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Thread: In Defense Of Dan O'Brien

  1. #16
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    Re: In Defense Of Dan O'Brien

    IslandRed, great post. You summed up my feelings perfectly.

    BTW, I love reading your posts. How is it that you've been around for more than three years and have less than 500 posts? Please post more often. You bring an intelligent and well thought out view to your posts.
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  3. #17
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    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.
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    Re: In Defense Of Dan O'Brien

    Quote Originally Posted by buckeyenut
    He didn't do more because every player he could have possibly considered dealing (along with several he wouldn't) was injured last year and their value was about as low as it could be. The guys that weren't hurt last year got dealt at the deadline.
    The team had dozens of options, options as far as their minds could extend. To me, the insistence that they had no options is indefensible. Of course they did, every team has options. It's the ones who turn those options into action that set themselves apart.

    What you've described is an organization that couldn't figure out how to get out of the box.
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    Re: In Defense Of Dan O'Brien

    Well I got to say that I met Dan' Obrien and Dean Taylor and no matter what happens they are pretty nice guys in my book

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    Re: In Defense Of Dan O'Brien

    Quote Originally Posted by Dugout
    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???
    I'm talking GM roster manipulation. Not that I want to turn this into another Billy Beane discussion, but one of his central tenets is that as a GM you get roster full of players to mold to the best of your abilities.

    DanO did next to nothing to manipulate the major league roster. He signed Cory Lidle, which was a BAD idea, and brought in Javier Valentin, ugh. It's just about as close to taking a pass as you can get. This is still JimBo's team in terms of construction. Honestly, if this team was so good and needed such little tweaking, then why on earth was JimBo sent packing? If anything, at the major league level, the Reds have been heading in the exact same direction as during JimBo's regime.

    And O'Brien can't depend on the draft alone to build the club. He need look no further than his assistant Dean Taylor if he doesn't think that's the case. Taylor managed to restock the minors for the Brewers, but got canned before it paid off. DanO has got to figure what to do in the interim or he's going to be a footnote.

    He's got to figure out to how to get what he needs with what he's got. In short, he's got to manipulate his roster.
    Baseball isn't a magic trick ... it doesn't get spoiled if you figure out how it works. - gonelong

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  7. #21
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    Re: In Defense Of Dan O'Brien

    Quote Originally Posted by EX BRAVEDAD
    Well I got to say that I met Dan' Obrien and Dean Taylor and no matter what happens they are pretty nice guys in my book
    remember what Leo "the lip" opined?


    I'm with Princeton.

    A "good" gm will have <b>done</b> good/great things
    to have earned that adjective. Dan did get Gabe,
    but his constitutional inertia cost at least 2 weeks
    durimg which time Gabe could have been the difference
    in 3 or 4 blown saves/holds in a 7 game losing streak.

    So far, O'Brien has demonstrated that action is the last
    of whatever options may be available.

    DO may <b>become</b> a great gm. I hope so.
    He is NOT one now as far as any fair-minded evaluation
    is concerned because there is a non-existent sample size
    to evaluate.

    What I see so far, is the rhetoric of a first class
    bser, classic cya organizational instincts and
    a Connie Mack/Carl Lindner disregard for fan accountability.

    The next 45 days will go a long way toward fleshing out
    an 'opportunities' sample size.

    Nothing would make me happier than to have
    a table load of crow to banquet on come Aug 1.
    Last edited by Ga_Red; 06-23-2004 at 08:23 PM.
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  8. #22
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    Re: In Defense Of Dan O'Brien

    Quote Originally Posted by Dugout
    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
    The counterarguments are that he hired a scouting director with a long and terrible history, that Latin America is overfarmed and overpriced, that he brought in nobody with a proven history of developmental success, and that the one relative innovation-- the idea that the Reds can spin OF straw like Jason Romano into a new golden generation of MIers a la Davey Lopes -- is unproven.

    finally, the big thing with any GM is whether he can convert contender into champion. DanO hasn't tried, and I understand the reasoning. It's unlikely that the three or four moves that were minimally required (in addition to good health) all could have happened, yet moves like acquiring a better IFer (Carlos Guillen or Juan Uribe), a top starter (Jered Weaver) while keeping the rest of the team intact (Chris Reitsma) were possible, and might have put this team about one July move away. Instead, we remain several moves away. When the system is rebuilt in five years, we'll be better able to deal young talent for established talent. But the guys that got us into this contending position will be long gone.

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    Re: In Defense Of Dan O'Brien

    Quote Originally Posted by Dugout
    Due to the surprising nature of this team's performance thus far, I would sure hate to be Dan O'Brien right now. I really would.
    not me. DanO should be a kid in a candystore. No matter where he turns, there's a sweet possibility. He can add players and win important ballgames. Or he can deal players having resurrection years in order to fill a bereft farm system. Go back to March: can you imagine having such choices in July? It has been a magical year for the Reds' FO. If they can't enjoy this, then there's no reason to keep the job.

  10. #24
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    Re: In Defense Of Dan O'Brien

    Excellent post, dugout.

    I'm giving him 3 years. So far, so good in my book. I especially like the organization-wide emphasis on pitch counts and pounding the strike zone. And I think they've made a good effort in Latin America so far.

    Without an owner who wants to spends big on payroll, the Reds won't become an "annual contender." I don't think it's fair to set the bar that high for O'Brien.

    I agree with Dugout that this trading deadline will be the first real look at how O'Brien sees this team. But I think the decision to buy or sell is not really his to make, though he likely will have input.

    As I see it, he and ownership will have to make a decision to trade one of Dunn-Casey-Kearns-Griffey-Pena. There's no way around it. Between that and the trade deadline, we'll have exhibits 1/1a on where this team is going. But even after that, I won't feel I can say O'Brien is a success or a failure.

    And, in the end, my guess is that he'll be both.
    "Baseball is a very, very complex business. It's more of a people business than most businesses." - Bob Castellini

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    Re: In Defense Of Dan O'Brien

    All I know right now, is that he made 1 real good trade in getting White, and 1 trade that could have a good upside with Bong Nelson for Reitsma......

    but his keeping his team short 1 or 2 players all the time kills me....it is like they can't make any decisions on players...

  12. #26
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    Re: In Defense Of Dan O'Brien

    buckeyenut wonders how m2 thinks the lidle signing was a bad signing. It was a low risk signing. It filled a need. Maybe it works, maybe it doesn't but no way it was a bad signing.

    And buckeyenut never said we didn't have any options. What buckeyenut said or meant to say is that most of our options would have included dealing someone at a low point in value. Gotta go back to Kenny Rogers. "You gotta know when to hold them, know when to throw them. Know when to walk away, know when to run."

    We had several guys we needed to hold. It wasn't the time to throw in yet. Some of them, it may be getting closer. Some may be proving to be keepers.

  13. #27
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    Re: In Defense Of Dan O'Brien

    Quote Originally Posted by B
    but his keeping his team short 1 or 2 players all the time kills me....it is like they can't make any decisions on players...
    The only reason that this gets noticed is because the Reds have been fortunate that most of their injuries to starters have been nagging, need a few days off type of injuries. It happens to each and every ballclub during the course of the season because they don't want to put a guy on the DL because he tweaked a muscle. Aren't you glad that they didn't put Jimenez on the DL when he was able to play in a matter of days instead of losing him for two weeks? Same with Larkin. I am glad that they didn't put him on the DL both times with this injury because he is out days instead of weeks. Now if we can just keep Rocky the Flying Squirrel out of his and everyone else's way :mad:

  14. #28
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    Re: In Defense Of Dan O'Brien

    Quote Originally Posted by buckeyenut
    buckeyenut wonders how m2 thinks the lidle signing was a bad signing. It was a low risk signing. It filled a need. Maybe it works, maybe it doesn't but no way it was a bad signing.

    And buckeyenut never said we didn't have any options. What buckeyenut said or meant to say is that most of our options would have included dealing someone at a low point in value. Gotta go back to Kenny Rogers. "You gotta know when to hold them, know when to throw them. Know when to walk away, know when to run."

    We had several guys we needed to hold. It wasn't the time to throw in yet. Some of them, it may be getting closer. Some may be proving to be keepers.
    Lidle was a bad signing because it hasn't worked and the chances of it working were extremely low. I don't hold the team to all that high a standard. All I really ask is they be able to figure out things that I can figure out from 1,000 miles away. Lidle was more of the same for a pitching staff that needed a change. He wasn't going to give them a sub-4.00 ERA, likely not a sub-4.50 ERA and quite possibly not a sub-5.00 ERA. Had they spent $500,000 on him, which is about what a "maybe it works, maybe it doesn't" flyer is worth, that would be one thing, but paying $2.75M for one is a dumb idea anyway you slice it.

    And the Reds could have tried to turn some of their 2003 sell-off returns into players. I'll bring up Ben Sheets again, because we know the Brewers shopped him. Could Brandon Claussen and Phil Dumatrait have scored him? Don't know, but I'll bet Milwaukee would have given it serious consideration and Sheets would have fit right into Lidle's salary slot.

    Austin Kearns was at peak value. Jason LaRue had value in what was a good market for catchers. Injuries and second-half slumps could still make the club's Big Three contracts difficult to move this coming offseason and you won't see much in the way of significant change until one of those contracts (more likely two) are off the books. The Reds keep giving away affordable contracts when what they need to do is prune from the top. That's how you go from maintenance pruning to clearing enough payroll space to reinvest.

    Using your Kenny Rogers analogy, the Reds decided to keep playing with a pair of sixes instead of getting new cards. Know when to fold them indeed.
    Last edited by M2; 06-24-2004 at 03:22 PM.
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    Re: In Defense Of Dan O'Brien

    Quote Originally Posted by M2
    Lidle was a bad signing because it hasn't worked and the chances of it working were extremely low. I don't hold the team to all that high a standard. All I really ask is they be able to figure out things that I can figure out from 1,000 miles away. Lidle was more of the same for a pitching staff that needed a change. He wasn't going to give them a sub-4.00 ERA, likely not a sub-4.50 ERA and quite possibly not a sub-5.00 ERA. Had they spent $500,000 on him, which is about what a "maybe it works, maybe it doesn't" flyer is worth, that would be one thing, but paying $2.75M for one is a dumb idea anyway you slice it.
    Lidle has eaten some innings, which does give a real breather to an overtaxed pen. It's hard to quantitate the effects of that on a roster, but I still remember when seeing a Reds CG was about as rare as seeing a Barry Larkin grand slam. Lidle's stuff is more of the same, but his CG's make him a rare bird

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    Re: In Defense Of Dan O'Brien

    Quote Originally Posted by princeton
    Lidle has eaten some innings, which does give a real breather to an overtaxed pen. It's hard to quantitate the effects of that on a roster, but I still remember when seeing a Reds CG was about as rare as seeing a Barry Larkin grand slam. Lidle's stuff is more of the same, but his CG's make him a rare bird
    Bad innings are easy to find. Don't pay for the privilege.

    If the Reds were going to give someone money, it should have been a guy who gave them good innings.
    Baseball isn't a magic trick ... it doesn't get spoiled if you figure out how it works. - gonelong

    I'm witchcrafting everybody.


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