Krvisky Discusess Decisions with McCoy

In an article written by Hal McCoy with the Dayton Daily News, former Reds GM Wayne Krivsky discusses some of his decisions that he made during his tenure with the Reds.

While most of the quotes don’t represent any groundbreaking news for those who follow the team closely, one did stand out as a possible insight as to what happened while a member of the Reds organization:

“When I’m told before the season that I better win, I’m going to get all the pitching I can get,” he said. “Fogg was a $100,000 gamble, what we would pay him if he didn’t make the team. He made it so it cost $1.5 million and I still think it’s a good deal.

This is very telling of how Mr. Castellini felt about this season and how much pressure was on Krivsky to acquire players that would be contributors to a winning team. It seems as though the decision was already made on the firing of Krivsky and the slow start was a convenient excuse to install Walt Jocketty after only 21 games.

“I was told to get him signed, whatever it takes,” said Krivsky, who signed him for $3 million. Patterson was paid $4.7 million last year.

Again, the pressure to sign Patterson was another decision that was made either by manager Dusty Baker (Patterson being a former player of Dusty) or by Castellini who wanted to win at any cost.

In the article, Krivsky did take responsibility for signing Mike Stanton to a contract the Reds are still paying, and he also took the blame for Rheal Cormier, even though  he added the cavet, “and, actually, with interest we got $2.08 million.”

We are not absolving Krivsky by any means.  If you read between the lines, Wayne certainly has said more in this short interview than he did during his entire 26 months on the job and is able to do so without being constrained by the team.  He is trying to shift part of the blame on Castellini who stated from day one his “win now” mentality.  While it is good to have a positive outlook on the future of a multi-million dollar investment so that investment continues to grow, Castellini shouldn’t be totally immune to criticism either.

Castellini hasn’t reached the level of Peter Angelos, owner of the Baltimore Orioles, nor the tyrannical nature of the Steinbrenner family in New York, but when you set the bar too high and expect results to be immediate, you end up putting more pressure on yourself.  When this happens, you make rash decisions based on expectations of fans that hear those words.  As Buster Olney wrote in his column after the firing. [subscription required]

Perhaps it was the closed door nature that Krivsky operated under or it really was the losing, Krivsky should, and probably will get another chance in a front office.

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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.

Reds Hire Ex-Cardinal GM Walt Jocketty

On Friday, the Cincinnati Reds hired ex-St. Louis GM Walt Jocketty as a special assistant to owner and Chairman Bob Castellini. Jocketty will report directly to Castellini, as will current GM Wayne Krivsky.

 

 

 

 

Background

Jocketty has one World Series title and seven National League Central titles to his credit during his tenure from 1994 to 2007. One of the major factors in his firing by the Cardinals and Chairman Bill DeWitt was the conflict of how to develop young talent and the use of a more analytical approach. Farm director Jeff Luhnow was promoted from his position of scouting director. This clash of approaches was documented in Baseball America’s preview of the NL Central (Issue 0725 Dec. 3-16 2007)

“Luhnow was hired as a consultant to reboot the Cardinals’ use of statistical analysis.”

The statistical analysis used lead Luhnow to draft Colby Rasmus, the Cardinals’ top prospect, during the 2005 draft. This rubbed Jocketty the wrong way. Jocketty is a noted “old school” baseball guy, going by gut instinct and a master at acquiring veteran talent. However, when Luhnow was given increasing power, Jocketty was not happy.

“Some in the organization said Jocketty considered the move as an erosion of his power.”

Obviously it was. Most of the “old school” types and new analysis or “Money Ball” approach type scouts and GMs are very much at odds. “Money Ball” of course is the groundbreaking baseball book written by Michael Lewis about the success of Billy Beane in Oakland and the use of raw statistical analysis (objective) rather than going by what a scout can see by his eyes (subjective). While some clubs have been able to successfully marry the two approaches together, like the Cleveland Indians and Boston Red Sox, many people find that there is a lot of resistance to the “Money Ball” approach.

Reds Hire
While we do think that having an experienced baseball man in the front office is a good thing, CFT has mixed feelings on this hire. First, the relationship between Castellini and Jocketty goes back several years when they both were part of the Cardinals organization. With Jocketty having the ear of Castellini, will he seek to undermine the job of GM Wayne Krivsky? Clearly Krivsky needs to make something happen soon to appease Reds fans, but how can he do his job properly while at the same time having to look over his shoulder? We are no defenders of Krivsky, but he has done a decent job of getting the Reds headed in the right direction. By acquring Bandon Phillips, Bronson Arroyo, and Scott Hatteburg, Krivsky has made some positive moves. The farm system is finally starting to bear fruit (Jay Bruce, Joey Votto, Johnny Cueto) and player development has obviously improved. Many publications have talked about the improvements being made in a system that was barren and had no discernable talent coming up from the minor leagues.

The other question we have is: Will there continue to be an investment made in the minor league system and what method will the Reds be taking? Given that Jocketty meddled with and eventually was fired for not embracing the analytical approach, one can assume that he would not be giving Castellini advice to embrace it as well. Although we are in the dark about Wayne Krivsky’s exact time line and mode of thinking (he never answers any questions that give out any type of usable information), we hope that Jocketty doesn’t impart his ego on the organization and undo what we see as a positive step forward by trading away minor league talent for aging veterans for the quick fix.

In an organization that has yet to see stability at any level, the Reds can ill afford inner-office turmoil.

 

—Quotations via Baseball America Issue 0725, Dec. 3-16, 2007

—Photo via AP

Lazy Sunday Links and News

Jay Bruce, the Reds’ #1 minor league prospect and Baseball America’s Minor League Player of the year, has a new blog over at Yardbarker.  He doesn’t have many entries, but I hope he does some when spring training starts and throughout the year.  He says that he is going to do some video blogs so that will be fun.  I love when athletes do blogs that actually provide a real insight into their life.

Congress wants to get involved with Pete Rose and his reinstatement.  This may be one way to endear yourself to Cincinnatians, but by getting clipped for bribery probably won’t help your cause.

My feeling on Rose is this: Why does the Hall of Fame include bats, balls, jerseys, spikes and other memorabilia of Pete Rose yet he cannot have his own plaque in the same building? Either allow him to be reinstated (he probably won’t be elected by the Veterans Committee anyways) and leave the memorabilia alone, or bar any and all mention of him in the Hall of Fame all together. 

The Reds GM Wayne Krivsky signs former Yankee 1B Andy Phillips along with five other players. RHP Jim Brower, IF Jolbert Cabrera (pronounced HOLE-bert), IF Andy Green, LHP Adam Pettyjohn were also signed but not expected to make the team.  These guys are most likely fill-ins at the minor league level since it is starting to get a little thin at a few positions down on the farm. 

Roger Clemens is a popular guy these days.  Even Congress wants him to come and hang out, along with his buddy Andy Pettitte.  Commissioner Selig, Players Union President Don Fehr and Senator Mitchell also got an invite to testify the day before.