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Thread: Here's Why I Think The Reds Will Have A Tough Time This Winter...

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    THAT'S A FACT JACK!! GAC's Avatar
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    Here's Why I Think The Reds Will Have A Tough Time This Winter...

    And I am referring to the pitching market. If some are expecting them to try and make a big splash into the FA market, and in specific reference to pitching, then I hope this FO exercises extreme caution. I would almost rather see them take a pass, wait on a Bailey, then jump into this current market and overpay/over reach, which alot of teams are gonna do who are pitching starved.

    Let other people make the mistakes for once. We're still paying for ours (Milton).

    Here is an example.....

    Big payday on horizon for Suppan

    http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/column...rry&id=2651172

    When Jeff Weaver dazzled Detroit to win the final game of the 2006 World Series, some saw it as a potential watershed moment for a former first-round pick whose career has been defined by mediocrity.

    Weaver's agent, Scott Boras, saw Derek Lowe revisited.

    In 2004, Lowe was strafed for a 5.24 ERA with Boston in the regular season. Then he recovered to pitch shutdown ball in October, and Boras parlayed it into a four-year, $36 million deal with the Dodgers.

    Weaver, similarly, was on a downward slide when St. Louis acquired him in a trade with the Angels in July. We're talking about a pitcher who flopped with the Yankees, lost his spot in the Angels' rotation to his younger brother and has played for five teams since 2002.

    Now, suddenly, that dude is history. He's been replaced by Big Game Jeff.

    In the aftermath of Weaver's fine pitching down the stretch and 3-2 record and 2.43 ERA in the postseason, Boras won't hesitate to use the Mr. Clutch angle in his sales pitch to teams.

    "When Jeff Weaver or Derek Lowe come out and do what they do during the postseason, you're talking center stage," Boras said. "Every owner knows, 'I have a guy who can not only do it for me during the regular season, but is a force for me in the postseason.' "

    With a flood of second- and third-tier starters on the market this winter (from Gil Meche and Ted Lilly to Vicente Padilla, Adam Eaton and Randy Wolf), teams will look at every factor to distinguish the good bets from the bad investments.

    How much does a strong showing on a big stage enhance a player's marketability? For a look at the phenomenon from both ends of the spectrum, the Cardinals' rotation provides an intriguing case study.

    Exhibit A is Jeff Suppan, winner of 44 games the past three seasons and the National League Championship Series MVP this year. Suppan filed for free agency last week, and at least seven teams have expressed an interest. His agent, Scott Leventhal, said the early response has been "overwhelming."

    Exhibit B is Weaver, suddenly reborn as an autumn marvel.

    And then there's Jason Marquis, who won 14 games this year with a scary 6.02 ERA. The Cardinals were so disenchanted with Marquis, they left him off their NLCS and World Series rosters entirely and chose rookie Anthony Reyes to pitch Game 1 against Detroit.

    We asked a half-dozen front-office people and scouts the following question: If you could give a multiyear deal to one of the three St. Louis pitchers, which would you choose?

    The consensus: 1) Suppan; 2) Weaver; 3) Marquis. The ability to emulate John Smoltz in October isn't the only reason. But it sure helps.

    So what can these three free birds expect in free agency? Here's a look at their strengths, weaknesses and employment prospects:

    Jeff Suppan

    Suppan, 31, is a competitive guy with a good clubhouse presence and the attribute that talent evaluators like to call "pitchability." He hasn't spent a day on the disabled list since 1996, and he's reliable enough that the downside risk is limited.

    "Given his profile as a strike thrower, teams probably feel pretty comfortable with what they're going to get," said an NL executive. "He's a guy who's taken the ball quite a bit and has a very good track record of keeping his team in the game."

    But what's the upside? In 12 major league seasons, Suppan's ERA is 4.60, compared to an overall league ERA of 4.67. In three years with St. Louis, he's averaged 192 innings, 109 strikeouts and 66 walks.

    Translation: He's a ground ball guy who pitches to contact, so he better have a solid infield defense behind him. And he might want to exhaust his other options before pursuing a job in, say, the American League East.

    "People will be sorry if they go crazy for him," said a National League front-office man. "He's a back-of-the-rotation guy who can step up at times and have a great game, but his stuff is marginal and he has to be very clean to be successful.

    "One thing he can do is control his emotions very well. He's proven he can pitch in a big game. That has some value. But day in, day out over the course of a 162-game season, you're going to have your ups and down with him."

    Here's one number that Suppan's agents, Leventhal and Damon Lapa, will be sure to sell: His 2.39 ERA after the All-Star break was the third lowest by a National League starter after Roger Clemens and Anibal Sanchez.

    An American League executive expects Suppan to get three years and $21 million, "minimum." But if Matt Morris could fetch $27 million over three years last winter without Suppan's postseason portfolio, that estimate appears conservative. Don't forget that in 2004, Suppan beat Clemens in Game 7 to pitch the Cardinals into the World Series.

    Leventhal plans to meet with St. Louis general manager Walt Jocketty this week in Arizona so that the Cardinals can make a final pitch to Suppan before their exclusive negotiating window expires.

    "St. Louis has expressed a pretty strong desire to have Soup on that staff for years to come," Leventhal said.

    But if the Cardinals won't pay, don't expect Suppan to stay. He has too many choices for that.

    Jeff Weaver

    When Weaver was throwing from a three-quarter motion earlier this year, his ball flattened out and he lacked the movement or velocity to get lefty hitters out consistently.

    St. Louis pitching coach Dave Duncan raised Weaver's arm angle, adding sink to his ball and giving him more leverage. And when it mattered most, Weaver found a different gear. In the World Series clincher, he threw seven straight fastballs to Curtis Granderson that were clocked from 90-94 mph.

    "We first saw him and he was topping out at 88-89 and everybody was like, 'Is he hurt?' " said a National League coach. "All of a sudden, boy, he got stronger. He got the innings under him and started letting it go a little bit."

    Weaver has a well-deserved reputation for durability, and he's more of a competitor than people think. He surpassed 199 innings five times in a six-year span from 2000-05. But he can be gopher-ball prone, and when things go wrong he's a monument to bad body language. He leads the league in slumped shoulders.

    In light of Weaver's 8-14 record and 5.76 ERA this season, it might not be a bad idea for him to sign a one-year deal with St. Louis, continue to build confidence under Duncan, then go back on the market with something more impressive on his résumé.

    But that isn't Boras' style. And it might be tough for him to sell patience to Weaver after last winter, when Boras clients Kevin Millwood, Jarrod Washburn and Kenny Rogers all signed multiyear deals and Weaver had to settle for a one-year, $8.3 million contract with the Angels.

    Jason Marquis

    Marquis' ground ball-to-fly ball ratio has dropped from 2.17 to 1.16 over the past three seasons. His strikeout-to-walk ratio has dipped from 1.97 to 1.28. And not surprisingly, as his sinker loses bite, he's having trouble keeping the ball in the park. This year he led the National League with 35 homers allowed.

    "His ball flattens out, and he's a little headstrong," said a scout. "He thinks he throws harder than he really does. He tries to pitch like he's a hard thrower even though he's not."

    One NL talent evaluator ranks Marquis among that group of undersized righties who have to put more effort into their deliveries because they throw on such a flat plane, causing their stuff to "back up" over time. That syndrome hasn't affected Greg Maddux, but it might be the case with Tim Hudson.

    Marquis, an exceptionally bright guy, has also earned a reputation as slow to embrace instruction -- either because he's stubborn or is convinced he knows better than his coaches. He hasn't meshed with either Leo Mazzone or Duncan, strong-willed pitching coaches who aren't always popular, but have had plenty of success in the game.

    "I don't know how many teams are going to say, 'He's only been with Mazzone and Duncan. We can turn him around,' " said a National League executive. "I think more teams will look at him and think, 'He is what he is.' "

    Those reservations notwithstanding, Marquis has thrown 602 innings since 2004 and won 42 games, two fewer than Dontrelle Willis and Curt Schilling and more than Jason Schmidt, Barry Zito, Mike Mussina, Hudson, Jake Peavy, Andy Pettitte and Kevin Millwood.

    Marquis is clearly better off staying in the National League, and not only because opposing lineups are weaker. He's a .223 career hitter and former Silver Slugger winner, a good baserunner and a fine athlete who enjoys playing the all-around game.

    To his credit, he's not wasting any time sulking after a dissatisfying October. Keith Miller of ACES, the agency that represents Marquis, said Marquis traveled to Florida after the World Series to work with a prominent major league pitching coach. He declined to mention the coach by name.

    "Jason doesn't want to wait until December or January to start working," Miller said. "He wants to go at it now while his arm is still fresh. He knows his ball wasn't sinking like it has in the past. That's the one thing he wants to get back."


    Mulder drawing interest

    Mark Mulder's run of five straight 15-win seasons ended this year because of shoulder trouble that necessitated surgery in September. Can he come close to regaining the form that made him a 20-game winner with Oakland in 2001? Lots of teams are interested in finding out.

    Agent Gregg Clifton told reporters last week that eight clubs have already expressed interest in signing Mulder as a free agent. The Mets, Orioles, Dodgers, Giants, Diamondbacks, Padres and Devil Rays are among the teams at the forefront of early speculation, and St. Louis would like to keep him around if the price is right.

    Mulder isn't expected to begin throwing off a mound until March at the earliest, and he won't be ready for opening day. He'll probably have to sign a one-year guaranteed deal with a low base salary and lots of incentives, then prove he's healthy and productive before he gets a bigger contract.

    Given the slew of pitchers who have signed long-term contracts recently only to fall victim to injury or declining performance (Russ Ortiz, Pedro Martinez, Carl Pavano, Jaret Wright and Matt Clement, to name a few), the short-term commitment required to sign Mulder will be a selling point rather than a deterrent. He won't have any trouble finding a place to land.
    "panic" only comes from having real expectations

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    Re: Here's Why I Think The Reds Will Have A Tough Time This Winter...

    I agree with you completely, and I think Wayne is too smart to fall into the trap. I think you will see the Reds sign a bullpen arm or two, and an infielder, and look to add to the rotation via trade.

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    Matt's Dad RANDY IN INDY's Avatar
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    Re: Here's Why I Think The Reds Will Have A Tough Time This Winter...

    Add an outfield bat with power to that and I agree.
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    Re: Here's Why I Think The Reds Will Have A Tough Time This Winter...

    I couldn't agree more. The biggest thing the Reds need is to become one of those teams that makes pitchers a little bit better--over the past few years it seems every time a pitcher comes to the Reds they get a little worse (with all too few exceptions). Is it the overall pitching culture, the clubhouse or coaching vision that makes pitchers better? I don't know, but the Reds have to be like the Cards in how their acquisitions improve. Forget the fool's gold in FA or the quick fix.
    "Don't trust any statistics you did not fake yourself."--Winston Churchill

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    Ripsnort wheels's Avatar
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    Re: Here's Why I Think The Reds Will Have A Tough Time This Winter...

    They don't need a world beater, or an over hyped World Series hero.

    They need one of the second tier guys that were mentioned earlier in the article.

    I'd be fine with Padilla or Lilly, or even Eaton.
    "We know we're better than this, but we can't prove it." - Tony Gwynn

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    Re: Here's Why I Think The Reds Will Have A Tough Time This Winter...

    Quote Originally Posted by wheels View Post
    They don't need a world beater, or an over hyped World Series hero.

    They need one of the second tier guys that were mentioned earlier in the article.

    I'd be fine with Padilla or Lilly, or even Eaton.
    Lilly is expected to get close to $40.... no thanks


    On another note, what is Harang worth in this market? I honestly think we are looking at a guy who would sign for more than anyone in this market. We need to sign him to a four year deal NOW.
    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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    Pre-tty, pre-tty good!! MWM's Avatar
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    Re: Here's Why I Think The Reds Will Have A Tough Time This Winter...

    I'm tired of the old "we can't afford good players" excuse. Other teams with similar resources as the Reds find a way to make it happen without playing the small market card. And part of it is Krivsky's own doing by going overboard with middle relievers the second half of last season and traded away a few pieces that might have been used in the trade market for something of better value.
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    Re: Here's Why I Think The Reds Will Have A Tough Time This Winter...

    Here is another reason to hate THE TRADE. What would a Kearns and Lopez net us this offseason with names like this getting big dollars? WayneK used all of his ammo last season.

    http://insider.espn.go.com/espn/blog...uster#20061112
    Older free agents covetedposted: Sunday, November 12, 2006 | Feedback | Print Entry

    Luis Gonzalez is 39 years old and near the end of his career, and he was just cut loose by the Arizona Diamondbacks. But now that the free agent signing period has begun this Sunday morning, just hours ago, he will have many choices to make this offseason. The Dodgers have called to ask about his availability, and so have the Cardinals, and many other teams.


    Gonzalez and guys like him -- proven veterans who are in a position to get just a one-year deal or two-year deal -- are going to be coveted this offseason, because of the way the free agent market is developing.


    If you're looking for a corner outfielder, you can try playing at the big-money table, but be prepared to bring tens of millions of dollars if you want to bid on the likes of Alfonso Soriano, Carlos Lee or J.D. Drew.


    You could bid on the second tier of players, outfielders who still are in the midst of their careers. But in a winter when prices are expected to climb, guys like Juan Pierre, Gary Matthews Jr., Trot Nixon, Frank Catalanotto, Cliff Floyd, Jay Payton and Dave Roberts will be looking for three-year deals or more -- and maybe they fit your club better.


    But if you sign Gonzalez, or a 40-year-old Moises Alou, or if you go after a player coming off a serious injury like Mark Mulder (he had shoulder surgery during the season, but it's expected that he'll be ready to go at the start of the 2007 season), you probably won't have to make a long-term, big-dollar commitment to get something done. You get a player who is a known quantity, and if he gets hurt, well, it doesn't kill you. If he gives you respectable production, that's good; if he has a big year, the way Frank Thomas was revitalized this year, then it's a bonus. In the short term, you plug a hole, buy time for your prospects; in the long term, you maintain your payroll flexibility.


    Some veterans who will probably be very popular this winter because they will probably command relatively modest commitments, of one or two years:



    Pitchers: Doug Brocail, Octavio Dotel, Rick Helling, Matt Herges, Roberto Hernandez, Jose Mesa, Mulder, Darren Oliver, Arthur Rhodes, Aaron Sele, Russ Springer, Mike Stanton, David Wells, Rick White, Kerry Wood.


    Catchers: Henry Blanco, Todd Greene, Mike Piazza, Gregg Zaun.


    Infielders: Jeff Cirillo, Damion Easley, Mark Loretta, Eduardo Perez, Todd Walker, David Weathers.


    Outfielders: Alou, Gonzalez, Kenny Lofton.


    Assuming that the Red Sox win the bidding on Daisuke Matsuzaka, they have the option of trading him -- but procedurally, it would have to be a sign-and-trade, with a contract being set before Boston shipped him to, say, the Mets. They cannot merely swap the rights to negotiate with him, according to the U.S.-Japanese player contract agreement: "If the highest bid is acceptable to the Japanese club, the US Commissioner shall award the sole, exclusive, and non-assignable right to negotiate with and sign the posted Japanese player to the US ML club that submitted the bid." This can be circumvented the way it is in the NBA, where the teams negotiate the trade and terms of the contract with the player involved.



    Paragraph No. 13 of this agreement, by the way, is the mechanism through which Commissioner Bud Selig gets his power to monitor this process, from the side of the Major Leagues, and ensure that no team acts in less than good faith: "The U.S. Commissioner shall have the authority to oversee the bidding procedures & to ensure they have not been undermined in any manner. Among other actions that he may deem appropriate and in the best interests in baseball, the U.S. Commissioner shall have the authority to revoke a U.S. Major League Club's negotiation rights with respect to a Japanese player ... to award such rights to the next highest bidder ... and to declare null and void any contract between a Japanese Player and a U.S. Major League club that the U.S. Commissioner deems was the result of conduct that was inconsistent with this Agreement or otherwise not in the best interests of professional baseball."



    I don't know for certain, but based on what I've heard from folks involved in this process, I'd guess that the Mets finished second in the bidding, with some number around $30 million.


    The call volume between agents and teams will be high today, writes Michael Silverman. The sport is loaded with cash, writes Jim Salisbury. It's going to be a crazy winter, writes Ken Davidoff. The Twins are not one of the many teams ready to spend money, writes Joe Christensen.
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    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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    Ripsnort wheels's Avatar
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    Re: Here's Why I Think The Reds Will Have A Tough Time This Winter...

    Yipes.

    I really hope Wayne can make up for his gaffe.

    I'm not giddy about the prospect of having to grit my teeth through yet another bad tenure from another bad GM.

    C'mon Wayne, crack open a book, and learn how to steer this ship.
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    THAT'S A FACT JACK!! GAC's Avatar
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    Re: Here's Why I Think The Reds Will Have A Tough Time This Winter...

    Quote Originally Posted by MWM View Post
    I'm tired of the old "we can't afford good players" excuse. Other teams with similar resources as the Reds find a way to make it happen without playing the small market card.
    It's not about affording good players, or playing the small market card. Who has said that? It's about jumping into a tight market and overpaying for average/mediocre players such as the above as examples. The Reds cannot afford to make mistakes and bad decisions when they are still living under some (Milton, Jr).

    But as far as investing in a solid player with a "resume" of performance, then that is who I'd like to see them go after. Someone with a proven track record who can be an improvement to this team for the next few years. Not some aging or marginal player who has happened to "put it together" for a short stint while their history of performance is not one of consistency.

    And part of it is Krivsky's own doing by going overboard with middle relievers the second half of last season and traded away a few pieces that might have been used in the trade market for something of better value.
    We seem to have a tendency here in Cincy of really over-valuing our players. I didn't care much for "The Trade" either; but Kearns and/or Lopez wouldn't net much as far as decent pitching would go.

    I find it laughable that while we, as fans, are able to look at Lopez and Kearn's stats, see the inconsistency in their performance, while talking up their "potential", GM's of other teams aren't somehow smart enough to also take note of that? Especially when it comes to giving up pitching of any worth or decency. I'd pass on those two in a heartbeat and move on to "greener pastures" in this market, knowing that teams will pay a higher price then either of those two.
    "panic" only comes from having real expectations

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    Pre-tty, pre-tty good!! MWM's Avatar
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    Re: Here's Why I Think The Reds Will Have A Tough Time This Winter...

    I guess my opinion is laughabe to you, GAC?
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    THAT'S A FACT JACK!! GAC's Avatar
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    Re: Here's Why I Think The Reds Will Have A Tough Time This Winter...

    Quote Originally Posted by MWM View Post
    I guess my opinion is laughabe to you, GAC?
    Respectfully it is Mike if you think Lopez and/or Kearns could have really landed and improved this pitching staff. No GM in their right mind would divest themselves of pitching for the likes of those two in this market. Not when they look at all the salivating teams starving for any kind of pitching right now. They could do better.

    And who are those teams with "similar resources" as the Reds who are succeeding? I'm assuming you're referring to finances/payroll similarity? It's not teams like Oakland, Twins, or Florida who have had recent success. Their pockets are tighter then the Reds, and in a good sense. They haven't been stupid.

    As has been noted before - it's not simply about spending money, but spending it wisely. And teams like the Reds, who have not historically as of late done so, need to start doing so.

    There is little room for error. We're languishing, and waiting to get out from under, two contracts now that comprise 20 Mil/yr. That might be "pocket change" to the Yanks, Sox, Mets, and others, but not teams like the Reds.

    And then we can also get in the discussion about scouting and player development... keeping the pond stocked so to speak. Teams like the above mentioned sure seem to have been able to do it without breaking the bank and making stupid decisions.

    Overpaying for the "Jeff Weavers" of the league
    Last edited by GAC; 11-12-2006 at 12:29 PM.
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    Re: Here's Why I Think The Reds Will Have A Tough Time This Winter...

    GAC, keep defending everything the Reds ever do if it makes you feel better and keep laughing at those who are willing to be critical of poor moves. But I have an opinion and it's a legit one. It's been debated ad nauseum on this forum since the trade happened, and I'm not going to rehash it here. But if you need to call the opposing viewpoint laughable (especially after the results), then go right ahead. And you've been around here long enough to know that I've alwasy been considered a pessimist. I've been accused on multiple of occassions of "undervaluing" Reds players. So it is possible to have the opinion that more could have been had for those two without being someone who overvalues Reds players. Because I don't.
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    Mon chou Choo vaticanplum's Avatar
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    Re: Here's Why I Think The Reds Will Have A Tough Time This Winter...

    It's a good article -- particularly for the stuff on Marquis, whom I had flippantly discounted after this season -- and a good point. But while I agree with the sentiment that the Reds need to learn to spend money wisely, I don't think that's a particularly earth-shattering or unique sentiment. Sometimes we (and I include myself in this) throw this around the board as if it's something that hasn't occurred to the Reds, or any other team for that matter. In reality it's just not that simple.

    With the exception of teams like the Yankees and the Red Sox, who have virtually limitless pockets (and are well-run for the most part), and the Cubs, who just seem to spend their money poorly every chance they get, getting good value for the dollar is pretty much what every team in baseball is trying to do. Very few players who can truly bring a lot to a team for not much money are on the market. Not many of them manage to slip through the cracks, past their original team (when it has the potential to lock them up) and by the Oakland A's. So by very virtue of the fact that nearly every team wants a good player for good value, the player's value increases. I hear a lot of talk of "overpaying" around here. What the Reds did for Milton, that was clearly overpaying. He was a bad fit for this team and not worth it. Barry Zito, Ted Lilly, Jason Schmidt -- these guys will not be "overpaid", so to speak, no matter what kind of deal they get, because pitchers of their quality are just that much in demand. They are not "average/mediocre". They are very likely to produce for almost any team, so teams will pay a lot to get a product that is as close to guaranteed as can be. That's the market.

    I would love for the Reds to be able to pull diamonds from the rough every time they negotiate for a player. But this is assuming that 29 other teams are not willing to pay more for this player for whatever reason, and the kinds of players the Reds are going to get for that are exactly the kinds of players that melt this board down every time we do get for them. GAC, this isn't a direct response to your post; I don't see you advocating looking for the cheapest possible players, just ones who have more long-term value, which I agree with of course. But I'm building on what I suspect is part of MWM's point. By virtue of where the Reds are located, I'm guessing that they have a rather fiscally conservative fanbase, and sometimes I get the impression that much of the fanbase believes that the Reds can somehow sneakily undercut other teams in search of quality. While I don't advocate throwing money around foolishly, I do think it's important to understand the general market and the dearth and therefore high cost of good free agents. In other words:

    As has been noted before - it's not simply about spending money, but spending it wisely.
    Absolutely. Every team knows that. The caveat that the Reds need to add is: Spending a lot of money does not equal spending it wisely (see: Milton, Eric). But other times, spending money wisely does involve spending a lot of it.
    Last edited by vaticanplum; 11-12-2006 at 01:02 PM.
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    Box of Frogs edabbs44's Avatar
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    Re: Here's Why I Think The Reds Will Have A Tough Time This Winter...

    Quote Originally Posted by GAC View Post
    Respectfully it is Mike if you think Lopez and/or Kearns could have really landed and improved this pitching staff. No GM in their right mind would divest themselves of pitching for the likes of those two in this market. Not when they look at all the salivating teams starving for any kind of pitching right now. They could do better.
    I understand your point, but look at what Sheffield got and, unbelievably, Jaret Wright(!!!) will be getting a usable RP from Baltimore.

    I fully understand that Kearns isn't Sheff, but : (i) AK is much younger with carry-on baggage compared to what Sheff has and (ii) AK is bargain basement $$$ in comparison. Not saying that AK should have gotten the same thing, but I think Sheff got way too much.

    Do you really think that the Reds got as much as they could have (then or now) in that deal?


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