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Thread: Reds front office mismanagement and the enigma of Wily Mo Pena

  1. #16
    Rally Onion! Chip R's Avatar
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    Re: Reds front office mismanagement and the enigma of Wily Mo Pena

    One of the problems with the "handling" of WMP was that ever since he's been on the 25 man roster, this team has been in a "contending" mode. They were willing to sacrifice the future for the present. If that included letting WMP rot on the bench, so be it. I said in 2003 - his rookie season - that what the Reds needed to do was play him in spots where he could look the best. Showcase that power. I thought when they went to Coors Field that year they should have started him every single day in hopes that he'd catch hold of a fastball or a curve that didn't break and hit the hell out of the ball. But even the master lineup juggler Bob Boone wouldn't put him out there for anything more than a cameo appearance. The failure to hire a full time OF coach after Jose Cardinal left was another misstep. Some of the fault lies with Wily Mo too. After Miley was hired and the Reds had all kinds of injuries, he said he didn't want to play LF. So Miley benched him until he got his mind right. Not playing in the AFL that year didn't help matters either and playing in the WBC may have been the straw that broke the camel's back. I think by and large he's been a good soldier. I also think there might have been only so much the Reds could have done for him from a developmental point of view. You can hire a running coach for Sean Casey but you aren't ever going to make him Rickey Henderson. Wily Mo could have worked on plate patience and defense every day and twice on Sundays and it still may not have helped that much to make a difference.
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  3. #17
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    Re: Reds front office mismanagement and the enigma of Wily Mo Pena

    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclone792
    I don't have many qualms with how the Reds handled Pena in 2003 and 2004.
    in your original post, you said that the Reds handled him improperly in 2003. Now you say that you're fine with 2003.

    you also said that the Reds should have traded him in 2002, when he had no value, and not yesterday, when he had a lot more

    it's hard for me to hit a moving target...

    personally, I hate dealing a guy who has so much ML experience at such a young age. Those are often the guys that really become great. But this isn't the 1960's, and the problem is that those are also the guys that get expensive quickly. Yes, he was cheap enough that we could have gotten a big return in numbers on a low contract. But with one good or great season, then we've got to figure out what to do with him because the costerformance ratio goes way up

    a good GM is going to have to figure out how to keep low costerformance ratios on hand.

  4. #18
    Playoffs Cyclone792's Avatar
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    Re: Reds front office mismanagement and the enigma of Wily Mo Pena

    Quote Originally Posted by princeton
    in your original post, you said that the Reds handled him improperly in 2003. Now you say that you're fine with 2003.

    you also said that the Reds should have traded him in 2002, when he had no value, and not yesterday, when he had a lot more

    it's hard for me to hit a moving target...

    personally, I hate dealing a guy who has so much ML experience at such a young age. Those are often the guys that really become great. But this isn't the 1960's, and the problem is that those are also the guys that get expensive quickly. Yes, he was cheap enough that we could have gotten a big return in numbers on a low contract. But with one good or great season, then we've got to figure out what to do with him because the costerformance ratio goes way up

    a good GM is going to have to figure out how to keep low costerformance ratios on hand.
    Relatively speaking, 2005 was a bigger fiasco than 2003. They failed to trade Casey after he had his best season since 1999, which resulted in a failure to find a regular job for a guy who slugged .527 as a 22-year-old in over 350 PA the previous season.

    But not many qualms doesn't mean I still don't have any qualms. He had a mere 181 PA in 2003 on a team that lost 93 games. Get the guy out there more instead of trotting out players such as Reggie Taylor and Ruben Mateo. Like Chip stated, get him out there in situations designed for him to succeed. We were going nowhere that season whether Pena played or sat on the pine. If you're out of contention, focus on developing what you believe to be the future. The front office turnover in July likely didn't help the situation, either. Makes you wonder how much of a priority developing Pena was when all that happened.

    I don't know for sure how much trade value he may have had in 2002 and 2003. He certainly had some value as he'd never clear waivers. Obviously if a team is willing to claim him, they're willing to let him take up a roster spot. Find a team that drools over a young power hitting outfielder and also has a surplus in an area where we have a need, and try to make something happen. Bowden may or may not have tried, and we'll never know. But given his love for tools players, it's not hard to fathom he either A) overvalued Pena or B) didn't try very hard. Overvaluing Pena seems plausible; many folks are still overvaluing him.

    Do we net someone better than Arroyo if we deal him in 2002? No idea. But I have a hard time believing Pena's trade value was zero. Heck, we could have traded Pena to Pittsburgh for Bronson Arroyo in 2002. I'm sure there's plenty of other successful pitchers right now we could have moved Pena for in 2002. A good front office and good scouts will recognize those players more often than a bad front office. Same as a good front office and good scouts having more success recognizing good amateurs to draft.

    The costerformance ratio is vital as you state, but we can't let that stand in the way of developing players we believe to have outstanding potential. Move those guys for more important needs or play them, but don't let them rot on the bench. Ironically enough, I believe that's part of the reason Krivsky got rid of Pena now. If he turns into Alfonso Soriano at the plate, which is possible, his salary will be greater than his actual worth. By moving Pena now, Krivsky avoids that possible future scenario altogether.

    I know your stance is we gambled with keeping Pena and we won with netting Arroyo, and I don't disagree. It's not a stance I'd advocate doing repeatedly given the nature of how we handled Pena, but we got lucky and got away with it this time. Hooray, it's a win for us. My main beef is we could have won bigger had we handled Pena better.
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    Re: Reds front office mismanagement and the enigma of Wily Mo Pena

    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclone792
    My main beef is we could have won bigger had we handled Pena better.
    I think not trading Casey after the 2004 season is going to haunt this team for some time. Probably the worst decision (or non-decision) made by O'Brien during his time here.
    We'll burn that bridge when we get to it.

  6. #20
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    Re: Reds front office mismanagement and the enigma of Wily Mo Pena

    Quote Originally Posted by registerthis
    I think not trading Casey after the 2004 season is going to haunt this team for some time. Probably the worst decision (or non-decision) made by O'Brien during his time here.
    Fully agreed. I believe the Milton signing was his biggest action mistake, and not dealing Casey after 2004 was his biggest inaction mistake, if that makes any sense.
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    Re: Reds front office mismanagement and the enigma of Wily Mo Pena

    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclone792
    Fully agreed. I believe the Milton signing was his biggest action mistake, and not dealing Casey after 2004 was his biggest inaction mistake, if that makes any sense.
    Yep. The refusal to deal Casey prevented Wily Mo from playing a full season and gaining valuable experience, prevented Dunn from moving to first, and ultimately forced the Reds to watch as Casey's trade value evaporated to the point where all we were able to get for him was Dave Williams. That's not even to mention the salary that Casey ate up.
    We'll burn that bridge when we get to it.

  8. #22
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    Re: Reds front office mismanagement and the enigma of Wily Mo Pena

    What it all comes down to is what was Wily Mo worth when he ran out of options? He was very raw at that point and few teams could afford to stash him on their major league roster. His value then was much less than it is now

  9. #23
    You're soaking in it! MartyFan's Avatar
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    Re: Reds front office mismanagement and the enigma of Wily Mo Pena

    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclone792
    I’ve read some interesting posts in the last nine hours reflecting on the Pena for Arroyo swap; some people in favor of the deal while others vehemently disagreeing with the deal. Some people envision Wily Mo Pena blossoming into a Hall of Fame caliber hitter, while others foresee a career of free-swinging and undisciplined ineptitude. Still, even more people are upset with the return of one Bronson Arroyo, whose success as a Red is met with a large question mark.

    Of course, it is my belief that none of the above would be happening had management properly handled a guy who was once, and still is by some, regarded as a highly touted prospect with enormous potential.

    Let’s take a step back to five years ago – almost to the day – when we acquired Pena for Drew Henson and Michael Coleman prior to the 2001 season. In retrospect, the deal was a massive win for the Reds as the large centerpiece going to the Yanks, Henson, is no longer in baseball. However, a series of horrible decisions regarding Pena still renders him a massive question mark five years later, and quite frankly, the Reds have nobody to blame but themselves.

    Jim Bowden acquired Pena knowing the contract situation Pena was involved in. Pena played the 2001 season in low A Dayton, and showing signs of having some good power, also showed signs that he was nowhere near Major League ready. In 2002, he spent the season in AA Chattanooga and again showed us that he really was not ready for the Major League level.

    At that point, why not just deal Pena away? Instead he sits on the bench in 2003 due to his contract.

    Pena got some MLB plate appearances in 2004 and showed that he could possibly perform at the big league level despite being seriously mishandled by two front office regimes. Luckily for the Reds, we have a first baseman in Sean Casey having his best season in 2004 since 1999, which creates a market for the Reds to solve the outfield situation by moving Casey after his outstanding 2004 season.

    It’s a win-win situation of selling high; we can move Casey after his monster 2004 for as much pitching as he will ever net us in a return, and we set 2005 up as a season to get Pena a full-time outfield job here. From there, we’ll have a better idea on the future performance of one highly touted Wily Mo Pena. At the very least, his trade value should be as high after 2005 as it’s been since we’ve had him.

    I’ve already posted that I’m essentially on the fence about this trade, and my opinion of the trade all comes down to the K ratio Bronson Arroyo gives us. If I can fault Wayne Krivsky for one thing, it is that I do think the timing would have been better to move Pena in July, 2006 or after the 2006 season. However, I really can’t fault Krivsky too much for the deal because the situation he was presented with was downright awful.

    More accurately the trade becomes a colossal failure for the Reds because of five years of front office mismanagement by two regimes in charge, not necessarily because of what Wayne Krivsky got us in return today. Bowden could have moved Pena after acquiring him, but he failed to do so. Dan O’Brien could have done the same thing, but he also failed to do so. More recently, Dan O’Brien could have dealt Sean Casey after 2004 to give Pena an chance to play every day in 2005, but he failed to do so.

    All of the above just results in the enigma we now know as Wily Mo Pena. Had Pena played every day since opening day in 2003, he'd be much less of a question mark. None of this happened, and it’s largely the fault of Jim Bowden and Dan O’Brien.

    Even today, the rodents known as Bowden and O’Brien are long gone, but the stench leftover still lingers throughout. Today's trade reeks of that stench, and I really do not think Wayne Krivsky had many better options than Bronson Arroyo.

    "Sometimes, it's not the sexiest moves that put you over the top," Krivsky said. "It's a series of transactions that help you get there."

  10. #24
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    Re: Reds front office mismanagement and the enigma of Wily Mo Pena

    I bet that within minutes of Pena's trade to Boston, Bowden was at least dreaming of a Soriano for Pena deal. I doubt it would happen since the Red Sox have Loretta and a certain appreciation for infield defense.

    IMHO, Boston may be the perfect spot for Wily Mo. David Ortiz should provide him with guidance, and the fans will love his power and unique name. I remember back in 1963 the Red Sox acquired Dick Stuart from the Pirates. The love affair was brief, but the fans loved his hard swing and unique personality. He couldn't field worth a flip (hence the nickname Dr. Strangeglove) and once he got a standing ovation when he picked up a hotdog wrapper that was blowing near firstbase.

    Of late, the Red Sox Nation has really taken to Latin players. First, Louis Tiant, then Pedro, and now Big Papi. I'm guessing Wily Mo might become a legend there that would not have happened in any other local.
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  11. #25
    THAT'S A FACT JACK!! GAC's Avatar
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    Re: Reds front office mismanagement and the enigma of Wily Mo Pena

    Maybe in Theo's thinking - Pena may evolve into that longshot replacement for manic depressant Manny?
    "panic" only comes from having real expectations

  12. #26
    Rally Onion! Chip R's Avatar
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    Re: Reds front office mismanagement and the enigma of Wily Mo Pena

    Quote Originally Posted by GAC
    Maybe in Theo's thinking - Pena may evolve into that longshot replacement for manic depressant Manny?
    That is what I have been thinking. However the only 3 things Wily Mo and Manny have in common are that they are both Dominican, have power and are awful fielders.
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  13. #27
    Rally Onion! Chip R's Avatar
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    Re: Reds front office mismanagement and the enigma of Wily Mo Pena

    Quote Originally Posted by Spitball
    Of late, the Red Sox Nation has really taken to Latin players. First, Louis Tiant, then Pedro, and now Big Papi. I'm guessing Wily Mo might become a legend there that would not have happened in any other local.
    Do not forget El Guapo. In order to become a legend, though, he has to produce.
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  14. #28
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    Re: Reds front office mismanagement and the enigma of Wily Mo Pena

    Quote Originally Posted by Spitball
    IMHO, Boston may be the perfect spot for Wily Mo. David Ortiz should provide him with guidance, and the fans will love his power and unique name. I remember back in 1963 the Red Sox acquired Dick Stuart from the Pirates. The love affair was brief, but the fans loved his hard swing and unique personality. He couldn't field worth a flip (hence the nickname Dr. Strangeglove) and once he got a standing ovation when he picked up a hotdog wrapper that was blowing near firstbase.

    Of late, the Red Sox Nation has really taken to Latin players. First, Louis Tiant, then Pedro, and now Big Papi. I'm guessing Wily Mo might become a legend there that would not have happened in any other local.
    I second the sentiment that Boston is the perfect spot for Wily Mo, and of all 30 MLB teams, Boston ranks as the number one spot for him to succeed.

    Epstein knows exactly what Pena has to take that magical turn into becoming a monster. He knows it's plate discipline and an improved strike zone judgement. Boston's organizational philosophy revolves around walks, on-base percentage, getting good pitches to hit, laying off bad pitches ... essentially all the things Wily Mo needs to learn to be that beast. Epstein will have the Red Sox coaching staff doing everything they can teach Pena the skills he needs to learn to be a beast.

    Add in the massive park advantage provided by the Monster and the likely friendship he will generate with Ortiz and Ramirez, and it's an outstanding environment for Pena to thrive. Ortiz and Ramirez have about 500 walks between them the last three seasons; they are the prime examples of great hitting and the philosophy the entire Boston organization stresses to all its hitters.

    It's really too bad Dan O'Brien went out and got into an eight car pileup when taking Wily Mo Pena out for a test drive.
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    This one's for you Edd Heath's Avatar
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    Re: Reds front office mismanagement and the enigma of Wily Mo Pena

    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclone792
    It's really too bad Dan O'Brien went out and got into an eight car pileup when taking Wily Mo Pena out for a test drive.
    On top of that - DanO wasn't in a car - he was on a tricycle.

    Willy Mo's gonna have to be coddled and learn to enjoy being a DH.
    Some people play baseball. Baseball plays Jay Bruce.

  16. #30
    The Lineups stink. KronoRed's Avatar
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    Re: Reds front office mismanagement and the enigma of Wily Mo Pena

    Quote Originally Posted by Chip R
    That is what I have been thinking. However the only 3 things Wily Mo and Manny have in common are that they are both Dominican, have power and are awful fielders.
    What about the hair?
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