Reds History – How’s Wayne Measuring Up?


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Reds’ brass praised.

The Reds got some high praise in the Sports Illustrated midseason report.

The club’s front office was named the best in baseball for the first half of the season.

The report, due on newsstands today, says: “New general manager Wayne Krivsky quickly made his mark with two moves that have been central to his club’s strong start: He traded outfielder Wily Mo Peña to Boston for right-hander Bronson Arroyo (9 -4, 2.58) in March, then dealt a lightly regarded prospect to Cleveland for second baseman Brandon Phillips (.314, seven homers, 43 RBI) in April. Both players should be in Pittsburgh for the All-Star Game on July 11.

Knock me down with a feather, if you ever pondered how quick a turnaround could be don’t waste your time, just look toward Cincinnati and check out the Reds.

Hired less then six months ago as the new General Manager Wayne Krivsky has made great headway in turning the Reds ship around. To many the proof will be in the winning record, from my vantage point that is a fringe benefit, and after 5 years of miserable, self induced mediocrity the Reds franchise is creeping out of the hole known as shame and standing tall in the world of baseball, and evidently they are getting noticed for something other than the stink that came from the front office and the historically bad pitching.

It’s about time.

Where does this current GM stand when measured against his predecessors in the GM office in Cincinnati?

Since the state of the game off the field has changed so much in the last 30 years it wouldn’t be fair to measure Krivsky against all the GM’s in Reds history, so well just slide back 22 years and start our study with the man who replaced Bob Howsam (when he left for the second time) Bill Bergesch and we’ll run it right up to the recently lauded Krivsky and his incomplete run at restoring confidence in a team that has lost more than just games the past five years.

Bill Bergesch – Hired October 1984
Former Title – Director of Baseball Operations – New York Yankees.

First Move – Keefe Cato to San Diego for Darren Burroghs. Bergesch made only 2 trades in his first 8 months on the job.

Most Famous Player Traded First – Cesar Cedeno was traded to the Cardinals in August for Mark Jackson. Cesar was out of the game the next year but strung together 76 magical at bats for the NL pennant winners.

Most Famous Trade Pickup – Buddy Bell, 10 months in to the job Bergesch made his first significant trade and it was steal, trading Duane Walker and Jeff Russell in mid July of 1985.

Best Young Player Pickup – Slow on the draw was Bergesch’s main problem it took him 15 months to pick up a future impact Red, once again though it was steal, with the Reds relinquishing Wayne Krenchicki and ending up with Norm Charlton.

See Ya – Who’d he cut? – Every GM usually comes aboard with a plan and often that doesn’t include the former regimes players. So the axe often swings freely, in Bergesch’s tenure the axe took down longtime Reds Frank Pastore.

Biggest Mistake – Being slow with the trade trigger was Bill’s biggest headache and it would eventually cost him his job as he held on to both the Reds shortstop prospects and the quickly multiplying outfield prospects.

First Draft – Bergesch endeared himself to Reds fans forever by being the GM who chose Barry Larkin with the 4th pick in the 1985 draft.

Murray Cook – Hired October 1987
Former Title: Montreal GM and Yankee Employee.

First Move – – Unlike his predecessor Cook started off with a bang, trading Kurt Stillwell for left hander Danny Jackson, who would be a major player for the Reds for the next few years.

Most Famous Player Traded First – Targeting pitching was Cooks first order of business, so he moved Dave Parker for Jose Rijo and Tim Birtsas.

Most Famous Trade Pickup – Danny Jackson was an established starter who immediately strengthened the Reds weak staff.

Best Young Player Pickup – Jose Rijo would go on to be one of the best pitchers in team history.

See Ya – Who’d he cut? – Cook was the man who sent Tom Hume into the coaching profession in the autumn of 1987.

Biggest Mistake – Saddled without a first round choice in the 1988 draft Cook took Jeff Branson with the number one pick, in a draft that was largely disappointing from top to bottom for the Reds.

First Draft – See above.

Bob Quinn – Hired October 1989
Former Title: Yankee Employee

First Move – – It almost seems common with Reds general managers, the first deal is usually a deal for arms, and in Cook’s case it was no different, in December he sent John Franco to the Mets for Randy Meyers and Kip Gross.

Most Famous Player Traded First – John Franco was the Reds closer and a fan favorite, evidently he was easy to replace.

Most Famous Trade Pickup – Billy Hatcher/Bill Doran. Not looking for big name players Quinn’s biggest names acquired would both play roles in the 1990 teams run for the title, and neither would cost more then a middling prospect.

Best Young Player Pickup – Quinn’s 2nd trade was a steal for the Reds as Quinn picked the pocket of his former employers the Yankees and traded Tim Leary and Van Snider for Hal Morris.

See Ya – Who’d he cut? – Quinn was the man responsible finally getting Dave Collins of the field of play.

Biggest Mistake – The man drove the bus to the World Series in his first season, we’ll give this one a pass.

First Draft – In Quinn’s first draft he created what some consider a cardinal sin, he drafted a catcher with his first pick. Holy Steve Swisher, it didn’t fail… nor impress many either.

Jim Bowden – Hired October 1993
Former Title: Reds Front Office (Via Yankees and Pirates)

First Move – Jim Bowden tried to reverse the jinx of the first round catcher pick by jettisoning Dan Wilson to the Mariners for Eric Hanson and Bret Boone.

Most Famous Player Traded First – Bowden’s most famous player move was a telltale sign of an obsession that still follows him to this day, the swift centerfielder type is Jim Bowden’s dream player, the man obviously has a weakness for centerfielders and his career is littered with examples, it starts with his first trade as a Reds GM when he traded Roberto Kelly for Deion Sanders, thus beginning the long back and forth between Deion and the city.

Most Famous Trade Pickup – Deion Sanders was celebrity, and a so-so baseball player, he made a splash in Cincinnati time and time again, but no more then when he first showed up.

Best Young Player Pickup – Bret Boone anchored the Reds middle infield until 1998 and helped the Reds get Denny Neagle for the 1999 team.

See Ya – Who’d he cut? – Bowden didn’t see a future in Chris Sabo and at over 3 million bucks a year he was willing to let him walk.

Biggest Mistake – Beginning the infatuation dance with Deion Sanders, a man who would visit the Reds roster 3 separate times and only give back a .665 OPS in over 900 trips to the plate.

First Draft – Bowden’s first pick was C. J. Nitkowski, a player later traded for David Wells in the midst of the 1995 pennant race.

Dan O’Brien – Hired October 2003
Former Title: Assistant GM Texas Rangers

First Move – – In the first 3 months of O’Brien’s tenure he signed 21 free agents before he focused on the Reds current roster. His first trade was Chris Reitsma for Jung Bong and Bubba Nelson.

Most Famous Player Traded First – Possessing the same paralysis that Bergesch had O’Brien can only claim to have moved pitchers in his first year and they were Reitsma, Jones and Lidle. By Default Reitsma is the most famous.

Most Famous Trade Pickup – Since he was so fun in the trade market to find his most famous pickup you’d have to point to the free agent signing of Cory Lidle, a Christmas present most Reds fans would rather forget.

Best Young Player Pickup – From where we sit right now this could only be Elizardo Ramirez, who 11 starts into the 2006 season has 67 IP and a 3.61 ERA

See Ya – Who’d he cut? – O’Brien shed the team of two Bowden’s last busts, Russ Branyan and Ryan Dempster.

Biggest Mistake – Fear, inertia, not realizing that the hub of the wheel was the major league club, not the minor leagues.

First DraftHomer Bailey, RHP, Texas HS, Currently making his way up the ladder, cross your fingers.

Wayne Krivsky – Hired February 2006
Former Title: Assistant GM Minnesota Twins

First Move – – In his fifth week as GM, Krivsky pulled the trigger, taking care of the long suffering outfield log jam and getting the Reds an established starter when he got Arroyo and CASH for Wily Mo Pena

Most Famous Player Traded First – See Above

Most Famous Trade Pickup – Bronson Arroyo gave the Reds a steady starter to go with Aaron Harang and man who has experienced what it’s like to be on a winning team is always good the clubhouse.

Best Young Player Pickup – Brandon Phillips has solidified the middle infield defense and added athleticism and speed to a team that could use it.

See Ya – Who’d he cut? – Krivsky cut bait on numerous Reds, Hudson, Bong, Nelson and even a message cut with an overweight Hancock (Jury still out on that)

Biggest Mistake – Many would picking up Castro or Hatteberg, but until either burn down the clubhouse or worse I’ll pretend that Hatteberg is Casey Lite and that Castro is imparting some wisdom to the younger infielders on the Reds.

First Draft – Drew Stubbs, CF University of Texas, can field, and has pop and a ceiling.

So, there we have it. Measure it, ponder it, and remember it. In a year we’ll have a bigger picture of where the Reds are heading and how these moves affect them and the future of the team.

But right now the current path looks like it’s being trodden by someone who has a clue about what might be around the next bend.

All I can say is….thank you, it’s about time.

2 Responses to “Reds History – How’s Wayne Measuring Up?”

  1. BD says:

    My only disagreement is that the Buddy Bell trade was a steal…Jeff Russell went on to be a very good to great reliever, the Reds got 2 1/2 years of Bell at the end of his career (barely topping 800 OPS).

    Depending on how important you believe Bell was to the team, a decent trade maybe, but a steal? I don’t think so.

  2. Administrator says:

    True, BD, the term “steal” is only mallable because the Reds had a factory that was turning out relievers.

    Bell’s 1986 OPS was .082 greater then the league average and in 87 it was .037, but then fell off the shelf.

    So yes “steal” is perhaps a strong term, but it did solidfy what has been perhaps the worst position in Reds history (only original 16 team with no players with 1000 games played there)