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Thread: In Defense Of Dan O'Brien

  1. #46
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    Re: In Defense Of Dan O'Brien

    Quote Originally Posted by REDREAD
    But it was a 3 million dollar signing. Lidle has been Jeckle and Hide this year.He also spent 700k on Vanderwall. So, in theory, he had almost 4 million
    to spend on pitching this winter (maybe more if you believe they were holding money for later ) One could make the argument that with about 4 million in payflex, we could've done better than Lidle. IMO, he was a huge risk, he
    was coming off a horrible season. Luckily, he's been adequate though.
    And the Reds were kind of trapped on the contract. If Lidle pitched well, he's gone after this year. In other words, he was a one year stopgap, not a potential long term solution. As an example, the Jays signed miguel Batista
    to a multiyear deal at 3.6 million. He's doing much better than lidle:

    Batista; 3.99 ERA .244 BA against. Although he does walk more guys than Lidle, which hurts his WHIP.

    But he's a long term solution for the Jays.

    I do like that DanO got Gabe White though. Easily his best move to this date.
    Todd Jones was another good move, although we'll never know if that was foolish luck (grabbing the first available body to replace Reitsma, as some have speculated), or good scouting. I really don't care, it's still a good move.

    Troube was, he sat on his hands all winter. He had a lot more holes to fill, which he ignored.

    Edit: I guess Lidle plus Vanderwall was really closer to 3.5 million than 4 million, but you see the point.
    I agree that with $4M, he had other options. I'll take Lidle. Never liked Van Derwall even when he was healthy. I don't expect his first decisions to be as good as his later decisions.

    I think Lidle can be a good pitcher the second half of the year. Jeckyl and Hyde for sure. He's had 7 quality starts and 7 non-quality starts. For the second half of the year I'd like to see him go 12 quality starts and 7 non-quality starts. Thats 33 totals starts with a chance to miss one start still during the second half. If he does that the rest of the year, he gives us a chance to win. And I think that 19 quality starts from a guy that cost $3.M is a worthwhile investment.

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  3. #47
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    Re: In Defense Of Dan O'Brien

    Quote Originally Posted by Storm


    For one I question his actual power in the organization, and I question his decision (or lack of) when he left the roster short a few weeks back, I question his decision to trade Reitsma when we needed middle relief! I also can't understand why he wouldn't even consider giving Aaron Boone a try when it's pretty evident that there will be a need next year for at least a 3rd baseman or shortstop! I also was insulted as a fan when he and Allen went on the air and urged the fans to quit worrying about the financial constraints but focus on the product on the field, but didn't have the guts to take calls from the fans! that pretty much summed up my opinion that the guy is a clown :thumbdn:
    Leaving the roster short was clearly a mistake on his part. There's no getting around that. Hopefully, that was an error on his part, which he can learn from and that it didn't occur because of some fiscal policy imposed by him, Allen, or Lindner.

  4. #48
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    Re: In Defense Of Dan O'Brien

    Quote Originally Posted by M2
    I'm not saying it's written in stone that the 2004 draft will be a disaster, but my initial take on it, and I'm far from alone on this, is that the team spent failed to grab any near talents and that it's a particularly raw draft class. Had the same take immediately after 2001 and 2002.

    And there is a way to measure how the development folks are doing. Take a look at the team's prospects. Are they progressing or regressing? The Reds have experienced a massive burnout rate among their better-regarded prospects this season and it's a rarity to find a Reds player get so much as an honorable mention on something like the BA Prospect Hot Sheet these days. I'm not saying the development folks can't do their jobs, but there are early returns and, like most everything DanO's done, those early returns aren't encouraging. He and his system are off to a crawling start.
    I'll have to go with your's and other's judgements because I have no way of evaluting the draft. I have no way of explaining how guys in rounds six, 10, 15, or 20 make it to the majors except through good organizational structure. There are so many variables to baseball prospectus when it comes to draftees.

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    Re: In Defense Of Dan O'Brien

    Quote Originally Posted by M2
    If Lidle wasn't there, then the club would have had $2.75 million to find someone to take his place. Coming into today, Lidle's ERA ranked 87th out of the the top 100 IP pitchers in all of baseball (120th out of the top 150 IP guys).

    You could pretty much throw a stone and hit a better pitcher.
    Sorry if I am hijacking this thread but. . . Is Lidle really that replaceable? If you look at ERA solely, then yes, his performance looks weak. However, I tend to think that this simplistic method of evaluation overlooks how he has contributed to the club for two big reasons:

    1.) PERFORMANCE VOLATILITY. Lidle is the guy that BP ranks as the 10th flakiest starter; for reference, the standard deviation of Lidle's game scores is 18.62, which is 12% higher than it is for Wilson. Meaning, he tends to give you outstanding performances one day and horrible the next. I believe that is a good thing.

    Which of these two pitchers would you rather have?

    Pitcher A: 4.50 ERA, alternating shutouts with awful performances
    Pitcher B: 4.50 ERA; 6 IP and 3 ER every time.

    I would much prefer to have a flaky pitcher with a league-average ERA than a 6 IP/3 ER league-average, inert performer. On a team that hits as well as the Reds do, Pitcher A's vintage, dominant performance would *guarantee* a win; and I'll bet you that, every once in awhile, the Reds offense would be able to overcome Pitcher A's bad games and win. On average, you would win more than 50% of your games with Pitcher A. On the other hand, a Pitcher B performance would only guarantee you a win 50% of the time, as the outcome of the game would totally depend on the offense's performance. That is why the correlation between winning and pitching variability is strong, all else being equal. Consequently, traditional run assignment (i.e., ERA) will always undervalue Lidle's contributions, relative to a less volatile performer like Wilson.

    2.) INNINGS PITCHED. On a team where the pitchers in the bullpen are stretched to the max on a daily basis, Lidle gives most of them a night off. Moreover, I will even venture to say that, on a tactical basis, he makes the rest of the pitching staff better. The Reds can pick and choose when to use their best relievers (could you imagine the Reds being forced to use Joe Valentine and his 14+ ERA in that 2-1 ballgame before Cameron's dropped ball, simply because everyone was gassed from last nights 12-inning game? The Reds would be doomed in any close game when they have to use their worst pitchers in the high-leverage situations.) That's what Cory Lidle gives you. In other words, in a highly interdependent world of a pitching staff--where somebody MUST pitch--the Cory Lidles of the world make the other pitchers around them BETTER. . . The other pitchers are better rested, and they can be used in places that match well to their skill sets rather than out of necessity. This element has a lot of value, particularly on a team such as the Reds when you have a wide disparity between your best reliever and your worst one, because your worst pitcher will rarely pitch in high-impact situations.

    In my view, these two contributions are significant--and VERY significant to this club.
    Last edited by D-Man; 06-24-2004 at 08:16 PM.

  6. #50
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    Re: In Defense Of Dan O'Brien

    I'd rather not have a 4.50 ERA pitcher in either case - let alone a 5.05 ERA. You can literally find a hundred guys pitching better than Lidle.

    As for the contention that it's easier to win well-pitched games than lose poorly pitched outings, I whole-heartedly disagree. First off, Lidle's not throwing too many 0 and 1 run games (3 of 15 starts to be exact). So many of Lidle's "gems" are really just going to be pitching duels. I think we Reds fans have forgotten that for many other teams a well-pitched game is the rule and not the exception. To whit, the Reds record this season when Lidle allows 3 or fewers runs vs. 5 or more:

    3- - 6-3
    5+ - 1-6

    I agree that IP help, but people on this board spent the winter lobbying for pitchers like Miguel Batista, Ben Sheets, Odalis Perez and Livan Hernandez -- all of whom would have given the Reds similar innings with far, far, far better results.

    The Reds are 7-9 when Lidle starts. Had they gone out and gotten an honest-to-goodness good pitcher, which is what they should have been shopping for, they'd probably be in first place right now and the entire complexion of this season would be different.

    In other words, the Reds decision to sign Lidle has VERY significantly undermined the ability of this club to seize upon and maintain the unlikely flourish it's experienced. To borrow some princeton-speak, when the team settled for Lidle instead of going after a true plus pitcher, it made the task of stealing a playoff spot that much more difficult (mind you, princeton wouldn't care that much about only winning a playoff spot).
    Last edited by M2; 06-25-2004 at 01:14 PM.
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    Re: In Defense Of Dan O'Brien

    Quote Originally Posted by D-Man
    Which of these two pitchers would you rather have?

    Pitcher A: 4.50 ERA, alternating shutouts with awful performances
    Pitcher B: 4.50 ERA; 6 IP and 3 ER every time.

    I would much prefer to have a flaky pitcher with a league-average ERA than a 6 IP/3 ER league-average, inert performer.
    this is a great question, and one that personnel guys really struggle over

    I think that in general I prefer the flakes because they think that consistency is easier to teach than dominance. I think that the Reds feel this way, too. It just seems more likely that the Reds will find a way to bring out "good Cory" or "good Acevedo" more often than it is that they'll ever teach Harang how to pitch well. Also, in a particular game you can sometimes see that a flake doesn't "have it" and replace him quickly. Finally, the flake is as likely to control a good lineup as a bad one, which gives you hope for a playoff series. Conversely, my impression is that the other guy generally beats the bad lineups and not the good ones.

    but I know that a lot of managers hate the flakes because they like to know what they're probably going to get-- it gives them the ability to plan strategy.

    you definitely don't want a flake working as a closer or in setup. Rotation's better for 'em.

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    Re: In Defense Of Dan O'Brien

    I would love to go to Hawaii on my vacation, but my reality is Gatlinburg or Lake Cumberland. I would love to eat at The Precinct every Friday night, but my budget steers me to Applebee's. Dan O'Brien would love to have been in the hunt for a Curt Schilling or Javier Vazquez, but he has a Cory Lidle budget. We may not like the lack of options, but don't blame Dan O'Brien for doing the best job he could with the resources he had available. Teams such as Oakland got their great young pitching (Mulder & Zito) by hitting absolute rock bottom; trading a HOF player in McGwire and starting from square one. They knew that 95+ loss seasons would occur in the interim period between the McGwire deal and players like Zito, Mulder, and others developing. The Twins traded their version of Barry Larkin in Chuck Knoblauch to get a horde of young talent that was key to their resurgence. We as Reds fans are spoiled by our past glories and won't stand for a true re-cleansing. We'd truly rather be 81-81 for 5-6 years than to bear a few 65-97 seasons.

  9. #53
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    Re: In Defense Of Dan O'Brien

    DanO also had a Miguel Batista and Ben Sheets budget.

    You can set up a bunch of false binary choices between the thoroughly crappy Cory Lidle and really good, but expensive pitchers, but there's an entire realm of good, affordable pitchers out there, some of whom the Reds could have pursued.

    BTW, had DanO figured out a way to dump one of his Big Three contracts, he'd have had a Javier Vazquez budget too.
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    Re: In Defense Of Dan O'Brien

    Sure, I guess DanO had the ability to sign a Batista, but I don't want Batista any more than I want Lidle. Batista hasn't given up a lot of hits, but he walks a ton and doesn't strike out anybody. The two of them (Lidle and Batista) allow about the same number of baserunners--Lidle just lets them score more often. In short, both pitchers are bombs waiting to go off (the difference is the Jays are on the hook for 8 more million with Batista). With the Reds defense, I suspect Batista would be a 4.50 pitcher or so right now. For the extra 1.25 million you pay Batista, I'd just as soon pick up a great reliever (no, not Reitsma).

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    Re: In Defense Of Dan O'Brien

    Batista wouldn't have been my top choice either (Sheets was, Odalis Perez was my second choice), but others on this board made spirited cases for him that had merit.

    There was some reason to think Batista was onto something whereas Lidle profiled more as a guy who benefitted from good luck, the right park and a superior defense when he was in Oakland. When he went to a hitters park and had a poor defense behind him and experienced neutral luck, he fell apart.

    I'm not sure Batista would backslide much because of the Reds defense. The Jays aren't lighting the world on fire with their gloves and Batista wouldn't have to deal with the DH in the NL.

    But in the final analysis DanO gets paid to make calls that pan out. We can hash around which of the possible alternatives he should have pursued (there were myriad ideas put forth by posters on this board), but the real point is that there were plenty of alternatives and that DanO showed poor judgment in choosing to go the Lidle route. Had he exhibited shrewd judgment and better vision the Reds could have themselves a bona fide staff leader and a pitcher worth keeping around for the foreseeable future.
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  12. #56
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    Re: In Defense Of Dan O'Brien

    Quote Originally Posted by D-Man
    Which of these two pitchers would you rather have?

    Pitcher A: 4.50 ERA, alternating shutouts with awful performances
    Pitcher B: 4.50 ERA; 6 IP and 3 ER every time.
    another possibility would be the pitcher with the 5.50 ERA in the first half and the 3.50 ERA in the second half. This is Lidle's recent history.

    Better that, or better to have more consistency?

    (for a team that likes to trade its chips in late July, it's probably better to have the first half performer)

  13. #57
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    Re: In Defense Of Dan O'Brien

    Interesting: slam Bowden but praise O'Brien. I can see praising O'Brien for not being a slimmy "me" person. But O'Brien hasn't done much to gain a lot of praise at this point. Starting with his speach that took an hour and a half to thank every single person he knew in his lifetime. He may be a great person. He may be a great GM someday. But there is very little to indicate he is worthy of praise yet.

    O'Brien takes forever to hire Miley as the full time manager, a manager he didn't want but was told would be the manager. Signs him to only a 1 year contract with an option year.

    O'Brien took rule 5 David Mattox. How is that different that Bowden taking rule 5 Luke Prokopec?

    O'Brien signed Cory Lidle. How is that different from Bowden's Paul Wilson last year?

    O'Brien went out of his way to tell Larson that 3rd base was his to lose. Classy move. Not a smart move, but classy.

    O'Brien sold John Bale to Japan for $. That sounds familiar. The Reds selling a player to Japan for $.

    O'Brien signed Mike Matthews. Bowden signed Merker and Heredia last year.

    O'Brien signed Javier Valentine. Bowden signed Kelly Stinnett.

    O'Brien signed VanderWal, Jermaine Clark and Jason Ramono. Is Bowden's signings of extra OF'ers worse or better?

    O'Brien signed Todd Jones. Bowden couldn't find starting pitchers, but he could find relievers.

    O'Brien traded Reistma.

    O'Brien traded for Gabe White. De Ja Vu Bowden.

    Signing Chambliss was a great move. Wasn't that Miley?

    CougarQuest (edited: oops forgot) likes a lot of the organizational guidelines that O'Brien has set forth in the minor league system.
    Last edited by CougarQuest; 06-25-2004 at 03:09 PM.
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    Re: In Defense Of Dan O'Brien

    "We can hash around which of the possible alternatives he should have pursued (there were myriad ideas put forth by posters on this board), but the real point is that there were plenty of alternatives and that DanO showed poor judgment in choosing to go the Lidle route."

    Your first independent clause about "hashing around...possible alternatives" seems to belie the intent of the post I was responding to.

    As if to assert one thing, then bait and switch and say, "but the REAL point is"

    I would contend that the "hashing" is the real point. There AREN"T that many bargains in baseball--true bargains--that we CAN sit around and count them off on one hand. DanO chose Lidle; the board says, but what about Batista? (while sloughing off the notion that 1.25 million a season more for two MORE seasons is any big deal). I don't like the Lidle choice because it stinks of Bowden, but so does the Batista deal (which I believe, by the time it's over he'll look like Dessens). I agree much more with your latter point...blow up the idea of finding a bargain, clear a lot of room, get an ace, and wait for the kids to grow. This nickel and diming about stiffs like Lidle and Batista is the problem.

  15. #59
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    Re: In Defense Of Dan O'Brien

    Don't know what you want FCB. I tend to agree with you that Batista would have been a signing more in the Lidle vein, but, back to my central point about judgment, it was an option that others made a sturdy case for and it has worked out better than Lidle to date (and my suspicion it will continue to work out better). To anyone who wanted the Reds to sign Batista and who maintains that would have been a better decision, I'd have to respond, "Sure looks like you were right."

    I was just trying to open up the door to show that there were plenty of options, not just options that I espoused.

    They could have spent rock bottom and gotten someone to mimic Lidle's current performance.They could have spent as much as they did on Lidle (or close to it) and gotten someone solid. They could have cleared room and gotten an ace. They also could have spent Lidle's money on a young pitcher capable of stepping up to the top tier this season (which struck me as the most viable alternative).

    The Reds don't need a can't-do GM. They need a can-do GM, a guy who can figure out how to do one (or many) of the things I listed in the previous paragraph (which is what I was driving at in the paragraph to which you responded). I'm not saying DanO can't be a can-do guy, but he was a can't-do guy this offseason and the one choice he made to take some of the team's money and spent it has been a dud so far.
    Last edited by M2; 06-25-2004 at 03:17 PM.
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    Re: In Defense Of Dan O'Brien

    I kind of like Lidle. I wanted a better pitcher, I wanted a cheaper pitcher, and I especially wanted a pitcher that depended less on defense. But most of all, I wanted somebody just in case we got healthy and competed, and Lidle has provided important innings

    While I don't like the ERA, I like the innings and flashes of ability, and am intrigued by Lidle's second half history

    the Reds have now discovered other ways to make payflex available for a better starter. Jr's and Casey's contracts can now be moved.


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