BY JOHN FAY | ENQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Quick, name the former Reds general manager who had the biggest effect on the current club as far as trades.
It's not Jim Bowden. Ken Griffey Jr. is the only player on the roster that he traded for.
It's not Dan O'Brien. He didn't trade for one player on the current roster.
It's Brad Kullman. Kullman was in charge of the Reds only briefly - in the interim between Bowden's firing and O'Brien's hiring, and between the time O'Brien was fired and Wayne Krivsky hired. Kullman was fired himself shortly after Krivsky took over.
But Kullman went along way toward shaping the current club by making a series of trades around the deadline in 2003.
He acquired two-fifths of the current rotation in Aaron Harang and Matt Belisle, as well as two lefties, Phil Dumatrait and Tyler Pelland, who could eventually make it to the big leagues.
"I'm especially proud of getting Matt," he said. "I've always pulled for him to be a starter. In 2005, his velocity was up, so they wanted him as an arm for the bullpen. But I always thought he was best suited for starting."
The Reds got Belisle for Kent Mercker. Of all the trades made in 2003, it came the closest to not happening.
"The Braves didn't want to give up Belisle," Kullman said. "We weren't able to get it done at the trade deadline."
But Mercker passed through waivers, and the Braves relented and offered Belisle in early August.
"(Then CEO) John Allen didn't want to do it," Kullman said. "We were getting hammered for all the the trades. I told John that Mercker was going to be a free agent. We could sign him back. He finally let us make the trade."
Kullman admits he wasn't certain Harang would turn into what he is now - a top-of-the-rotation guy. The Reds got Harang, Joe Valentine and Jeff Bruksch from Oakland for Jose Guillen.
"We knew we were getting a big workhorse type," Kullman said. "We wanted him to work on his conditioning. He's done that."
Dumatrait and Pelland came from Boston for Scott Williamson. Williamson was still a year from free agency, but the Reds were concerned enough about his arm to make the deal anyway.
Not all the deals Kullman made during what was known as the Fire Sale of '03 worked out.
The Reds were hoping to get a No. 1 starter when they sent Aaron Boone to the New York Yankees for Brandon Claussen. Claussen had one decent year before hurting his shoulder. The club ultimately released him.
Kullman still lives in Cincinnati. He is working as a consultant for Jon Niednagel of Brain Type Institute, doing motor skills studies. Niednagel is well-known in sports. He consulted for the Reds under Bowden.
Kullman watches the Reds with interest - particularly the guys he got.
"I'm very happy for them," he said.