he took himself out of the running because the offer was to become the lowest paid manager in baseball, and that he wouldn't even get to assemble his own staff. Oester was told that the job was his, and that there was no one else in the running. It's like my dad when he always buys cars. He always "dickers" with the salesman, trying to get this thrown in. It is not a sign of greed. If Ronnie had known other candidates were involved, I am pretty sure he would have accepted the job. And this is from a person who would prefer the reincarnation of Ray Knight as manager rather than Oester.
Last edited by letsgojunior; 12-29-2002 at 04:47 PM.