Thank you for your loyalty and support of the Cincinnati Reds. You are extremely vital to the success of the Reds, and it is important we share with you the thinking behind our recent personnel decisions.
Since taking ownership of this franchise, we have aggressively tried to improve our Major League roster for the purpose of restoring championship baseball to Cincinnati. We have sought and signed proven players. We have extended the contracts of select current players. We added Dusty Baker, a proven winning manager. And, we have capitalized on our burgeoning younger players like Joey Votto, Jay Bruce and Johnny Cueto.
We had high expectations for the 2008 season. Unfortunately the team has not played up to our expectations and we have sustained injuries to key players within our starting lineup and rotation.
We opted to trade Ken Griffey Jr. and Adam Dunn at this time because we believe it provided the best outcome for the long-term success of the organization. By executing these inevitable changes now, we secured more players as part of our focus towards building a deeper, stronger inventory of young talent.
We are pleased that the trades allow Griffey and Dunn the opportunity to play for teams in tight division races. Both Ken and Adam made significant contributions to the Reds and we are extremely proud and grateful they wore the Reds uniform.
While the run production generated by these two veterans will not be quickly replaced, we chose to endure the short-term ramifications for the sake of building a strong, competitive team for 2009 and many seasons to come.
The vast majority of our 50 draft picks were signed, culminating last week with first-rounder Yonder Alonso and a pair of talented pitchers. Our expanded scouting operations also signed Juan Duran from the Dominican Republic and Yorman Rodriguez from Venezuela, who are arguably the best amateur free agent position players from their respective countries.
As we near September, we will continue to provide valuable playing time to our young players and new acquisitions who we feel can become significant contributors at the Major League level. We ask your continued trust and patience as we build the roster that will get us back on top. We appreciate your support and look forward to seeing you at the ballpark.