2017 Reds

All of a Sudden, I Trust the Front Office

gabp

As Dick Williams has taken on more and more power in the Reds’ front office over the last year, I have found myself suddenly agreeing with more and more of the decisions that Reds have made regarding player personnel. Consider the following events:

  1. In June, the Reds had what was generally regarded as the best draft of any team. Their top pick, Nick Senzel was a well-rounded player whose most impressive skill is the ability to get on base. This same player has even expressed that he believes getting on base is the most important thing.
  2. The Reds, in a heads up move, also managed to sign T.J. Friedl, a highly regarded college prospect whose eligibility for the draft was missed by literally everyone.
  3. The Reds have become more analytical and more thorough in the way their prospects are developed. The recent decision to add more coaches is part of this. But I was also told last season by people with the Louisville Bats that there has been much more focus on biomechanics and other advanced developmental tools at the minor league level.
  4. The Reds, in signing Drew Storen, made exactly the kind of low-risk, high-reward move that they need to get them through this upcoming transitional season.
  5. The Reds, in trading Dan Straily, actually bought low and sold high. Let me say that again. The Reds bought low and sold high. The Reds. The Cincinnati Reds. This is a thing they did.

To be sure, there are some things that I still question. Some of the international signings seem questionable to me, but I also know enough to know that you can’t tell very much about such players until they’re in the organization. Our understanding of how players’ stats translate from one level of pro-ball to the next is, to say the least, incomplete. Never mind international free agents. This is what scouts are for. And presumably, the same people who were involved in the fabulous 2016 draft are also involved in making these decisions.

By no means am I saying that I will no longer cast a careful analytical eye at the moves the Reds make. However, I’ve found myself no longer defaulting to “uh-oh” whenever the Reds make a move, and that is encouraging (if only for our collective mental health).

If the organization can continue on this current path and avoid the kind of boneheaded moves that saw Skip Schumaker “hitting” and Alfredo Simon “pitching” for the Reds, I will be further encouraged. If they can somehow manage to clear the infield logjam before Opening Day (or even shortly thereafter), I will be ecstatic. And if they show patience with their young players and allow them to work through initial difficulties that may crop up in the majors instead of leaning on past-their-prime veterans, I will know that the rebuild has a real chance of working.

I’ve spent much of the last few years hoping the Reds would prove me wrong. Now, I suddenly find myself hoping they prove me right. That’s a nice change.

24 thoughts on “All of a Sudden, I Trust the Front Office

  1. Agree with this, things are looking up in a lot of ways, hopefully the “rookie mistakes” become learning stepping stones for DW and the FO…mistakes such as:

    1 – Inability to make 2 trades at the same time at the deadline last season. Apparently the Bruce trade took up all resources leaving a Cozart trade on the table with Seattle. Granted, there are factors we don’t know about that caused this to fail, but from the outside looking in it just looked like the FO was antiquated/inept and couldn’t get 2 deals done at the same time.

    2 – The bungling of the BP trade to Atlanta. Say what you wish about BP, but the FO admitted to not holding up their end of the bargain when it came to notifying BP of a possible deal before processing said deal. Simple mistakes that CAN’T be made.

    3 – Pigeon holing Lorenzen/Iglesias for bullpen duties before the start of ST. Not sure why you do this, unless they know something we don’t about each player’s health. Storen/Iglesias/Lorenzen in the ‘pen and not Hoover/Ohlendorf makes the relief staff instantly better, but taking those 2 out of the starting pitching competition out of the gate for 2017 doesn’t make a lot of sense, especially considering there are only 2 players guaranteed to make the rotation (Disco and Homer).

    4 – The Logjam. This goes with #1 and #2, but just the fact that they have let this play out to this point is a little disconcerting. This is the FO’s making and their’s alone. They still have time to clear this up, and they might do it, but options have dwindled. As it stands now, Cozart and BP are the starters. The Opening Day lineup will tell us a lot about what this “rebuild” really means to the FO. (NOTE: I’m a BP fan and would be ok with him playing for the Reds in 2017, but the FO has now agitated and bungled this situation to the point of making it nearly toxic. I’m of the belief that it might be better to just cut BP and move on if you can’t trade him, something I would not have said before the trade to Atlanta fiasco.)

    • 1. The reds had a red flag on Gerado(?), the player, later traded, that they offered the reds for cozart. no other deal was made with Seattle, I’m not sure this is solely on the reds.
      2. B P blocked several trades, it looks like he’d like to stick it to the reds. If he really wanted to go to atl, he should have gone.
      3. I agree on Lorenzen. I’m also puzzled why he apparently isn’t given the opportunity to compete for a starting role in S T. It was stated some time ago by the reds that Ig’s shoulder problems would preclude him from the rigors of starting.
      4. Agree that they may end up cutting B P, I wouldn’t mind if Cozart stayed as a super sub, if he would accept that role. I think that once he shows he’s healthy in spring training, he’ll have some trade value.

  2. I’m coming around as well, but with a huge caveat—-unless they come out and explicitly cite health, giving Lorenzen a shot at starting again will be a litmus test for me. This move/non-move would speak to a couple of my pet peeve issues at once:
    1. Utilizing advanced metrics that point out the vast improvement in his repertoire.
    2. Exerting more control over the manager as it relates to player usage.

    • Why in the world would the Reds ever speak publicly about any concern they may have regarding Lorenzen’s arm or shoulder?

  3. My trust will be cemented if BP starts fewer than 81 games for the Reds this season.

        • It’s certainly possible that there’s nothing they can really do to fix the problem.

          If the problem was that the Reds promised him things that they simply can’t offer him now, it’s out of their hands entirely. If they promised him, say, money if they wanted to trade him (let’s say some of his money is deferred, but if traded they told him they’d pay it to him today), but now the owner isn’t having that for whatever reason, that’s tough to put on the current GM. Granted, I guess you can still lay it at the feet of the current front office, since the owner is technically a part of that – but to me that’s stretching things pretty far.

          I don’t know. I just see more than a few scenarios where there’s very little that Dick Williams and company can do to fix past promises that weren’t upheld.

          • Thought one of the promises was that the FO would talk to BP before making a trade involving him. This apparently didn’t happen in the discussions with Atlanta.

            That’s the new regime’s fault, and a major reason why I’m still leery of trusting these people.

  4. I am, by no means, bullish on the direction of this team at this time. I still do not see the parts to compete as a championship team. Many holes in the line-up and pitching staff.

    • Ostensibly, the kids we have now will mature into future Good Players or maybe even All-Star levels. Between Herrera, Peraza, Senzel, Suarez, Winker, and BHam, the Reds have at the very least tons of potential on tap that they are counting on maturing and delivering.

      The same goes with the pitching staff. Disco has morphed into a dependable starter at the very least. From the crop of other young pitchers they have, they should be able to fashion a pitching staff that ranges from somewhere between average to very good.

      It’s all about potential right now. The Reds are in the oven, and this is the season to let them bake and see how they turn out.

  5. I agree that there are “some” positive signs in the FO. Unfortunately there are still some lingering issues that still seem to effect the Reds. Many of those have already been mentioned above. But you are right Jason there at least may be a little ray of hope here. The calendar is moving towards spring training and “hope springs eternal within the human breast.”

  6. I am encouraged that the Reds have a younger, analytic minded GM in the corner office. If the direction is to start Peraza and Herrera at short and second on opening day, I’ll be even more encouraged.

  7. As ro trusting them…SMALL SAMPLE SIZE!
    However there are encouraging signs. Scott Carter above, put it well.
    Yippee, you have it right on points 2 & 4 above. The logjam has got to be handled one way or another. At this point, I can see no scenario in which things will go well for us this year unless FO proves their mettle and somehow, someway resolves the BP hot mess.
    Whether that is all on Jocketty or not, DW is now on the hot seat regarding this and at the risk of being dogmatic, it MUST be resolved. In my mind, as others have said BP must either be traded or cut. It is past time to cut bait or fish. This single point will be a real test of DW’s abilities. We are all anxious to see how it plays out…time is ticking Dick!
    But hey, at least Jocketty now ‘upstairs’ and somewhat out of the way!

    • You are assuming the decision is DW’s to make. It is very possible that, barring a trade, word comes down from ownership that BP plays. Big Bob may not look favorably on paying $14 million for BP to ride the pine or worse yet just go away.

      And yes, I understand the concept of sunk costs quite well, but it’s not so easy to justify when it’s your money.

      • Agree with this. People also need to factor in what his teammates and other players and dugout personnel in baseball would feel about a move such as simply releasing BP.

      • The longer the BP situation continues the more confident I become of 2 things:

        1. He has contract language that accelerates his deferred money if he’s DFA or if overall payroll drops below a specified level

        2. The commissioners office and players union are ok with tanking….if done the right way. If you trade everything of value for younger players and you suck then you’re just playing who you have. If you have a player like BP, who arguably enhances your chances to win today and you sit him then your’re tanking the way they don’t want.

        I could be completely wrong…but I’m gaining confidence.

  8. I typically spend the winter in fear of, actually in terror of, another bonehead move by our FO. For example, the signing of Wieters would be absolutely nonsensical. We agree that it is desirable to shed Phillips and Cozart in order to move ahead with a rebuild, Adding Wieters would be adding yet another veteran blocking the development of younger talent.

    This is the first winter in a very long time I feel good about management making wise decisions, such as signing Drew Storen and choosing to leave Wieters alone.

    • Weiters signing could be a gold mine. I want the Reds to sign as many 1 year vets as they can, play them and flip 2 or 3 or 4 at the all-star break, adding another couple of good young hitters and pitchers to their own top 5 and top 10 prospect list.

      It’s an easy, easy way to supplement the farm on top of the draft. They could be overflowing with talented, CHEAP players for the next 7 years + if they’d do this. The Braves make a point of doing this and I have no doubt they’ll flip one of those 40 year old starters for a top 10 prospect, maybe both of them. If the Reds don’t flip Storen and another signed 1 year vet or two, just opportunity lost is all it is.

      Now, of course, should Wieters demand a multi-year deal, then make it team friendly so he cans till be traded, otherwise pass (unless it is a few million a year, then jump on it as Wieters can still hit well and play well). Right now we have NO MLB catcher that is very good. Mesoraco, a bigger ? than even Homer Bailey and may not catch much again (DH in AL maybe).

      Phillips and Cozart are blocking high end prospects. Wieters would NOT be blocking anything. Our catching prospects are a year or two away (Clemson catcher) and 4 or 5 years away (Stephenson). Trade Wieters if he is playing well (no NTC) or trade Mesoraco or even Barnhart at the July deadline.

      • Right… As I said above “if the price is right.” Wieters on a 1-year deal in my opinion doesn’t make much sense. Why spend that kind of money when the Reds won’t be competitive and catchers are often a bit tricky to flip at the deadline? A two year deal however gives the Reds a starting catcher they should be able to count on in the first year of the next competitive window (2018). Has to be the right deal though. Wieters at 2/$20-million is probably a solid deal. Wieters at 2/$24-million or higher and it starts to make less sense. Wieters at anything over 2 years is probably taking on too much risk too. It has to be the right deal.

    • Not sure which younger talent at catcher Wieters would be blocking in 2017. Michael E’s strategy of signing vets and trading them for good prospects at the deadline makes ostensible sense, but I’d think that it presupposes that the vets played well and stayed healthy, so it certainly carries real risk, doesn’t it?

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