You come to a club with little pitching and spoardic offense. Your two main run producers have to go because of age and/or contracts. You're saddled with two starters, a closer, and a shortstop that should never have been given the contracts they have. And you have no catcher. You have to replace 170 RBI's in your outfield and all the time you have to hope your pitching staff holds up. You can't get rid of those you want, but you try anyway. You deal Freel for a legitimate catcher. You look at the options at short and decide to hope against hope that Gonzalez works out. Your third baseman continues to underachieve. You make a huge mistake on Taveras. Bruce doesn't produce like he's supposed to and you make a mistake hoping that Hairston's 2008 wasn't a fluke. It was. Your young starter gets hurt and the two expensive starters just don't live up to their billing. Then the injuries begin. Disaster personified.
Walt made his mistakes with Taveras and Hairston, but the majority of this mess was here before he came. He wasn't the father of the Gonzo, Hairston, Arroyo, Codero, and Harang contracts. He's made minor mistakes compared to those and is paying for them.
Those big contracts make the players unmovable. He was able to move the Freels and Hairstons, but he'll have to eat the rest. Not a job I'd want.
And what you say about ownership is correct. It's on the job training. Not good.
"You only have to bat a thousand in two things; flying and heart transplants. Everything else you can go 4-for-5."
"This isnít stats vs scouts - this is stats and scouts working together, building an organization that blends the best of both worlds. This is the blueprint for how a baseball organization should be run. And, whether the baseball men of the 20th century like it or not, this is where baseball is going."---Dave Cameron, U.S.S. Mariner
I think if Walt/BCast have the option of nabbing LaRussa/Duncan, they will do it in a heartbeat. Even if that means firing Dusty early. I think that's your best chance of seeing Dusty jettisoned.
Not to derail this thread but that kid can't spend the money he's looking for until he actually signs a contract. Unless he's indepentently wealthy or he's got a sugar mama he's going to be needing some money of his own real soon. even if he doesn't sign with the Nats this year, someone like the Bucs or Royals or Padres are going to draft him. None of those teams are swimming in money. Even if Boros gets him to be a free agent, even a deep pockets team is going to be wary about throwing $20-50M on an unproven kid. Strasburg would do well to study up on Matt Harrington.
It's true, there have been a lot of downers this year. I still think, though, that the Reds have some bright spots worth noting:
1) A gaggle of good, young players. Despite his struggles earlier in the year, Votto continues to look like a reliable MOTO bat. Phillips continues to give the team great D and good offensive production at 2B. Bruce also plays great D has shown decent patience and make-up despite his combination of bad luck/ freak injury /offensive futility. IMO, these three should continue to be solid regulars for several years. And, with Frazier, Stubbs, Alonso and Heisey on the horizon, I think the team can count on getting a few more of those in the near future. We might even add Hanigan to the list soon, too (even though he's not really so "young" in chronological years).
2) A rapidly improving defense. IIRC, this was the feel-good story of the season until everything had to go all Chinua Achebe on us (anyone ever read Things Fall Apart? For some reason that title keep springing to mind when I think about this season). The recent addition of Rolen, the arrival of Stubbs and/or Heisey, and the acquisition (hopefully) of a competent SS in the off-season should further strengthen this part of the Reds in short order. I can honestly say that I think WJ "gets it" more than any other recent GM when it comes to the importance of catching the ball as well as hitting and pitching it.
3) The likliehood of continued competent pitching. I know the Volquez injury has us all down. I'm not saying we shouldn't be. Heck, I really had dreams that this could be an elite pitching staff this year. But let's not forget that this rotation still runs way deeper than any of the staffs in recent memory. Heck, despite their recent struggles, the healthy trio of Cueto, Arroyo and Harang by themselves upstages most other Reds rotations since the 1980s (possible exceptions include the second half of 1999 and perhaps the scant years where Rijo-Browning-Jackson were all healthy and pitching well). What's more, the 'pen looks solid enough, too--even after the departures of Roenicke and Stewart, the team has a stopper (Cordero), a stopper-in-waiting (Masset), and a bunch of useful parts (Weathers, Rhodes, Herrera, Burton). That's a vast improvement over years past as well. And given the Cards bullpens during his tenure, I think WJ knows how to build continuity in this area.
Okay, that's my best shot at optimism. 2009 may be very well be in the tank--but all, my friends, is far from lost.
"Iíll kind of have a foot on the back of my own butt. Thatís just how I do things.Ē -- Bryan Price, 10/22/2013
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