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Wayne Krivsky Fired As Reds General Manager
by Asher B. Chancey, BaseballEvolution.com
April 23, 2008
Just a couple of days ago, I was thinking to myself, “You know, Self, this incarnation of the Cincinnati Reds look like the best incarnation of the team we’ve seen in years.” Gone are the horrendous acquisitions – the Eric Miltons, Eddie Guardadoes, Kyle Lohses – and in their places stand legitimately talented looking players.
Corey “Tools” Patterson aside, the Reds’ hitters are looking more mature than ever, with the emergence of Jeff Keppinger and (apparently) of Edwin Encarnacion. Joey Votto looks like a hot prospect, Brandon Phillips is coming off a (deceptively) great year, and Ken Griffey, Jr. looks like he could put together a 25 homerun season despite his old age. And Adam Dunn is always there.
But what really impressed me was the pitching. This rotation is just so well built. Aaron Harang is one of the most underrated pitchers baseball these days, what seems like an eternity after being tossed by the Oakland Athletics. Bronson Arroyo has struggled early, but the K/IP numbers are there, which makes me not worry too much. But the young guys are the real reasons for excitement – Edinson Volquez and Johnny Cueto look totally legit, as they are both averaging over a strikeout per inning. Cueto has a sick 29:3 strikeout to walk ratio, and Volquez has given up only three runs in 22.1 innings. Looks like the Reds won’t have to rely on improbable performances from Matt Belisle this season.
The bullpen has also been a source of re-assurance in Cincinnati. Though David Weathers’ current 1:8 strikeout to walk ratio is absurd, Kent Mercker, Mike Lincoln, Jeremy Affeldt, and Jeremy Burton (who wins the early-season “I UnBelieve It” Award for his 18 strikeouts in 10.2 innings) have combined for a formidable bullpen, while Francisco Cordero has been obnoxious on his way to a 1.13 ERA through his first eight appearances (though six walks is troublesome).
The most overwhelming thing about this Reds team is how they were built. Cheap, smart additions have seriously bolstered the club’s roster: In March, Jerry Hairston, Jr. and Corey Patterson were signed to minor league deals. Patterson is now the starting centerfielder and Hairston just got called up (didn’t I used to have a baseball card with Hairston and Patterson on it as prospects?). Starting catcher Paul Bako, who has lit it up this season, was a result of a minor league deal, as were Mike Lincoln, Kent Merker, Craig Wilson, and Josh Fogg.
The Reds have also made deals capitalizing off of short term successes. Stud prospect Edinson Volquez was acquired for Josh Hamilton in the off-season, as the Reds swapped decent outfield potential for superstar pitcher potential. By the way, Hamilton, a former number one overall pick, was purchased from the Chicago Cubs, who had just Rule 5 drafted him from the Tampa Bay Devil Rays - talk about smart moves. Kyle Lohse was sent to the Phillies last season in exchange for Matt Maloney, which is like trading in your 1994 Honda Civic that once got 33 miles to the gallon for a pre-purchased 2009 Lexus. Jeff Keppinger was acquired straight up from Kansas City for Russ Haltiwanger, a mediocre minor pitching prospect. Brandon Phillips was acquired three years ago in exchange for a minor leaguer who was never heard from again.
The Reds look to have the talent to win what I would call “the right way:” good pitching, good defense, and patient hitters who can hit but also take a pitch or two. This is still a team that is going to strike out, because there are plenty of free swingers, and this is still a team that is going to give up homeruns, because that is the ballpark they play in. But the Reds are no longer throwing gasoline on the fire by bringing in flyball pitchers to get torched, or bringing up guys who only know how to swing for the fences (again, Corey Patterson excepted). Though it has been slow going early in 2008, this team looks like it could be very good as the team gels and the season wears on.
Indeed, I would have to say, whoever the general manager was that took over this team two years ago and rebuilt it, essentially from scratch, getting rid of some bad seeds and replacing them with good prospects, and moving role players in and out of the roster in an attempt to find the best fit for the team, and patiently letting young guys develop into major leaguers, all while being saddled with Ken Griffey, Jr.’s enormous, ill-advised contract, has done a very good job, and should be commended.
This just in: The Cincinnati Reds fired General Manager Wayne Krivsky today, and announced that former St. Louis Cardinals General Manager Walt Jockety is set to take over his duties.
I sure do hope they congratulate Wayne on a job well done as they escort him from the building.
Questions? Concerns? Comments? Asher lives in Philadelphia, PA, and can be reached at email@example.com.