2013 Reds

Miguel Cairo is back with the Reds

Miguel Cairo is back with the Reds…and this is actually a good thing!

Miguel Cairo will join the Reds’ baseball operations staff as a special assistant to the general manager.

Cairo will be in camp tomorrow. He’ll work as instructor with major leagues and minor leagues. Cairo, 38, played the final three years of his 17-year career with the Reds. He was the Reds’ recipient of the MLB Players Alumni Association’s Heart and Hustle Award in 2011.

Seems like Cairo will be a perfect fit for this sort of thing. By all accounts, he’s a great guy. Glad to have him in the organization (just not on the active roster anymore).

24 thoughts on “Miguel Cairo is back with the Reds

  1. This is great. He’s a great guy with a great understanding of the game, and as it was his time to stop playing, I LOVE that they are keeping him on to help coach. What a great pickup.

  2. I would love to understand why Cairo is a perfect fit for this sort of thing.

    I’m not saying he won’t end up being good, but I see no reason to believe it compared to
    anyone else they might have hired to do this instructor job.

    It just seems to me like fans of whatever team always think that a low-talent, journeyman, good attitude profile makes for a great coach. I just don’t see it. Obviously, a good attitude is required, but the low talent and the journeyman?

    • I’m not saying he won’t end up being good, but I see no reason to believe it compared to
      anyone else they might have hired to do this instructor job.

      I think you’re coming at this from the wrong angle, HAT. Why should any of us have any insight into a decision such as this? The Reds have intimate knowledge of Cairo borne of years employment. Clearly, they’ve seen in Miguel a guy who can teach and who other players listen to and respect. That would seem to be half the battle right there. Players at the end of their careers who want to remain in the game have what amounts to an extended interview with a team that probably trumps any impression an outsider could make in an organization.

      And yeah, journeymen often do make for better coaches than elite athletes. Add to that the fact that many elite athletes don’t want to coach, don’t want to start at the bottom if they do, or would rather cash in on their fame on TV–and it makes perfect sense to me.

      • And yeah, journeymen often do make for better coaches than elite athletes.Add to that the fact that many elite athletes don’t want to coach, don’t want to start at the bottom if they do, or would rather cash in on their fame on TV–and it makes perfect sense to me.

        Also I think there’s frequently a misunderstanding that ‘elite athletes’ make good leaders. Look at Barry Bonds, what a jerk. Joey Votto might be a superstar but he doesn’t particularly seem to enjoy attention. If you’re used to being the best of the best, and being treated accordingly, you might not be able to relate as well to the guys who actually need help and coaching. Cairo has MLB experience playing all around the infield unlike other guys – Votto, Phillips, Rolen – who have been entrenched in the same role for most of their MLB careers.

        • Also I think there’s frequently a misunderstanding that ‘elite athletes’ make good leaders.Look at Barry Bonds, what a jerk.Joey Votto might be a superstar but he doesn’t particularly seem to enjoy attention.If you’re used to being the best of the best, and being treated accordingly, you might not be able to relate as well to the guys who actually need help and coaching.Cairo has MLB experience playing all around the infield unlike other guys – Votto, Phillips, Rolen – who have been entrenched in the same role for most of their MLB careers.

          And finally, a sample size of 2 (Bonds and Votto) isn’t convincing.

          I doubt you could establish that elite players are any better or worse than anyone else at being leaders.

        • I doubt you could establish that elite players are any better or worse than anyone else at being leaders.

          Name 3 HOF players who made successful managers.

          Now name 10 HOF managers who were lousy players.

        • Name 3 HOF players who made successful managers.

          Now name 10 HOF managers who were lousy players.

          First, the point being addressed was about leaders on a team, not managers.

          Second, with all due respect, your point that I think you are trying to make is way off base. How many hall of fame players have even been managers? Like I said, there are many more non-elite players than elite players, so by default there are going to be lots of top managers that were bad players.

          Why don’t we look at good players turned managers instead of the very few hall of fame players? Martin, Scioscia, Johnson, Torre. For a Hall of Fame player, I’d count Pete Rose, who was good based on his winning percentage anyways.

          Again, though, good players have options and money when they retire. Weak players do not have options and money. You said so yourself in the previous post. It’s not a random sample, so the fact (as I said earlier) that more managers will come from bad players, and therefore more good managers will come from bad players, doesn’t prove anything.

          I’m curious what the intuition is that good players make bad managers. Do they not know the game as well? Does sitting on the bench every game really make one that much better? Don’t great players sit on the bench for half of each game?

        • First, the point being addressed was about leaders on a team, not managers.

          Second, with all due respect, your point that I think you are trying to make is way off base.How many hall of fame players have even been managers? Like I said, there are many more non-elite players than elite players, so by default there are going to be lots of top managers that were bad players.

          Why don’t we look at good players turned managers instead of the very few hall of fame players?Martin, Scioscia, Johnson, Torre.For a Hall of Fame player, I’d count Pete Rose, who was good based on his winning percentage anyways.

          Again, though, good players have options and money when they retire.Weak players do not have options and money.You said so yourself in the previous post.It’s not a random sample, so the fact (as I said earlier) that more managers will come from bad players, and therefore more good managers will come from bad players, doesn’t prove anything.

          I’m curious what the intuition is that good players make bad managers. Do they not know the game as well?Does sitting on the bench every game really make one that much better?Don’t great players sit on the bench for half of each game?

          I always was with the thought that journeyman type players were the best managers, because nobody else on the field had to work so hard to keep their job. They’re the first people cut off of a major league roster. So in order to stick around for 17 years, he had to always be one of the hardest workers, hardest studying players as well. They have to know baseball theory and baseball mechanics more than someone with a ton of natural talent, because nothing comes easily to them. All that hard work, and baseball knowledge that’s required to just even keep their job year to year, translates well to being a manager and having the knowledge to teach players.

          People with a lot of natural talent can already do most of the things naturally, and just basically need to be polished here and there. The thinking being that they won’t necessarily understand when a player is having troubles doing one thing or another, because they personally never went through much struggles themselves, so they won’t be as well equipped to coach a player out of a hitting problem, or fielding problem that may have never even occurred to a highly talented player.

        • Name 3 HOF players who made successful managers.Now name 10 HOF managers who were lousy players.

          Not a good comparison. There are a lot more lousy players than there are HOFers.

  3. From what I’ve heard, he is an excellent instructor. He was like having a second bench coach last year.

    This is his first step becoming a manager in the minors. Glad he’s staying in the Reds organization.

  4. Hello. New Poster here. Love the site and read it avidly.

    Anyone think that may have been the position offered to Rolen?

    • Anyone think that may have been the position offered to Rolen?

      Depends what you mean by that, I think the Special Assistant to the GM title would be the same as something they might offer to Rolen, but I think the role would be different. I definitely don’t think this closes any sort of doors for Rolen.
      -Cairo is a guy from Venezuela who doesn’t have any kids (as far as I know) and who can probably travel around a lot, whether that be between various minor league teams or Venezuela or somewhere like that. He has a lot of MLB experience all over the infield.

      -Rolen apparently wants to spend more time with his young kids who (I think) live in Indiana. It seems like he’d be less willing to travel than Cairo might be.

      Personally I think Rolen will stay in shape and offer to report to spring training or expended spring training the moment he hears about an injury to Todd Frazier or Jack Hannahan. Surprising everybody by coming out of retirement with a well-rested shoulder when the Reds desperately need a righthanded thirdbaseman to lead the Reds to the playoffs wouldn’t be a disappointing way for Rolen to end his career. The mediocre 2012 season and our long offseason of questions about Rolen’s return, booooring way to end a career. Rolen’s return seems like a longshot, but not impossible, but Cairo seems to be retired for good.

  5. @Hank Aarons Teammate: I don’t think you spent 17 years in MLB unless they think you bring something positive to the team, especially as a mediocre hitter – teams kept acquiring him for a reason. There are lots of low-talent bench players out there, they just usually don’t stick around for very long. Most of them don’t go on to become coaches.

    Look at fan favorite Bryan Price, clearly raw talent and MLB success isn’t important to being a good coach.

    • @Hank Aarons Teammate: I don’t think you spent 17 years in MLB unless they think you bring something positive to the team, especially as a mediocre hitter – teams kept acquiring him for a reason.There are lots of low-talent bench players out there, they just usually don’t stick around for very long.Most of them don’t go on to become coaches.

      Look at fan favorite Bryan Price, clearly raw talent and MLB success isn’t important to being a good coach.

      I don’t think that is necessarily true. Maybe Cairo played 17 years because he was a good utility player. He’s a below average major league baseball player, but as a jack of all trades who had a career 78 OPS+, that’s probably reasonable for such players. No, I haven’t looked at typical stats of utility players…but a middle infielder starter averages about a 90 or so OPS+, right?

      I’m sure Cairo doesn’t have a lousy attitude, because utility players rarely do. They’re not that good and can’t afford to.

  6. @Richard Fitch: Well, I never said I had a single bit of insight, because I don’t. I’m simply questioning that it’s without a doubt a great move.

    And I think the statement that elite athletes make for inferior coaches compared to journeymen. is unsupported. It might be true, but elite athletes often have tons of other opportunities and don’t go into coaching. Your own statement says most of this. We don’t have large numbers of instances to make judgements on. Plus, there are way, way more journeymen/mediocre players than there are elite superstars, so we’d expect most managers to be something other than elite players.

  7. @BoldOD: It’s not that scrubs make better coaches (or special assistants). It’s that stars have a lot of other options after they retire — generally, they have better things to do than scout or coach minor league games.

  8. with apologies to Miguel Cairo, I saw a few quotes from Joey Votto in an AP article written by Gary Schatz. It talks about his knee, and he wants to play in the Baseball Classic.

    —-

    Votto has gotten stronger in the offseason and he’s ready to see how the knee holds up when he plays baseball again. He’s looking forward to hitting his first home run, “hopefully opening day.” The 29-year-old had his physical Friday morning and passed all of his tests.

    “They had very positive things to say, but ultimately the real test is on the field,” Votto said. “I am just trying to get my legs back to 100 percent. It’s not perfect, but I think that after surgery, my expectations — realistically you’re not going to be perfect five months out.

    “However, as far as movement, being able to do baseball stuff, hitting, throwing, I feel really good.”

    He injured the knee sliding into third base in San Francisco on June 29. He played in seven more games before tests found torn cartilage. He had surgery to fix it, then another procedure to remove a piece of cartilage floating in the knee on Aug. 11.

    Votto had never been seriously injured until last season.

    “I have sympathy. People’s injuries resonate with me more because of my experience,” he said. “It probably made me a better teammate. It made me more aware of my body and its limitations, no matter how good I’m feeling.”

    Votto knew he would be limited when he returned. Unable to push off his left leg as much as normal, he became more of a singles hitter. Pitches that he would drive into the gaps when healthy never made it to the wall.

    “I knew what I could and couldn’t do,” Votto said. “I tried to make the most of it. Despite the lack of power, I was pretty proud of what I did do.”

    Votto would like to get to the point where his knee is no longer an issue.

    “I personally would like to feel like it is less in the forefront of me doing my job,” he said.

    Votto also would like to play for Canada in the World Baseball Classic. A native of Toronto, he played in the 2009 Classic. He planned to talk to the team’s medical staff and front office about it. “Ultimately, it should be a group decision,” Votto said. “I’d like to play. Certainly spring training is too long this year. Why not?”

  9. @Brian Van Hook: If he’s feeling fine I’m okay with him playing in the WBC, just like with Brandon Phillips. He can silence critics who question his health faster in the WBC than he can by waiting until April 1st.

    @Hank Aarons Teammate: More like good players NOW have money when they retire, these days utility players make more in a few years what guys like Scioscia and Torre made in their whole careers. Miguel Cairo earned $9.6m in his career, veteran Reds utility infielder Juan Castro made $7.8m. Joe Torre, who you mentioned, made $920,000 in his career as a player. Pete Rose, in 23 seasons, earned a little over $7m as a player. Those numbers were from Baseball Reference but the point is that scrubs today make a whole lot more than stars used to.

    This argument, when I participated earlier, was about coaching and leadership, which is slightly different from managing. I think the coaches have to work primarily with weaker players who need help and it’s useful if they can relate to the troubles they’re going through. Current coach Bryan Price, new hire Miguel Cairo, and future coach Corky Miller can all relate to the struggles that players face in a way that I don’t believe somebody who has been almost constantly hyped and successful, like Votto or Bruce, can. Being able to work with other people is important to coaching.

  10. @ToddAlmighty: I suppose that’s possible, but I don’t see it personally. Great players hit .330 and have lots of tough slumps too, and they also make lots of mechanical adjustments.

  11. A good move with Miguel Cairo. His first language is Spanish and that helps in today’s world. And journeyman players often make good coach/managers, i.e. Sparky Anderson.

  12. As frustrating as Miggy was to watch on the diamond, he was still one of my favorite players. Quick story…I live in Denver and my Mother-in-law and I went to a Rockies game against the Reds two years ago. We were able to get 1st row, behind home plate, just to the right of the Reds dugout. Whenever Joey Votto was on deck this young boy would shout “Hey Joey!”,”Go Joey!”, etc. No response from Mr. Votto..(this is not a knock against Joey, you could tell he was in full concentration mode and probably didn’t even hear the boy yelling). Anyways, later on Cairo is standing right in front of us when he was on deck. My Mother-in-law asked what his first name was, i told her, and she says “Hey Miguel!”…he turns around and says “Hey, what’s going on? You enjoying the game?” with a huge grin on his face. I was blown away at his response in the middle of the game, especially since my Mother-in-law was in full Rockies gear. It was awesome! I definitely wasn’t expecting that response. I hope Miggy is part of the Reds organization for a long time to come.

  13. @Hank Aarons Teammate: Well the ‘low talent’ part of the equation really doesn’t factor into coaching but he did have enough talent to play in the Majors for a long time. That should help him avoid the ‘You didn’t even play at thus level, so what so you know?’ stigma.

    The ‘journeyman’ factor does figure into the likelihood that a player may make a good coach. The biggest reason being that journeymen have been around a lot of teams and have been exposed to a lot of different environments. They have been seen a lot and that varied experience can tend to expand a player’s knowledge. Now that isn’t a guarantee that a guy will be a good coach, but it works in his favor.

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