Marc Lancaster says that in a conference call, O’Brien “went to great lengths to avoid answering” a question about the Milton signing — whether “ownership dropped the authorization to spend all that money on him” too late in the offseason to make productive use of.

“The only thing I’m going to say in regards to that situation is, there are a lot of circumstances that at this point are not known and won’t be divulged,” O’Brien said, “and I’ll just leave it at that.”

So O’Brien doesn’t cast stones at ownership, but he does give the implication that he’d have done things differently, were it not for some “circumstances.”

Baloney.

I went back and looked at the Post’s story from the day of the signing.

First, the Reds weren’t too late to the game. They started recruiting Milton at the winter meetings in late November, a full month before they signed him.

“And when they got involved,” Milton said, “they were relentless.”

Second, O’Brien was all in the middle of this signing, and was pleased as punch with it:

Although published reports this month had Milton signing with the Yankees, Reds general manager Dan O’Brien was unremitting in his quest to land another solid starting pitcher. When told of Milton’s comments — that the club had been relentless in its pursuit — O’Brien laughed.

“You could say that,” O’Brien said after the news conference announcing the deal. “We wanted him to know that 1) we were serious, 2) he was the type of individual we wanted to have, and 3) we wanted him to have an opportunity to visit with our athletes, so he could he have all of his questions answered. We’re very proud of what we have, and if he knew all the insight, we’d have an advantage.”

Presumably with O’Brien’s knowledge, the Reds had Casey, Graves, Wilson and Miley all pestered Milton to sign with the Reds.

It really sounds like someone was twisting O’Brien’s arm to sign Milton. I don’t hear him making any excuses for the moves that did work out, like Randa.

2 Responses

  1. ohiobobcat

    I think we all judge the Milton signing in hindsight. I think many of us had reservations on signing an extreme fly ball pitcher. However, the rotation was in ruins….and that was before the Wilson injury. I remember being stunned that the Reds would fork out $8M for ANYONE, and at the time I was pleased as punch that the money was used for pitching. The market for league average innings eaters has gone through the roof. Sure, I was hoping to sign Odalis Perez….who I saw as a much better investment…but I dont think a lot of free agent pitchers have Cincy at the top of their wish list. If Milton would have gone 13-15 with a 4.75 ERA I would have been more than satisfied. Here’s hoping he can approach those numbers in ’06.

    That said, the unoffical Reds slogan this year should be “2007 is only one year away”.

  2. Matt

    It was thrilling at the time just to think that the Reds were actually in the running for a second tier free agent with some name recognition value. It was nice to see that they were willing to play with their money and take a risk, you just wished that they had taken the risk on a guy better fit to pitch in Seattle than in Cincy.