I was just talking with my fiancee last night, explaining to her non-baseball-centric self about the follies of my favorite club. She listened with some amusement, and then asked "Well, what is their plan? Why do you think they're making--or not making--these moves?"
And I pondered it for a second, and realized that I hadn't a bloody clue.
Do they honestly think the team can be competitive with the rotation and bullpen they have? I have to think that, somewhere deep down, DanO realizes that this pitching staff is among the worst in all of baseball, and no amount of raking by the offense is going to overcome that.
So, are they trying to sell tickets with a couple of marquee names in the lineup?
Are they trying to catch lightning in a bottle, as the '99 team did, and play over their heads for an entire season?
Are they so cost-conscious that they refuse to sign worthy players to LT contracts, and so wary of a fall off in attendance that they would rather play aging vets with a "name" over younger, unproven (but likely superior) players?
Are they honestly trying to build the team from the ground up and have an entire front office that is woefully incompetent?
Are they trying to win now and have deluded themselves into thinking that guys like Womack, Aurilia and Hammond are the missing parts?
Or, is there no plan at all? Are the Reds being run like a ship without a rudder, bumping into icebergs and other debris, leaking water all over the place with a crew simultaneously threatening mutiny and to plunge overboard?
I honestly don't have an answer...i think you could make a strong argument for several of the scenarios above, and perhaps I left some out. I dunno. What I do know is that the reds FO somehow took an awful team from last year and, through celever maneurvering and strategic thinking, managed to make it a little bit worse. And that's really saying something.