The Cincinnati Reds, like other major league teams, will start making changes to their roster once the World Series is finished. But adjustments in front office and coaching personnel have already begun. Third base coach Steve Smith was told he wouldn’t return and assistant general manager Bob Miller left the Reds to pursue a business opportunity in Florida.

A recent report (Buster Olney) has circulated that the Reds will soon hire Kevin Towers, presumably as an assistant to his good friend, Walt Jocketty. The Arizona Diamondbacks fired Towers as their general manager in early September. Can Reds fans expect the Towers hire to impact the way the roster is managed this offseason?

Kevin Towers earned a solid reputation as a largely-successful general manager for the small-market San Diego Padres (1995-2009). He was hired by the D-Backs to be their GM in 2011. This weekend, I spoke with someone in the Diamondbacks organization who has worked with Towers. He expressed the same opinion you read elsewhere, that the GM was universally liked and respected.

That said, Towers’ tenure in the desert coincided with the Diamondbacks’ collapse. In his first season as GM, Arizona won 94 games and the NL West. That success was followed by two 81-81 seasons in 2012 and 2013. This year, under Towers’ leadership, the Diamondbacks had the worst record (64-98) in baseball. That nose-dive took place as the Diamondbacks ownership expanded payroll from $56 million in 2011 to $112 million in Towers’ final season. He practiced anti-Moneyball.

As with most spectacular failures, more than one factor or person contributed to the D-Backs tailspin. But the personality-driven roster Kevin Towers built was a chief culprit. He filled Arizona’s clubhouse with “gritty” guys who “played the right way” and shipped off those he felt lacked toughness. For example, Towers traded Justin Upton at age 24, with three years of affordable team control. He gave up on other good young players because they didn’t fit his concept of ideal character.

That penchant for valuing makeup over talent, along with the team’s subsequent plunge, landed Towers next to last in the recent ranking of baseball’s 30 GMs by The Sporting News. 

***

Towers, who turns 53 in a couple weeks, will join Bill Bavasi and Cam Bonifay, two other old-school GMs who were fired by their organizations, in Jocketty’s inner circle, a veritable Great American Island of Misfit Toys.

Bill Bavasi had previous stints as a major league general manager with the California/Anaheim Angels (1994-99) and Seattle Mariners (2003-08), where his teams had a collective record of 790-923. Both the Angels and Mariners had healthy payrolls during Bavasi’s tenure and the Mariners had won 90 or more games in the three seasons prior to his taking over.

The Reds hired Bavasi in 2008, right after he was let go by Seattle. His approach has been characterized as back-slapping old school and his roster management of the Mariners, where he was much hated by fans, has been termed a demolition derby and unchained franchise destruction.

In explaining the decision to consign the Reds’ best pitcher to 60 innings of work per season, Bavasi offered this breathtaking statement: “You build your pitching staff from the back to the front – if we can shut you down in the eighth and ninth innings, you aren’t going to beat us.”

Now we’ve got Aroldis for that.

With Jocketty leaning heavily on such brain-dead advice, we should be thankful that Johnny Cueto hasn’t been assigned to pitch the eighth inning.

Cam Bonifay served as Pittsburgh’s general manager for nearly ten years (1993-2001). He took over a team that had won at least 95 games the previous three seasons and been in Game Seven of the NLCS the prior year. Bonifay led the Pirates to nine consecutive losing seasons. During that time, he was criticized for overpaying players past their primes and described as a terrible judge of talent.

Besides Walt Jocketty’s war room, one other place you can find both Bill Bavasi and Cam Bonifay is on Jonah Keri’s 2008 list of the ten worst general managers in history. Keri’s list is for all sports, not just baseball.

The Kevin Towers hire fits a pattern for Jocketty. Some leaders seek out strong alternative voices, knowing valuable insight can be gained by considering differing viewpoints. Others surround themselves with like-minded people with whom they’ll feel comfortable.

Instead of hiring away cutting-edge, fresh-faced talent from successful organizations, Walt Jocketty assembles the timeworn discards of failed operations. It’s sort of natural selection in reverse. In the age of Google and Apple, Jocketty’s inner sanctum more closely resembles Jurassic Park than Menlo Park.

***

Bullpens are important. Research links the strength of a team’s relief corps and winning. But starting pitchers, hitters and defense all matter more. Shut the other team down the last two or three innings, fine. But it doesn’t produce a win without the lead.

Bullpens have huge quality turnover from year-to-year. Individual relief pitchers are inconsistent and unpredictable, especially when evaluated by common statistics like ERA that are affected by small sample sizes and one or two bad games. Studies show that great bullpens are typically one-season wonders, managing to be only solid the year after.

It turns out that because of the fickle nature of individual relievers, teams shouldn’t pay near top dollar for anything other than a high-end closer. And there are few of those. Early-round draft picks used on college relievers (remember Ryan Wagner?) have tended to be relatively poor investments. The reverse, moving starters to the bullpen (Chapman, Sean Marshall before shoulder issues) has had a much better payoff.

Where do high-end relief pitchers come from? Everywhere. Late-round draft picks. Low-budget international free agents. Waiver claims of veterans in their 30s. Independent leagues. Minor pieces of bigger trades. Converted first basemen or catchers. Journeymen starting pitchers can consolidate their pitch portfolio. The lesson is that clubs have to be persistent and make the effort, scavenging for pieces other teams don’t want.

The Dodgers’ recent bullpen recipe was to sign expensive free agents and trade for “proven” non-elite closers and set-up men. They paid big money for what the pitchers had already done, not what they would do. It turned out their best reliever, Kenley Jansen, was a player they signed out of Curaçao — as a catcher.

In contrast, the Cardinals populated their bullpen with late-round draft picks, international amateurs and former position players. Their All-Star set-up reliever, Pat Neshek, was signed as a minor league free agent.

Obviously, not every pitcher in these categories turns into a capable reliever, even for a short period of time. That’s why teams need to generate a steady stream of them, to produce a large pool each year from which to draw – maybe 30 arms for a critical mass. Teams that primarily target specific relievers aren’t as successful at building bullpens as those that cast a wider net. What tends to work is organizational depth above all else.

Analytics, if clubs use the right statistics, can increase the chance of finding reliable relievers. Looking at ERA or previous saves is fool’s gold. It’s akin to a dog chasing its tail. Organizations must recognize that just because a reliever has one strong season doesn’t mean he’s likely to repeat it the next year. That means no two-year contracts for pitchers like Manny Parra and Logan Ondrusek.

Most importantly, major league clubs living with budget constraints have to avoid overspending on their bullpen. Scarce dollars are better used on starters, hitters and defense, areas where reliable performance is easier to identify and estimate.

***

Let’s give Walt Jocketty the benefit of the doubt and assume he’s hired Kevin Towers because of Towers’ reputation for a skill that the Reds could sorely use – building a successful bullpen. The guess here is that when the Reds do hold their press conference announcing the hire, maybe as early as today, that particular quality of Towers will be stressed.

Towers’ built his bullpen brand in San Diego. The best Padres reliever then was Trevor Hoffman, whom Towers inherited. But Kevin Towers was successful in assembling a talented bullpen in San Diego on the cheap. Operating on a small-market shoestring, he landed relievers like Joe Thatcher, Luke Gregerson, Mike Adams, Edward Mujica and Ernesto Frieri.

That narrative continued in part when Towers took the GM job in Arizona. He remade the Diamondbacks relief staff with initial success. But as the D-Backs payroll skyrocketed, Towers lost his frugal ways and deft touch when it came to acquiring relievers.

Towers traded for 35-year-old Heath Bell, who had previously pitched for him in San Diego but had been ineffective for the Marlins. Even receiving salary help from Miami in the deal, the D-Backs were on the hook for $13 million to Bell over two seasons. Bell blew 7 of his 22 save opportunities in 2013. Towers unloaded Bell (at the cost of $3.5 million) to the Tampa Bay Rays. Bell was DFA’d by the Rays after a month.

Towers gave J.J. Putz, a former closer with a history of trips to the DL, a 4-year, $20 million contract. Putz pitched well in Arizona for two years, but slumped over the second half of the contract. Last year, Arizona paid Putz $7 million, and DFA’d him in July.

Towers also paid a high price in personnel to acquire relievers for the Diamondbacks. He traded 29-year-old starting pitcher Ian Kennedy for Thatcher, a 32-year old LOOGY and Padres retread. In 2014, Kennedy’s first full season for San Diego, he produced 2.9 fWAR (approximately $20 million in value). His salary was $6.1 million. Over 201 innings, Kennedy (3.63 ERA, 3.21 FIP) was eighth in strikeout rate for starters in the NL. Kennedy also has another year of team control in 2015. Meanwhile, Arizona has already flipped Thatcher for two second-tier minor leaguers.

Finally, Towers acquired White Sox closer Addison Reed at the cost of 23-year-old, top-100 prospect, 3B Matt Davidson. Reed is young and was still pre-arbitration at the time, but he’s also just a garden-variety closer (0.0 fWAR, -0.5 bWAR in 2014).

In sum, Towers followed best practices in relief pitcher acquisition when forced to by a tiny payroll in San Diego. But he fell into big-spending, hit-and-mostly-miss habits when he operated with a payroll similar to one he’ll find in Cincinnati. Towers committed 18% ($20 million) of the D-Backs’ payroll to the bullpen last year.

***

The best case for adding Kevin Towers to the Reds front office is based on his history with San Diego, a half-decade ago, particularly with the bullpen. But Towers’ recent sell low/buy high track record with the Diamondbacks calls into question whether he’ll repeat his success with the Padres.

In Cincinnati, Towers will be flanked by other men who share his de-emphasis of analytics and modern thinking about baseball, an environment destined to reinforce his worst tendencies. Instead of building their bullpen by broadening the organization’s reservoir of cheap arms from multiple sources, expect Walt Jocketty’s old-fangled front office to continue overpaying for aging veterans and one-season wonders.

62 Responses

  1. greenmtred

    Steve: A good, detailed analysis, as always. One quibble: Calling Chapman the Reds’ best pitcher makes a good debate point concerning the mismanagement of the staff, but it doesn’t seem based in reality, at least to me. Best thrower, yes. The best pitcher is Cueto.

    • Redsfan48

      I’d say it’s a toss-up between Cueto and Chapman there, and I say the edge goes to Chapman because of the changeup he added this year. If we had the 2014 Cueto with the 2013 Chapman, then Cueto has the edge.

      • Thegaffer

        Anyone who watches the games should never think Chapman is anywhere as good as Cueto. Aroldis can totally collapse if the hitters do not swing and when runners get on base. The Chapman love is gotten to absurdity!

      • charlottencredsfan

        Agree – Cueto is very underrated by many here. JC is one of the elite starters in MLB. Chapman may be an elite reliever but those are not the same thing. It is very easy to tell by how starters are compensated vs. relievers. Cuteo’s health will be a bit of an unknown.

      • kmartin

        In 2014 the BA against Chapman was .119. With runners in scoring position it was .108. In 2013 the BA against Chapman was .164. With runners in scoring position it was .132. Evidently in recent years he is not collapsing much with runners in scoring position.

        Regarding hitters not swinging. Maybe opposing managers should just advise their players not to swing against Chapman.

      • greenmtred

        Chapman pitches one inning at a time, starting clean–nobody on base. I’m not denigrating his talent, but the body of work simply isn’t there. The comparison, to some degree, comes down to pitcher v. thrower.

  2. bigjuxberg

    Great info, Steve. I didn’t realize the Reds had hired so many unsuccessful front office employees recently.

    In my opinion, the Reds need to ax the run-of-the-mill relief pitchers–guys with average stuff that won’t play in the postseason or against a team like StL…Ondrusek, Hoover, Parra, LeCure to name four.

    In those slots I would look at the organization and ask, “Who are the absolute best arms?” regardless of whether they are projected as a starter or reliever. Chances are, if a guy is a projected starter, he’s got at least three pitches (unless his name is Cingrani) and chances are, the fastball will gain 2-5 mph in velocity when he moves to the pen. Then, instead of a guy with a career 4.96 ERA (Manny Parra), you may end up with a nasty young hurler throwing high 90s that the league hasn’t gotten a beat on yet.

    I’d also trade away Latos before he becomes a FA, and I’d also deal Jay Bruce to HOU; try to get back a reliever or two, and hopefully land an OF that doesn’t give away at-bats like Halloween candy.

    Either way, something must be done. The Reds lost a ton of one-run games in ’14, partly because of poor offense but also because the bullpen finished 26th in WHIP and ERA.

    • Doug Gray

      And if you do that then you wind up with no starting pitchers because you put your best arms in the bullpen.

      • lwblogger2

        Not to mention possibly a bigger hole in RF than you already have. He’s assuming Bruce will be as bad as 2014 I guess. He’d be selling low on Latos. Sure, for the right return Latos could be traded but does he really think he’s going to get much on the market for Latos right now? Does he care? Seems like he just wants to trade the guys he doesn’t like. Hmmm, Parra and Hoover both have the great stuff he’s talking about but he wants them gone. I don’t follow.

  3. charlottencredsfan

    What’s the punchline? Bob C. is really digging in his heels.

    I really doubt the 2015 club will compete for a title but a young exciting team to watch, would be refreshing. Looks like that isn’t going to happen Boy-oh-boy. Good morning Red Leg Nation!

  4. WVRedlegs

    My oh my. What a wonderful day it isn’t, with this news. Looks like Castellini has let Jocketty sell the team cow for a bag of magic beans.
    And those of us who clamoured for a front office change were ridiculed.
    I guess that removes Justin Upton from the potential trade targets list now. Might have to add the Dbacks Mark Trumbo now, who Towers traded 2 pitchers for. Power but no OBP.

  5. wvredlegs

    I know we all hate the Cardinals, but their top prospect, OF Oscar Tavares was killed in a car accident last night. Prayers to the Cardinal Nation today.

    • lwblogger2

      I’m surprised you’re the only one who’s said anything about this. I found out last night. It’s very sad for the young man, his friends, his family, the Cardinals’ organization and their fans. Let’s not forget that his girlfriend also had her life tragically cut short in the accident. Thoughts and prayers to Cardinal Nation indeed.

      • charlottencredsfan

        Amen to that. Just tragic.

      • cfd3000

        I was impressed that the official statement from Bud Selig’s office (who I have been frequently unimpressed by) also included his girlfriend and her family in extending condolences. Few others have (at least officially) including the Cardinals themselves. A tragic loss twice, and prayers and condolences go out to all who knew and loved both of them.

  6. Jake

    Do we really need 8 more Skip Schumakers? I can’t understand the reasoning for hiring this guy outside of the fact that he’s buddies with Walt

    • lwblogger2

      Classic case of “Good ol’ Boys” networking. Castellini isn’t free of guilt either. He seems to value outdated thinking as well. Kevin Towers is a traditional thinking baseball guy who doesn’t even get the traditional thinking right most the time. Makes me want to shake my head.

  7. sultanofswaff

    I’m just not seeing a crisis here. First, there aren’t that many bullpen slots available if you consider the return of Marshall and Cingrani plus the addition of Iglesias. All 3 were acquired by not overpaying in the free agent market and their presence will preclude the need to bring in more than one or two guys, and none will cost that much since we won’t be paying for a closer.

    The hiring of Towers doesn’t mean the Reds will be any better or worse off. For all the negatives tied to these retread GM’s, I’m not seeing definitive proof their bad ideas are infecting the club in an appreciable way as far as pitching is concerned. On one hand you have the Broxton overpay (made with the intention of starting Chapman….torpedoed by Dusty), but you also have to give credit for the acquisition of Parra/Simon/Hoover. Put together, these 3 have given value far above their salaries. These are precisely the kinds of moves you’re advocating, and even the Marshall deal made good sense were it not for his injury.

    Now, if you wanna talk position players, I’m right there with you—-Schumaker, Hannahan, Miguel Cairo, Wilson Valdez, etc.

    • charlottencredsfan

      I more concerned with bringing in a bunch stale thinkers without great track records. To me, it looks like we might be seeing another step in the wrong direction. It is not any one thing that bothers me but rather the thought process.

      It really seems this team is at a fork in the road. I think the average Reds’ fan is looking for signs that we are taking the right path. I don’t see this as very encouraging.

      • Doug Gray

        Those guys all got a GM job because they were very good at whatever job it was before they were hired as a GM. They aren’t the GM here, so maybe they can go back to the job that they are much better at than being GM.

        I’d love to have some more “new school” thinkers in the front office, I really would. Sometimes the things that go on are painful when we hear the explanation from the Reds, but I don’t have think there is a reason to be too worried at this point unless one of those guys takes over as GM.

      • charlottencredsfan

        Thought process is my issue. Can we logically expect they will ever hire forward thinking guys/gals in the front office? If you know of any that they have please share, it will help brighten my blue day. You say “some more” like there are some that already exist.

      • Doug Gray

        The Reds have analytic guys working for them. C. Trent had Sam Grossman on his Cdot Show in the last two weeks. He’s the main statistical guy in the front office. The key is does he produce quality data and do they listen to him?

      • charlottencredsfan

        “Those guys all got a GM job because they were very good at whatever job it was before they were hired as a GM.”

        Boy, I’d like to accept this at face value but I don’t know.

        LW mentioned Good ‘Ole Boys Club. The main thing I know about Bill Bavasi is he is the son of Buzzie Bavasi and the brother of Peter Bavasi, both high placed MLB executives. As far as Towers, it looks a lot like doubling down.

      • lwblogger2

        To answer Charlotte’s question and to help brighten his day, Sam Grossman is pretty sharp. I’m not sure his opinion matters enough unfortunately.

      • Doug Gray

        CharlotteNCRedsfan, A lot of people have kids and very few of them wind up as General Managers of big league teams. Bavasi may have been able to get his foot in the door early on in baseball, but he didn’t make his way up to GM of a big league team because of who his family members are. It’s too important of a job for it to just be a nepotism thing. Nepotism may get you into a job at the lower levels of the organization, but you have to be good at your job to keep moving up.

    • ohiojimw

      I think one issue is that the opportunity cost of hiring another like thinking old hand is, as Steve inferred, it takes a place at the inner table that could otherwise be held by someone with a different perspective. Synthesis requires opposing thoughts. The Reds seem to lack this too often.

  8. ToddAlmighty

    Steve, if you’re trying to make people give up on the 2015 season before it even starts, articles like this are doing a pretty good job. Lol

    Rather than no Walt, we get a fourth Walt. Great.

  9. droomac

    Well said, Steve. . . I can only imagine how some of the discussions will now play out with all of these dinosaurs in the same room. They have experience, age, and “hunches,” and that is all they think they need to make the right decisions.

    I suppose there is next to no chance that Cueto and Chapman will be dealt at this point. Instead, they will double-down on competing in ’15. It wouldn’t surprise me if they go out and sign one outfielder (I’m thinking Rasmus, which would not be a terrible play), thinking that will fix the offense and then sign a bunch of reclamations for potential bullpen fits. All the while the post-2015 Reds outlook looks increasingly bleak. In the age of Google and Apple, the Reds’ management seems to be hawking carbon paper.

    • charlottencredsfan

      Heck Rasmus is a mere baby (28 years old), I’m betting on Cuddyer (35) or Willingham (35).

    • sultanofswaff

      How do you figure??? The 2016 Reds could be as good or better than the 2015 Reds. Stephenson/Winker/YRod/Lorenzen/Lively, along with Hamilton/Mez/Frazier/Votto is a very competitive core. I’m not the least bit worried we won’t be in the playoff mix.

      • droomac

        Of the prospects, only Winker and Stephenson are blue chip and the starting staff is going to be minus three of four from Simon, Cueto, Latos, and Leake. Mesoraco and Frazier seem to be the real deal, but which version of BHam we end up with and how health Votto will be remain to be seen. The farm system is not stellar and Cueto and Chapman are presently at their maximum value, putting Walt and company in a position to put the team on better footing moving forward toward the long-run.

      • Doug Gray

        Michael Lorenzen made the Top 50 at Baseball Prospectus in their midseason rankings, only 5 players separating him and Winker. Lorenzen is a blue chip prospect on the national scale along with Stephenson and Winker. There are those out there that are also very high on several other guys in our system, though the view isn’t as widely held as those three.

      • droomac

        I will buy on Lorenzen. He Has become a top prospect. However, the likelihood of the 2016 Reds enjoying a collection of prospects the likes of which greeted Walt as he took the GM job is low. Also, given the kinds of folks that Walt surrounding himself with, it just seems unlikely that smart moves are going to be in the Reds near future. They will likely just sit tight and expect to win in 2015 with the cast that they presently have and not sell high on Cueto and Chapman, believing that they have enough in the minors to replace what they are going to lose after 2015.

      • Doug Gray

        Walt walked into four elite prospects with Bruce, Votto, Cueto and Bailey. Bailey took a while to come around and Cueto was above-average after his first year. Votto and Bruce were both above-average from year one. Pitching wise, I think the current crop can match it because of how long it took Bailey to find himself. I’m not sure that someone else will be ready to go with Winker for 2016 who will also be above-average out of the gate. I wouldn’t put it past Rodriguez or Waldrop, but I wouldn’t bank on them to be above-average by then either.

      • ohiojimw

        Doug, Do you have any thoughts about their decision to bring Lorensen along as a pitcher? Given the results so far it is hard to argue with but as I recall the opinions were pretty evenly split as to whether he was a pitcher or a potentially very outstanding position player (OF?) coming out of the draft.

    • lwblogger2

      “…hawking carbon paper…” Good one!

  10. Tom Reed

    Not encouraging at all. Too many friends and failed GM’s in the front office.

  11. al

    I like Doug’s point above, and hope that all of these guys have been put into rolls they can be successful in.

    That said, the problem is that in baseball, for so long, it hasn’t required being good anything to get hired, it just takes being a “baseball guy” and knowing the right good ‘ol boys. So who knows if any of these castoffs was really good in the first place, and they certainly haven’t been good recently.

    Much of the ways that teams like the A’s, Rays, and Red Sox have been so successful over the last 10 years is that they have stopped just hiring the same old baseball guys, they’ve brought in guys from finance, academia, and yes, even blogs. Maybe Towers won’t sink the Reds (or maybe they were already sunk), but it sure would be nice if just once our team didn’t look like the last one to get the memo.

    • Doug Gray

      It’s worth noting of course that the Reds have been pretty good in the last five years with a lot of these guys. Bavasi was brought in and people were screaming doom and gloom (I wasn’t a fan of the move given how the Mariners farm system was while he was in charge), but he hasn’t tanked the Reds in any way that we have seen and the farm system seems to still be producing talent.

      • al

        I think the argument could be made that the success the Reds have had in the last 5 years was largely in place already based on previous drafts etc. I think the Reds have really clearly been taking steps in the wrong direction the last few years.

        I have no idea what any of the guys in this post really do, so I’m not blaming them, but I do think the decisions look like bad ones to the public. It looks like giving jobs to your friends rather the best guys available. When you’re taking steps in the wrong direction and hiring guys who have failed miserably in the past because they’re your pals, then you have to expect fans to have some doubts.

      • Doug Gray

        The guys running the Reds drafts sine 2006 are still here, so if that is your argument then we shouldn’t be worrying.

        If the Reds were hiring failed GM’s as their GM, then yeah, that looks dumb. But that isn’t what is happening. They are hiring guys who failed as a GM work in other roles. A great chef may start his own place and it flops because he’s terrible at business. That doesn’t mean people shouldn’t hire him to be their chef in the future though.

      • al

        I said it was a good point above and I hoped it was true. Sometimes it’s like you don’t know how to take yes for an answer. Just because someone makes another point doesn’t mean you always have to make your same point three times at them.

      • Doug Gray

        Al, I just like talking baseball. I felt that what I added was a little different than my previous stuff. While you and I were the only ones discussing the specific point there, we aren’t the only ones reading it, so I expanded on my thoughts a little from the previous point to give a little more insight.

  12. charlottencredsfan

    Sultan, I really appreciate your optimism but it feels like the Titanic has just hit the iceberg and some are saying, ” forget the lifeboats because this ship will never go down”. I’m telling you this baby is listing badly. Firing Smitty was a nice move but it’s a gnat on an elephant’s rear end.

    • greenmtred

      Charlotte: Don’t jump in the lifeboat just yet. The team still has a core of good young and not-so-young players, a number of who were injured in 2014, skewing the results of the season. Questions remain, no doubt, but the same can be said for any other team. As for the front office: Like the manager, it looks good when the players play well. The presumed lack of innovative thinking is yet to be determined in this year’s iteration, and remember, the BRM and the ’27 Yankees were built by guys who used traditional evaluation methods.

      • ToddAlmighty

        Yes, and then in 1975 free agency became a thing and then from 1977-1989 the Reds were only in the postseason once and only three times from 1977-2009.

        Real easy to win a World Series in 1976 when you can pay Pete Rose, Joe Morgan, George Foster, and Johnny Bench a combined $750,000 or so, regardless of traditional evaluation. (Even calculating for today’s inflation is only a little over $3.1m)

        Though most importantly is everyone used traditional evaluation then, so it’s the blind fighting the blind. Now it’s like if the US never stopped using propeller fighters because it worked so dang well in WW2…. despite the fact that everyone else in the world has moved on to jet engines.

      • greenmtred

        Your points are good, though I somehow can’t buy the idea the people who assembled the BRM were blind. Talent can be evaluated through more than one lens.

  13. WVRedlegs

    Looking for a silver lining, at least Towers is a protege of Trader Jack McKeon. Maybe Jocketty has him on board to help navigate the trade winds and trade routes this winter too. Towers has made some bold moves in the past. Some good, some not so good. Towers also knows Latos well from when SD drafted him. Maybe Towers can help to market Latos on the trade market with additional info, or he maybe helps get Latos signed to a long term deal.
    It’ll be interesting to see what happens.

  14. reaganspad

    Is there any way that we could have these guys on our payroll but let them GM other teams? They sure do make some trades that are very favorable to the teams that they work with.

    Please keep them away from our trinkets.

    • Tom Reed

      Mr. Castellini has the last word since it’s his front office.

  15. lwblogger2

    Oh and Steve, Jocketty was 26th on The Sporting News’ list. I’m sure that didn’t get by you. We’ll have to see what direction this team goes this off-season. My season ticket package isn’t large enough to guarantee All-Star game tickets and I may decide not to renew. We renewed last year because my dad said “I really like spending that time with you.” and “I’ll pay for everything except the games where you’re going with someone else.”

  16. Shchi Cossack

    I guess the biggest concern from this corner is the long-range impact. WJ may be bringing the retread baseball executives into the fold but BC is footing the bill. Since BC extended WJ for 2 more seasons after his contract expired and extended Dusty…again…after his contract expired, I can see BC hiringing another retread once WJ retires. I just see the Old Boy network in action at GABP. I was hoping that hiring Bryan represented a change in thinking in the front office, but his approach mirrored the existing approach of the front office and his predecessor. I really hope I’m wrong, but this situation looks like a duck, walks like a duck and sounds like a duck to the Old Cossack.

  17. Shchi Cossack

    On a brighter prospect and more positive development…

    With 1 out in the bottom of the 9th inning today and the Saguaros trailing by a run, the Mighty Winker steps to the plate and works the count to 2-2, before launching a fly ball over the right-center field fence to tie the game. The Saguaros ultimately lost the game, but Winker went 2/5 with a HR (and lowered his OBP!). Jesse Winker continues to mash the AFL pitching, slashing .348/.446/.630 with an obviously healed injury.

    We won’t mention the pitching from today’s game for fear of souring a positive mood.

    • cfd3000

      And Winker (and Nick Howard) are both headed to the “Fall Stars” game for having torn up the AFL. Great to see Winker healthy and hope he continues to improve and stay off the DL. Looking forward to seeing what he does this spring.

  18. redsfan06

    Kind of interesting how Towers and Walt both produced teams with better records when forced to work with tight payrolls and then saw their teams decline once they could start spending money.

  19. preacherj

    Upon first hearing this news my first thought was: “huh, Jocketty was first hired as an assistant to the GM.”

  20. Dale Pearl

    Doom and Gloom is right. The most interesting thing about this team in 2015 is going to be who is going to be on the opening day roster.

  21. wvredlegs

    Tha baseball trading rumor mill is ginning up. When the World Series ends, players will be able to file for free agency. Some key dates to note:
    1. 5th day after WS–Deadline for teams to make Qualifying Offers to their FA’s.
    2. 6th day after WS–1st day FA can sign with team other than their former team.
    3. 12th after WS–Last date FA can accept Qualifying Offer.
    4. November 10-12–GM Meetings.
    5. November 20–Day to file reserve list for all ML and minor league levels.
    6. December 2–Last date teams can offer 2015 contracts to unsigned players.
    7. December 8-11–Winter Meetings.

    Hot Stove League will be getting ramped up next week. Remember last year, the week before the Winter Meetings saw an avalanche of moves made, then the Winter Meetings turned very anti-climatic as not much was done. A complete wash-out for the Reds and Jocketty last year. Many teams are wanting to make changes to get better, so it should be a very interesting November and December.

    • ToddAlmighty

      With Kevin Towers coming, look for Winker and Stephenson to be traded for Pedro Alvarez and an “elite closer”.

  22. pinson343

    I don’t know why the Cardinals are looked to as a model of how to build a superior bullpen. They have an inconsistent bullpen every year. The Giants beat them in the NLCS thanks to a far superior bullpen. The Giants bullpen, with Bochy managing it, is a force in the postseason every even numbered year.

  23. pinson343

    I can’t just see Towers joining the Reds staff as a reason for gloom and doom statements. The Reds will try to improve their bullpen on a small budget (they have no choice). Towers had a lot of success with that at SD. Hopefully he can help. Either way WJ will be making the decisions. I just hope he doesn’t make an assumption like: “Marshall is going to make a comeback.” Marshall might, but please don’t count on it.

    I like the idea of Cingrani in the bullpen, and it looks like Iglesias will be in the bullpen in 2015. Jumbo is adequate.

    Please no more Ondrusek. LeCure lost velocity he couldn’t afford to lose and NL Central hitters have figured him out – his knuckle curve would break as it should and they would bash it anyway.