I thought it would be interesting to look at what Wayne Krivsky has done in the way of contract extensions. My gut impression tells me on the big moves (Adam Dunn & Aaron Harang), Krivksy has done really well. But he’s also signed several inferior players to contract extensions that have blocked better, younger, cheaper players. Let’s see what the transaction log tells us…
Feb. 13, 2006 – Adam Dunn (2 years, plus an option for ’08). Locked up the team’s #1 or #2 asset at below market rates. Good work, and a good start to Krivsky’s tenure.
July 26, 2006 – Scott Hatteberg (through ’07, plus an option for ’08). This move worked, on paper. Hatteberg played very well in 2007. The move had other consequences, though, in that it blocked Joey Votto, who sure looked like he could have played first base for at least half of the ’07 season. I can’t see Hatteberg’s ’08 option being picked up, but we’ll see.
July 31, 2006 – Rheal Cormier (through ’07). This was necessary in order to get Cormier to agree to the trade to the Reds. A double whammy, as he was terrible in both the ’06 stretch run and ’07. Jerry Narron simply refused to use him, and he was cut by Memorial Day.
Aug. 26, 2006 – Javy Valentin (through ’07, plus an option for ’08). The LLM’s power disappeared this year (.276/.328/.387), but he was still a decent contributor for the money ($1.25M). I’m guessing they pick up the option (though I can’t remember how much it’s for).
September 25, 2006 – Juan Castro (through 2008, with an option for 2009). Castro was coming off a season where he “hit” .251/.281/.351. He was 34 years old. The move was utterly senseless at the time, and looks 800 times worse, after Krivsky signed Alex Gonzalez to play SS and acquired Jeff Keppinger to be a good-hitting utility man. Oh, and Castro hit .180/.211/.236 in 54 games, before hitting the DL. The question becomes whether Krivksy & Castellini have the stomach to admit his mistake and eat the $1.075 for Castro’s ’07 and ’08 buyout. I suspect they do – they did cut Cormier.
December 12, 2006 – David Weathers (through 2008). In 2007, Weathers did exactly what he’d done in 2006: 70-something innings with a 3.55-ish ERA and a 1.20 WHIP. Even if you dismiss the value of “the closer,” Weathers was a very valuable contributor to the Reds, and well worth his $2.25M.
February 6, 2007 – Aaron Harang (through 2010). Harang didn’t miss a step after signing his big contract, giving the Reds another 230 innings with a 3.73 ERA. Great move.
February 8, 2007 – Bronson Arroyo (extended through 2010, with an option for 2011). This one feels a little like Krivsky (and/or Castellini) got caught up in the excitement of the Harang signing. Bronson was already signed through 2008, so Krivsky bought a journeyman pitcher’s age 32 and 33 seasons, for $25M. That looks a whole lot worse when you think of it that way. Arroyo pitched 210 innings in 2007, with a 110 ERA+. I’m less than optimistic that we’ll be considering Bronson an asset come 2010.
April 16, 2007 – Ryan Freel (through 2009). Freel will earn $7M over the ’08-09 seasons, when he’ll be 33-34. I sure doubt he’s going to be worth having around at that price. Norris Hopper apparently proved that he can do essentially what Freel does, without the risk to life and limb, and at a greatly-reduced price. Freel hit .245/.308/.347 in 295 plate appearances, with 47 Ks and only 15/23 on steal attempts.
April 27, 2007 – Todd Coffey (extended through 2008). This looked really dumb about 27 days later, when Krivsky demoted Coffey. Or 14 days after that, when he demoted Coffey again. On the season, Coffey threw 51 innings, allowed 89 runners, 12 HR(!), and had a 5.82 ERA.
My report card:
Good moves: Dunn, Harang, Weathers, Hatteberg, Valentin.
Jury’s still out: Arroyo, Coffey.
Likely mistakes (or worse): Narron, Cormier, Castro, Freel.