Looks like the Reds have been sold:

Carl Lindner agreed Wednesday to sell the controlling interest in the Cincinnati Reds to a group of area businessmen, keeping baseball’s first professional franchise in local hands.

The group is headed by Robert Castellini, chairman of a Cincinnati-based produce company, and relatives of a family that owned the team from 1966-84.

The family sold control of the team to Marge Schott in the 1980s, setting up one of the club’s most turbulent periods. The Reds won a World Series in 1990 but were tainted by her repeated offensive remarks.

Under pressure from Major League Baseball, Schott sold her controlling shares in the team for $67 million to a group led by Lindner in 1999. The latest sale was set in motion last March, when three limited partners who owned 51.5 percent of the team’s shares indicated they wanted to sell.

Lindner said at the time that he intended to retain control of the team, which hasn’t had a winning season since it moved into Great American Ball Park in 2003.

The purchase price sets the value of the franchise at approximately $270 million. The sale must be approved by baseball owners before it can be finalized.

I’m not sure what to think of this at the moment. I’m happy that Lindner won’t be in control of the team’s finances any longer, but at first blush, I’m not sure the Reds are in a better situation. Looks like another owner without the big bucks to bring Cincinnati a consistent winner.

I hope my first impression is entirely incorrect.

12 Responses

  1. dfs

    Another owner without big bucks? Carl’s got the money, he’s just not putting it into the reds. There are few OWNERS with the financial resources available to Linder. Now…there is a difference between the owner’s cash position and the franchises cash positition.

  2. DevilsAdvocate

    The amount of money that the Reds are spending is not the problem. They are spending the money they have in the wrong places and on the wrong people. That’s the problem.

    During his tenure as majority owner, Lindner has committed to a few major spending initiatives. One was to trade for Griffey and sign him to a long-term contract for many dollars (though it was famously a below-market rate). Another was to step in and re-sign Larkin to a three-year contract, at market-rate. Yet another was to go out and get pitching, before this year.

    Of course, none of these maneuvers have worked out like he thought or hoped they would. But the moves were made. If you want a penny-pinching Carl, go to Minneapolis and look up “Pohlad.”

    Go get DePodesta or Epstein and give them a few years, and I think we’d see some improvement whether Lindner is the owner or Castellini or Scrooge McDuck.

  3. Glenn

    Let’s face it. No matter who owns the team, or how much money they have, new ownership has to have better baseball sense then has been shown by the front office lately. Devil’s right. The Reds need to spend their money, much more wisely than they have in the past. Uncle Carl would sometimes come up with the bucks, as he did with Griffey and Milton. Griffey got hurt. That’s no one’s fault. Its just the risk you take in pro sports. Milton on the other hand was not a well thought out situation. A flyball pitcher in a home run park. That 25 mil contract has really hurt the team. Jimenez and Graves’s contracts weren’t thought out by rocket scientists either.
    The short of it is that the new owners have to be smarter with their money. That means holding OB’s feet to the fire for results on the field.

  4. DevilsAdvocate

    Good point on Graves – talk about speculative buying!

    Also, the Griffey deal was a fantastic one and everyone thought Seattle was getting screwed six ways from Sunday. I continue to think (from my heart) positively of the Larkin signing. I would have hated to see him take the field as a Met.

    But so many of O’Brien’s moves have gone sour, and very few big moves have turned to diamonds, or even cubic zirconia. (Felipe López and…umm…help me out here. Freel? Maybe Guillen and Randa, turning into viable trading chips?)

  5. LVW

    Aaron Harang, Brandon Claussen, Felipe Lopez, and Matt Belisle for 1 current all star(Jose Guillen) and Aaron Boone, Elmer Dessens(no loss), Kent Mercker(who we got back) plus one noone talks about–getting Edwin Encarnacion for Rob Bell.

  6. Ken

    Hey, even the Aurillia pick-up worked out alright. But the real problem – and it has been for years – is the farm system. The Reds have simply not developed quality pitching, and this goes back to well before Carl or Dan took the reins. Who was the last quality starter to come out of this organization and stay here for some time? Tom Browning? Until the Reds develop some arms it will be near impossible to compete because it forces you to take risks on the FA market (Milton, Ortiz, Wilson, etc.).

  7. Bill

    Risks on the FA market? The Reds reportedly knew there was a problem with Wilson’s shoulder and his numbers while with the Reds had been less than steller (and consistent through the years), yet they signed him anyway. Milton was a flyball pitcher signed to pitch in a flyball averse ball park. These are risks, these an invitation to failure, which they were.

  8. Pirsig

    It’s not the money spent, but how spent. Have we learned nothing from the last World Series? The White Sox are not a big payroll team – they’re a smart team.

  9. LVW

    Paul Wilson stunk this year, no doubt about it; BUT overall I wouldn’t call his signing a failure. In 2003-04 we got 19 wins and only 16 losses for teams that combined to win roughly 45% of their games out of a 4 mil investment.

  10. Joel

    But good teams don’t pay for past performance, they pay for future performance. The Reds paid Wilson $3.6 million in 2005 (and another $3.75 in 2006) even though they admitted to knowing that he had a torn labrum. So, they committed $8 million to an injured player with an ERA+ of 92 for the four previous seasons. At best, they could’ve expected him to be a slightly below average pitcher. At worst, well, I think we saw the at worst scenario.

    The Reds signing of Wilson was as much a PR move as it was a baseball move. He was arguably the best pitcher on the team in 2004, but that’s not saying much. And given the high injury risk that he brought with him, I just don’t see how he was ever worth $4 million.