Richard Grijalva: How does a manager not immediately get fired for giving the starting second-base job to a player coming off an OBP season of .276 and a career OBP of .316, instead of the one coming off a .372 season with a career average of .369? Ryan Freel does everything Tony Womack does, but gets on base way more. I just don’t get it.
Rob: I don’t, either. And I wouldn’t blame just the manager.
The Reds did one thing right this spring: They finally committed themselves to playing Austin Kearns in right field every day. It should have happened a year or so ago, but better late than never. Anyway, that was the old general manager, and there’s a new sheriff in town.
Problem is, the new sheriff ain’t exactly Cleavon Little in Blazing Saddles. When Wayne Krivsky took over as Reds general manager, he inherited a team that scored more runs in 2005 than any other National League team. That’s not likely to happen again. But with a couple of tweaks and a little bit of luck, the Reds figure to feature one of the league’s top hitting attacks again.
Keep Freel at second base, move Adam Dunn to first base, send young Chris Denorfia to left field, and watch the numbers pile up on the scoreboard. Any baseball fan with a functioning cortex and a passing familiarity with Bill James would have passed this test.
Krivsky failed. He not only signed Scott Hatteberg and Womack — both of whom essentially washed out of the American League last year — he actually gave them everyday jobs, which pushed Freel to a utility role, Dunn to left field, and Denorfia to the bench. There are only eight non-pitching jobs in the lineup. It’s pretty hard to screw up three of them within a few months. Yet Krivsky seems to have managed exactly that. It’s early, and maybe he’s a quick study. But if this is really the way things are going to be, I wouldn’t want to be a Reds fan for the next few years.
Well, when you put it that way….