This showed up in my inbox this afternoon:

Dear Fans,

Thank you for your loyalty and support of the Cincinnati Reds. You are extremely vital to the success of the Reds, and it is important we share with you the thinking behind our recent personnel decisions.

Since taking ownership of this franchise, we have aggressively tried to improve our Major League roster for the purpose of restoring championship baseball to Cincinnati. We have sought and signed proven players. We have extended the contracts of select current players. We added Dusty Baker, a proven winning manager. And, we have capitalized on our burgeoning younger players like Joey Votto, Jay Bruce and Johnny Cueto.

We had high expectations for the 2008 season. Unfortunately the team has not played up to our expectations and we have sustained injuries to key players within our starting lineup and rotation.

We opted to trade Ken Griffey Jr. and Adam Dunn at this time because we believe it provided the best outcome for the long-term success of the organization. By executing these inevitable changes now, we secured more players as part of our focus towards building a deeper, stronger inventory of young talent.

We are pleased that the trades allow Griffey and Dunn the opportunity to play for teams in tight division races. Both Ken and Adam made significant contributions to the Reds and we are extremely proud and grateful they wore the Reds uniform.

While the run production generated by these two veterans will not be quickly replaced, we chose to endure the short-term ramifications for the sake of building a strong, competitive team for 2009 and many seasons to come.

The vast majority of our 50 draft picks were signed, culminating last week with first-rounder Yonder Alonso and a pair of talented pitchers. Our expanded scouting operations also signed
Juan Duran from the Dominican Republic and Yorman Rodriguez from Venezuela, who are arguably the best amateur free agent position players from their respective countries.

As we near September, we will continue to provide valuable playing time to our young players and new acquisitions who we feel can become significant contributors at the Major League level. We ask your continued trust and patience as we build the roster that will get us back on top. We appreciate your support and look forward to seeing you at the ballpark.

Sincerely,

Bob Castellini
President & CEO

Walt Jocketty
President of Baseball Operations & GM

Thoughts?

34 Responses

  1. Thomas

    I received the same, as I’m sure many other loyal fans did…it’s good to see they understand who the customer is, and the need for communication. All good moves thus far – patience required.

  2. Mike

    I think this e-mail should be appreciated and shows some class from the organization, I just wish that the inevitability of this choice would have been realized last spring and that we would have spent all of the 2008 season with the prime focus being on developing this team for 2009 and beyond.

  3. Phill

    Reminds me of the letter that the Indians FO sent out when they traded CC. It’s very nice and I for one am glad that they decided to this.

  4. Bill

    So, I’m the only one that sees this as a CYA letter? “Oh, we told you we’d compete this year, but since we didn’t….”

    Or it could be between the Reds and the Bengals, I’ve gotten to the point that I don’t believe a word that management says. I’m living in Missouri, “Show me”.

  5. nycredsfan

    I appreciate the gesture, although at this point I don’t see competing in 2009, and I’m afraid they aren’t going to truly rebuild because they think they can be good next year. All in all though, this was a classy move.

  6. Chad

    Whatever, Bob and Walt. As far as I’m concerned there is NO reason to give this organization the benefit of the doubt. They haven’t earned it.

  7. Chad

    for the sake of building a strong, competitive team for 2009…

    Good grief. The Reds are going to completely suck next year. If they are competitive, I’ll rename this site “Jocketty Nation.”

    These guys don’t have a clue what they are doing, and I’m not falling into the trap of giving them the benefit of the doubt just because I’m trying to be optimistic.

    ‘ve reached my tipping point. I’m tired of losing, and have no confidence in the current management to change things.

  8. Chad

    One last thing: I said I’d rename this site, but I’m not entirely sure this site will still exist. I have completely lost my enthusiasm for the Reds. I’m sick of living and dying with a team that has had 8 straight losing seasons, has little hope of emerging with a decent team in the very near future…and are below the Pirates and Royals this year.

  9. doug

    Does the phrase ‘Dusty Baker is a proven winner’ make anyone else want to throw up at the idea that the guys running our team actually believe that?

  10. CeeKeR

    Chad, I agree with your thoughts completely. I’ve been a lifelong Reds fan, but this year was the first year that I basically “gave up” on them…and they’ve had some truly awful years lately too.

    For the first time, I can’t say “there’s always next year” with any hope…I don’t see how they can possibly be competitive in the NL Central next year with the team they have…and there isn’t a lot on the free agent market (nor will they probably be active anyhow)… I hope I’m wrong, but I doubt it.

  11. mike

    read the letter closely and then ask yourself does it say ANYTHING?????

    It doesn’t apologize for the horrible season, the mis-spending of money, Corey Patterson, getting nothing in return for Dunn, Dusty, or LOSING.

    It sort of implies we got something in return for Dunn and Jr and essentially we didn’t. The pitcher from Arizona could be the #5 right now but he isn’t officially the other player because of issues with waivers right??

    Playing the youth? Then why is Patterson playing all the time, not that we have any “youth” to play in his spot. Dunn was only 28.

    Sure Bruce, EE, Cueto and Votto have all been given a shot but even then it was a fight to get Bruce in the lineup instead of Patterson and Votto in the lineup instead of Hatteberg.

    What does this letter really say? Anything?

    this line is one of the few of substance.
    We opted to trade Ken Griffey Jr. and Adam Dunn at this time because we believe it provided the best outcome for the long-term success of the organization.

    does trading Dunn “provide the best outcome fro the long-term success”?? How is that? More money to spend on Manny? Will it get spent? And will that person be better than Dunn?

    I think this letter is trying to lighten the heat they are taking for trading Dunn for very little and like the end of the letter say, nobody is going to the game and they “hope” we do.

    the letter is a bunch of smoke

  12. Shawn

    Chad, stop holding back. It’s bad for the digestion.

    One way to look at it is this: how many team’s fans have had to wait longer than since 1990 for their team to win the World Series?

  13. Phill

    It wasn’t a fight to get Bruce or Votto into the lineup. Dusty played Votto against righties and most lefties and Hatte against tough lefties. Then he stopped the platoon within the first month(I may be wrong on that one) and Votto was given full play time. Bruce came up and has started almost every game except a few when he was given a night off here and there especially when he was slumping really hard.

    They didn’t get nothing for Dunn. They got a prospect A pitcher, a defensive minor league catcher and a MLB-ready pitcher who happens to be the best hitting pitcher in baseball.

    They weren’t bringing Dunn back. They weren’t going to offer arbitration to risk for 2 draft picks. Even if the three guys don’t pan out it doesn’t really matter.

  14. justcorbly

    Thoughts?

    “Win now” is done, as it should be. The team that took the field in April was incapable of winning.
    Reaching .500, maybe. Winning, no way.

    Lawt year’s team sucked. The pitching has sucked for years. The difference between this year and last year is that, with Volquez, the pitching doesn’t always suck. And sometimes with Cueto and Arroyo, but you can’t count on it.

  15. Kurt Frost

    Dear Mr. Castellini and Mr. Jocketty:

    How are you getting our young players valuable playing time when Dusty Baker will not stop playing Paul Bako and Corey Patterson. Hopefully, neither one of these players have a future with the Reds, because neither one of them are any good. Please make Dusty stop playing automatic outs in the 7th and 8th spot in the batting order. Thank you for your attention to this matter.

    Thank you,

    Kurt Frost

  16. david

    Chad – Please explain to me how winning 82 games matters? In the grand scheme of things, really. What does it do? What is so great about a winning season if you don’t make it to the postseason?

    If the Reds hadn’t traded Dunn they would have maybe, MAYBE finished around .500. Maybe they get that magical 82 but then what?

    Dunn made it clear he was leaving. So get two draft picks or get Micah Owings who is major league ready today. I totally understand the moves.

    Maybe you are irritated that the Reds said “financially we can’t afford to sign Dunn.” Were you going to pay $5.00 more a ticket? Were you going to pay $1.00 more a hotdog? $3.00 more for a program? That’s what would have happened had they signed Dunn to the 100 million dollar contract he wanted.

    In addition, there is no guarantee this roster wins with Dunn. Dunn was on this roster as it lost game, after game, after game.

    If the Reds are going to drop 100 to 120 million on a ballplayer it better be a pitcher of CC’s caliber or a five tool position player. 100 runs, 100 rbi, and 100 walks is unbelieveable – don’t get me wrong, but is it worth 100 million? No. Not in my opinion. That money is reserved for the top 5-10 players in the game and Dunn isn’t one of them.

  17. mhopp

    From top to bottom and all management in between this team sucks. I can’t imagine why any player would want to sign with them. The General Manager and Owner don’t even have the balls to tell their manager (Crusty Baker) to stop playing Corey Patterson and the other lovers he has.

  18. mhopp

    David-I think the word you’re looking for is “Patience” or lack thereof…The Reds fans are just simply sick of hearing the same crap year after year after year. It doesn’t matter whether or not they traded Dunn…they will suck next year. People have no patience left, and with Dusty Baker (who admittedly prefers and works better with veterans) is controlling too much then even with young talent they’ll still lose. Firing Dusty Baker is the best move this team could make.

  19. Matt Steele

    A few things

    1) I appreciate the fact that they reached out to the fans, even if I disagree with some of the things they say

    2) Dunn has said many times that he has no idea what Bronson was talking about and he never ever said that sort of number. We can speculate what he might have wanted but we also have to remember that he would have gone to arbitration and chances are, we would have just re-signed him for one more year and then either traded him or let him walk.

    3) I’ve lost a lot of enthusiasm for the Reds this year as well for the first time since I can remember liking baseball. It’s been a very frustrating end to the season and I’m not sure what next year will hold, but since Dunn was traded (my absolute favorite player on my favorite team) I’ve just struggled to get back into it. I have only seen the Reds play about 4 innings in post Adam Dunn baseball. I’ll come around eventually, but right now, it’s just not at the top of my priorities.

  20. Kevin

    The value of the Dunn trade is arguable. I think the point here is that the value of this letter is pretty close to nothing. This is how I see this letter.

    “Walt, nobody’s watching the games or coming to Great American Ballpark. What should we do? If we don’t get ratings and attendance up somehow, we’re going to be screwed.”

    “Well, there’s always the ‘letter to the fans’ thing talking about loyalty and hope.”

    I don’t feel like this is honestly a really honorable thing. The fact is, whatever they give us is just another cog in the ratings-advertising-capital apparatus.

    That being said, the drive to put together a winning team is also a cog in the rating-advertising-capital apparatus as well, so we can trust that they are actually trying to do something.

    You guys are right, though, this is the first time that I really haven’t had much hope for next year. I do thing the youth movement really could pay off, but it looks like 2010 is the next time we’re going to have much hope to contend. They want to say otherwise, but that’s because they can’t afford to have us give up on the team in 2009, they need attendance and ratings.

    I personally never will renounce being a fan of this team. Hoping we’re going to contend is a different issue. But I’m a Reds fan. The fact is jumping ship because we’re so deep in this hole is not what a true fan does. Bummer that we suck and probably will suck in 2009 too, but we’re Reds fans. That’s the deal. I guess we’re going to go 20 years without a world series, but how many years did Cincinnati go without a world series before the Big Red Machine came around? 35! As far as I’m concerned, that’s the story for small market teams. We have to work for it, we have to be patient.

  21. david

    Matt – you absolutely hit it when you said he was your favorite player on your favorite team. Dunn was a favorite but that doesn’t mean that moving him wasn’t exactly the right decision. If anything sometimes an uberfan can’t be objective. As much as bloggers want to say they are objective, they aren’t.

  22. Chris

    I agree with Chad, Bill, mhopp, and everyone who expressed cynicism and frustration.

    This letter isn’t worth the paper it isn’t printed on. Talk is cheap – do something. Besides contradict yourself at every step.

    “We’re going to win now. No, we’re going to rebuild. No, we’re going to win now and rebuild. Losing is unacceptable. No, we’re going to punt this season and take a look at some youngsters.”

    I know these guys mean well, but like Chad, I’ve given them (and their predecessors the benefit of the doubt just too many times.

    Like Bill, I’ve mentally moved to Missouri, the “Show me” state.

    I would encourage every Reds fan to write their own letters to Bob and Walt, setting out our view of the organization, and our plan for the future.

    Feel free to copy us, if you like, and we’ll run them.

  23. nick in va

    I’m not ready to throw in the towel yet. I’ve got to give Jocketty time and what are the other options? Root for the Cubs? Sorry, never happen. That’s a treasonous offense.

    Also, if you say that Dunn never got a fair shake, are you giving Jocketty a fair shake when he has only been on the job 5 months or so?

    Actually, with all the pessimism I’m going to go out right now and say the Reds will win 85 games next year and 96 in 2010, despite Dusty Baker.

    If we really want to change the team then we should get together a group of investors and buy them. Problem solved.

  24. Dave from Louisville

    Chad – I agree with your point. This team sucks.

    But you fail to recognize that in order to build the team that succeeds next year, these moves are neccessary.

    Walt’s bringing the “Change we can believe in.”

  25. Matt Steele

    haha yeah I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve been irrational and I’ve probably “attacked” people more than I should have on here sometimes. I’m happy to see Dunn hit a homer though tonight.

    I won’t give up on the Reds, but it’s taking some time to feel a desire to watch them at the moment. Especially with Ohio State football coming up (I’d say NFL but…… if there’s one team worse than the Reds, it’s probably the Bengals)

  26. Chad

    Chad – I agree with your point. This team sucks.

    But you fail to recognize that in order to build the team that succeeds next year, these moves are neccessary.

    Well, IMO, the chances that this team will succeed next year are ZERO. ZERO. The Reds are going to lose 100 games next year.

    Listen, if you want to trust in Walt, more power to you. I can’t argue with you, because I’ve done the exact same thing in the past.

    Not anymore. This franchise is in no less disarray than they were under Bowden, and I’m not going to close my eyes and blindly support them anymore.

    Walt Jocketty has a good track record, but I have been VERY unimpressed with anything he has done since coming to Cincinnati. Yes, it’s early, but he has given me no reason to think he’s any better than what we had before. So until he proves otherwise, I’m not going to make the mistake AGAIN of believing in these guys.

    And that means I’m done spending money on the Reds…other than the money I’m spending to host this site every month. And I’m even having second thoughts about that.

  27. Bill

    Chad, I agree with 99% of what you’re saying…but I will say that this team has more young talent at both the major league level and in the minor league system than it has in many, many, many years…that’s one difference.

    Is it enough of a difference? I’m not counting on it and I don’t have any faith in the leadership of this team either.

  28. justcorbly

    Baseball owners owe no explanations or apologies to fans. They want to win because winning drives revenue. They aren’t in the business to keep us happy.

    The fact that this letter was released indicates that ownership and management knows fans are unhappy. This regime holds information tightly, so it should surprise no one that the letter provides no real insights into their decisions.

    As fans, we need ro understand how bad this team has been for several years, and how, until recently, the farm system would have been better used for raising cattle and pigs than generating baseball players.

    The “Win Now” theory is a hoax. No one can change a fundamentally bad team into a winner in a few months. Sometimes teams rebound from bad years because players were not playing up to their potential. That’s not the case for the Reds. What we’ve been seeing is what we got: The best they could deliver. No way they were, or are, going to blossom into champions.

    Unless the teams decides that they can afford to sign 8 starters to $15-$20 million contracts, we fans need to get used to riding a rollercoaster. When the Reds win, it will because they were lucky enough to field a handful of outstanding young players. Then, a few years down the road, those players will price themselves out of the Reds’ reach, and the cycle will start again.

  29. Dan

    What worries me a bit is the line, “We have sought and signed proven players.”

    It’s the word “proven” that I think shows how Castellini views the goal, and if that is really what drives the decision-making around here, then the Reds will be mediocre for a long time.

    “Proven” players will be older, and more expensive.

    “Proven” players will also probably be on in the decline phase of their careers.

    Turning the Reds around has absolutely NOTHING to do with signing proven free agents. I am convinced that free agency is for teams that want to win NOW and are only a player or two away.

    That is not where the Reds are.

    The Reds need more of these types of players. Note where they came from – not a single free agent in the bunch!

    Volquez (traded for at age 24)
    Cueto (draft)
    Phillips (traded for at age 24)
    Votto (draft)

    Going for “proven” players doesn’t get you any of the guys above. It gets you 30-somethings who are overpaid and who often will disappoint.

    “Proven” is for risk-averse people. We specifically need to be targeting good but unproven players (get them before their value “pops”) — like the guys above. Like Hamilton, too, who Krivsky plucked from Tampa in the Rule V draft.

    Think how bad this team would be without that Hamilton move (and then the Volquez move).

  30. CeeKeR

    I’ve written my thoughts on the matter on my own blog which you can find here if you wish.