2007 Reds / Reds - General

Reds Midseason Grade: F

From CBS Sportsline:

This team is making the Washington Nationals look like World Series contenders. The manager has been fired, Adam Dunn is on the trading block, Ken Griffey Jr. might be, there isn’t enough pitching, Bronson Arroyo has been a big disappointment, Eric Milton a bust, the bullpen is in shambles, prospect Homer Bailey might need to be demoted … hmmm, let’s see. Any positives here? Yes: Outfielder Josh Hamilton remains the comeback story of the year, and the Reds made a very wise decision in dropping the black and again making red the predominant color in their uniforms. Otherwise, when do the Bengals start again? GM Wayne Krivsky was a genius a year ago for making a flurry of moves that kept the Reds competitive, but this summer has made one thing clear: Those were cosmetic changes that only kept the more serious flaws hidden. There are a whole lot of needs here, and making it more difficult is the fact that the ballpark is so hitter-friendly. Cincinnati pitchers could get chewed up there for years to come.

I don’t believe they’ll trade Griffey. His going for 600 will be the only thing selling tickets the rest of the season. Eric Milton’s been a bust since signing a contract, so he shouldn’t count against this team.

I don’t remember anyone (well, maybe ONE) calling Krivsky a genius…and I don’t remember him making moves that “kept them competitive”. The Arroyo, Phillips & Ross deals were part of why they got off to a good start. The Trade and all the subsequent deals looking for BP help didn’t improve the club much (Guardado and Schoeneweis gave them 14 good innings each, but otherwise?).

I’ve said it here and elsewhere. If Bob Castellini is serious about these results being unacceptable, then there is no way that Wayne Krivsky keeps his job. How do you fire Jerry Narron and keep Krivsky? You can make the argument that Krivsky’s only been here 1 1/2 years, but has the big league club gone in a positive or negative direction in his tenure?

24 thoughts on “Reds Midseason Grade: F

  1. One thing that boggles my mind is how this team led the central division and had the best record in the MLB for a portion of last season. It doesn’t seem like the makeup is all that different.

  2. I don’t think Dunn gets traded either because 1) there are no worthwhile offers out there and 2) they want to leave something for Jocketty to deal with.

  3. First off, I’m so tired of people being all over Krivsky’s back ALL the time. The Arroyo, Phillips and Ross deals were terrific moves. Krivsky gets zero credit for resigning Harang at market to below market deal. He gets zero credit for plucking Hamilton out of the Rule 5 draft. He gets zero credit for signing an above average SS at below market value.


    Everything Krivsky ever does will be overshadowed by “the trade.” Anybody keeping tabs on Kearns and Lopez? Kearns’ 5 HR, 30 RBI, and .250/.323/.369 as well as Lopez’s 4 HR, 32 RBI and .242/.297/.348 frankly doesn’t have me missing either of them.

    Now it’s easy to argue that because Majewski and Bray have contributed next to nothing this year the Nats easily “won,” but consider the fact that without Lopez and Kearns, Hamilton and Gonzalez wouldn’t be Reds. Additionally , I’m sick to tears of everyone assuming we could have gotten more for our beloved Kearns. Maybe, maybe not, none of us were making the calls so how do we know what was available?

    GMs should get a minimum five years to implement a plan unfortunately fan patience is a lot shorter.

    I disagree with Bill about tradung Griffey. He’s my favorite player but with Bruce being at most two years out you gotta make the deal while his value is as high as it has been since 2000, especially with Seattle and Chicago interested. No way you get Adam Jones or Pie but it is possible to get a couple good pieces there.

    Not for nothing but I had a dream Griffey was wearing a Dodgers hat. Maybe you could score a Matt Kemp or Scott Elbert – though they are probably better suited for Dunn depending on how well Loney responds to 1B.

    Ok rants over. I’m sure Chris will be critizing this in about 30 seconds.

  4. Whew. Good post David. I’m in total agreement with you. Krivsky needs time. What are we gonna do here people, dump another manager and GM? Again?? He needs time, and what’s another 2 years when we’ve been waiting this long? Do it right, build it from scratch. For me, I’ll only be calling for his head if he fails to trade Hatty, Lohse, Stormy, Dunn, and Griff. Frankly, you only keep Dunn and Griff if you believe we can contend for the WORLD SERIES, not just making the playoffs next year. Otherwise, they’re just window dressing. The next 3 weeks is an opportunity to get better in a meaningful way, not just another band aid job. There are teams out there more desparate to acquire talent than we are to unload it, and with the exception of Hatty, everyone on the block can be a difference maker in a stretch run.

  5. Yeah, I’ll criticize your comments, David. Because you’re the only one still harping on “The Trade.” “Nobody gives him credit for Arroyo and Hamilton.” Please. That’s the weakest straw man I’ve ever seen in my life. (And Ross? Nice player, but hardly “Executive of the Year material).

    As for your “minimum five years for a GM” – well, guess what that means? Dan O’Brien would’ve been here last year, this year, and next. Is that what you want?

    Krivsky’s made several mistakes, above and beyond what he did a year ago today (baseball-calendar-wise). The guy traded for and extended Juan Castro. He extended Jerry Narron’s contract based on one hot month. Cormier for Germano.

    In addition to the obviously bad moves, there are a few for which the jury is still out, but that aren’t looking good right not (the Arroyo and Freel extensions; every relief pitcher he’s touched; the silly handling of EE).

    Now here’s where I’m going to surprise you — I totally disagree with Bill and agree with David’s general premise. There’s not enough reason to fire Wayne Krivsky yet. Not even close, IMO.

    I’m on record as saying this team is quite a bit better than it has played. I don’t buy your “five year plan” stuff, but I do think that a GM should get 2-3 years to see his plan through, provided there’s at least some evidence that he’s not a complete boob. With Krivsky, there are plenty of good moves: Arroyo for WMP; BP; Hamilton; Hatteberg.

    Given these positives, I don’t think you dump Krivsky at this point, or even after the season (unless he makes another deal with Bowden). I think that if he just fixes the bullpen, bench, and adds a starter, they’re pretty close.

  6. Sultan wrote: Frankly, you only keep Dunn and Griff if you believe we can contend for the WORLD SERIES, not just making the playoffs next year.

    Ask these guys what the difference is between “contending for the playoffs” and “winning the WS.”

  7. I could have sworn that it was Castellini who extended Narron’s contract based on one good month. And I think the team will improve without Narron – look already – Moeller gone. Anyway, coming road trip will tell us alot.

  8. Taking a break from the Tour…


    I agreed with you down to the point of keeping Krivsky. But I’m with Bill here. I don’t want to wait another two seasons to see if his OJT works out. He’s the wrong guy for a club as far from contention as the Reds are (and I’ve just disagreed again). There’s no quick fix here. That’s been the approach (delusion?) for too long and it hasn’t worked out. We should be in rebuilding mode and the player development system has to come first. I don’t want Krivsky mucking that up.

    Ask these guys what the difference is between “contending for the playoffs” and “winning the WS.”

    C’mon, you of all people should know about small sample size. I’m with the Sultan in that I’m interested in building a WS contender, not a candidate for one-and-done in the first week of October. Frankly, if the Reds can only win 83 games, I’d just as soon they play golf in October. The new, improved, NFL-style playoffs leave me cold (in fact, all of the Selig-era “innovations” are crap in my book) and I don’t really consider “making the playoffs” a worthy goal, even if a mediocre team can get lucky for three weeks and call itself “World Champions”.

  9. Chris,
    Let me quickly jump back in here.

    First, Bill was the first to mention the trade and he did so conspicuously, in nice bold letters. So don’t give me this “you’re the only one still harping on it.” Especially when Bill seems to have intended the trade as his major platform for which to launch the ouster of Krivsky.

    Is he a executive of the year? Of course not but BA ranks our farm system 12th up 30th last year and specifically credits Bailey and Votto “taking off” as a direct result of Krivsky “scrapping previous policies such as tandem pitching and taking the first pitch.”

    Finally, you mention the Arroyo extension as not “looking good right now.” Woody Paige recently wrote that the Rockies have showed interest in Arroyo because he wouldn’t be a rental. Arroyo could also fit in with Pat Gillick’s plans specifically because they are looking for starting pitchers with “contracts running through 08 and 09” this summer.

  10. Contract or not, Arroyo’s not attractive trade bait at this point. Again, I’m not passing judgment on that extension – I’m just saying the jury is still out on that move.

    Fair enough point about who raised “The Trade.”

    Credit for Votto and Bruce goes to both O’Brien and Krivksy. That “taking off” thing isn’t a sound argument, to me. First, it confuses correlation and causation, much like the “EE improved because he was sent down” argument.

    Second, Votto RAKED in 2004, under O’Brien’s system. Bruce pretty much hit the same in his second year (Krivsky) as he did in his first (O’Brien).

    Obviously, one could argue that O’Brien’s system forced them to learn discipline, which is paying off now. I’m not the one who would argue it, but it’s at least as plausible as the contrary.

  11. Phil,
    Whether you like it or not, parity or “post-season crapshoot” is reality. I don’t really think there’s a difference in kind between “building for the playoffs” and “building to win the WS.” Those two things are just too close (see Beane, Billy).

    Once the Reds come close a few times, I’ll be ready to bitch about them not getting any farther.

    They need to make some smart, future-looking trades right now. But they don’t need to scrap the whole thing and push off contending for 3 years.

    The Tigers lost 91 games in 2005; won the pennant in 2006.

    The White Sox went 83-79 in 2004; won the WS in 2005.

    The Marlins went 79-83 in 2002; won the WS in 2003.

    The Angels went 75-87 in 2001; won the WS in 2002.

    Phoenix went 85-77 in 2000; won the WS in 2001.

    That’s just in the past 5 seasons. I think the Reds are close enough to make a move like that. Not as close as some of those other clubs were, to be sure. But it’s not out of the realm of possibility — Selig’s old line about “only 7 teams have hope at the start of the season” is completely gone.

  12. Whether you like it or not, parity or “post-season crapshoot” is reality

    I know that, still don’t like it. Add two teams, split into four 8-team divisions, scrap the wild card and let the division winners meet in a seeded round robin and I’d like that better. Ain’t gonna happen, but I’d like it better.

    I remain uninterested in “celebrating” a championship won by a mediocre team that happened to get hot for three weeks at the right time of year. I know Bud would like to follow the NBA and NHL model, where any team with clean unis gets to go to the playoffs, but I have this funny thing about regular season excellence being a better determinant of who should play for the championship than winning the fourth tiebreaker. Of course, Bud’s insanely unbalanced schedule and interleague play would have to be the first casualties of a return to a meaningful regular season.

    They need to make some smart, future-looking trades right now. But they don’t need to scrap the whole thing and push off contending for 3 years.

    Agree on the smart trades. Where did I say they shouldn’t trade? I’m opposed to anything that puts rebuilding the player development system in any slot other than first priority.

    They don’t have to push off contending for 3 years. That’s just reality. I’ll allow that 2009 is a possibility if all the right moves are made and Bailey, Bruce and Votto break our way. Otherwise it’s at least 2010. Without bringing the farm system up to par, any one-year success isn’t likely to be sustainable. Which, again, is why I’m not willing to sacrifice long-term competitiveness for a one-year grab for glory.

    The losingest franchise in sports has been to the World Series three times as often as the Reds in the free agency era. Yes, 1990 was a trip, but it was bookended by sub-.500 seasons. I’m tired of that legacy.

    I think the Reds are close enough to make a move like that. Not as close as some of those other clubs were, to be sure. But it’s not out of the realm of possibility — Selig’s old line about “only 7 teams have hope at the start of the season” is completely gone.

    We’ll have to disagree on how close the team is to doing what the Pale Hose and Tigers did. I’d be happy to be wrong on this, but I can’t see anything but a long haul from here. (I agree with Keith Law’s comments in his recent chat.)

    As for Beezlebud’s pronouncement, it was lie when he said it. It’s sole purpose was to aid MLB’s efforts at extortion. Like the “common wisdom” about steroids, it was parroted by a compliant media until, like so many things in our society, it became the gospel simply through incessant repetition.

  13. Chris fair enough point regarding the farm system.

    I disagree with your point of view on Arroyo’s trade value. If 31 year old Javier Vazquez (career 4.30/1.26/.259) is tops on the market right now despite his solid start (3.65, 108K, 1.07 WHIP) Arroyo would be second. Outside of the annual Willis rumor, there isn’t another top starter out there except for maybe Contreras but I can’t see the Sox dealing both guys. Add the reasonably solid contract and Arroyo is extremely attractive to the right franchise.

    In my estimation Dunn, Griffey, Arroyo, Lohse, and Hatteberg are all headed out the door either this summer or this winter.

  14. If they trade Dunn and Griffey, I have a hard time seeing why I should care about this team next year, or the year after that.

    Here’s why I don’t buy into the “let’s rebuild” school of thought (above and beyond the fact that I think they have close to enough talent): it just never ends.

    In 1999, we had a “good young core,” in Casey, Reese, Boone, Cameron, Young, Tomko, Graves, Williamson, Sullivan, Reyes, etc.

    By 2003, we were told it was time to rebuild, trade all those guys off, and build around our “good young core” of Dunn, Kearns, Lopez, Larson, Reitsma.

    Now it’s four more years later, and we’re told we should be trading all our prime talent away, to build around our “good young core” of Hamilton, EE, BP, Votto, Bruce, Bailey, Bray…

    I think 75% of this whole thing is pressure from the mainstream media, who condition fans in the small markets (and the teams themselves) into thinking that they’re obliged to trade their talent to the Yankees and Red Sox, if one of those teams or their media wing (ESPN) deems it convenient.

  15. I know I always keep coming back to the Padres, but they’re an interesting example. They were terrible for the five years after their World Series appearance:

    99: 74-88
    00: 76-86
    01: 79-83
    02: 66-96
    03: 64-98

    Then they got better, but not great in 2004 (87-75). Then they won a lousy division with a lousy team (82-80), a better division with a better team (86-76), and this year have the best record in the league.

    Throughout this entire process, they had one manager and one GM.

    And to my point, they did it without ever trading off players who could help them in the future, for the sake of getting “prospects.” If anything, Kevin Towers has been aggressive about using his prospects and young players to acquire major league players (Ollie Perez and Bay for Giles; X.Nady for Cameron).

    In their lineup, they have one homegrown player (Greene), three guys they acquired by trading youngsters (Kouzmanoof, B.Giles and Cameron), two head-cases they took a chance on (Barrett and Bradley), and a guy they got in a total ripoff trade (Adrian Gonzalez).

    Their awesome rotation is:
    Peavy – drafted
    C.Young – acquired with Gonzalez and Termel Sledge for Aki Otsuka & Adam Eaton
    Maddux – free agent
    Wells – free agent
    Germano – waivers
    Hensley – acquired for Matt Herges

    And their great bullpen:
    Hoffman – acquired via trade for Sheffield, 1993
    Linebrink – waivers
    Bell – acquired for a prospect
    Meredith – acquired w/ Bard for Mirabelli
    Brocail – cheap free agent
    Hampson – Rule 5

    Point? The Reds are in better shape than the Padres were 3 years ago, and can get to a very good place, without trading away their key players.

    IF there’s a cheaper, as-good replacement in-house; or if you can get more for a potential free agent than the sandwich pick is worth — then make a deal.

    But don’t throw up your hands and say, we’re going to suck the next two years, no matter what – so let’s get rid of all our good players and hope we get good prospects in return (ala 2003).

    (It should be said that the Padres have an advantage in attracting free agents – I doubt Piazza, Maddux, Wells, or M. Giles would sign with the Reds).

  16. I never meant to give the impression that the trade was the reason he should be fired. I used it to counter the “Executive of the Year” argument made in the blurb.

    My reason for firing him? The team is going in the wrong direction. It’s worse this year than it was last year and I see no signs that he understands what it will take to turn it around.

    I don’t want to wait 3 more years to say, “Well, he didn’t work out…let’s move on.” I can understand some growing pains in a new direction, but it doesn’t make sense to remake a team in the GM’s image (which to me is ego at it’s utmost), when it would require moving away from the team’s current strengths.

    This team was in need of pitching help last year to stay in contention. He signed a bunch of bad pitchers…when, as Chris has pointed out earlier, good pitchers were available cheap. He can’t judge talent, I think he’s proven that.

  17. Chris, it’s these ‘good’ players who are the backbone of this suckfest for the last 7 years. Let’s not give them a free pass while we’re firing on the GM. Exactly how can the guys mentioned as trade bait help us in ’08 and ’09? Dunn–one more year then he’s gone. Griff–one injurious play away from being worthless, strapping the team w/ debt. Hatty–cheaper replacement in house. Lohse–not worth the money he’ll demand in the offseason. Weathers–not much tread left on the tires. Your presumption that good teams only add to the talent already there is a good one, but it only applies to teams that are on the cusp of sustainable success. As currently constructed, I don’t believe this team is capable of that.

  18. To me, the core of this team looks pretty good actually. I think that rather than going on with a fire sale, Krivsky should concentrate on two things in the off season. 1. The Bullpen sucks. Its one of the worst in Reds history. Narron would still be the manager and this season would not be a bust if the team had a serviceable bullpen. Weathers is the only guy a manager can reasonably put his trust in and as good as W has been, he’s not hall of fame material. Free agents, trades…whatever. If there’s one thing that I fault Krivsky with that borders on being fireable, it’s his going into this season thinking that the team would compete with the pitchers he had in that bullpen. Things have to change.
    2. The manager situation needs to be sorted out as soon as reasonably possible. My vote would be for a manager with an established track record of turning teams around. Unfortunatley, Jim Leyland’s already employed. Possibly Girardi although I’d look a little further into his service with the Marlins and make certain his not a pain in the butt to deal with. My fear is that the Reds will bring back someone who will work cheap in a redo of Bob Boone et al.

  19. I have no problem trading “good players”. But I do have a problem with trading good young players.

    Dunn is a good young player. As for his being out of the team’s reach, I remember hearing the same thing before he signed the current extension. His contract makes trading him problematic if you expect to get reasonable value in return.

    Junior is a 10-5 guy. He can only be traded somewhere he wants to go, which doesn’t increase his trade value. That said, I’d make every effort to trade him, even though he’s the only player going to put butts in the seats for the rest of this year as he goes after 600.

    Lohse, Conine, Hatty, Stanton, & Weathers are exactly the type of players they should be looking to unload for prospects. (I’d personally include Gonzalez, but I don’t think the Reds will.)

  20. Looking at the various other clubs in the recent past. The Brewers, leading our NL Central have used the draft wisely and free agent pick-ups, made wise trades. The trade that we complain about here Broken Shoulder and Fractured Finer for Kearns and Lopez. Look at Kearns and Lopez’s numbers. Wow they are mind blowing. In fact it is so lopslided that our free agent pick up Alex Gonzalez has more Home Runs 13 then both Lopez and Kearns combined, 9. So I move to put the trade away for ever. And Germano who the Reds dealt to Philly last year was CUT by the Phils. The Question is how can the Organization adress the needs of the team without making the errors of the past. In part they are doing it now. Bring up the kids let them pitch here. We are 13 games out. Build the shambled pen around old man Weathers and the youngsters of Gosling, Coutlangus, bring up Livingstone and insert him in the Rotation. Have Kyle Loshe start ONLY at Great American Ballpark because his home splits are great. That is enough to re-sign him now. That is only a thought.

  21. Trading Players on the Roster. Hattieburg is on fire as of late and would be a good target for a team who needs a bat off the bench. He has a whole chapter devoted to him in Moneyball and that will be appealing to those teams. The problem with him is that he cant hit left handed hitting in his career. My best guess is to keep him around to groom Votto. Conine he is similar to Hattieburg but older. Phillips, Gonzalez I would not trade. EE see Austin Kearns. Dunn will opt out for 500K see the recent contracts signed by Hafner and Ichro. Griffey is a 10-5 player. Hamilton I would not trade. Pitchers. Harang and Bailey, Gosling and Coutlangus I would not trade. Everyone else I would.

  22. I’m looking at Kearns and Lopez’s numbers. They play every day. At the major league level. As suspect as their numbers have been, that is head and shoulders above anyone that the Reds received in the trade.

    At this time of the trade last year, Lopez was on pace for 40+ steals and 100+ runs. Kearns for 100 runs and 100 RBI. Wily Mo Pena by himself netted Bronson Arroyo. Lopez and Kearns combined wasn’t worth more than that to someone else?

    Trading Lopez/Kearns isn’t the issue. Not trading Lopez/Kearns doesn’t mean the A-Gon/Hamilton wouldn’t have been signed. I especially think any arguments of Hamilton vs Kearns is VERY weak. The Reds were in a position to take a flier on Hamilton in the Rule V draft, and they would have done that regardless of Kearns being on the roster or not. Hamilton being an everyday starter was Krivsky’s wet dream in February. Most Rule V draftees are returned to their team. The ones that stick are often 25th men on a roster.

  23. GregD,

    Most guys in the Ruyle 5 draft aren’t former number one picks.

    The one thing the Reds can boast is that they are never short of a few outfielders. Time has told us that we have them to spare. If it isn’t Encarnacion, its Guillen, or its Willy Mo, or its Kearns, or its Denorfia. Next it will be Dunn. Why not get value while you can. He is going to demand $75 million and maybe without Milton you can afford it. However, In a hitters park it will prove much easier to replace our corner fielders than any other position. You might not get Adam Dunn’s 40/100 but it isn’t impractical to expect 30/80 out of an above average replacement at that spot. With Bruce and now Hamilton, we again can afford to get better in other areas.

    The point is that despite the fact these guys are talented young players they are movable pieces.

    What’s not so movable are really good bullpen guys. The best of the best on the market are Linebrink, Gagne, and Otsuka. As you know the great pen arms are rare and as such the price is dramatically overvalued. Dunn might only get you Hensley and a prospect or two.

    So in the end it might seem like you are patching a dam with bubble gum but the state of the game – Ichiro $100 million? – that’s the game you have to play.

Comments are closed.