Interesting discussion of Krivsky and the Reds over at the U.S.S. Mariner. Dave Cameron, now famous as the on-line sabermetric tutor of King Felix, is one of the most thoughtful baseball analysts around in my opinion. The Reds don't fare well in his rankings, but he seems to think highly of WK's minor league plan.
Sorry for the long post, but this is good stuff:
A couple of good questions about the Reds:As we talked about in the Seeds of Success post the other day, there are a lot of organizations that are moving forward with efficient, highly successful philosophies and are putting their teams in a great position to win a lot of the games in the future. Which teams are doing this better than others?
Here is my take. This is based on management personnel and organizational cohesion, not on field talent or recent success. Essentially, this is my opinion of which organizations have laid the strongest foundation between their ownership, baseball operations department, and coaching staffs to insert a winning DNA into their baseball teams. I included a grade with the numerical ranking because, in a lot of cases, there’s no real difference between a few spots on the list.
Rank Organization Grade
1 Cleveland A+
2 Boston A
3 Tampa Bay A
4 Milwaukee B+
5 Oakland B+
6 NY Yankees B
7 Detroit B
8 San Diego B
9 Arizona B-
10 Atlanta B-
11 NY Mets B-
12 Anaheim C+
13 Colorado C+
14 Minnesota C+
15 Florida C
16 Chi. Sox C
17 Washington C
18 Toronto C-
19 Chi. Cubs C-
20 Los Angeles C-
21 Texas C-
22 Pittsburgh D
23 Seattle D
24 Philadelphia D
25 Kansas City D
26 St. Louis D
27 San Francisco F
28 Cincinnati F
29 Houston F
30 Baltimore F
No surprise here - I’ve been calling the Indians the best run organization in baseball for about four years, and that hasn’t changed. Boston is perfecting the big market, high salaried bully approach in contrast to Tampa’s load-up-on-cheap-talent philosophy, but both are the correct direction for their organizations to go in, considering their relative financial positions. The Brewers are quietly putting the pieces together to dominate the NL Central for the next decade, Billy Beane keeps doing his thing in Oakland while waiting for a new stadium, and the Yankees have transformed themselves into an organization with foresight, planning, and rationalization to go with their $200 million payroll. Scary.
On the other side of the coin, there’s a couple organizations that are going head first off the cliff at full speed. The Baltimore Orioles have a meddlesome owner, a front office that lacks necessary power, outdated analytical techniques, and, oh yea, they play in the A.L. East. Barring a one season fluke where everything just breaks right, I’m not sure Baltimore makes the playoffs in the next 10-15 years. If you’re raising a child near the nation’s capital, make them a Nationals fan.
Houston’s not a whole lot better, honestly. Meddlesome owner? Check. Retread failure of a GM? Check. Completely ignoring the farm system? Double Check. The Astros spent a mind-boggling $600,000 in signing bonuses in the first 11 rounds of this summer’s draft - combined. Houston spent about as much on the draft as the Mariners did on Matt Mangini. With some aging, overrated players tied up to long term contracts and no help on the way from the farm system, Houston’s poised to be terrible for a long, long time.
The Mariners come in 23rd, buoyed by their strength in amateur scouting and ownership’s commitment to giving the front office a payroll advantage over most of baseball. The front office? Well, we’ve covered their flaws in detail. Under Bill Bavasi, the Mariners have done a good job of resurrecting what was a horrible farm system, but their major league transactions have been brutal, and there isn’t a winning organizational philosophy in place.
So, if you’re a fan of the Indians, Devil Rays, Red Sox, or Brewers, you should be pretty happy with your club. If you’re allegiances lie with Baltimore, Houston, San Francisco, or Cincinnati, well, you might want to find something else to do with your summers for the next ten years or so.
Andy Stallings Says:
Great post, Dave — a fine example of why this is my favorite time of year to be reading the site.
I’m curious about the Reds — it’s seemed to me like they’ve made some interesting low-risk pickups in the past twelve months (Phillips and Hamilton stand out, but guys like Keppinger and Burton are interesting as well, while Arroyo and Harang predate the time-frame but are of a similar bent), and there are certainly a few top talents near big-league ready (though admittedly little else coming soon). I’m no Wayne Krivsky fan, but I’m surprised to see them rank at the bottom, nonetheless.
What puts them there, in your opinion?And Cameron's response:terry Says:
I’m wondering if Cincinnati doesn’t at least deserve a D-. In the last two years the new regime has done a lot of positive things:
1. they’ve traded a fourth outfielder for 400+ above average innings in their rotation, 2. they’ve economically extended the top of their rotation (which is very good as #1 and #2’s go in the NL),
3. they’ve leveraged platoons at first base to be above average in ‘06 and average in ‘07 at a cost of less than $2.5M per,
4. they’ve mitigated a past sin by forcing Jr to right field (while trying to trade him several times if rumors can be trusted),
5. they worked out an extension with Dunn in ‘06 that lets them jettison him as early as this year but allows them to keep him by simply paying him market value next season (even considering his defense-this year, if you believe UZR, his bat carried his glove at market value (UZR will at least be lower than -18),
6. they traded a non-prospect arm (that is still in A ball) for 200 slightly above average innings in their rotation from Lohse before flipping him for a kid that has a good chance of eating innings from the back end of their rotation for the next few years,
7. they’ve witnessed their farm system take a nice step forward such that they have the best outfield prospects in the game in Bruce (even better than AJ) coupled with two of the best pitching prospects in the game (Bailey, Cueto)and an intriguing option at first base (Votto),
8. acquired Hamilton for $50K (enough said),
9. acquired Brandon Phillips for some stale ballpark franks (enough said),
10. they’ve been retooling their future pen with a youth movement that has good krates and GB tendencies.
11. they traded Felipe Lopez
12. they’ve made a very smart marketing decision when teaming the Brennamans (father and son) together in the both…
13. They are negotiating to take back advertising rights from their radio broadcasts,
12. Next season roughly 5 of their starting positions players, 3/5 of their rotation and practically their whole bullpen won’t even be arb eligible and these guys are legit major leaguers not replacement level talents.
I’d argue for a mark higher than D- but the rumor is that they are about to make Dusty Baker…..
Krivsky is basically bringing the Twins model to Cincy. On one hand, that has some positives, as they place an extreme value on finding good young talent and emphasize the scouting department. On the other hand, there’s a complete breakdown in the understanding of how to value major league players. Cincy is actually a lot like the Mariners, just with a smaller payroll.