For so long, it's felt like the Reds were doing things on the cheap. Marge spent some money on the major-league payroll but everything else was, if you'll pardon the expression, thoroughly minor league. After Marge, the major-league club was done on the cheap too.
Meanwhile, Moneyball came out, the analysis business boomed and we lapped it up. We were a small market in truth and in vision, and we assumed the only way we could ever succeed was to fully adopt small-market beat-the-odds orthodoxy.
So then Castellini buys the team, Cincinnati boy but did his owner internship in St. Louis. After a couple of years, he brings in his old St. Louis buddy, Walt Jocketty. Were we about to become Cardinals East? Well, for awhile, nothing much continued to happen. Like a good little small-market team, we were waiting on a wave of homegrown talent to mature.
Then Jocketty shocked everyone by trading for a veteran like Rolen instead of trading away veterans like Harang and Arroyo.
Then the Reds shocked everyone by signing Chapman.
Then they shocked everyone by winning the NL Central.
Now they're shocking... well, not everyone, but many, by locking up nearly everyone in the core for the next three seasons, at least.
The Reds are not a rich team, and won't ever be. But it's clear the brain trust is not thinking small-market now. What they are doing, in fact and finally, is this:
They're running the organization as if they are the St. Louis Cardinals.
A somewhat less rich version of the Cardinals, mind you, but instead of waving turned-out pockets at us, they're rolling up the sleeves and finding ways to get stuff done.