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Thread: How Would You Rate O'Brien's First Year As GM?

  1. #31
    Ripsnort wheels's Avatar
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    Re: How Would You Rate O'Brien's First Year As GM?

    Quote Originally Posted by Aronchis
    What was Wilson going to bring? Nada, maybe not as much as Lidle brought by Augest.

    Just because O'brien didn't make "moves" to upgrade in 2004 is exactly what your describing. Rebuilding. The sad thing is, the Reds didn't have a player outside Dunn who would bring in the kind of talent you want.
    In July (at the end of which is the trade deadline), Paul Wilson's numbers were at their most deceptive, and most assuredly would have fetched far more than what they got from Lidle. He hadn't even made his trip to the DL at that point (unless I'm sorely mistaken). So, I'm not talking about August, I'm talking about July. O'Brien mistakenly thought this team had what it took to compete, and blundered miserably by pinning his hopes on a guy like Paul Wilson.

    I was all for giving the guy some more rope up to that point, but the unwillingness to deal Wilson, coupled with a draft that stunk mightily.....Well, I've just seen about enough of Dan O'Brien.
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  3. #32
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    Re: How Would You Rate O'Brien's First Year As GM?

    2/09/07
    Last edited by Ga_Red; 02-09-2007 at 04:31 AM.
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  4. #33
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    Re: How Would You Rate O'Brien's First Year As GM?

    O'Brien didn't "build" in 2004. He didn't "rebuild" in 2004. He stuck a Band-Aid on a gushing head wound.

    Sure we aren't talking about Jim Bowden and his 10 years at the helm of GM?

    O'Brien restructured the farm system and scouting departments. And while he might seem a tad slow making decisions on possible deals, who is to say a rookie GM doesn't make mistakes?

    It's amazing how many people want to kick O'Brien to the curb after one year but fail to realize in 10 years Bowden ran the ship, things weren't much better with developing homegrown talent.
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    Was O'Brien's First Draft Really That Bad?

    After reading people's posts criticizing Dan O'Brien's first draft, I ask, "Was O'Brien's First Draft Really That Bad?"

    Okay, he took another high school pitcher in the first round with Homer Bailey. But Bailey was ranked as a top 10 player. And even though the risks of taking high school pitchers is greater, they do have higher ceilings than college pitchers....even though college pitchers are the surer bets.

    But what about the rest of the draft? We all know first round picks don't make a draft. Are the rest of the players drafted that horrible? And how can you say it was a horrible draft when we haven't really seen if the players have developed after a half of season of organized ball?

    Everyone talks about Moneyball and how it is the baseball gospel. Before computers came on the scene, GMs like Branch Rickey and even Bob Howsam relied on scouts watching these kids to see if they will be successful major leaguers. So, I guess we kick scouts to the curb since we can rely on statistics to determine if a player will be successful ballplayer? Sounds like Marge Schott talking.

    So, I ask.....Was O'Brien's First Draft Really That Horrible?
    Last edited by Krusty; 10-26-2004 at 09:51 AM. Reason: Please move this thread to Dan O'Brien's First Year GM Thread.
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  6. #35
    Ripsnort wheels's Avatar
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    Re: How Would You Rate O'Brien's First Year As GM?

    No one expected O'Brien to develop homegrown talent in one season.

    I just expected that he take more steps towards accelerating the process. He could have shed more dead weight veterans (like he did with Reitsma). Would any of them landed a top tier prospect or two? Quite possibly.

    The thing is, I don't think O'Brien really even tried.
    "We know we're better than this, but we can't prove it." - Tony Gwynn

  7. #36
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    Re: Was O'Brien's First Draft Really That Bad?

    With all due respect....Couldn't this be discussed on the other Dan O'Brien thread?
    "We know we're better than this, but we can't prove it." - Tony Gwynn

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    Re: Was O'Brien's First Draft Really That Bad?

    Hey, I got no problems moving it. But with everyone blasting last year's draft, I thought maybe the draft deserved a thread of its own.

    But if the moderators would, please move it.
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    Re: How Would You Rate O'Brien's First Year As GM?

    Maybe O'Brien figured that if he had the opportunity to thoroughly make an analysis of the orgainzation firsthand, it would give him a better idea what he needs to do.

    Think a minute people. If you are in O'Brien's shoes, do you come in and start making changes without seeing firsthand what you actually have? Do you just shoot from the hip or do you study what you have and what you need to work on?
    If you think small, you'll go nowhere in life.

  10. #39
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    Re: How Would You Rate O'Brien's First Year As GM?

    Krusty, another thing I don't like is that he made no real effort to do anything over the winter. He signed Lidle, who was one of the worst reclamation projects and then signed Vanderwall and acted as though that was a big deal (press conference). It took him all winter to trade Reitsma. Supposedly teams were also hot for Reidling and Wilson, but he did nothing.

    The only prospect he added over last winter was rule V pick Mattox.

    So, he basically wasted the entire year. While I still hold out some hope for Nelson to develop into a decent middle reliever, Bong appears to be another in a long line of sub-mediocre pitchers that we have to endure. IMO, he really got taken in the only big trade he made. It's also not comforting to read in the press that DanO turned down better offers for Reitsma, simply because he insisted on getting two arms (instead of the best talent he can get). That's what rebuilding is all about. Collecting talent.

    I really don't have much faith that this offseason will be much different. In theory, DanO should have a detailed report on everyone in the entire organization by now (except the recent draftees). He SHOULD have reports on all the other prospects in other organizations.. However, does anyone expect much more than last year? Sign Wilson or another retread starter, and make another rule V draft pick? Maybe dump a salary or two in the spring?
    Thank you Walt and Bob for going for it in 2010-2014!

    Nov. 13, 2007: One of the greatest days in Reds history: John Allen gets the boot!

  11. #40
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    Re: How Would You Rate O'Brien's First Year As GM?

    Sure we aren't talking about Jim Bowden and his 10 years at the helm of GM?
    Krusty, with all due respect, I don't care who shot the patient.

    But when that victim gets wheeled into the ER I don't want to see the attending physician cleaning out his wound with a handi-wipe and trying to operate with a rusty spoon and scotch tape.

    We have a GM who, in 12 months, has failed to bring in a single productive MLB player who's still with the club. He allegedly had a bunch of PayFlex to work with and spent none of it on long-term productive MLB talent. His drafting methodology was not sound for the needs and competitive timeline of the club. His development strategy appears to be "Try this...uh...no, now let's do that...crap...what would Grady Fuson do?". He just re-signed a Manager he didn't want in the first place.

    And no. "Moneyball" doesn't play into it at all. Even the least statistically-aligned fan can tell whether or not a team appears better or worse after 12 months of a General Manager's machinizations and whether or not "better" or "worse" is a direct result of said General Manager's efforts.

    I might not see "worse", but I sure don't see "better".
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    Re: How Would You Rate O'Brien's First Year As GM?

    B-

    Plus side
    - I really liked the Cory Lidle move. He was exactly the kind of pitcher (innings eater, durable, keeps you in games) that virtually all Reds fans and observers have said is what we need here. He was a little more inconsistent than I would have liked, but he was a good sign for us.

    - Signing Todd Jones was another good move. He had some blow-ups, but finding a guy off the scrap heap to be probably our most dependable reliever was very good.

    - I like the prospects we netted in the Lidle and Jones trades, particularly the fact that we got a major-league ready pitcher (Hancock), a talented albeit unpolished middle infielder (Machado) and a solid pitching prospect (Ramirez) who did alright at Double-A at 21.

    - Adding guys to the pro scouting end of things is really good for this organization too. I know it got more play in Spring Training and early on than it did as the season wore on, but I like the fact that we're spending more time and money to scout out players across the organizations.

    - Finally being the one to step up a tell Larkin "Thanks for everything, but we have to move in a different direction" gets a big plus from me.

    Negative side
    - The Reitsma trade is something I've gone back and forth in my assessment on. When the trade was made, I said it was a good move, and I still contend that trading a reliever (albeit a young, cheap one) for two starting pitching prospects is a good idea. Having said that, I've never viewed Bong as a starter. I still like Nelson despite his struggles, but I think Bong is fairly overrated. And in any event, we could have used Reitsma's arm in the pen this year.

    - The drafting of Bailey was questionable to me. Not because I abhor all high school pitching draftees but because I think some of the college arms that were available still had stuff almost as good as Bailey's and were perhaps less than two years away from being ready for a permanent spot in the rotation. That's not something to pass up, even though I do love Bailey's ceiling.

    - The reluctance to give Encarnacion a shot in September really puzzled me. The kid hit well at Double-A after having a decent showing in Spring Training and deserved at least a few days of big-league life after the playoffs were over.

    - I liked the signing of Vander Wal at the time, but once he tore up his knee, that should have been it. There's no way a guy who's almost 40 is going to blow out his knee and come back later that season to be effective.

  13. #42
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    Re: How Would You Rate O'Brien's First Year As GM?

    O'Brien did fine. We have better young starters than we did before -- remember he acquired Hancock for very little and signed off (I assume) on the promotion and steady use of Hudson. The handling of mega-assets Dunn and Pena (for which everyone seems to want to credit Chambliss, an O'Brien/Miley hire) worked very well. Top prospects Encarnacion, Gardner, Pauly, Moseley, Votto (to name just the top 5) made solid-excellent advances in the minors. In general, the 8-man/75 pitch system, in place for most of the season, helped our lower level pitchers avoid injury. The team, built on a low budget, was competitive and interesting enough (untraded Griffey's chase of 500 helped) to get fans to the park in numbers significantly higher than projected for a small-market team in its 2nd year in a new ballpark. In turn, the payroll is expected to climb in 2005.

    Perhaps most importantly, he appears to have helped stabilize a FO that, from all accounts, was in chaos. We don't see that stuff.

    No grade from me until 3 years from now, when his contract is up. Even then, it'll still be too soon to have a final reckoning on the 2004 draft.
    "Baseball is a very, very complex business. It's more of a people business than most businesses." - Bob Castellini

  14. #43
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    Re: Was O'Brien's First Draft Really That Bad?

    Quote Originally Posted by Krusty
    So, I ask.....Was O'Brien's First Draft Really That Horrible?
    The Reds lack pitching at the major league level. They've got maybe two starting pitchers in the system right now who might show up by 2007 and give them some help (Pauly and Gardner -- you can take a flyer on guys like Moseley and Kelly, but given the way they've pitched in the minors I see that as wishful thinking).

    So they've got a relatively empty cupboard for the foreseeable future and what do the Reds do? They stock up on HS arms high in the draft. They took five pitchers in the top 10 rounds, four HS arms and one juco arm.

    Take a look at what they did in 2003. They got Wagner, Pauly and Gardner in that haul -- all guys who were able to start at low A or higher and who can be expected to be ready within fours of their selection.

    The kids the Reds drafted in 2004 are much longer-term projects. They all started in rookie ball (low rookie ball in most cases). It may take them until 2006 to reach low A and pitch there with any sort of competence. A reasonable timetable for any one of these kids would be 2010 before he's ready to come to the majors and thrive. Now I'm not saying some of these kids won't be worth waiting for or that it's impossible that one or two won't be able to handle an advanced timetable (though that's up to nature and not the Reds), but how much sense does it make to you to put your area of greatest need on the slow track?

    Homer Bailey was high risk selection, which I certainly didn't think was wise, but let's allow the Reds the roll of the dice on that one. Why, why, why not follow up with some quality college arms after that? It's one thing to take an educated gamble here and there, unfortunately what the Reds did was put themselves consistently in harm's way.

    Then you get to the bats. Take a look at how these kids did in a hitters paradise (Billings) this season. Outside of Cody Strait's 49 ABs of glory, they put up fairly blah numbers. Unless some of these guys unlock heretofore undiscovered talents within themselves, they're going to hit a brick wall in Dayton next season. Hopefully a specimen like Szymanski avoids that peril, but others like Tatum, Janish, Lawhorn and Anderson need to show a lot more quality before you even can begin to call them prospects.

    The 2004 Reds draft was a combination of enormous risk on the pitching side coupled with a pack of hitters who almost immediately got exposed. Rather than lather, rinse, repeat on the 2003 draft which provided an immediate shine to the Reds' faded and scraggly system, the Reds went back on a path toward baldness.
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  15. #44
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    Re: How Would You Rate O'Brien's First Year As GM?

    I should note here that the guy in my signature, Jim McLaughlin, is the fellow who set up the scouting department that begat the BRM. He'd put together what became the Baltimore Orioles dynasty before that.

    McLaughlin insisted on using the most advanced scientific methods of the day in evaluating talent and tried to wring out scout BS at every juncture. Bob Howsam did not rely on scouts watching the game. He relied on Jim McLaughlin, who relied on objective measures when scouting ballplayers. Once he no longer could sign a zillion prospects and sift through them at will, Branch Rickey also sought to be as objective as possible in scouting players.

    So Krusty, the examples you gave of old-time scouting are actually the grandfathers of "Moneyball" and in this era, they'd have been in the lead vanguard when it comes to performance projection and risk management. As much as some on this board abhor the concept, it's how the BRM got built.
    Baseball isn't a magic trick ... it doesn't get spoiled if you figure out how it works. - gonelong

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  16. #45
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    Re: How Would You Rate O'Brien's First Year As GM?

    Quote Originally Posted by johngalt
    B-

    Plus side
    - I really liked the Cory Lidle move. He was exactly the kind of pitcher (innings eater, durable, keeps you in games) that virtually all Reds fans and observers have said is what we need here. He was a little more inconsistent than I would have liked, but he was a good sign for us.
    .
    Lidle gave us 149 innings of 5.32 ERA ball. The only starters with worse ERAs were Haynes, Acevado, and Claussen. While I like his durabilty, I really don't think he kept us in many games. His 7-10 record as a Red reflects that. The almost 3 million spent on Lidle was a blown opportunity, IMO.

    I agree Jones worked out good, and it was prudent to flip him and Lidle for prospects when the opportunity arose. I hope Jones wasn't just a dump luck accident though (desparately grabbing the first available bullpenner, since Reitsma was about to get shipped out). We'll see if he can find some more bullpen gems this winter.

    The Phils prospects we got were ok considering what we gave up. Hancock (the best of the lot), will provide cheap rotation filler until the Reds figure out how to get some quality pitching (well, maybe Hancock won't live that long :MandJ: ) But none of them are going to be better than replacement level players, IMO.

    As far as the other positives, even if you think giving Larkin the boot was a good idea, give the credit to Allen, who was determined since opening day to push Lark out. I'm not giving DanO credit for any new hire (other than Chambliss) until they start showing results.
    Thank you Walt and Bob for going for it in 2010-2014!

    Nov. 13, 2007: One of the greatest days in Reds history: John Allen gets the boot!


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