August 19, 2008:

Dear Fans,

Thank you for your loyalty and support of the Cincinnati Reds. You are extremely vital to the success of the Reds, and it is important we share with you the thinking behind our recent personnel decisions.

Since taking ownership of this franchise, we have aggressively tried to improve our Major League roster for the purpose of restoring championship baseball to Cincinnati. We have sought and signed proven players. We have extended the contracts of select current players. We added Dusty Baker, a proven winning manager. And, we have capitalized on our burgeoning younger players like Joey Votto, Jay Bruce and Johnny Cueto.

We had high expectations for the 2008 season. Unfortunately the team has not played up to our expectations and we have sustained injuries to key players within our starting lineup and rotation.

We opted to trade Ken Griffey Jr. and Adam Dunn at this time because we believe it provided the best outcome for the long-term success of the organization. By executing these inevitable changes now, we secured more players as part of our focus towards building a deeper, stronger inventory of young talent.

We are pleased that the trades allow Griffey and Dunn the opportunity to play for teams in tight division races. Both Ken and Adam made significant contributions to the Reds and we are extremely proud and grateful they wore the Reds uniform.

While the run production generated by these two veterans will not be quickly replaced, we chose to endure the short-term ramifications for the sake of building a strong, competitive team for 2009 and many seasons to come.

The vast majority of our 50 draft picks were signed, culminating last week with first-rounder Yonder Alonso and a pair of talented pitchers. Our expanded scouting operations also signed
Juan Duran from the Dominican Republic and Yorman Rodriguez from Venezuela, who are arguably the best amateur free agent position players from their respective countries.

As we near September, we will continue to provide valuable playing time to our young players and new acquisitions who we feel can become significant contributors at the Major League level. We ask your continued trust and patience as we build the roster that will get us back on top. We appreciate your support and look forward to seeing you at the ballpark.

Sincerely,

Bob Castellini
President & CEO

Walt Jocketty
President of Baseball Operations & GM

69 Responses

  1. Travis G.

    I had no illusions that this team would be very good, because they were counting too heavily on young pitchers and young hitters. They started stronger than expected, but a steady veteran like Scott Rolen really could have helped when the skid first began back in mid-June.

    But you really do have to consider how badly injuries decimated this club. You can argue that the 40-man roster was poorly constructed (it was) and the second tier of position players was far too weak (they were), but c’mon. Brandon Phillips is the only player from the Opening Day 25-man roster not to have spent time on the DL.

    Of course, Jonny Gomes hasn’t spent time on the DL, either, but he wasn’t on that original 25-man roster…

  2. RiverCity Redleg

    I wonder, if he were to write that over now, what would he change?

  3. RiverCity Redleg

    Travis, Brandon didn’t go on the DL, but he still missed several games due to injury. As a matter of fact, the DL doesn’t begin to tell the injury story. We’ve had a ridiculous amount of players hurt (I’m looking at you Willy and AGon) that weren’t DL’d and we just played short handed.

  4. GregD

    What would he change?

    We opted to trade Jerry Hairston Jr. and David Weathers at this time because we believe it provided the best outcome for the long-term success of the organization.

  5. Matt WI

    Also this would change: While the run production generated by these two veterans will not be quickly replaced,

  6. RiverCity Redleg

    That’s funny (’cause it’s true).

  7. Mark in CC

    They were correct to trade them both. Put a fork in Griffey he has proven that he is done and the market at the time did not allow for Dunn in Cincinnati.

    However,Uncles Bob and Walt are not looking for the short fix, they have a plan, or so they say.

    With the catching at the big league and minor league level can the Reds afford to not condiser bringing Ramon Hernandez back in ’10, as a part of the plan? We talk about offensive holes, catching prospects are bleak without him.

    Looking at the minor league report, Juan Francisco has 10 RBI in less tham 40 ab which is a great figure.

    But conversely, Ryan Hanigan has 9 RBI in 224 ab, with the Reds, which is pretty poor. Hernandez has 36 in about 50 more abs. I think Craig Tatum even brings brings less offense to the table. I like Hanigan but I am not sure his offensive run production makes him a starter candidate at the big league level. I know he has not had the greatest hitters ahead of him but 9 is pretty poor especially when you consider Mich Owings has 2 less doubles, the same number of triples (1), 1 more homer and the same 9 rbi with 51 ab who has batted in about the same spot in the order,even when pinch hitting.

    The Rds have drafted some catchers but I don’t see a real prospect, including Mesaraco, not counting the guys just drafted and maybe Coddington in Dayton.

    Can the Reds afford to not consider bringing Ramon Hernandez back in ’10, as part of the plan?

  8. Sultan of Swaff

    “We have sought and signed proven players.”
    That’s the organization in a nutshell. If they can’t even get that part right, there’s no hope of ever turning this around.
    Again, what do they have to do that they haven’t already done to make you NOT be a fan of this team?

  9. Sultan of Swaff

    I agree on Hernandez, but that’s assuming he takes a big time pay cut.

  10. Steve Price

    The management of this team is actually quite consistent.

    They are aggressive (havoc)….unfortunatley, they are chasing goals using the wrong metrics.

    The players received for Dunn and Griffey were not fixes to the organization. Adding a fifth starter and a reliever aren’t changing the franchise.

    Instead of aggressively pursuing players that will help the team, we are aggressively chasing marketing concepts at the ownership level and upper management level.

    Field management is aggressively seeking player approval as their manner of justification.

    Instead of drafting, securing, and developing young players, and properly spending money on players who will build for the future, we draft high risk, high reward players (the youngsters from last year), trade youth for aging veterans, and invest in a high dollar big name manager who succeeded in the past with veteran ballclubs.

  11. GregD

    Hernandez’s option is $8 million. I’ll pass.
    Sign a Gregg Zaun type for $1-2 million.
    I’m not punting Hanigan because of his low RBI total. That’s the wrong number to focus on.

  12. Dan

    I’ll say again…

    Castellini needs to hire good people, shut up, sign checks, and go sell some fruit.

    I don’t doubt that he wants to win, but his ego and over-involvement are KILLING this team.

    If he’d kept Krivsky here and just left him alone, I have a feeling we’d be around .500 or so, with a promising young future ahead.

  13. GregD

    However,Uncles Bob and Walt are not looking for the short fix, they have a plan, or so they say.

    Explain Rolen, who I like, but I don’t think qualifies as anything but a short fix.

  14. Dan

    I’d be very happy with a 50/50 split of Hanigan and Hernandez (assuming Hernandez comes at fair market value and NOT at his option price) or a 50/50 split of Hanigan and Zaun.

    I agree that the RBI total is low, and he has very little power, but his defense is fantastic and his OBP is quite good. THAT is what this offense lacks more than anything — good OBP guys.

    Check out the Cubs lineup sometime. Good OBP’s up and down the whole lineup. Even the somewhat disappointing Fukudome and Bradley are up in the .370-.400 OBP range. Outside of Votto, we have none of that.

    Hanigan looks like at least a .350 or .360 OBP guy, and there aren’t many catchers who do that.

  15. Steve Price

    If Hernandez is willing to play for $1 million great…he won’t re-sign for that in Cincinnati, but will get $1-2 million to play for somebody else.

    I wouldn’t pay him $2 million to play in Cincinnati…that’s a high side for him; we can find other catchers with the same ability for less.

    Interesting statistical factoids on Hanigan…

    Batting 8th…BA: .222, OBP: .314 SLP: .289 .603 OPS
    Batting 7th; BA: .338, OBP: .397, SLP: .385 .782 OPS

  16. Mark in CC

    “Adding…a reliever aren’t changing the franchise.”

    I don’t think there is an organization in baseball today that would trade you Nick Masset for Ken Griffey. Adding young big league ready pitchers who have 95+ power arm for past their prime overpaid players is the way they need to change the franchise. This doesn’t consider the prospect of production in the future from Richar.

  17. Mark in CC

    They paid Hernandez $4 Million as their share this year. With the market value of catchers, and considering he is several years older than when he signed the previous contact, he will probably ask for and get $4 Million next year. The Reds HAVE TO consider it.

  18. Steve Price

    My opinion is the Griffey trade was a pure salary dump.

    I’m not arguing that Griffey had anything left..he didn’t. But, frankly, this team probably would have been more profitable paying Griffey to play part of the time and selling some merchandise and tickets. I don’t see too many kids wearing Masset and Richar jerseys.

    Now, I do think Masset MAY turn into something…many have touted trading him, since his value is NOW high (it wasn’t last year…we traded low…you know…salary dump), but he is 27 (he’s not young), and his minor league WHIP is 1.454…nearly 1 1/2 baserunners per inning. He wasn’t lighing up anyone’s fire. He’s had a very good year in 2009, and I do think pitchers have a better chance of developing later than hitters…but, we took Masset as prayerful hope, not someone whose past performance was giving us much hope.

    And before anyone says “hey, he had untapped potential!”…someone will need to prove to me that we have any sort of record on developing pitchers….

    Anyway, take note of this…the first half of 2009, Masset held opposing hitters to an .156 batting average with a temporary .198 average on balls in play. The second half…opponents batting average is .270 with a .302 batting average on balls in play. 1st half ERA is 2.29; second half is 3.66. 1st half WHIP is an impressive 0.906; second half WHIP is 1.424. His major league career WHIP is 1.491 to go with the minor league 1.454.

    As for 26 year old Danny Richar, also not young, no doubt the White Sox were thankful to have someone to deal him to since they were done with him. 700 minor league games of .750 OPS later, the White Sox had to do something with him. So, they did what any other major league team would do with a past-prospect middle infielder–they dealt him away.

    Richar’s “power”…he has 64 minor league homers in over 3300 minor league plate appearances…well, 20 of those came in his third YEAR of playing High A ball in Lancaster, California…and that was four years ago.

  19. Jimmy James

    They blamed injuries last year. They blame injuries this year.

    Isn’t it the organization’s job to acquire enough depth that a team can at least survive through injuries? (And why did they trade some of that depth for an aging 3B?) That excuse is getting really tired.

    They said in the letter above that they were going to be competitive this year. Even if they hadn’t had a single injury, there’s NO WAY in the world that this team would have been competitive over 162 games.

    This franchise is broken, and I don’t trust anyone currently in power to fix it.

  20. Behind In The Count

    Dusty Baker doesn’t have a clue as to what it takes to be successful. I wonder everyday who is actually running this club. Who made the decision to sign Taveras and who decides to play him when he is as terrible as Corey Patterson was. Why does Dusty put Yanish in the two hole when he knows he is tottally pathetic with the bat. Twice yesterday he couldn’t get a bunt down. I don’t blame the players, I blame Dusty. We’ve scored 56 runs in the first inning and people wonder why? We had an automatic out when Taveras was hitting there, we added Gonzales in the two hole which guaranteed two outs for awhile, and now we have Yanish in the two hole. This is about managing and Dusty doesn’t know which day of the week he’s in. He needs to be fired for me to have any faith in upper management.

  21. Dan

    If I remember correctly, the Reds are effectively paying Hernandez $6 million this year — the midpoint between Hernandez’s salary ($8 million) and Freel’s salary ($4 million).

    I don’t think Hernandez will get anywhere NEAR $4 million next year. (If he does, I hope the Reds just say no!)

    I think he’ll get in the $1-2 million ballpark, and at that price (after declining his option) I wouldn’t mind it.

    But there will be many similar guys at about the same price out there. There’s no reason to overpay for Hernandez himself.

  22. Tom Diesman

    Bringing back Ramon Hernandez would be a miserable baseball move. His defense is atrocious and his OPS the last 3 yrs are .714, .714, and .685. Hanigan is much better with the glove and I’ll take his OBP at the much lower price. Corky Miller can be the backup. Heck, he could start for me over Hernadez.

  23. Matt Steele

    I agree that Hernandez should be back but there’s no way you can try and compare the two catches based on RBI totals. Especially when our team OBP is so low. If no one gets on base how can anyone drive them in?

    Ramon Hernandez spends most of his time batting 5th or 6th on our team (over 100 plate appearances at both spots) and he was there earlier in the year when we had fewer players out with injuries. He wasn’t trying to drive in Paul Janish.

    Hanigan is always batting 7th or 8th. There’s few RBI opportunities for him there.

    Hanigan’s OBP is .362. That’s third on the team behind Votto and Dickerson. He should be batting higher in the lineup so that when he clogs the bases, he has someone other than the pitcher trying to drive him in.

    Hanigan should be the starter, Hernandez should be the backup catcher and first baseman. Hanigan should bat higher in the lineup too but with Dusty around, there’s no way that will happen.

  24. Travis G.

    We got decent value for Griffey and Dunn, all things considered.

    The Reds likely would have had to pay several million for a couple of stopgap veterans to fill the roles Owings and Masset have this season, so they save there. I agree that Richar and Wilkin Castillo are marginally helpful players, but Dallas Buck could turn into a useful pitcher at some point (although he’s almost 25 and struggling in AA).

    That’s not a bad haul for a washed-up Hall of Famer and a guy they couldn’t afford to bring back.

  25. John

    How come so many of these “proven” people Uncle Bob puts so much stock in have been horrible here? How about NOT going after “proven” people and wasting your money?

    By the time many players hit free agency, they’re on the downslope of their careers. Too many overpriced vets’ numbers decline immediately after signing the big dollar contracts. Too many of them fight the injury bug the rest of their careers. It’s too risky for a club with no money. Draft and develop and PLAY THE YOUNG GUYS. Abandon the search for veterans. It’s not working. They can only afford middling veterans and reclamation projects, and it’s wasted money. Don’t bother. Play guys that are hungry and keep the pipeline moving.

  26. Josh

    Mark in CC – RBI is a situational stat, largely dependent upon what the people in front of you do. Dusty Baker’s nonsensical placement of a .300 hitter in the 8 hole makes it difficult for him to drive in runs because the 6 and 7 spots aren’t getting on base in front of him. To compare a guy in the 8 spots RBI totals to a guy like Hernandez who was batting behind Votto and BP (guys that get on base) isn’t fair and frankly, doesn’t mean anything.

  27. GRF

    You also have to factor in when Hannigan is hitting in the 8th spot he has the pitcher behind him. No one is going to give him anything to hit with a man on base if they can face the pitcher next.

    I question whether Hannigan can take the pounding to be the full time catcher, he seems to have been nicked up a fair bit with back issues and the like, but I certainly hope we can find a cheaper option for next season than Hernandez.

    As for the letter, BS then and BS now. I just wish we could see the outlines of an actual plan to make this a playoff team again, instead of a series of unconnected “looks good right now” moves.

  28. preach

    You guys are so pessimistic. I just read the release by Bob and Walt and it made me excited about the 2009 season….oh.

  29. Glenn

    I don’t think anyone can understate the amount of damage injuries have done to this team this year. That’s the problem with small market teams, its difficult (notice, I didn’t say impossible) to replace a highly paid starter after an injury, with a quality player without busting the budget.

    If Hernandez’ option is for $8 mil, I don’t see how it is possible for the Reds to keep him on the roster next year. When he was healthy he wasn’t worth that kind of money.

    IMO/estimation, the Reds would easily have to spend 100 mil to be competitive with the Cards and Cubs. I don’t see that happening.

  30. Mark in CC

    I like Ryan Hanigan, he hustles and plays good defense. But that being said, when we talk about upgrading the offense and the team his name is brought up as the alternative to do this behind the plate, I think offensively he is a much of the problem as some others who are blamed regularly.

    I agree RBI is a situational stat, with Runners in Scoring Position (I guess that would be the situation) Hanigan is hitting .146 (6 for 41).

    You might say well with the pitcher batting behind him he isn’t getting any pitches to hit. With 2 outs, when that would really come into play, he is hitting better at .200(3 for 15) with RISP the eight place thing is discounted a little. He has a much better batting average 7th than 8th .338 to .222, however he has driven in 1 run in 65 seventh place at bats and 6 in 135 eighth place.

    Ramon Hernandez hit .328 with RISP, and .273 with RISP and 2 outs. Hernandez has 7 RBI in 75 at bats in the 7th and 8th holes. Is that a more fair comparison?

  31. JasonL

    Every time someone talks about Avg. with RISP a little part of me dies.

  32. Dan

    Mark, clutch hitting stats don’t hold much water with a lot of people (including me). They are largely based on luck. It’s not much of a “repeatable skill.” (In other words, there aren’t many guys who are constantly, year after year, better in the clutch than they are overall.) The variations you see are largely luck or small sample or whatever.

    Just b/c Hanigan has been bad with RISP this year (and those numbers you gave really are bad) doesn’t mean he will be next year, or even next month.

    Rather than focusing on clutch or non-clutch hitters, I’d rather just get a bunch of good hitters and take my chances. More often than not, good hitters in non-clutch situations are good hitters in clutch situations.

    And anyway, while Hanigan does have very little power, if he can put up a .350 OBP and play excellent defense (which he does, I think), I’ll be happy having him back there.

    Overall, offensively, you can’t convince me that Hernandez is better than Hanigan… particularly in 2010, when Hernandez will be 34, which is serious “end of the line” territory for a lot of catchers.

  33. GregD

    Last year Hanigan hit .278 w/RISP and .333 w/RISP and 2 outs. Did he all of a sudden forget how to do it?

    The Reds shouldn’t and hopefully aren’t making decisions based on Hanigan’s 41 at-bats wRISP or Hernandez’s 75 at-bats in the 7th and 8th hole.

  34. RC

    Hernandez in 2008: BA .257/RISP .316

    Hernandez in 2007: BA .258/RISP .354

    Hernandez in 2006: BA .275/RISP .307

    Looks somewhat repeatable to me.

  35. Dan

    Don’t cherry-pick only the data that support your claim…

    Here are the 3 years before that…

    Hernandez in 2005: BA .290/RISP .296

    Hernandez in 2004: BA .276/RISP .228

    Hernandez in 2003: BA .273/RISP .266

  36. Travis G.

    I’ve been as big a defender of the Hernandez trade as anyone on this board, but if the Reds pick up his option I will go down to the hardware store, buy one of those rubber mallets, and bang myself in the head until I’m not mad anymore.

  37. Dan

    In general, I’ll concede that there probably are some hitters who are a little better “in the clutch” than they are overall. But it’s not many players, and difference is slight.

    On the whole, it’s slight enough that the best strategy, in my view, is just to amass good hitters.

    Factoring in age, and cost, and defense, I MUCH prefer Hanigan.

  38. Dan

    I’ll be OK w/ re-signing Hernandez too, as long as it’s only for 1 year, and as long as it’s somewhere in the $1-2 million range.

  39. RC

    Didn’t intend to cherry-pick – that’s just where I stopped. I did go back in and look at earlier years after I posted, but I don’t really think that weakens my point. It looks to me like a veteran player learned with experience to take a different approach to the plate (cut down his swing… whatever) when in RISP situations, and has hit well over .300 in those situations *for four years running*. You can dismiss that as luck. I’m not so sure.

    PS – I don’t want him back next year at $8 mil either.

  40. Travis G.

    Are they even allowed to buy out Hernandez’s option and then turn around and offer him a 75 percent pay cut? Seems like the Players’ Association would frown on that.

  41. Dan

    RC – maybe. It’s possible he’s gotten better at that somehow. Personally though, I’d almost entirely ignore it in deciding whether or not to re-sign him, and if so, for how much $$$.

    Travis – I think that move would be fine. Once they buy him out, he’s a free agent, so anyone could sign him then. If the Reds offer $1.5 million (or so) and that’s his best offer, I don’t think that’s any problem at all.

    The only area I know of that caps what % of a pay cut you can get is in arbitration (and even then, if you’re willing to non-tender him and make him a free agent, any % of pay cut is kosher).

    Don’t quote me on this — I’m no attorney — but this is my understanding.

  42. David

    Here’s the problem in a nutshell. Krivsky was very good at evaluating talent. I think he had a legit plan in place. He was terrific at the buy low strategy getting Arroyo (who’d lost his starting job in Boston), Phillips, Hamilton, Ross, and Cantu. However, his strategy seems to have been contrary to the win now strategy, trying Bob Castellini’s patience.

    JasonL – To me, average is a stat that matters much more than OBP or wOBA with runners in scoring position. I don’t think you look at average with runners in scoring position, but a player’s overall average. I’d rather have a .315/.350 cleanup hitter than a .250/.400 cleanup hitter. With RISP the player with a higher average will be more productive. Sure the high OBP guy will make less outs, but should also produce less runs. Just my opinion. I hope none of the good parts die, that’d be unfortunate.

  43. mike

    Steve I think this sums up things so perfectly
    “unfortunately, they are chasing goals using the wrong metrics.”

    I’d even argue that the team is not very aggressive. when I look at even day-to-day moves of other teams I often ask myself “do the Reds even exist”. Other teams are making moves, DFA-ing players, claiming players, sending players up and down. The Reds don’t even seem to want to put hurt players on the DL no less fix their 40-man roster mess

    I think it’s an important point to the Rolen trade what you said later about “marketing”
    So the Reds are awful were falling in the standings. NOBODY is going to see the games. The team is desperate to figure out how to get fans to come to games (Reds have among the worst attendance in baseball) because the team is not going to make money. So they trade for an old washed up all-star and big name as a marketing ploy to try and give Reds fans a reason to come to games.

    I have a feeling the Rolen trade has nothing to do with EE and nothing to do with next year. I think it’s a desperate attempt to get fans to show up.

  44. Steve Price

    The BA vs. OBP is something that works for pinch hitting, but not in overall lineup construction.

    That is, if the manager could choose who to bat in a certain situation, I understand the choice.

    However, by choosing players this way, the manager has to ignore the othre 500 or so plate appearances with runners in scoring position, thus minimizing additional opportunities to score.

    Studies (such as the lineup toy, and historical) show that a lineup full of high OBP hitters will score more runs than a mix.

    That’s not to say that in a one at bat vacuum, it may not be better to have the power hitter.

    I will also throw this out there…in Dayn Perry’s book “Winners” (about building winning baseball teams), he says his study of winning teams shows that “recently”, slugging percentage matters more than OBP. Slugging percentage does not include walks, but it was not average that made the difference, it was “isolated power”…the number of total bases over and above singles divided the the number of at bats that was more important. So, even then, it wasn’t batting average, it was slugging.

    However, and for the future this is important, those studies were done during the steroid age when more home runs were hit than what should be anticipated in the extended future. The trend should go back to OBP as a result.

  45. Steve Price

    I wish I could edit…it should have said the “other 500 or so plate appearances WITHOUT runners in scoring position” in the third sentence.

  46. David

    Steve – Teams that make fewer outs score more runs… well, duh. I’d obviously agree.

    However, I’d like to challenge “studies (such as the lineup toy, and historical) show that a lineup full of high OBP hitters will score more runs than a mix.”

    Let’s say that you have two players with identical OBPs, we’ll use .375. One of those players has an average of .320. The other has an average of .250. Which guy do you want batting third? Which guy do you want batting fourth?

    I’m all for your 1 and 2 hitters having high OBP regardless of batting average. I don’t care if they get a hit if they get on base. However, generally speaking, the strategy changes for your middle of the order guys. It’s not good enough to get on base if it doesn’t plate a run because the statistical probability is that the next guy isn’t going to get on base either. Therefore, I want the 3, 4, and 5 hitters to have high averages. Of course, no out is better than an out; however, no out is worse than no run. The odds of the .260 hitter punching in those runs is far less than the .320 hitter.

    The other flaw to the OBP game, in my opinion, is if the walk is intentional. If a .320 hitter comes to bat with two on and 1B open, does he get the free pass? Does the pitcher pitch around him? Would the same be true of a .250 hitter?

    I’ve been dying to see OSwing and ZSwing splits for RISP.

  47. Dan

    David, a hit is a little better than a walk, so if your two theoretical hitters are batting .250/.375 and .320/.375, then sure, we’d all prefer the .320/.375 guy.

    The more interesting comparison is a .250/.375 guy vs. a .300/.340 guy (or something like that).

    I think I’ll still take .250/.375 up and down my lineup, but I’m guessing you’ll want .300/.340 in the lower half of your lineup?

    I wonder what the Magic Lineup Tool would have to say about this?

  48. Eddie

    I’d decline the Hernandez option and I doubt he resigns to be a part time player or backup.
    As far as transactions go the only ones I don’t like are Scott Rolen and Willy (for 2 years) as far as the rest go I’m either okay with them or happy about them.
    I really didn’t mind the Willy signing at the time because we really didn’t have any options for CF and we were hoping for a .280/.330 and got nothing near that.
    I’m happy about the Griffey trade. If you compare Griffey (in 08) to Nix they are about the same (With Nix obviously playing better defense). I don’t see anyone calling us up to trade anyone near the caliber of Masset/Richar for Nix.
    Also happy with the Gonzalez and Hairston trades as neither have a future on this team and open up more playing time for other players.
    If there’s any 2 positions where I am always happy to add depth it’s SS & Catcher.

  49. RC

    I’d also gently remind those of you who mention signing Hernandez as a “backup” anything – remember who is likely to still be managing this team next year. I think you know the name of that tune.

  50. Matt Steele

    RC, you’re correct, almost certainly Ramon will be our starting catcher and Willy will be back in CF and all will be right with the world again. I can only imagine the torment that Dusty has gone through this year not being able to field his best team because of injuries… especially when that team had WillyT in CF and leading off.

  51. David

    Greg – assuming similar numbers slg. I almost added that but didn’t.

    Dan – I would rather have .300/.340 guy 3-5 and .250/.375 at the top. That’s all I’m saying. Perhaps it doesn’t make that big a difference and the models are based on lineups turning over, etc. I don’t know. All I do know is that a high OBP in certain situations doesn’t help you nearly as much as a high avgerage. All things being equal I’ll take the higher average.

    You are right. While a walk is the same as a hit, it shouldn’t be weighted the same, which is why I like wOBA much better (though I do realize there are problems with the weights).

  52. redsfan1470

    If Ramon can hit better with runners in scoring position, then why doesn’t he always hit that well? Why does he slack off when no runners are in scoring position?

  53. David

    Greg – I don’t value SLG nearly as much as I probably should. Why? Compare Ichiro and Votto. Votto hit .297/.368/.506 in 2008 while Ichiro hit .311/.361/.386. Conventional wisdom says that you hit Ichiro in front of Votto. However, statistically speaking both guy is going to get on base approximately the same amount, but because Ichiro is more likely to get a hit, the player in front is more likely to score.

    There are two negatives obviously. One, batting a slower runner in front of a burner like Ichiro takes away his speed. However, a leadoff hitters speed is negated if anyone is on base when the lineup turns over. Overall, I would think the effect would be minimal. Second, you could argue that Votto is more likely to hit a homerun. Therefore if you put Ichiro on in front of Votto the two have a better chance of scoring. That’s a good argument. My thought is that you would create more runs over the course of the year.

    I don’t know – you guys know where all the run tools are. Why doesn’t somebody put Ichiro on this team and see the outcome by putting him in front of/behind Ichiro. Not that the models are completely accurate, but it should give a good estimate.

  54. Rob

    So, should we just consider this the 2009 letter too? I’ll save a few copies to edit 2010 and 2011 into the letter as well.

  55. GregD

    The lineup tool I’ve linked to in the past only takes obp and slg as inputs. I’ve used diamond-mind baseball simulator in the past, too, and I do agree that there is some value to AVG – total AVG like you’ve stated – not AVG splits (like w/RISP.)

    The batting averages of Ichiro and Votto cited are not that different. Over 600 at-bats, .297 vs .311 is about 8-9 hits.

    I’d bat Votto behind Ichiro because Votto has a better chance of driving Ichiro in from 1st base. That’s another fault I see with RISP stats…for your sluggers 1st base can be scoring position, too.

  56. Chris

    As long as there are people willing to repeat the “it’s injuries” line, and debate the potential production from one Danny Richar, this organization isn’t going to change.

  57. Chris

    I really didn’t mind the Willy signing at the time because we really didn’t have any options for CF and we were hoping for a .280/.330 and got nothing near that.

    Chris Dickerson was coming off an insane end of the 2008 season. Jay Bruce could even play CF, if you weren’t building a havoc-based offense.

  58. GregD

    It’s unfortunate that there have been so many injuries that the organization could avoid the “look in the mirror” test that every org should do in the offseason. If they shrug it off as bad luck, we’re stuck in this pickle for a while.

  59. GregD

    The opening day roster had about 15 other guys who could play CF, and a recent 1st round draft pick in AAA.

  60. Chris

    Re injuries: Take a look at the Cardinals roster, compared to the Reds. They lost their 3b (Glaus) for the whole season; their ace (Carpenter) missed a month; their RF (Ludwick) missed 3 weeks; their CF (Ankiel) missed a month; their SS (Greene) nearly 2 months; their #2 starter (Lohse) missed about 2 months; they traded for Mark Derosa, and he got hurt the next day and missed 3 weeks; their #4 starter (Wellemeyer) missed a few weeks.

    And frankly, I’m not real interested in hearing about any of the injuries that happened after they were out of it (Bruce, Ramon, Rolen, Harang, Cueto) or to complete stiffs they were happy to be rid of (Richar, Castillo, Taveras, Gonzalez, Lincoln).

    The truth is, the Reds lost Votto for around 25-30 games, lost Voltron for 4.5 months, and EE, for 60 games. That’s the sum total of the SIGNIFICANT injuries that actually impacted the Reds.

  61. Eddie

    Chris all those guys you name besides Glaus and Carpenter aren’t anything to write home about. Now if they would have lost Pujols for 25-30 games and Capenter for 4.5 months then we can talk. All those hitters are batting .265 or under and Lohse (Their #4 (Wainwright and Piniero are better than him)) has a 4.67 era and Wellemeyer has a 5.67 era.
    As far as CF goes, people don’t want to give Dickerson the CF spot now even though he’s produced (when healthy) so why would they have given him the job after only a month of production in the bigs.
    I’ve been saying this for months, Drew Stubbs is not the answer right now. He should be in AAA learning how to make better contact and strikeouts less. I don’t care how good his defense is if he’s going to hit .220.

    That being said, if Dusty runs out craptastic lineups with terrible hitters batting second then we are doomed next year too.

  62. Travis G.

    frankly, I’m not real interested in hearing about any of the injuries that happened after they were out of it

    Why? Did MLB stop counting their win-loss record at that point?

    The Reds were not a good team when the season opened, because they had no position player depth at all and lacked a proven slugger despite having an opening in LF. But I believed as recently as the first week of July that they could have remained in the race if they added a player of, well, of Rolen’s caliber.

    Maybe I’m wrong on balance, but they didn’t plummet in the standings until July, when Bruce, Hernandez, Burton, Dickerson and Owings all hit the DL and were replaced with the likes of Rosales, Tatum, Manuel, Sutton and, if we’re being honest, A-Gon.

  63. Steve Price

    I think the Reds plummeted because the law of averages caught up with them not injuries. Weren’t we on the wrong side of the pythagorean run scored system at that point already? That’s usually because of luck…some credit the manager when teams beat the “pythagorean w-l curve”, but it’s usually luck.

  64. Travis G.

    The Reds no doubt played over their heads earlier in the season, but when Tatum, Rosales and Sutton are getting regular at-bats in a lineup headlined by Willy Taveras and Alex Gonzalez, you’re setting yourself up for a whole lot of FAIL.

  65. Mark in CC

    Sorry I started the Hanigan thing and couldn’t be in on it more. Pretty good reading though.

    Two things I think we can agree on:

    1. Dusty has not done a good job of putting a line-up together with the available talent.

    2. There are as many questions going into off-season 2010 as there were 2009 and some are the same. This might be the most disappointing.