Reds History – How’s Wayne Measuring Up? – Not so well I guess

The Coach

“Everything is magnified at the beginning of the season,” says Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long. “It’s kind of ridiculous to think David Ortiz is going to hit .100 all year or Jason Giambi is going to hit .100 all year. Nobody pays as much attention if a guy has a similar stretch in the middle of the season.”

The General Manager

“I don’t know that we have the luxury of waiting two to three months for somebody to kick in because we can’t let this league or this division get away from us,” Toronto general manager J.P. Ricciardi told reporters after he cut Frank Thomas.

The Owner

“We’ve come to the point where we just aren’t going to lose anymore.”

Bob Castellini

Almost two years ago I wrote a piece tracking Wayne Krivsky’s first few months as Reds general manager against the men who held the same job before him. I was happy to be out of the Dan O’Brien era, I was expected a lot… to me a lot is the whole organization, not just the MLB teams Wins and Losses.
First let me stat that I believe that Baseball is a game of patience, April is not the season and no man makes a perfect move with each transaction.

Those are notes to Reds owner Bob Castellini, a man who confronted Dan O’Brien in his first month on the job about what his plan was. When he didn’t like the answer he went out to find the man who would give him the answer he seeked.

And that is how we got Wayne Krivsky…. and oddly enough that’s what must have gotten us Walter Jocketty.

So, here we sit with the 3rd week of the season half over… with a new GM on the Reds, this I admit was in the future at all times and became more of a reality when Walt Jocketty came over from the birds in the winter.

I appreciate that Bob wants to win, but baseball is not like other avenues of the business world, and patience is required.. sure surround yourself with the men you feel help you win, surround yourself with men who agree about your desire to win, but for gods sake, remeber this game is HARD… and two weeks is a small window to squeeze the incumbent out of, especially considering the amount of garbage he’s cleaned up in his two years from the minors and development to the middle infield and the rotation.

Just in case ya wonder what Walt thinks about building a team (and be sure he is walking into a cleaner house than Wayne did)

Asked about his basic philosophy, Jocketty said, “Win.” later he outlined it a tad more…”I try to build a team with pitching and defense. Scoring runs is about however your team is built — power, the ballpark, running game, smallball. Generally, though, pitching and defense. That sounds easy, pretty simple, but there is a lot to it.”

The key is the last sentence… “But there is a lot more to it.”

No truer words have been spoken.

So now we’ll ask…. How’s Wayne Measuring up?

First Move – Wayne Krivsky hit the ground running when he was hired to his first GM job in 2006, the Reds had just gone through an off season of doing nothing and well… something had to be done and Wayne was ready to do it.

* 2-12-06: Scott Hatteberg signed to a one-year, $750K deal.
* 3-20-06: Acquired Bronson Arroyo for Wily Mo Pena.
* 3-21-06: Acquired David Ross for Bobby Basham.
* 4-7-06: Acquired Brandon Phillips for Jeff Stevens.

Three starters and a starting pitcher all for the enigma known as Wily Mo, who at last glance was still pushing that enigma status.

Most Famous Player Traded First – Lopez/Kearns – Seriously would it be anything else? Bill Dewitt was in the game for 50 plus years, he owned teams he was a GM… what is he known for? The Robinson trade, that’s what. I never was a detractor of the trade as many were, I saw the gamble and I was not upset at the departing players in the long run, but the return is still weak at this date, and until the return tilts in the Reds favor and a playoff appearance occurs I don’t see any Reds fans forgetting this move soon.

Most Famous Trade Pickup – Phillips and Arroyo – oddly enough both are not having a great season in 2008… but as noted before the sample size is small, yet Arroyo causes concern. Luckily for the Reds Krivsky’s last big deal (Hamilton/Volquez) is still under review and that and the emergence of Cueto push Bronson down a tad and out of the 2nd slot on teh rotation.

Best Young Player Pickup – Phillips/Volquez/Hamilton – More than Dan O’Brien, that’s for sure. The man has an eye for talent.. cheap talent. That’s a nice skill.. I hope that hasn’t left the GM office in the recent regime change.

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, Wily Mo

Biggest Mistake – Trade? No I say, that’s not it…. to me it’s the in ability to turn around the bullpen and the sunk cost that inability created. Cormier, Stanton, both got payed to not play and when they did play they were not good. Losing money on a part of the team you are having trouble fixing and then spending the largest free agent contract in team history on a closer is what I believe bit Wayne in the butt, that and not being perfect in the role of Reds ambassador and savior… but those things take time and well… Mr. C ain’t got much of it these days.

Krivsky and I were friends long before he was named Reds GM. When he worked for the Minnesota Twins, he traveled the country scouting other teams and I encountered him often. We had many lunches together and talked often.

His ambition, of course, was to be a GM and he would say, “If I’d get the Reds job, there are a lot of things I would do and we’d have a lot of fun.”

It wasn’t fun. Krivsky remained my friend, but he changed. He was not forthcoming with information to the media, not even on the most menial things. He was guarded, overly guarded.

Two years ago during the winter meetings in Orlando, I took him aside in his suite after another unproductive media meeting in which he divulged nothing about what the team was doing or trying to do.

I said, “Wayne, remember when we had lunches and chatted about your future and how much fun we’d have together with the Reds?”

“Yes,” he said.

“Well, I’m not having fun,” I said. “Remember when I told you how difficult it was sometimes getting information from your predecessor, Dan O’Brien? Well, you’re worse.”

Hal McCoy

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