Yawn. The reason for the dull offseason is clear to me (BRM)
Seems like everyone is expecting some big announcement. Nary a move at the winter meetings unless you consider the announcement of bringing back Weathers to be exciting news. People seem to think Krivsky is stumped or that we are trying to save extra cash. I disagree with both of those assessments. In my opinion, Krivsky has already built his team and is just fleshing it out with some bit players.
Since taking over GM duties last Spring the Reds now have a new catcher, a new 1st baseman, a new second baseman, a new shortstop, a new 3rd baseman (Encarnacion won the job last Spring), a new right fielder (Freel or Denorfia, or somebody else). That's 7 out of 9 position players changing since Krivsky took over. Only Dunn and Griffey, the two big boppers remain locked, and that is because Griffey is virtually untradeable and possesses a veto, and Dunn was re-signed by Krivsky, so in a way that is his guy as well.
Let's move on to the starting pitching. Harang was the ace when Wayne arrived, so fortunately he remains, and Milton, like Griffey, is pretty much impossible to trade because of his contract, but aside from those two Krivsky added Arroyo and Lohse and the 5th starter is up in the air and could wind up being one of his guys as well. We know it won't be Claussen.
As for the relief staff, that was completely overhauled last season. Majewski, Bray, Cormier were acquired, and now add Stanton to that list. Only Weathers and Coffey survived the changes.
So folks, what we have is a new team, Krivsky's team and that is why you shouldn't expect radical changes at this juncture. He did most of the work last season. I expect nothing more than another 1st baseman that bats right-handed to platoon with Hatteberg. The number 5 pitcher will probably go to Elizardo Ramirez or maybe this guy Livingston. I don't think an established closer is going to be brought in for big bucks because 1) I don't think we have big bucks remaining when you consider Harang and Ross are both going to arbitration and 2) Weathers and Stanton both did some closing last year and are probably going to serve as a bridge to the closer of the future which is either going to be Bray or Coffey.
So this is the hand Krivsky is playing. The only thing that could happen that would be radical, would be if he decided to trade Dunn, but I think he thinks he can get his stock higher than what it currently is after a very disappointing season. If he gets off to a hot start you probably have a lot better offers. Or, you ride it out and hope he gets you to the post season with a break out season (reduced strikeouts and improved clutch hitting).
The other big offensive change looming on the horizon will of course be Griffey departing to the Happy Hunting Grounds. He will either retire, be brought back cheaply as a pinch hitter, or smaybe try his hand at DH in the AL. he won't be patrolling CF in 2007, which is why they won't bother re-training him at a new position, because he is not going to be around much longer. I think they figure he is good for 80-110 games give or take.
I do believe Craig Wilson is the target acquisition remaining in Krivsky's sights because he can play both RF and 1B and has the pre-requisite right-handed bat. Plus he has power, which will be in short supply when Griffey goes down.
No one expects Milton to return after this season, but I don't look for major changes in the rotation because eventually Homer Bailey is coming up, and any money saved on Milton will need to go to Harang and possibly Arroyo if they can convince him to stick around for the right price (maybe Milton's salary).
So there you have it. The reason nothing is happening, is because it already happened. Weren't you paying attention?
Sorry, meant to say Griffey won’t be patrolling CF in 2008. He should be counted on for maybe 80 games this year. Anything more is a pleasant surprise.
There’s a lot to comment on here, smartelf, but I’ll see if I can squeeze it all in…
Another guy they see as a possible closer is Brad Salmon. He’s in the minors but could end up in Cinci later this year or sometime next year if all goes well. They talked about him to the press earlier this winter, and they sounded like they liked what they saw. It’s also possible Guardado comes back in midseason and takes the job back.
A lot gets said along the lines of the team trying to save extra cash. Nobody seems to have mentioned yet that if the team finds itself in a pennant race again and wants to trade for the player that puts them over the top, that extra cash will come in handy.
Imagine, a GM wise enough to set things up so the Reds aren’t payroll-handcuffed in July when the non-contenders start having their fire sales.
Considering the contracts that have been dumped on guys the likes of Meche, Lilly, Batista, and several others this winter, Milton’s contract actually represents value. Scary considering the market’s not likely to get much better next year.
Even if KGJ stays healthy all year, I predict that he will not be in CF by the end of this season. He’ll be moved to RF before the season’s over with. It wouldn’t surprise me if it happens sooner rather than later, either.
The fifth starter, well…While I’m not thrilled that they’re apparently going to go into spring training and throw a bunch of guys against a wall and see what sticks, I can’t fault the Reds for not getting involved in this winter’s ridiculous free-agent market for starting pitchers. The good news is that as spring training approaches and teams see what they have and what they don’t have, often some deals are made then, or a guy becomes available who wasn’t over the winter.
That’s how Krivsky got Ross, Phillips, and Arroyo. Those deals were made in March and April. And they sure worked out a helluva lot better than the December deal (by Dan O’Brien) of trading The Mayor to the Pirates for Dave Williams and the putrid 1.75 WHIP/7.20 ERA that he put up while he was in Cinci!
I was wondering if they were going to do anything about RF and 1B.
I have not heard anything about Craig Wilson lately. Not even from the Yankees. He makes a better 1B than OFer. Doesn’t really have the range for the outfield. But he’s fine at first base, IMO.
Reds.com has a story on the front page about how the kids are doing in winterball. Heartthrob is struggling:
[quote]Denorfia is hitting .258 with 12 RBIs in 93 at-bats. He has struck out 21 times.[/quote]
But Norris Hopper is doing pretty well:
[quote]Hopper went 3-for-20, dropping batting average to .312. He has two home runs and 18 RBIs in 125 at-bats.[/quote]
Dropping [i]down[/i] to .312? That doesn’t suck!
I wonder why it took him nine years to get to the majors?
The hot rumor here in Yankeeland is that outfielder Melky Cabrera will be traded to Pittsburgh for Mike Gonzalez. Also, the Pirates signed Japanese pitcher Masumi Kuwata. He’s no Matsuzaka, though; he’s 38.
Good points HMZ…
I never heard of Salmon but I’ll keep my eye out for news on him from here on out.
5th starter is typically a work in progress for most teams. i don’t know of many teams that go into the season with a lock at the #5 starter… there might be a leading candidate, but usually the guy has issues (health, talent or experience) and is on a short leash and must at least win the job during spring training. I think Elizardo showed enough last season to make #5 assuming he is healthy. Otherwise they can try belisle or the new guy or make a move… I highly doubt they use Homer Bailey. Clearly the team is playing for the future and for the long term, another reason to avoid gambling in the free agent market. You can shoot yourself in the foot for half a decade by making a wrong expensive move. Bigger markets obviously have more profit margin to gamble with, but Cincinnati cannot afford to play the free agent market every winter, that much is certain.
I disagree about Griffey. I simply don’t foresee the team moving him to RF when he won’t be here next season. Plenty of big plays are made in RF, and while I agree Freel’s range would be better served in CF, I am pretty sure he’ll wind up over in that spot due to injury at long stretches anyhow. How many runs are we really gonna save by moving Griffey to RF for 80 starts or so? I just don’t think it is significant enough to even bother, especially if you consider it may possibly throw him off offensively by making him less comfortable in the field. If he gets off to a slow start with the bat everyone will second-guess moving him to RF.
I definitely agree that better deals are found during spring and later in the season than opposed to winter… the winter meetings are basically a means for the big market teams to generate yet even more hype during the down-months. This is definitely a time for a small market team to lay low and avoid making long term mistakes unless they have a really good match and have done their research and are committed at going after a specific guy. I think you can definitely find some good second and third tier players during winter though (Randa, Aurilia, Hatteberg…) and I sort of think Craig Wilson might fit that mold, although he is a lot younger than those guys. So right now that is the one signing I am hoping for, and I think it is a good match so hopefully an offer will at least be on the table.