John Fay’s article in today’s Cincinnati Enquirer discusses Wayne Krivsky’s plan to build the Reds from the same mold as the Minnesota Twins. The following are some snippets from the article and some comments:

The Reds were the antithesis of the Twins offensively under Chambliss.

All you have to do is take a look at the final stats for this season to see that.

The Twins led the American League in batting average. They struck out fewer times than any team in the AL. They were 13th in home runs. And they were fourth in the AL in sacrifice flies.

The Reds were second last in the National League in batting average. They struck out more than all but four teams in the NL. They were second in home runs. And they were 14th in the NL in sacrifice flies.

The Twins won 95 games; the Reds 80.

Oh my! That’s sad. Why didn’t he just say the Reds wear red uniforms and the Twins wear blue ones? He could have drawn just as valid a conclusion from that as he did from the stats above. Now if he had used OBP and SLG in the comparison and argued the merits of a higher BA component of both leading to a team scoring more runs, we might be on to something. This is the kind of drivel from the beat writers, who are the pied pipers for the casual Reds fans, that turns my stomach. But I do digress.

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“There are a lot of different ideas about hitting,” Krivsky said. “I just want to win.”

But he admits an aversion to strikeouts.

“I don’t like strikeouts,” he said. “I’d give up home runs for (fewer) strikeouts.”

It should be noted that Chambliss didn’t get fired because he and Krivsky and Jerry Narron clashed on philosophy. Chambliss got fired because the Reds didn’t hit after Aug. 24.

They were first in the NL in slugging percentage and on-base percentage at that point. They ended up sixth in slugging percentage and seventh in on-base percentage.

“That’s hard to do after 134 games – to fall off like that,” Krivsky said.

Some of that had to do with the trade that sent Austin Kearns and Felipe Lopez to Washington. Some of that had to do with injuries to Ken Griffey Jr. and Ryan Freel.

But Chambliss took the fall. Narron talked about the lack of adjustments hitters made late in the season.

I truly believe they want a change in hitting philosophy, which is fine, and that is the real reason that Chambliss was let go. It is refreshing to see them using OBP and SLG as the measurement above also. On the subject of the huge offensive dropoff, along with the reasons given above, it also should have been mentioned that the obvious declines in performance of Ross, Phillips, and Hatteberg from career seasons should have been anticipated, and was felt blunt force due to “The Trade” and the Griffey and Freel injuries. I feel there should be just as much blame for the dropoff on Krivsky as there was on Chambliss, for not having the vision to make any late season offensive roster adjustments. Also, the “give up homers for strikeouts” quote sounds like they are trying to setup and soften the upcoming Dunn trade to me.

Krivsky is willing to sacrifice power for contact. Again, look at the Twins. When Justin Morneau hit 34 home runs this year he was first Twin to exceed 30 since 1987. The Reds had players go over 30 eight times in that period.

Adam Dunn, the ultimate strikeout-power guy, has hit at least 40 the last three seasons.

Nothing wrong with sacrificing power, by which he seems to define as HRs, for contact. As long as the end result is a similar SLG and OBP.

Krivsky traded away three of the five hitters who struck out 100 times in 2005 – Wily Mo Peña, Kearns and Lopez.

Dunn certainly could be next to go.

Ah, there it is! That’s what this story is about.

Krivsky also said this: “It’s about scoring runs and preventing runs. The defense has to get better.”

That’s more of the Minnesota-ization of the Reds. The Twins finished third in the AL in defense. The Reds finished second last in the NL.

Cutting down on strikeouts and putting more emphasis on the defense would not seem to bode well for Dunn’s long-term future with the Reds.

But whoever replaces Chambliss is not going to turn Dunn into Joe Mauer. And no one’s going to turn him into a Gold Glove outfielder, or Silver or Bronze for that matter.

So if the Minnesota-ization continues, we could see Dunn playing elsewhere in 2007.

I agree that the defense has to get better. But the offense is now in a position that it will have to be addressed also, especially when Dunn is dealt. Might this be a bad sign for Edwin Encarnacion also? The other troubling aspect is, can Krivsky get equal value in return for Dunn? If not, next year is going to be a long season.

Trading Dunn this offseason will be Krivsky’s defining roster move. He will either do well and succeed in reshaping the team, or complete the destruction he began with “The Trade”.

8 Responses

  1. Cary

    I would just like to see consistent, winning baseball that is above average in all facets of the game. However, a speed and D team in GAB doesn’t seem like a good idea. Then again, we seem to be consistently losing at Home Run Derby.

  2. Tom

    Sometimes it’s good to trade at the top of the market (i.e. Dunn and Arroyo). Look what the Marlins did last year and the result this year. I trust that Krivsky will redeem himself after not getting enough for The Trade.

  3. Ken

    The biggest problem with our defense is in center, not left. If Kriv has the stones to get Griffey to move to right, I’ll be impressed. We’ll see if that happens.

    I pray that they leave EdE alone at third. He’s got range, which you can’t teach. His throwing will improve. And let’s not forget that he can hit.

  4. endymion

    Awesome! I can’t wait to see the K. completely remake this 1 dimensional franchise into a baseball team again instead of a bunch of ‘ooh and ahh’ crappy sluggers that make the fanbois drool.

    I say that despite all of the many, many times the gopher-ball happy Reds of the Dunn-Kearns era were major playoff contenders. Oh wait……

    Line up Dunn for the EXIT sign next. Get some solid propspects or another SP. Let the sob sisters wring their hands and let’s start to develop a baseball team in Cincinnati for the first time in 10 years.

  5. Cary

    I agree with Chris – I’d rather see a 10-8 loss than a 2-0. I don’t want some one year free agent outfielder, I want the Dunnandkearns show. Krivsky broke the part of the team that was worth watching, and I am very upset that he has taken the one thing from me that I always have at the start of a new season – hope.

    Funny, which team has made the playoffs 2 years in a row playing those “boring” 2-0 games, and which team has not had a winning record in six years playing 10-8 games? Honestly, I’d rather see winning baseball rather than choosing how I would rather lose. The “Dunn and Kearns show” sure has not delivered the goods.

  6. CG Hudson

    We can’t determine for sure how much of this article is Reds Inc. talking and how much is just Fay’s speculation. Nonetheless, if one supposes that it is indeed more of the former, what sense does it make to denigrate Dunn’s value if you really are trying to trade him?! Hey fellow GMs, I have this outfielder that I really think is overrated because he strikes out too much; will you give me a quality starting pitcher for him? I bet Wayne The Trainwreck really rakes in poker.

  7. endymion

    Look, there is really no one at this point who can still argue for ‘The Trade’ with a straight face. No matter how you feel about Kearns/Lopez, this one blew up in Krivsky’s face. Maybe if Bray develops into the next John Franco and Majewski becomes a keystone setup man, we won’t regret it down the road. But until proven otherwise, this was a bad, bad, move for the value.

    That being said, I 100% agree with the basic philosophy of building a better fundamental baseball team. Of the 3 ‘big’ numbers guys, I only see Kearns as an above average player in any other aspect of the game, and even so he never developed into the professional hitter we all hoped for (but man I will miss his OF arm).

    “It’s stupid to look at what a player accomplishes when they get out, rather than what they accomplish when they don’t get out, since no one really gets much done when they get out.”

    I just can’t agree with this sentiment. What a guy accomplishes on an out can be tremendously important to the success of his team. I’d rather have a 20 HR hitter who can make solid contact, drive the ball away from the fielding shift, sac fly, or move a runner over when needed than a 40HR guy who is as hit or miss at the plate as Dunn.

  8. Roger

    I believe there is way too much emphasis on averages. For a pitcher, one or two really bad outings can really skew his ERA. Hitters usually hit in streaks. They have times when the hit the ball well and times when they can’t touch it.

    You need to look inside the numbers. Is a hitter hitting lights out against the #4 and #5 starters and can’t touch the 1,2, or 3 pitchers. That is not a good scenario.

    In the stock market, smart investors don’t invest in averages. You look inside the numbers and determine which stocks are performing best.