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Thread: The Latest Crisis in Reds Leadership

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    The Latest Crisis in Reds Leadership

    This was written back in September but this author nails it.

    https://www.cincinnatimagazine.com/a...ds-leadership/

    While the Reds were in the process of losing their eighth consecutive series over the weekend, some off-the-field news was announced that should be far more worrisome to fans than the team’s collapse in the middle of its first real playoff chase in years. In case you missed it: Cincinnati’s minor league pitching coordinator and hitting coordinator resigned on the same day.

    Embed from Getty Images

    That’s not a big deal, you might think. You’d be wrong. What these guys said as they were walking out the door confirms everything we’ve been discussing in this space over the last year. From the outset, let me be as clear as I can be: The Cincinnati Reds have no future as long as the Castellini family is in charge of the team. Reds fans’ only hope is if Bob Castellini sells the club, and the longer he waits the more emotional pain loyal fans are going to have to endure.

    Overly dramatic? Maybe. You can decide for yourself. But more on that in a moment.

    Kyle Boddy was the team’s director of pitching, hired in late 2019 in what was seen in baseball circles as a coup. As the founder of Driveline Baseball, he helped usher in a wave of technological and physiological advances that have revolutionized the art of pitching. From training pitchers with weighted balls to using pitch-tracking devices and super-slow-motion cameras, Boddy brought a unique perspective and new techniques to the Reds when hired by former President of Baseball Operations Dick Williams.

    Soon thereafter, Williams hired CJ Gillman as minor league hitting coordinator as part of William’s attempt to completely reshape a Reds player development effort that hadn’t produced results. The results were nearly immediate and have been nothing short of remarkable.

    When Boddy and Gillman were hired, Cincinnati’s farm system was ranked 28th in MLB—third worst, if you want to look at it that way. In the latest rankings, the Reds were firmly in the top 10, at No. 8. Travis Sawchik (author of Big Data Baseball and The MVP Machine) noted that Cincinnati had some of the top season-over-season development gains in baseball. That’s due to the player development staff put in place by Williams as well as to Boddy, Gillman, and others.

    Yet listen to what Boddy said when he resigned:

    “The Cincinnati Reds and I have mutually agreed to no longer continue our professional relationship. I can’t thank Dick Williams and Eric Lee enough for their support and taking a chance at moving the Reds’ player development in a new direction—both were instrumental in effecting enormous change. (Reds pitching coach) Derek Johnson lent incredible support over the last two years with the Reds and for a decade prior to that—without DJ, much of the change you see in the world of pitching would have been unattainable.

    “The Reds are moving in a different direction in many areas of player development and I certainly wish them the best. It no longer felt like the best fit for either party. I’m exceptionally proud of the results we got in the minor leagues—our MiLB pitchers as a group went from sixth-worst to sixth-best in xERA (expected ERA) out of 30 organizations in just two years—with a number of notable prospects doing well and popping up on radars everywhere.”

    I want you to read one sentence again, and shudder: “The Reds are moving in a different direction in many areas of player development.” Despite the almost inconceivable gains in such a short period across the entirety of the minor league system, Reds ownership wants to change course mid-stream. It’s consistent with their decision last winter to jettison two good relief pitchers because they were too expensive, as well as Castellini’s refusal to spend money over the off-season to, you know, actually fill holes on the roster.

    Well, this is just one disgruntled employee, you say? Here’s what Gillman said when announcing he was parting ways with the Reds:

    “With the direction and leadership in-place when I was hired having moved on, it’s just simply the right direction for me to go personally and for the Reds to go professionally.

    “I believe deeply in what we accomplished in the time I spent with the Reds. Where we committed to change, the numbers stand up on their own, and I am very proud of that.

    “There are many organizations with hitting and (player development) beliefs similar to my own and their fruits are coming to bear at both the minor and major league levels.”

    These resignations come on the heels of Williams’ departure at the end of the 2020 season, and Eric Lee—Cincinnati’s senior director of player development, mentioned in Boddy’s statement above—in July of this year. All of a sudden, there has been a large-scale upheaval in the baseball operations and player development departments within the Reds’ front office.

    Think about where this team should be right now. The big-league Reds, as we’ve seen this season, are mostly a good team with some significant (and obvious) holes. If Castellini had committed to improving the team over the last off-season, is there any doubt that the Reds would be competing for a division title today? They shifted course instead, and the Reds are now trying to cling to a .500 record.

    Are we destined to see the same thing happen to the minor league system? Are the Reds cutting bait on a winning strategy, developed under Williams, right when it was beginning to bear fruit? It’s what they did with the major league club, after all.

    From his perspective, Boddy says it’s all about vision and not about wanting more money: “I took less money and fewer guaranteed years to be with the Reds over two other teams. It was an irreconcilable difference in vision, leading to mutual separation. I don’t need more money. I wanted to bring the best player development system for the fans of the Reds. The new regime disagrees with my approach, and I disagree with theirs. So, here we are.”

    Yes, here we are, unfortunately. So what should die-hard fans make of this mess?

    While you are living and dying with the Cincinnati Reds, ownership has proceeded to dismantle (in less than a year!) nearly every single thing that made me excited about the future of this team. Bob Castellini does not care about you, and the Reds will never love you back as long as the Castellinis are in charge. Disagree with me if you like, but all the evidence points in only one direction: The ownership group has more important priorities than putting a winning team on the field.

    Remember, Castellini lied to you and hopes you won’t remember. I haven’t forgotten the promises he made when his ownership group purchased the team. Remember when he said, “We’re buying the Reds to win. Anything else is unacceptable.” We now have 16 years of evidence to prove that losing is quite acceptable to him after all. Either he’s meddling in baseball operations, where he has no competence (ask him how many times he personally nixed trades involving Billy Hamilton), or he’s refusing to spend on the team he said “truly belongs to you,” the fan.

    And that’s the portion of Castellini’s statement upon purchasing the Reds that really galls me, because it’s so obviously untrue:

    We know this team truly belongs to you, and we understand what the Reds mean to our city and our region. We know what a winning team can do for a city’s pride. We also understand the unique legacy the Reds hold in baseball history and the potential to reignite an American love affair with the nation’s first professional baseball team.

    If you truly understand what the Reds mean to the fans, Mr. Castellini, you’ll sell the team immediately. Because you have tarnished the city’s “unique legacy.” You have done damage to the team’s relationship with the fans that cannot be undone until you sell the team to someone who actually cares about the product on the field.

    Or there’s another option: Prove that I’m wrong about the Reds not loving their fans back. Beg Dick Williams to return and give him free rein to reshape the organization according to his original vision—or hire someone from the Rays front office, for example, or even Theo Epstein. Ask that person to try to convince Boddy and Gillman to continue their outstanding work. Keep your nose out of the baseball operations department and let them do the job they’re hired to do.

    Do you really believe this team “truly belongs to the fans”, Mr. Castellini? Or was that just wordplay designed to fool all the suckers who pay to watch that billion-dollar asset in your portfolio? Call me, and let’s discuss it on my podcast.

    Chad Dotson authors Reds coverage at Cincinnati Magazine and hosts a long-running Reds podcast, Redleg Nation Radio. His first book, The Big 50: The Men and Moments That Made the Cincinnati Reds, is available in bookstores and online.
    If you think small, you'll go nowhere in life.

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    Where's my chair? REDREAD's Avatar
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    Re: The Latest Crisis in Reds Leadership

    Thanks for the story Krusty, I missed that.
    Obviously, most people here agree.
    Sad to lose Williams and the coaches due to ownership being short term penny pinchers.
    Hopefully Castallani is gutting payroll in preparation of selling the team, although as long as the Williams brothers have a say, we're probably still screwed.
    Heck, Castallani is probably going to sell to one of his rich friends or the Williams, and the crappy ownership will likely continue indefinitely.
    Due to the shortened season last year, Reds drew 1.5 million. I hope they draw less this year.
    No change will happen until the owners feel the pain in their pocketbook.
    Nick Krall is a clown. This franchise is a laughingstock.

    Nov. 13, 2007: One of the greatest days in Reds history: John Allen gets the boot!

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    Re: The Latest Crisis in Reds Leadership

    This article was written by Chad Dotson of the Redlegnation podcast. It can be a really good podcast most of the time but sometimes he gets a little overly negative (as Reds fans can often do for "no" reason). If you haven't listened to it you should check it out.

    https://www.redlegnation.com/category/rn-radio/
    Tim McCarver: Baseball Quotes
    I remember one time going out to the mound to talk with Bob Gibson. He told me to get back behind the batter, that the only thing I knew about pitching was that it was hard to hit.

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    Re: The Latest Crisis in Reds Leadership

    Quote Originally Posted by paulrichjr View Post
    This article was written by Chad Dotson of the Redlegnation podcast. It can be a really good podcast most of the time but sometimes he gets a little overly negative (as Reds fans can often do for "no" reason). If you haven't listened to it you should check it out.

    https://www.redlegnation.com/category/rn-radio/
    Chad is a good guy and a fine writer, being beat down as a fan is part of what comes when you write a lot about current Reds issues. It's probably exhausting

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    Re: The Latest Crisis in Reds Leadership

    I’m wondering how the workers in season ticket sales and whoever does the social media are doing these days. Do they cringe while trying to be upbeat? It seems like ownership and management are working against these departments, especially after fan interest was growing in the previous two offseasons.

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    Re: The Latest Crisis in Reds Leadership

    Wait, I thought here at Redszone we hated Dick Williams. So many people to dislike, I need a scorecard.
    Next Reds manager, second shooter. --Confirmed on Redszone.

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    Re: The Latest Crisis in Reds Leadership

    Quote Originally Posted by SunDeck View Post
    Wait, I thought here at Redszone we hated Dick Williams. So many people to dislike, I need a scorecard.
    Because local media doesn't do a very good job at getting at what is going on in ownership with this decision making as well as the fact that the Reds hold everything close to the vest (and Williams is still part of an ownership family), we simply don't know who to actually dislike in this most recent dismantling of the franchise. (Sorry for the run on sentence, I hope my Hamilton public school English teachers aren't on here (or are even alive at this point) to see my disgraceful taken down of the language).

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    Re: The Latest Crisis in Reds Leadership

    Quote Originally Posted by SunDeck View Post
    Wait, I thought here at Redszone we hated Dick Williams. So many people to dislike, I need a scorecard.
    Whether someone likes or hates Dick Williams, I think most people think Krall is worse.
    This is true even if you assign all the mistakes made during their joint control to Williams. Krall is incompetent or just a stooge to run the club during the tear down.
    Nick Krall is a clown. This franchise is a laughingstock.

    Nov. 13, 2007: One of the greatest days in Reds history: John Allen gets the boot!

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    Re: The Latest Crisis in Reds Leadership

    Quote Originally Posted by REDREAD View Post
    Whether someone likes or hates Dick Williams, I think most people think Krall is worse.
    This is true even if you assign all the mistakes made during their joint control to Williams. Krall is incompetent or just a stooge to run the club during the tear down.
    I don't think Krall is worse. I think Dick was able to go to ownership and ask for things and do things that other GMs can't do. He was a cross between ownership and management and kept the budget cutting ownership group at bay for awhile. I have to assume Dick Williams either grew tired of fighting or was told that he was going to lose some big battles going forward. I cannot imagine anyone in Krall's line of work wants to trade away or give away talent that will help you win in 2022. He has parameters to work in and unfortunately they are made more difficult because of Williams's freer spending a couple of years ago. It wouldn't shock me if Krall was responsible for many of the good things that happened a few years back. Now his hands are tied.
    Tim McCarver: Baseball Quotes
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    Re: The Latest Crisis in Reds Leadership

    I agree that ownership has been the major problem, but I strongly disagree that getting rid of Williams and Boddy was a mistake.

    Remember, Williams is part of the ownership. That is why his hiring was so problematic and he was so strongly disliked. He came in, slashed payroll so that his family could save money, then left. He was always part of the problem, by definition.

    And it’s been revealed that Boddy was fired by both the Reds and Phillies for being difficult to work with, and his inability to communicate with both the players and other coaches. His twitter tirade should have convinced everyone that firing him was a very good move by the Reds.
    Hoping to change my username to 75769022

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    Re: The Latest Crisis in Reds Leadership

    I thought Williams was going to be a patsy for ownership, but proved to be a person who seemed open to new ideas and doing what small market clubs need to try to do to be competitive. Not all the moves were slam dunks, but he made being a Reds fan more exciting and hopeful than it has been in sometime.

    If there was good cop-bad cop, Krall is getting the bad cop role. I don't think its fair to judge what he can do as we don't know the limitations on him. That said, I think the Miley move was shortsighted UNLESS ownership gave him some crazy ultimatum to be by XYX dollars by Opening Day, and he didn't want to risk not being able to trade him without absorbing or providing salary. I also think he could stand to have some executive communication training as the dude just doesn't instill confidence in fans IMO. Williams seemed like a fan and often spoke with true excitement of the team, and it was honestly nice.

    I am hoping Krall is given enough to prove what he can or can't do. All I know is that I do not envy his position and frankly, I think its shameful what Cast and crew have done. Given that Krall has essentially worked his way up in the organization, messages of payroll should come from Cast. He should be the bearer of bad news and not let his relatively young GM take the hit. If the decision is to cut, its your decision (and the ownership group), own it and speak to the media on it. It comes off either as cowardly or that they are stepping back as they prep to put the team up for sale.
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    Re: The Latest Crisis in Reds Leadership

    Quote Originally Posted by SunDeck View Post
    Wait, I thought here at Redszone we hated Dick Williams. So many people to dislike, I need a scorecard.
    I think Williams was probably doing a good job. Since he quit, things haven't gone great.

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    Re: The Latest Crisis in Reds Leadership

    Quote Originally Posted by Boston Red View Post
    I think Williams was probably doing a good job. Since he quit, things haven't gone great.
    Winning % Under Williams:

    .420
    .435
    .426
    .494

    Winning % under Krall:

    .517 (playoff appearance)
    .512
    Hoping to change my username to 75769022

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    Re: The Latest Crisis in Reds Leadership

    Is that a serious post?

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    Re: The Latest Crisis in Reds Leadership

    Quote Originally Posted by Boston Red View Post
    Is that a serious post?
    Why would posting the winning records under each GM not be serious? I mean, how else would anyone grade a GM?
    Hoping to change my username to 75769022


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