Send This To Dusty and Walt

From Keith Olberman’s MLBlog “Baseball Nerd

However, Reds’ manager Dusty Baker, sounding exactly like the kind of skippers in Atlanta who limited him to spot work for his first four years, seems totally unimpressed with the prospects of either Stubbs or Haisley, dismissing their performances as just numbers. While an outfield of Nix and Gomes in left, Willy Taveras in center, and Chris Dickerson (who left today’s game in New York with back spasms) may seem appealing to Dusty, it would probably assure the Reds of sinking into the basement in the NL Central.

I hate Dusty Baker.  It is high time for Walt to set him straight and be more active in roster management and who will be in the lineup.   However, given that Walt did not make a move for many days (if I remember correctly it was 10) when Alex Gonzalez got hurt, I don’t have much confidence in the Reds’ GM either.

Perhaps Walt is as clueless as Dusty or he simply refuses to take charge leaving the entire team twisting in the wind.  It is a shame that this team and the fans have to suffer because of the lack of organizational leadership.

RedsFest Wrap

After attending my first RedsFest on Saturday, I came home very impressed.

RedsFest is a very professional operation that ran smoothly.  From the autograph and photo booths to the memorabilia show, and the main stage events, everything was very well put together, each of the different aspects of the event kept me at the Duke Energy Center far longer than I originally thought I would would be there.

If you were at the “Hot Stove Report” with Dusty, Jocketty, and some of the front office staff, I was the one who asked the question about statistics and how the Reds use them in evaluating players.  The moderator holding the microphone didn’t know what sabermetrics was.

My question was: “Most major league teams are now dedicating specific departments for statistical analysis, how are the Reds using sabermetrics and statistical analysis now, and in the future?”  Jocketty and the rest of the brain trust gave a pretty standard answer of “Good scouting [ie. more eyeballs on a player the better] is primary and stats are used as back-up”.  He also noted that there is a lot you can do with statistics, and with comptuers holding so much information, it should be used in conjunction with scouting.

I guess I was looking for something more like the Mariners are now doing under their new GM, but I guess Jocketty is too old school for such newfangled technology and forward thinking.

I didn’t get anything signed since I didn’t have season tickets (they had a season ticket holder only line) nor was I a kid (they also had a ‘kids only’ line) and I didn’t want to stand in line for an hour in the other lines to have someone sign a ball.  It almost felt like watching the line for Santa Claus on “A Christmas Story”.  The players only sign for an hour and there is no guarantee that you get your one item signed.  Hopefully someone cool comes to our Reds Winter Caravan stop in January.

The “kids only press conference” was a riot and “Reds Idol” was pretty good as well.  Brandon Phillips is goofy. Chris Dickerson is a cool cat.

There were also a lot of former Reds. Eric Davis, Lee May, George Foster, Jack Billingham were in attendance.  New Red Ramon Hernandez (acquired from Baltimore for Ryan Freel) also showed up and introduced himself to the crowd.

The only “personality” I saw at the event other than Marty, Jeff B., Chris Welch, and George Grande was C. Trent Rosecrans. He had a dry erase board with “C. Trent Rosecrans Live-Blogging”.  It was quite funny.

All-in-all, RedsFest was definitely worth the short drive from Louisville on a rather dreary Saturday morning and made me only slightly less depressed about the upcoming season.  I would definitely go back next year.

Hey Walt…

This might be a good idea for your team.

It looks like the Mariners’ new GM, Jack Zduriencik, is devoting a whole new department to statistical analysis.

From the Seattle Times:

It turns out the Mariners are planning to do a whole lot more. In fact, they’re in the process of creating an entirely new department to deal with the subject.

The department will fall under the auspices of Tony Blengino, a longtime baseball stats analyst and a special assistant to new Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik. Details of the department’s mandate and size are still to be worked out, but the move could vault the Mariners from their perceived Stone Age approach to stats to one in which they’re seen as one of the game’s more progressive franchises.

I know Jocketty was pretty much vehminetly opposed to any analytical department in St. Louis and that it was part of the reason he left.  However, if he sees that other teams are getting serious, how can he ignore it for much longer?

We want to take all the information at our disposal and combine it with our scouting,” Blengino said Friday.

I think this is the best approach.  A synthesis of scouting (subjective) and statistical analysis (objective) can really be an asset to any club looking for an edge.  Too much of one or the other can lead to players being missed and then you lose your advantage.

If we were to ask Walt to what extent the Reds use statistical analysis I am sure that he would give a canned response that wouldn’t revel anything.

Perhaps someone could ask him in person if they see him at RedsFest next month.

Jocketty: Reds pursuing Weathers, Hairston

From John Fay:

Walt Jocketty is reluctant to name the names of all of free agents on the current roster the Reds are talking to, but he confirmed that the club has made proposals to David Weathers and Jerry Hairston Jr.

“We’re waiting to hear back from their agents,” he said.

Weathers, 38, was a key part of the bullpen last year. He went 4-6 with 3.25 ERA in 72 games. Hairston, 32, hit .326 with a .384 on-base percentage. He stole 15 bases in 18 tries. The team played exceeding well with him in the leadoff spot. But he struggled with injuries throughout the second half.

Fay also feels that Jeremy Affeldt and Mike Lincoln could also be asked to return to the team next year.  But that is John Fay talking.

While Hairston was a pleasant surprise last year, he couldn’t stay healthy and I don’t think Ryan Freel can either.  Center field is going to be a huge hole going into the offseason (I guess we are already there as of Septemeber).

David Weathers gives me a heart attack every time he comes into the game. While he pitched well on the road, Weathers will continue to fail as long as Dusty insists on putting him in three games in a row.  Remember that Milwaukee game where the Reds had a chance to beat C.C. Sabathia?  If he does come back, it would have to be for such a low salary that it would be okay if the time came and Weathers needed to be cut or DFA’d.

A Sad Note

An end to an era in Cincinnati.

According to Reds.com writer Mark Sheldon, Corey Patterson will not be in the future plans of the team as the Reds look forward to 2009 and beyond.

Jocketty admitted Patterson became a “hot-button issue” with fans.

I want to take this moment to say: THANK YOU, Walt Jocketty.  You have gained back a little of my respect by making it clear that Patterson won’t be able to make the first out of every game in the coming years.

Hopefully Dusty’s daughter isn’t too harsh during the break-up.

The Jay Bruce Blog

Well, it has happened. After holding a nightly candlelight vigil since spring training, Jay Bruce was finally called up on Monday to be on the roster. A corresponding move will be made later today along with a very intriguing 4:00 press conference followed by GM Walt Jocketty being available in the dugout prior to tonight’s game with the Pirates.

I’m very excited. The number one prospect in all of America, in a Reds uniform tonight for the first time will be simply awesome. The buzz from the Reds’ minor league system is steadily starting to get some national attention with Bailey, Cueto, and now of course Bruce. I hope Jocketty continues to re-invest in the minor league system and drafts well even though that has not been his track record.

The dark cloud that has been over this team all year, including Sunday’s 18-inning debacle in which Corey “I’m Dusty’s boy so nothing I do hurts the team” Patterson went 0-8, will soon be lifted…somewhat. That is of course until Bruce strikes out twice in a game and every person in the Cincinnati Media calls for him to be traded because he doesn’t hustle like Pete.

I am very interested in seeing what is said in the 4:00 press conference and who attends.  If Mr. Castellini is there, does it mean that he is trying to save face for allegedly forcing the hand of Wayne Krivsky into signing Corey Patterson?  He seems to be 100% immune from the Cincinnati Media and the problems this team is facing.  The last thing this team needs is a meddlesome owner who puts “winning at all costs” above the long term solutions this team needs to be successful.

Krivsky Fired, Jocketty Named GM

Today the Reds announce the firing of General Manager Wayne Krivsky and the promotion of Walt Jocketty to the General Manager position as well as president of baseball operations. Jocketty, a former GM with the St. Louis Cardinals, was serving as special assistant to owner Bob Castellini.

The move comes as a surprise, not a shock. Jocketty was hired in the offseason to be a special advisor to Bob Castellini. However, due to their prior relationship in St. Louis, this move was not totally earth shattering. Why was this move not made in the offseason when Jocketty could have had more time to evaluate the current team as well as the farm system?

Wayne Krivsky’s struggles have been well documented. “The Trade” with Washington, signing extensions to undeserving veterans, and generally being very tight-lipped with the media when speaking about his vision for the organization were all cited as criticism of Krivsky. However, owner Bob Castellini gave Krivsky an extension through the 2008 season (with a club option for 2009) on June 28, 2006 saying, “”We’re happy with the direction that we’re going. We’re very happy with…Wayne’s performance. It was an opportunity to show our appreciation with how much we thought of [Wayne]”

There were also positives. Finding Brandon Phillips in Cleveland and, to this point, acquiring Bronson Arroyo for Willy Mo Pena were probably the signature moves that Krivsky has made. Signing Scott Hatteburg and finding Josh Hamilton in the Rule 5 daft were also huge pieces brought in. Hamilton was sent to Texas for the stellar young pitcher Edison Volquez who has pitched brilliantly through four starts, something the Reds needed badly.

What we don’t understand is how can someone so happy with what he has fire someone 21 games into the 2008 season? Castellini said in the press conference today that the team’s slow start was the primary reason. We feel that the stubbornness and closed door mentality (not to mention long time Reds scouts Larry Barton Jr. and Gene Bennett quitting in anger under his tutelage) is what sealed Krivsky’s fate.