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Thread: Krivsky's attempts at solidifying the SS position.

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    Member Eric_Davis's Avatar
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    Krivsky's attempts at solidifying the SS position.

    The SS position has been a major focus of Wayne Krivsky since he took over as G.M., and by all right's it should be. It's very important.

    We had Concepcion followed by Larkin and always had a solid defensive SS.

    Krivsky took over and saw that Lopez was horrible. He didn't do anything right away as he needed to look at his players in the entire organization through Spring Training so he could have a sound book on every one of his players.

    He picked up Phillips, a SS. Though he was the Expos Minor League Player-of-the-Year in 2001 as a SS, and Double-A All-Star SS and Baseball America Minor League 2nd-Team All-Star SS in 2002, he committed a high percentage of errors everywhere he went as a SS.

    But, Phillips improved his Fielding Percentage every year by about 7 points from his .915 at the age of 18 to his .958 at the age of 24 (2005 with Buffalo). So, defensively as a SS, he'd be fine if given the chance. At 2nd Base though, Phillips has been better with a .977 last year and .988 this year. His Zone Rating and Range Factors are improved this year, too, ranking 3rd, 4th, and 2nd in the league respectively in those areas. So, he's one of the best 2nd baseman in the league, which may be harder to find than a top SS.

    So, at the time of "The Trade", and he wanted to fix the SS position, he decided he had to get rid of Lopez and that he'd go after Gonzalez in the Winter. So, why ask for Harris in the deal? Harris had a reputation similar to Gonzalez and Krivsky doesn't like that type of player. I'm guessing that he took him only so that he could trade him to someone else right away for whatever he could get because he didn't value him in his system. The "cash in return" for Harris would indicate this.

    The season ends and he does his two transactions, signing what he believed to be was one of the best defensive SS's in the game in Gonzalez followed by Harris being jettisoned away for some cash ( ) . I know Harris isn't a SS, but he is a 2B, and as someone said, a Phillips/Harris SS/2B combo with the money for Gonzo spent elsewhere would be pretty good. Before trading away Harris, the notion of making Phillips a SS and using Harris at 2B had to be thrown out. At the time (December) their plan was for Freel to be the starting CF, so whatever they used as advice for Harris' ability to play 2B at the Major League level was faulty and wrong. The same may be said for their advice they used to judge the level of Gonzalez' ability at SS.

    If you look at the REDS' depth chart at SS in the organization one year ago, you can see why Krivsky felt he needed someone to play solid defense for the next three years, and he went after what he and others considered to be the best available defensive SS of last year's Free Agents. 11 months later, the organization's SS depth chart still justifies the signing. It doesn't justify not moving Phillips over to SS and having someone else play 2B, though. But, clearly, they want Phillips at 2B.

    The poor depth at SS is why we still have Juan Castro. There are a number of moves by the REDS that shows us that Krivsky's no more satisfied with Castro than any of us.

    1. The signing of 32-year old Mark Bellhorn with an OPS of .837 has 13 games at SS this year in AAA. Bellhorn could easily stink if called up, but not as bad as Castro has been. The problem with moving Castro is the money he's been given. They'll have to pay Castro if no one claims him and you know no one will.

    2. 26-year old Anderson Machado is only batting .206 in AAA, though he does have a .350 OBP , but a dismal .344 SLG. You can't bring him up.

    3. 24-year old Paul Janish is a disappointment batting .239/.347/.343 at AA. He's played 52 games at SS this year.

    4. Krivsky picked up 25-year old Enrique Cruz this year, who's played 11 games at SS this year, but with this being his 9th year in the Minor Leagues he's still only batting .271/.340/.393 at AA. He's also played 49 games at 3rd. His June numbers are phenomenal though ... .441/.593/1.034. Maybe the coaches have found something that's helped him. His power is increasing and his K/AB is decreasing as the season goes on.

    5. Earl Snyder played one game at SS in AAA. He's no longer in the organization. Jeff Bannon has played 2 games at SS in AAA, but all his other games are in RF.

    6. Jeff Keppinger was brought up from AAA Louisville to help out while Edwin was down in Louisville in May. Keppinger played perfect defense while at Cincy and singled twice and walked once in his 9 plate appearances without striking out once. I'm sure Krivsky wanted to see how the 27-year old would look like in the Majors. Having formed an opinion, they sent him to AAA where they played him at SS 3 times, 3B 13 times, 2B 15 times and LF 10 times (there's another hint that Dunn will be gone). They seem to be grooming him for Freel's spot. Offensively, he's been a juggernaut, hitting .360/.414/.400 in April, .375/.425/.500 in May, and .362/.449/.466 in June while striking out only 11 times in 183 at-bats. But, there's a glaring weakness in him where he seems to choke when it counts. With RISP, he's only hitting .185/.385/.222 with 7 of his 11 strikeouts in only 37 plate appearances. With no one on base he's hitting .403.

    7. The problem of backup SS doesn't seem to be solved with Keppinger, so Krivsky picked up another SS in 23-year old Pedro Lopez. He instantly became the top SS on the depth chart who would be closest to being ready to step into the SS role in the Majors. As a 22-year old w/ Birmingham in the Southern League he hit .322/.358/.453 before splitting the rest of the year at AAA Charlotte hitting .274/.320/.404. He regressed further this year at Charlotte hitting .242/.307/.323. The REDS have had him now for 19 games and in his last 7 games he's hitting .360...all singles, but it's a good sign. Maybe he's stroking it harder to get it through the infield or the REDS' coaches have him doing something different. He's always been a good contact hitter being one of the toughest to strike out.
    He's played 54 games at SS this year and 5 at 2B, a trend that's reversing where he spent more time at 2B than SS as he went through the Minors. Since the REDS claimed him off waivers from the White Sox, he must remain on their 40-man roster. He's been up and down defensively at SS. In 2005 at AA he had a fielding percentage of .970, then at Charlotte in AAA in 2005 it was .943 at SS. His last two Spring Trainings in 2006/7 he hit a combined .297/.333/.486 with 1 strikeout in 39 PA's.

    8. The Switch-hitting 26-year-old Luis Bolivar is playing the same musical chairs as Keppinger with 3 games at SS, 8 at LF, 12 at 3B, and 13 at 2B. Problem is he's not hitting... .247/.314/.364. But, most of AA-Chattanooga seems to be struggling or just getting by. No one's forcing management to think too hard about promoting them.

    9. High-A Sarasota is absent of shortstops who deserve a promotion but help is on the way in Low-A through 21-year-old Chris Valaika who's hitting .318/.356/.500.

    Looking through this SS depth, I can see why Krivsky wanted to give the contract to Gonzalez that he did.

    If I got something wrong feel free to correct it, and comment all you want, please.
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    Redsmetz redsmetz's Avatar
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    Re: Krivsky's attempts at solidifying the SS position.

    Harris had a reputation similar to Gonzalez and Krivsky doesn't like that type of player. I'm guessing that he took him only so that he could trade him to someone else right away for whatever he could get because he didn't value him in his system. The "cash in return" for Harris would indicate this.
    Did you mean to say Gonzalez? I'm thinking not.

    That said, I agree that Gonzo's signing was clearly to cover the position until we develop another shortstop or trade for one.

    Nice analysis.

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    Member cincrazy's Avatar
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    Re: Krivsky's attempts at solidifying the SS position.

    It just seems to me that Gonzo loses focus in the field. The guy will make an absolutely spectacular play, and then turn around and boot a routine groundball. This regime has taken Edwin to task for this perceived lack of focus, but with Gonzo it's "Oh, he can go 80 games without making one error, so we're not worried about him." I feel that there's a double standard in this clubhouse, and that can't be a good thing when it comes to the clubhouse culture.

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    Member Eric_Davis's Avatar
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    Re: Krivsky's attempts at solidifying the SS position.

    Quote Originally Posted by redsmetz View Post
    Did you mean to say Gonzalez? I'm thinking not.

    That said, I agree that Gonzo's signing was clearly to cover the position until we develop another shortstop or trade for one.

    Nice analysis.
    Thanks. Yes, I meant Lopez, not Gonzo...I'll change it.
    Rob Neyer: "Any writer who says he'd be a better manager than the worst manager is either 1) lying (i.e. 'using poetic license') or 2) patently delusional. Which isn't to say managers don't do stupid things that you or I wouldn't."

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    Member Eric_Davis's Avatar
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    Re: Krivsky's attempts at solidifying the SS position.

    ... I tried to edit it, but I hit quote instead because the edit button isn't available to me on the 1st post of this thread. Odd.
    Last edited by Eric_Davis; 06-19-2007 at 04:27 PM.
    Rob Neyer: "Any writer who says he'd be a better manager than the worst manager is either 1) lying (i.e. 'using poetic license') or 2) patently delusional. Which isn't to say managers don't do stupid things that you or I wouldn't."

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    Re: Krivsky's attempts at solidifying the SS position.

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric_Davis View Post
    ... I tried to edit it, but I hit quote instead because the edit button isn't available to me on the 1st post of this thread. Odd.
    The edit feature is only available, IIRC up to 6 hours after the original post. After 6 hours, you cannot edit the post. Just FYI.
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    Re: Krivsky's attempts at solidifying the SS position.

    Quote Originally Posted by cincrazy View Post
    It just seems to me that Gonzo loses focus in the field. The guy will make an absolutely spectacular play, and then turn around and boot a routine groundball. This regime has taken Edwin to task for this perceived lack of focus, but with Gonzo it's "Oh, he can go 80 games without making one error, so we're not worried about him." I feel that there's a double standard in this clubhouse, and that can't be a good thing when it comes to the clubhouse culture.
    I would suggest that a tweaked hammy, serrious health issues with his child and being surrounded by a "culture of crappyness" might be worth considering as possible reasons for increased errors by Gonzo before just laying out the tired old "the ragime is mean to Edwin" song.
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    Churlish Johnny Footstool's Avatar
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    Re: Krivsky's attempts at solidifying the SS position.

    Nothing in Harris' minor league record suggested he'd blow up like he has this season. It's a fluke. Not on the level of Pokey Reese in 1999, but a fluke nonetheless. I don't really fault Krivsky for getting rid of him; I just don't see why he bothered to acquire him in the first place.
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    Re: Krivsky's attempts at solidifying the SS position.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ltlabner View Post
    I would suggest that a tweaked hammy, serrious health issues with his child and being surrounded by a "culture of crappyness" might be worth considering as possible reasons for increased errors by Gonzo before just laying out the tired old "the ragime is mean to Edwin" song.

    Agree strongly. Early in his career Gonzalez had some high error years. Since 2003, his error totals have been 16, 16, 16, and 7. 2003 and 2004, with Florida, were full years. The last two were less than full seasons, but a substantial number of games (111 last year).

    You can criticize his range, whatever, but this guy is a proven, veteran low-error shortstop. Gonzo has been the shortstop on championship teams and contending teams. He is still pretty young -- I just don't buy that suddenly he is no good.

    Why has he had defensive problems this year? I don't know except that it may be hard for some players to keep their edge when playing for an awful team -- particularly one that won't change managers, won't make major personnel changes, and does indeed now have a "culture of losing."

    I am glad the Reds signed Gonzo and, if this team ever does take the steps needed to win, I think he can be a part of it.

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    Re: Krivsky's attempts at solidifying the SS position.

    Quote Originally Posted by Johnny Footstool View Post
    Nothing in Harris' minor league record suggested he'd blow up like he has this season. It's a fluke. Not on the level of Pokey Reese in 1999, but a fluke nonetheless. I don't really fault Krivsky for getting rid of him; I just don't see why he bothered to acquire him in the first place.
    He had a .832 lifetime minor league OPS. It's not like he was dog meat.
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    Re: Krivsky's attempts at solidifying the SS position.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ltlabner View Post
    .....before just laying out the tired old "the ragime is mean to Edwin" song.
    It's not tired if it's true. Do I have proof that it's true? No.

    Do you have proof that it isn't true. I suspect not. So, until someone proves it's not true it's an acceptable opinion as far as I'm concerned.

    Much more likely is that Gonzo is simply having a bad year and/or his skills are starting to erode. Right now he can't average 8 games without an error much less 80 straight.

    Rem

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    Churlish Johnny Footstool's Avatar
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    Re: Krivsky's attempts at solidifying the SS position.

    Quote Originally Posted by pedro View Post
    He had a .832 lifetime minor league OPS. It's not like he was dog meat.
    No, but an .832 OPS in the minors does not usually translate to a 1.000 OPS in the majors. It usually translates to something in the .700s, which is decent but not great.

    And like I said, I'm not baffled by Krivsky giving him away as much as I'm baffled by Krivsky acquiring him in the first place.
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    Member cincrazy's Avatar
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    Re: Krivsky's attempts at solidifying the SS position.

    I haven't been singing the "the regime bashes Edwin" tune at all this season, but the fact is, there seems to be a double standard. When Josh Hamilton failed to run out a ball that he lost sight of, we heard nothing from Narron or anyone else about it. When Edwin failed to do the same, he was removed from the game.

    I feel bad for Gonzo, and I hope all is well with him and his family, but the fact is, he's continued to be given the benefit of the doubt, while guys like Edwin and Coffey are shipped to Louisville. I've supported this "regime" as much as anyone around here, but I call it like I see it, and what I see is a double standard at times in this clubhouse. Gonzo and Hamilton are acquisitions of the current administration, and Edwin and Coffey are not. Coincidence? Maybe. But I'm not so sure anymore.

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    Rally Onion! Chip R's Avatar
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    Re: Krivsky's attempts at solidifying the SS position.

    Quote Originally Posted by cincrazy View Post
    I feel bad for Gonzo, and I hope all is well with him and his family, but the fact is, he's continued to be given the benefit of the doubt, while guys like Edwin and Coffey are shipped to Louisville. I've supported this "regime" as much as anyone around here, but I call it like I see it, and what I see is a double standard at times in this clubhouse. Gonzo and Hamilton are acquisitions of the current administration, and Edwin and Coffey are not. Coincidence? Maybe. But I'm not so sure anymore.

    I understand what you're saying and I agree with some of it. We know there is a double standard with Narron and the players. EE doesn't run out a pop fly to 2nd, he gets benched. Josh doesn't run out a grounder he just gets a stern talking to from another player. But the difference is that if you bench a guy like Gonzo for making errors, you have to put Castro in there. He's also a veteran so you can't ship him to LOU. Coffey and EE were not performing up to par and that's why they were sent to LOU. Hamilton also can't be sent to LOU without risking losing him.
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    Re: Krivsky's attempts at solidifying the SS position.

    I agree with you Chip. They are different situations, and can't be handled the same way. However, in regards to how it's handled through the media, I think there's a difference. Then again, none of us can ever be sure exactly of what's going on in a player's personal life, so maybe Narron's handling of player's differently is justified. The only one's that truly know are the guy's in the clubhouse, and Narron and Krivsky themselves.


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