The big news from last night as it relates to the Cincinnati Reds was that the organization hired Kyle Boddy from Driveline Baseball to be their new Director of Pitching Initiatives / Pitching Coordinator at the Minor League level. Cincinnati made the sale to Boddy to pry him away from more than a few teams that were vying for him, including the Chicago Cubs. In baseball circles this is a pretty big deal. For a team that’s had trouble developing pitchers of their own it’s a really big deal. With that said, I don’t want to rehash much of what I wrote at RedsMinorLeagues.com this morning, so if you want to read a lot more about the hire of Kyle Boddy, you can click here and head on over that way.
Buried a bit in the news of that hire, it’s a former Driveline Baseball pitcher who got a promotion of sorts within the organization. Caleb Cotham, who pitched for the Reds briefly before retiring due to injuries, went to Driveline after his playing days to learn as much as he could and turned that into a job as assistant pitching coach with Cincinnati last year. Yesterday he was promoted, sort of. While he will still be the assistant pitching coach, he’s also got a new title: Director of Pitching.
This is just another move made by the organization to try and step forward. There’s been a massive overhaul in the organization’s hierarchy in the last 18 months. Here’s a look at the front office, scouting, and player development group at the start of the year. Things are highlighted for roles to begin 2019 as compared to the beginning of 2018. And of the last few days, also roles that are no longer held by Milt Thompson and Billy Hatcher. Tony Fossas is remaining with the organization, but the role he held has been expanded and taken over by Kyle Boddy.
Now, the chart above shows a massive overhaul as it is. But that also doesn’t include what’s happened at the Major League level, either. Nearly the entire coaching staff was replaced from 2018. And new roles were added, too.
The Cincinnati Reds are going about business in a very different manner than they have in the past. They’ve decided in the last year plus that things needed to change. And they needed to change in a lot of different ways and areas.
What we’ve seen Cincinnati do is go about changing not just who is in charge of many roles when it comes to acquiring talent. We’ve seen in how to develop that talent. They’ve put systems in place, people in place – all to try and get the most out of the what is in the organization. And when it comes to the scouting, to try and get more talent into the organization.
That leaves one area left where the organization hasn’t addressed much. And it’s been an area where they’ve been behind most of baseball for decades. That area is free agency. The largest free agent deal ever handed out by the Reds was to Francisco Cordero prior to the 2008 season. He got 4-years and $48M. The next largest deal went to Eric Milton. He got 3-years and $25.5M. The largest contract ever given out by the Reds to a position player? Well that goes to Ryan Ludwick. Including the buyout, he was paid $17M for his 3-year deal.
Cincinnati hasn’t exactly been stingy giving up deals to players that they already had in their organization. Ken Griffey Jr. landed a big time deal worth over $100M. Homer Bailey and Joey Votto were both extended for big time deals, too. But the Reds have basically ignored the entire free agent market aside from small, bottom-of-the-barrel signings. Or if they haven’t, they’ve simply come up short on their offers for the last two decades. They’ve acted in different ways of late in many areas. Free agency should hopefully be the next one. While they can’t, or won’t likely compete for the $150+M players – they could compete in that middle market with anyone if they chose to.