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Thread: Uncertainty offers chance to re-invent Reds for '07

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    Member OnBaseMachine's Avatar
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    Uncertainty offers chance to re-invent Reds for '07

    Uncertainty offers chance to re-invent Reds for '07

    Column by The Post's Lonnie Wheeler

    The suspicion here is that the Reds will never beat the Cardinals in the summer until they beat them in the winter.

    By at least some appearances, this could be the one. St. Louis, of course, will gladly take the tradeoff it confronts, which is winning the World Series and losing most of its starting pitchers. Chris Carpenter will return in all of his towering significance, but the various free agents (Jeff Suppan, Mark Mulder, Jeff Weaver and Jason Marquis) may not. And yet, that enviable organization has managed, on an annual basis, to revolve its rotation without losing balance or its edge over less resourceful rivals like Cincinnati. It uses the offseason to find solutions and sign them.

    What the Cardinals have always understood is that the pennant race starts now. What the Reds have in their favor, this time, is fresh and presumably motivated ownership.

    Bob Castellini bought the club exactly a year ago, but devoted his first three months to identifying Wayne Krivsky as his general manager. Krivsky, in turn, came along too late to snatch something tasty from the tray going around at the free-agent bash.

    It might matter that Castellini previously owned the Cardinals, in small part, and is probably encouraged or ticked off or both by the jewelry that dropped from the heavens and landed miraculously around their fingers. It should matter that the Reds will now be receiving additional television dollars from their expanded Fox contract. This is the time.

    Upon succeeding the indifferent Carl Lindner, the salad squire assured that he would approve bumps in payroll if they could be put to evident pennant purposes. Castellini was talking about the trading deadline or thereabouts; but the race is half- or mostly over by then. The Cardinals and Astros and Cubs, not to mention the contenders of the better divisions, will be making important moves by Christmas.

    Krivsky will, too, if he is fiscally equipped to do so. His lively dealing last year - most of it charmed, some of it not so much - kept the Reds in the picture until the end of the season. The next step is to get there when the stove is warming the store.

    To that end, the sleepless GM will be directing his extensive scouting experience to the free-agent list. First, he'll cross off the big tickets, starting with Japanese ace Daisuke Matsuzaka and continuing on through the more familiar names. There will be no Barry Bonds, Barry Zito or Barry Manilow. Sean Casey is already here under the pseudonym of Scott Hatteberg. Forget Alfonso Soriano, Greg Maddux, Eric Gagne, Kerry Wood, Jason Schmidt and probably Nomar Garciaparra, although he's a bit intriguing and his wife would certainly be well-received.

    The Reds could, however, put those unapproachables to good use by letting them soak up the payrolls of the better-heeled competition. They could then let loose their legal tender on good-value guys at any number of positions.

    Excepting third base, where Edwin Encarnacion is sure to be, is there a single position spoken for in Cincinnati's scheme of things? Beyond Bronson Arroyo and Aaron Harang, starting pitcher spots are up for grabs. Heaven knows the Reds still need relievers. Brandon Phillips could end up at either second base or shortstop, depending on who else is around. Hatteberg needn't be full time at first base. Will Ken Griffey Jr. stay in center field? Will Adam Dunn be traded? Where, if anywhere, will Ryan Freel finally land?

    For a general manager with Krivsky's metabolism, the very uncertainty ought to be liberating. He could simultaneously address center field and the top of the order with the likes of Juan Pierre, Dave Roberts, Darin Erstad or Gary Matthews Jr. He could, in the most spectacular scenario, replace Dunn with Carlos Lee. He could power-up first base with Shea Hillenbrand or even Garciaparra. He could splurge for Julio Lugo at short, or flip Phillips there and sign Adam Kennedy or Mark DeRosa or Rich Aurilia for second base. He could move Jason LaRue and come up with another catcher.

    He could take a crack at somebody like Toronto's Justin Speier (55 strikeouts in 51 innings) as a promoted closer. He could tap the American League for a serviceable starter on the order of Ted Lilly (15 wins), Gil Meche (28 years old), Vicente Padilla (200 innings) or Adam Eaton (cheapened by injuries). He could sting St. Louis by signing Suppan.

    With a few bucks for holiday shopping, he could, in the Cardinal spirit, ring in the season right.

    Contact Lonnie Wheeler at lwheeler@cincypost.com.

    http://news.cincypost.com/apps/pbcs....611040398/1027
    I miss Adam Dunn.

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    You're soaking in it! MartyFan's Avatar
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    Re: Uncertainty offers chance to re-invent Reds for '07

    to continue the depth of content in this article....

    Or he could go to Macy's at Thanksgiving and find that turtleneck sweaters really are his thing. But check off thos nasty double breated suits, wing tip shoes and there willbe no argyle socks in the wardrobe either.
    "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."

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    Greatness In The Making RedLegSuperStar's Avatar
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    Re: Uncertainty offers chance to re-invent Reds for '07

    Lonnie brought up a good point when he said:

    To that end, the sleepless GM will be directing his extensive scouting experience to the free-agent list. First, he'll cross off the big tickets, starting with Japanese ace Daisuke Matsuzaka and continuing on through the more familiar names. There will be no Barry Bonds, Barry Zito or Barry Manilow. Sean Casey is already here under the pseudonym of Scott Hatteberg. Forget Alfonso Soriano, Greg Maddux, Eric Gagne, Kerry Wood, Jason Schmidt and probably Nomar Garciaparra, although he's a bit intriguing and his wife would certainly be well-received.

    The Reds could, however, put those unapproachables to good use by letting them soak up the payrolls of the better-heeled competition. They could then let loose their legal tender on good-value guys at any number of positions.
    It's going to be an interesting winter none the less!

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    Re: Uncertainty offers chance to re-invent Reds for '07

    Quote Originally Posted by RedLegSuperStar View Post
    It's going to be an interesting winter none the less!
    Yes it will be interesting to see what Mr. Krivsky and Mr. Castellini can achieve over the winter, the potential upgrades are out there. It will be interesting to see what the Reds primary competition in the division will do to improve their clubs also.

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    Re: Uncertainty offers chance to re-invent Reds for '07

    The free agents this year are uninspiring to me. I just don't see how we can compete for the big guys and the crumbs just aren't appealing.
    Tim McCarver: Baseball Quotes
    I remember one time going out to the mound to talk with Bob Gibson. He told me to get back behind the batter, that the only thing I knew about pitching was that it was hard to hit.

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    Member paulrichjr's Avatar
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    Re: Uncertainty offers chance to re-invent Reds for '07

    I found this article that sums up my opinion:



    http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/columns/story?id=2648096
    As free agency celebrates its 30th birthday, it's not aging very gracefully.

    Call it the onset of a midlife crisis. The concept, for most, is a lot less fetching, not nearly as dependable and, generally speaking, not what it used to be.

    A look at this winter's class of available free agents illustrates the point, like a vanity mirror revealing every blemish and flaw. Among everyday position players, only two -- Alfonso Soriano and Carlos Lee -- can be viewed as true All-Stars in their prime, with a third, Aramis Ramirez, a step below.

    The rest run the gamut from injury-plagued veterans (Nomar Garciaparra, Darin Erstad) to able warhorses (Mike Piazza, Moises Alou) to useful parts (Frank Catalanotto, Scott Spiezio).

    But it's in the pitching department where the talent drop-off is most evident.



    Jamie Squire/Getty Images
    Alfonso Soriano's average season: .280, 105 runs, 35 homers, 94 RBI and 35 steals.Beyond Barry Zito and Jason Schmidt, there isn't another starter who could be classified as better than a middle-of-the-rotation arm. And even Zito and Schmidt have dipped.

    After winning the American League Cy Young Award in 2002 with a 23-5 record and a 2.75 ERA, Zito is just 55-46 with a 3.85 ERA in the last four seasons. As for Schmidt, he won 35 games in the 2003 and '04 seasons combined, but just 23 the last two years.

    Remember, these two are, by far, the class of the free-agent pitchers.

    Just an off year, perhaps? A cyclical aberration? Not likely. The era of superstar players flooding the market, providing quick fixes for those with deep pockets, is likely over for good. Gone are the classes like 2000, which featured both Alex Rodriguez and Manny Ramirez, inarguably two of the game's best hitters in the post-expansion era.

    "It's tough to make forecasts in this game," said one executive, "but I don't think next year is going to be any better."

    More and more, clubs are locking up their own players -- again, pitchers in particular -- before they reach free agency. That practice, once the exclusive privilege of big-market teams, is now available to virtually every franchise.

    "With revenue sharing and the money that's in the game and the overall financial health of the game, there are fewer and fewer quality players getting to free agency," said one American League general manager. "It's especially true of pitching. If you're a small-market team and you have a third baseman [approaching free agency], you might have a third base prospect ready to take over, so you let [the veteran] go. But with pitching, there's always a need and teams are much less likely to let it get away."

    Revenue sharing, which began in earnest with the collective bargaining agreement reached in 2002, has reached fruition. Additionally, new revenue streams, led by online media, now flow freely and deeply to all 30 franchises, and more than half of baseball's teams now play in ballparks less than a dozen years old, producing still more avenues of income.

    "Revenue sharing has worked the way it's supposed to," said commissioner Bud Selig. "There's no question the sport is wonderfully healthy."

    Small-market Milwaukee secured Ben Sheets to an extension. Arizona has done the same with Brandon Webb. Toronto, felled more than any other club by the 1994 strike, has regained its financial health and locked up Roy Halladay. Minnesota, threatened with contraction only four years ago, has put Johan Santana under contractual lock and key.

    So, there: four pitchers, all in their 20s, all taken off the market by their own small- and medium-market teams, at least temporarily.

    "You have to assume a little more risk to retain [younger pitchers]," acknowledged a National League general manager, "but sometimes, it's worth it."

    "If you can buy out free-agent years," agreed another general manager, "you do it, because of the limited supply."

    It's little surprise, of course, that pitchers have been the biggest beneficiaries of such largesse. Pitching remains both the game's rarest commodity and its most essential ingredient. Stockpile it and you're guaranteed to be competitive; fail to have enough and you're guaranteed to struggle.

    Pitching isn't inexpensive, but thanks to baseball's spread-the-wealth approach, it's never been more within reach for so many teams.

    Take the deal that Boston made with Arizona for Curt Schilling after the 2003 season. Once the teams agreed upon the handful of (mostly) young players to be sent to the Diamondbacks, the Sox had the financial wherewithal to give Schilling a three-year $38.5 million contract extension to waive his no-trade clause.

    It was a classic case of the rich getting richer.

    "Back then," mused a baseball source, "only a handful of teams could have afforded that kind of deal. Now, only a handful couldn't."

    Unlike other investments, quality pitching never depreciates, so teams do their best to hoard it when they get it.

    "Unless you grow [pitching] yourself," said one major league executive, "or hit a home run in trading for a minor league pitcher, getting pitchers who are really accomplished, either through a trade or free agency, is very, very difficult. When you have it, you better not let it go."



    Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images
    Jason Schmidt's K/9 (7.59) hasn't been this low since 2000, when he was with the Pirates. Conversely, there's a real danger in overbidding for pitchers in an auction setting. The free-agent class of 2004, which featured Carl Pavano, Russ Ortiz, Matt Clement, Eric Milton and other relative busts, serves as a cautionary tale for general managers eager to sign those pitchers who reach free agency.

    Still, the notion that player movement will become nonexistent in the years to come can't be fully supported. If small-market teams hope to convince players to stay and eschew free agency, they'll eventually need to achieve a level of respectability.

    "Look at Kansas City," said one longtime executive, noting that the Royals have had one winning season in their last 13 while finishing last in the AL Central four times in the last six years. "If they continue to struggle, I don't think franchise players will want to stay. Let's face it, young players want to make as much money as they can in their first five or six years. Once they make the money, it's all about winning. And if they've never won, they'll want to go somewhere where they think they can."

    What happens next will be fascinating, and if teams aren't smart, terribly inflationary. One prominent agent this week predicted that both Soriano and Lee will land deals with higher AAVs (average annual value) than the deal signed by Carlos Beltran ($17 million per season) two winters ago.

    Boras, meanwhile, has reportedly told some that Zito can expect a five-year, $75 million package -- minimally.

    "We could be looking at some regrettable deals in a couple of years," said one fearful GM.

    "Clubs are going to have to do what they have to do," said Selig. "I just hope when teams are doing things, they do them sensibly."

    The general unavailability of quick-fix answers makes it imperative that teams plan better and budget more carefully.

    Most executives surveyed predict an upswing in trade activity this winter. There, too, a more level economic playing field will make deals more tenable.

    "There are so many teams on equal footing," projected one GM, "you'll see more old-fashioned deals, rather than the ones with a defined buyer and seller. But free agency will always have its appeal, under the right circumstances."

    What's clear, however, is that free agency is evolving and isn't the fallback it was not long ago.

    "It changes the whole way you look at payroll flexibility," asserted another club executive. "A few years ago, if you walked away from, say, a guy like Cliff Floyd, you could spread that money around. Now, payroll flexibility is much less valuable because there's no one to spend it on. You have to plan for the ability to afford talent, but also for the access to that talent. I keep hearing that Houston and San Francisco are going to have a lot of money to spend this offseason. Well, who are they going to spend it on?"

    So many dollars to spend, and now, so few choices.
    Tim McCarver: Baseball Quotes
    I remember one time going out to the mound to talk with Bob Gibson. He told me to get back behind the batter, that the only thing I knew about pitching was that it was hard to hit.

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    Pitching is the thing WVRedsFan's Avatar
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    Re: Uncertainty offers chance to re-invent Reds for '07

    This is the first article I've read this season that actually offers what is available to the Reds. And the starters mentioned are at least a little bit interesting.

    For a team that has been pitching poor for as long as I can remember, having Harang and Arroyo back is the good news, but after that, it becomes a big question mark. I really like the statistics of Lilly Meche and Padilla. Lilly won 15 games and lost 13, but he allowed less hits than innings pitched (181-179) and struck out 160. His ERA was respectible at 4.31 and he only made $4 million. Meche had 186 innings and allowed 183 hits with an ERA of 4.48. Padilla pitched 200 innings but allowed 206 hits with an ERA of 4.50. All would seem to be decent starters with approchable salaries. I'd go for Lily or Meche, pay them $5 million and hope for the best. You'd have Harang, Arroyo, Lilly, and Meche. Add a healthy Claussen or a Homer Bailey and you've got a decent set of starters and little cash invested. Give away Milton and hope the revamped bullpen from last season cashes in. You still need a closer, but still this is better.

    The Reds still need a shortstop, a more dependable first baseman and an outfielder (no one will ever convice me that Freel is the answer out there and the same goes for Deno--sorry, these guys are AAAA players masked only by hustle and fan adoration). Add an outfielder and a shortstop and you're much better. Spending $15-17 million should do it.

    All dreams I know, but that's what the hot stove league is all about.
    www.ris-news.com
    "You only have to bat a thousand in two things; flying and heart transplants. Everything else you can go 4-for-5."
    -Beano Cook

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    Re: Uncertainty offers chance to re-invent Reds for '07

    Quote Originally Posted by RedLegSuperStar View Post
    It's going to be an interesting winter none the less!
    for someone else. I just can't see the Reds doing to much.
    "My mission is to be the ray of hope, the guy who stands out there on that beautiful field and owns up to his mistakes and lets people know it's never completely hopeless, no matter how bad it seems at the time. I have a platform and a message, and now I go to bed at night, sober and happy, praying I can be a good messenger." -Josh Hamilton

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    Re: Uncertainty offers chance to re-invent Reds for '07

    Quote Originally Posted by Jpup View Post
    for someone else. I just can't see the Reds doing to much.
    I bet the Reds do as much movement as any other team. The team will sign there fare share of free agents and make some trades as well just like any other team. Now will we sign the biggest names? Probably not. Will we trade for a big name? Who knows. But if last season was any sign of things to come and with bringing some well known names to the broadcast booth I am willing to go Pete Rose on everyone and bet that the Reds make some splashes in the market and with some trades. The Reds will be active this offseason. The season ended sour and i'm sure Bobby doesn't like the fact his old Cards won it all.. rest asure the Reds wont be quite.

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    Ripsnort wheels's Avatar
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    Re: Uncertainty offers chance to re-invent Reds for '07

    Quote Originally Posted by WVRedsFan View Post
    This is the first article I've read this season that actually offers what is available to the Reds. And the starters mentioned are at least a little bit interesting.

    For a team that has been pitching poor for as long as I can remember, having Harang and Arroyo back is the good news, but after that, it becomes a big question mark. I really like the statistics of Lilly Meche and Padilla. Lilly won 15 games and lost 13, but he allowed less hits than innings pitched (181-179) and struck out 160. His ERA was respectible at 4.31 and he only made $4 million. Meche had 186 innings and allowed 183 hits with an ERA of 4.48. Padilla pitched 200 innings but allowed 206 hits with an ERA of 4.50. All would seem to be decent starters with approchable salaries. I'd go for Lily or Meche, pay them $5 million and hope for the best. You'd have Harang, Arroyo, Lilly, and Meche. Add a healthy Claussen or a Homer Bailey and you've got a decent set of starters and little cash invested. Give away Milton and hope the revamped bullpen from last season cashes in. You still need a closer, but still this is better.

    The Reds still need a shortstop, a more dependable first baseman and an outfielder (no one will ever convice me that Freel is the answer out there and the same goes for Deno--sorry, these guys are AAAA players masked only by hustle and fan adoration). Add an outfielder and a shortstop and you're much better. Spending $15-17 million should do it.

    All dreams I know, but that's what the hot stove league is all about.
    I agree, except for that Ryan Freel is AAAA part. That's where you lost me.
    "We know we're better than this, but we can't prove it." - Tony Gwynn

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    Member Cedric's Avatar
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    Re: Uncertainty offers chance to re-invent Reds for '07

    Quote Originally Posted by WVRedsFan View Post
    This is the first article I've read this season that actually offers what is available to the Reds. And the starters mentioned are at least a little bit interesting.

    For a team that has been pitching poor for as long as I can remember, having Harang and Arroyo back is the good news, but after that, it becomes a big question mark. I really like the statistics of Lilly Meche and Padilla. Lilly won 15 games and lost 13, but he allowed less hits than innings pitched (181-179) and struck out 160. His ERA was respectible at 4.31 and he only made $4 million. Meche had 186 innings and allowed 183 hits with an ERA of 4.48. Padilla pitched 200 innings but allowed 206 hits with an ERA of 4.50. All would seem to be decent starters with approchable salaries. I'd go for Lily or Meche, pay them $5 million and hope for the best. You'd have Harang, Arroyo, Lilly, and Meche. Add a healthy Claussen or a Homer Bailey and you've got a decent set of starters and little cash invested. Give away Milton and hope the revamped bullpen from last season cashes in. You still need a closer, but still this is better.

    The Reds still need a shortstop, a more dependable first baseman and an outfielder (no one will ever convice me that Freel is the answer out there and the same goes for Deno--sorry, these guys are AAAA players masked only by hustle and fan adoration). Add an outfielder and a shortstop and you're much better. Spending $15-17 million should do it.

    All dreams I know, but that's what the hot stove league is all about.
    Ryan Freel can be used as the opposite example of how being "scrappy" loses you respect. His numbers alone prove that he isn't just a major league player, he's one of the best leadoff hitters in the game. I'm sorry WVU, but sayin that Ryan Freel is a AAAA player is just odd.
    This is the time. The real Reds organization is back.

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    Re: Uncertainty offers chance to re-invent Reds for '07

    Quote Originally Posted by WVRedsFan View Post
    For a team that has been pitching poor for as long as I can remember, having Harang and Arroyo back is the good news, but after that, it becomes a big question mark. I really like the statistics of Lilly Meche and Padilla. Lilly won 15 games and lost 13, but he allowed less hits than innings pitched (181-179) and struck out 160. His ERA was respectible at 4.31 and he only made $4 million. Meche had 186 innings and allowed 183 hits with an ERA of 4.48. Padilla pitched 200 innings but allowed 206 hits with an ERA of 4.50. All would seem to be decent starters with approchable salaries. I'd go for Lily or Meche, pay them $5 million and hope for the best. You'd have Harang, Arroyo, Lilly, and Meche. All dreams I know, but that's what the hot stove league is all about.
    Guys like Lilly are expected to command salaries in the Milton range, not $5M.

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    Redsmetz redsmetz's Avatar
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    Re: Uncertainty offers chance to re-invent Reds for '07

    Here's the line that jumped out at me:

    What the Cardinals have always understood is that the pennant race starts now.
    As someone aptly noted, it will be an interesting offseason nonetheless!

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    He has the Evil Eye! flyer85's Avatar
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    Re: Uncertainty offers chance to re-invent Reds for '07

    "It's tough to make forecasts in this game," said one executive, "but I don't think next year is going to be any better."

    More and more, clubs are locking up their own players -- again, pitchers in particular -- before they reach free agency. That practice, once the exclusive privilege of big-market teams, is now available to virtually every franchise.
    which translates to the fact that the top commodities in the free agent market will be WAY overpriced.

    There will be no quick fixes or reinventing your team with free agents, just ain't gonna happen and that is the hard truth the Reds face this off-season. Free agency is for tweaking, not building.

    see atricle on free agency is dying
    http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/column...t&lid=tab4pos1
    What are you, people? On dope? - Mr Hand

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    The Big Dog mth123's Avatar
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    Re: Uncertainty offers chance to re-invent Reds for '07

    Quote Originally Posted by Ricardo Cabesa View Post
    Free agency is for tweaking, not building.
    You said in 7 words what I've been trying to say in 1000 posts.

    Very well put.


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