The Cincinnati Reds farm system has some rather big openings all of a sudden. This morning the feel good story going around was that Reds hitting coordinator C.J. Gillman drove with Jesse Winker from Memphis to Cincinnati last night so that Winker could be ready to go for the game on Friday night with the Dodgers. By 1st pitch of the game Gillman was no longer employed by the organization. And he wasn’t the only one. Director of Pitching Kyle Boddy also is no longer an employee of the organization. Both announced that “they have parted ways” with the organization. It is interesting to read what both wrote in their statements.

You can read the full statement’s below from Gillman and Boddy, but I want to focus on something specific in each.

From Kyle Boddy

“The Reds are moving in a different direction in many areas of Player Development and I certainly wish them the best.”

From C.J. Gillman

“With the direction and leadership in-place when I was hired having moved on, it’s just simply the right direction for me to go personally and for the Reds to go professionally.”

“There are many organizations with hitting and PD (player developlment) beliefs similar to my own and their fruits are coming to bear at both the Minor and Major League levels. It’s a very exciting time to be in the game, and specifically hitting. We know which processes create the best outcomes, and we know we can repeat them”.

Both of those portions of their statements read as if the previous front office regime believed that the developmental path forward was similar to what Kyle Boddy and C.J. Gillman believed, and helped teach. And both of the statements seem to indicate that the new front office regime does not believe that.

On top of the Reds parting ways before their contracts were up (though it appears both were up after the season), the Reds also lost Eric Lee earlier this year. Lee was the Senior Director of Player Development and he chose to leave the organization in June to be the athletic director at a high school in Connecticut.

For one reason or twenty reasons, it seems that there’s been a disconnect between what the current regime buys into and what the previous one did. And at least at the minor league level it’s resulted in some very high up people “parting ways” early with the Cincinnati Reds.

Full Statement from Kyle Boddy

Let’s start with the basics:

The Cincinnati Reds and I have mutually agreed to no longer continue our professional relationship.

I can’t thank Dick Williams and Eric Lee enough for their support and taking a chance at moving the Reds’ Player Development department in a new direction – both were instrumental in effecting enormous change. Derek Johnson lent incredible support over the last two years with the Reds and for a decade prior to that – without DJ, much of the change you see in the world of pitching would have been unattainable.

The Reds are moving in a different direction in many areas of Player Development and I certainly wish them the best. It no longer felt like the best fit for either party. I’m exceptionally proud of the results we got in the minor leagues – our MiLB pitchers as a group went from 6th worst to 6th best in xERA out of 30 organizations in just two years (and one of them a pandemic year!) – with a number of notable prospects doing well and popping up on radars everywhere.

I’ll be heading up Special Projects full-time at Driveline Baseball while I await to see what is next in the world of professional baseball.

Full Statement from C.J. Gillman

The Reds and I have parted ways. With the direction and leadership in-place when I was hired having moved on, it’s just simply the right direction for me to go personally and for the Reds to go professionally.

I believe deeply in what we accomplished in the time I spent with the Reds. Where we committed to change, the numbers stand up on their own, and I am very proud of that.

There are many organizations with hitting and PD (player developlment) beliefs similar to my own and their fruits are coming to bear at both the Minor and Major League levels. It’s a very exciting time to be in the game, and specifically hitting. We know which processes create the best outcomes, and we know we can repeat them.

It’s about the players, and the improvement of players. Changing the trajectory of their lives & earnings by helping them hit a baseball, that’s what’s great about it… as always, my phone’s open, I’m not going to Mars.

Right now I’ve got two babies to take care of and a beautiful wife that claims she missed me. See you next spring!

61 Responses

  1. Reddawg2012

    This is bad. I’m thinking we might get a similar statement from David Bell after the season. And Derek Johnson would likely follow.

  2. James Phillips

    What are the chances that Walt Jocketty is whispering in the king’s ear on this stuff?

  3. Alan Horn

    I get the vibe that Dick Williams departure might not have been of his making. He was the one in charge when a lot of bad decisions were made both in bad contracts and pitching/hitting philosophy. It could be that they are just throwing him under the bus. What is for sure is that someone(s) in the Reds management is responsible for this mess. Not sound business or baseball decisions.

  4. Magnum 44

    This is what I was hoping wouldn’t happen

  5. Hanawi

    Given how well it seems their guys in the minors seem to be doing this year and the progress of some top prospects, those aren’t the statements I’d want to read as a Reds’ fan.

  6. Tom Reeves

    I have a feeling that Kyle Boddy and DriveLine was innovating on spin rate with sticky stuff. Since that’s off the table, no need for continued chemical romance.

  7. Bet on Red

    If you are the AD of a high school after this… you retired… lets be real… Lets also see where the other two end up

    • Doug Gray

      Shouldn’t we be asking why one would possibly leave to go do that, mid-season? That should have some big red warning lights flashing, right?

      • Bet on Red

        Honestly, to me it has a giving up on it feel to me. If you consider that a Red Flag then yea…. but admittedly that is just my Opinion.

        I just want to see where the two that left today go

      • Old-school

        As in massive family insular restructuring?
        Someone mentioned earlier Phil Castellini might be the new face of the franchise, Wouldn’t be surprised.

    • Optimist

      It’s not just any HS, and he’s hardly retiring. He’s got an interesting resume and this move doesn’t detract from it.

  8. Kevin Davis


    So what great hitting development in the minors has taken place?

    Excluding the two rookies on the big league club – Lopez is the only prospect in AAA that people would say has a chance to be a good major league hitter. TJ Friedl – hitting .261 – not developed at all as to what the Reds paid/thought he was.

    Who in AA ? Mount and Cedrola seem to be the only hitting prospects.

    So I am not sure what big affect Gilliam had on the hitting in the system

    • Alan Horn

      That is what I am thinking. Other than Lopez and Barreo, any other potential hitters would be at the lower levels of the minors. The first round draft choice of 2 years ago appears to be a bust right now.

      • Alan Horn

        That draft choice was under Dick Williams.

      • Luke J

        The Reds top 30 is full of good hitters. There are a lot of young guys just getting started from the last few drafts, and most of the top talent of drafts pre-2019 already made the leap to the majors. That sounds like development to me.

        And who are you referring to as a bust? Senzel was far more than 2 years ago in the draft, and other than injuries, has shown the exact development one would look for as a hitter. He’s far from a bust, because when healthy, has been a major league quality hitter. The only player in the last 2 years of drafts from the first round you could be referring to is Hendrick. Also not a bust. A very young raw prospect just starting his development.

      • Hotto4Votto

        Yeah I wouldn’t call Hendrick a bust based on performance alone, but it’s especially early considering he’s had one professional season under his belt after being drafted as a teenager. His OPS is in the FSL is in line with India, Stephenson, and Barrero when they all played in the league, with a similar age difference compared to league average. He needs to cut down on the K’s, but he walks a lot and has shown some decent pop.

      • Alan Horn

        That is what I said. The hitters are all at the lower levels and for the most part yet to have a full season of development. McClain and a few others from the last class show promise. I was referring to Hendrick. We paid a 5 million plus bonus and he showed zero improvement over the course of the season. He may yet take off but it is not that likely. Compare his start to McClain(college), Allen, Torres and others. And yes, mostly due to injury, Senzel has been a bust also. He showed much more at the minor league level than Hendrick has thus far. You can’t keep missing on your #1 draft choices like that. Especially when we have a shortage of position prospects. Hendricks and Senzel were Williams era selections. To me things are starting to add up with the recent changes.

      • Luke J

        Hendrick had injuries break up his season. And conparing him to McClain is apples to oranges, and Allen is in the Complex league. Big difference. Hendrick’s development is on track for his age. And so is the development of most of our hitters. I think your assessment of the farm system is just wrong.

    • RojoB

      Remember when folks kept howling that India was a bust?

      • Alan Horn

        You never can tell. India, never really had a bad minor league season, however. He never hit anywhere near 200 on a season. Of course he came out of a top college program. Senzel on the other hand excelled in the minors and due to injuries hasn’t performed at the major league level. Like I said, you never can tell. It is high stakes money wise and someone has to get credit when they excel as well as when they fail.

  9. Sabr Chris

    My gut is telling me this isn’t about a philosophy change in player development as it is about the cost cutting. They see the organization not investing in the development system going forward and have decided to move on now.

      • Tom Reeves

        Or that Boddy’s innovations were with sticky stuff to generate spin rate. Now that’s not an innovation at all.

  10. Old-school

    My 2 cents.
    Boddy had built a brand and has an ego the size of the Grand Canyon. Driveline is his creation and he views himself as way bigger than the Reds. The Reds are an insular family and even the Eric Davis’ Buddy Bell’s’ Jeff Brantleys’ dont like the alternate views of a guy who has never played and is espousing approaches that they dont embrace.

    ERic Davis is in the booth tonight with Larkin and he just announced tomorrow as well for a reason. Manage the message and let REds fans know their heroes are also on board with a restructuring.

    This isnt about money

    • Alan Horn

      I don’t think it is about money either. It is about poor performance and incompetence. I guess in a way it might be about money. Someone sure blew a lot of it with the bad contracts. More specifically, Mooses and Shogo’s. Surarez’s contract looked like a great deal at the time. Still, management is judged on what happened versus what they thought or hoped might happen.

      • Andy

        I actually think the Reds free agent spending was a huge success from a purely player performance standpoint. The excess value they got for Nick C and Wade Miley outweigh the downside of Shogo/Moose. By spreading the risk among 4 players, they avoided a complete disaster (think Anthony Rendon in Anaheim), getting more value and spending less overall. What really hurt was COVID; the Reds were unable to capitalize financially on last year’s playoff appearance, and are probably still seeing some impact this year.

      • Alan Horn

        The Castellanos contract was bad because we gave him a one sided opt out. If he earned his money, we were sure to lose him. If he didn’t we are stuck with a another bad contract. Miley was a good sign. He wasn’t a lot of money compared to Moose. Moose and Shogo’s contracts were a disaster. You might work through a bad contract but disaster contracts not so much. Suarez’s contract was a good one based on past production, but it turned into a disaster also. A disaster in my opinion is sigining a player to a large contract who winds up not helping at all.

      • Tom Reeves

        The Castellanos contract was bad?! Wow.

        Have you considered Castellanos signs with someone else without that opt-out?

        The Reds can re-sign him if they want (and have the cash).

      • Alan Horn

        It just the same as signing him to a 1 year contract(with the opt out each of the last 2 seasons). You want to lock up players like Castellanos for more than 1 year. If you sign them for one year and they do well , they are sure to leave leaving you in a bind all over again which is where we now are.

      • Tom Reeves

        Your choices were to sign Castellanos to the contract he signed or no Castellanos… you do get that, right? Nor did he deserve more money at that point. He was good, briefly, with the Cubs. Otherwise, he was not worth more money. And I’m guessing if the Reds has signed him fir 4 years for more money and he turned out to be more like Tigers Castellanos than Cubs Castellanos, you’d complain about that too.

    • Bob Purkey

      Sure it is. You can’t change a culture overnight. It takes more than 2 years. So now it is back to the drawing board again. . .

  11. Doc

    Only the statements of Boddy and Gilliam are known. I’d give it a few days before drawing conclusions.

    Reds pitching has not been lights out, especially the BP, and half the team isn’t hitting well. I suspect there is more to this story but it will take the rest if the season for hints and leaks to give a fuller picture.

    • Doug Gray

      Neither of these two guys have anything at all to do with the pitching or hitting at the big league level.

      • Alan Horn

        True. Could be a deflection of blame. Time will always tell the truth. The fans will know the truth in time. Barry Larkin did mention on TV that someone messed with Castillo’s pitching plan early on. They wanted him to throw the ball up more rather than keeping it down as he always had..

    • Bob Purkey

      They literally gave the bullpen away on the the cheap and filled it with has-beens like Brach, Doolittle, Hoffman, Romano, Osich, Hembree, Feliz, etc. Antone and Sims get hurt.

      Doing it on the cheap didn’t work this year- cost them many games and now it’s the teams’ development staff that’s the problem? Really?

  12. Tom Mitsoff

    Under Dick Williams, they revolutionized the processes for developing pitching and hitting talent. There has not been enough time yet to judge whether or not the programs would have worked long-term, but Williams was trying to separate the Reds from the rest of the pack in a facet of operations important to “small market” teams. I don’t know why, if Phil Castellini is in the wings, it would be necessary to scrap these innovations. This just wreaks to me of a decision made from reading what balance sheets say, and if true, that does not bode well for the immediate or long-term future.

    It also paints the picture of an owner flipping the middle finger at innovative thinking in a scenario that is screaming out for it.

    • RedsMonk65


      But I wonder: Are the Reds cutting financial ties in order to become more attractive to a potential buyer(s)? If so, perhaps some light on the horizon …?

      • Amarillo

        Remember that a new owner doesn’t mean they would spend more. It’s just as or more likely that a new owner would spend even less. Look at the Marlins as an example.

      • Tom Reeves

        Any owner who can afford the Reds can afford to consider moving them to a better market. Be careful what you wish for.

      • Tom Mitsoff

        IMO, not likely. Usually if a pro team is being prepped for sale, word gets out. Too many people involved in the process for it to not slip out. The Castellini family is sitting on a billion-dollar-plus franchise, and if it is true that Phil is ready to step into the leadership role, then sale is definitely not the objective.

    • Votto4life

      I think a determination was made that there is a cheaper way to develop players. If this is part of an overall plan, I would be somewhat encouraged to learn the Reds actually have a plan.

      Although, this may be a precursor to a house cleaning which will result in the Reds firing David Bell and Derek Johnson, but I bet there isn’t a strong correlation between the two. At least on the Red’s part.

      Now, it could still have the same effect, if Bell and Johnson decide they don’t want to work for an organization which, in their view, is taking a step back.

      I would be in favor if Phil Castellini wants to take an active role with the club. Provided he hires professionals and allow them to do their job.

      I think the more vested an owner is in his team’s success, the less likely it is the owner will cut corners or make short sighted decision to save a few dollars.

      I think Uncle Bob has been detached for sometime now. Maybe it’s his age or health. Who knows, but he seems to have been hands off lately. Except for setting spending limits.

      I am probably in the minority, but I actually liked the Dick Williams regime. Not all of his free agent signings paid off, but at least he had a desire to win and tried to make it happen.

      We probably wouldn’t be on the hook for several bad contracts had it not been for Dick Williams, but let’s face it, the money saved would have just remained in Uncle Bob’s bank account. It likely wouldn’t have been re-invested in the team.

      We live in turbulent times in terms of the pandemic and politics. Just add Cincinnati Reds baseball to the list.

      • Michael


        What makes you think Bob has been detached for a while. His interview in the spring with PD says the opposite.

        On the Phil side until proven otherwise I would not assume he will let the professionals do their job and stay out of the way.

        P.s. I am with you on William’s. Everyone makes mistakes but the organization is in a better position after his run.

      • TR

        I, of course, am not aware of the political ins and outs of the Reds front office, but to keep principal ownership in local hands, I would be in favor of Phil Castellini taking over for his Dad with Dick Williams, again, as president of baseball operations.

    • Hotto4Votto

      Tom, I think you’re on to something. Unfortunately. This doesn’t sit well or look great at the moment. It brings up more questions than answers. It felt like Reds development was moving forward after years of being behind many other clubs. I hope this doesn’t send us moving backwards.
      FWIW, the minor league teams (outside of L-ville) are all playing pretty well, with Chattanooga, Dayton, and ACL all above .500 and Daytona hovering around the mark most of the season. That hasn’t happened in a long time and I try to keep up on everything through RML.

      • Jim Walker

        And Louisville not doing as well could be due to the likes of 4A organizational depth guys who typically form the backbone of a AAA squad being pressed into MLB service for extended periods.

        Thinking of Schrock and Freeman off the top of my thoughts. I just recall a night 6 weeks or 2 months ago when I was watching Louisville on MiLB TV and thought to myself that about half the position guys had recently been up with the Reds.

    • Jim Walker

      Agree with Tom that being on the leading edge of innovation is the place to be, regardless of market size. Understanding why one guy has a better fastball or curve than another guy (or hits better) is the first step in learning potential ceilings then setting about teaching folks how to reach theirs.

  13. Whstew

    There is a lot of controversy around these new philosophies in baseball circles. A few years ago the Texas Rangers really bought into Driveline’s theories and sent newly drafted pitchers to their facility. Many of those pitchers suffered injuries within the next two years. They since have moved away from embracing all that Driveline teaches. The higher launch angle swing is also something many organizations are moving away from. Many players were quoted in spring training about how they had worked to get a flatter swing to cut down on strike outs. I don’t know about cost cutting but the philosophy changes make sense to me.

  14. RedsGettingBetter

    I think this is worrying. Let´s see who the substitutes are and their profile so we may have an idea of what directions will take the new philosophy of hitting and pitching. Hopefully Derek Johnson keeps his job. Sincerely, if Alan Zinter parts way too I will not be angry…

  15. Jim Walker

    The timing of these latest moves comes at the point where the minor league season would normally have ended. Let’s see who is still working for the Reds when there are no more MLB games to be played in 2021. Then we will know if this was a Castellini/ Krall driven purge or a Castellini only purge. And if it is a Castellini only purge, is it to install his own folks or a clearing of the deck to sell.

    • Jim Walker

      I think if Buddy Bell wanted to be PoBO, he could have had the job last year when Williams left. What would not shock or even surprise me (much) is if David Bell ends up as GM and running baseball operations day to day whether he gets the full PoBO title or not.

      • Alan Horn

        The Reds need to flee from all the Nepotism. Dick Williams, David Bell and Delino DeShields Jr. There is an old saying that you can’t be sucessful hiring friends and kin folk. Run it like what it is. A business. Demand accountability.

      • RojoB


        Could not agree more, but the pessimistic Cincinnati sports fan in me sees another tragic “family business” mentality like another professional sports team in town.

        Totally depressing from the standpoint of real hope for successful change of outcome

      • Tom Reeves

        If the Reds run things “like a business” the goal will not be to win… but to maximize profits. Bob C has never run the club to maximize profits. I’m face, he’s run it to break even and in every year other than 2020, it has broken even.

      • Doug Gray

        Tom Reeves, can you please cite your sources on this other than the owner literally telling you that? Because until they open their books to show us why on Earth should we actually believe that?

  16. Votto4life

    When I read “the organization is going in a different direction”. I read the owner is cheap and is about to start slashing costs.

    • Doug Gray

      Two things can both be true but not connected. The organization can be cutting costs and also going in a different direction that isn’t at all related to the cost of some minor league guys who combined probably don’t make the amount of money that Tyler Stephenson made this year.

  17. realist

    I have found that to be a baseball fan in Cincinnati is to watch them on local cable TV during the regular season and follow the minor league system but do not have unrealistic expectations. Then pick a post season team that can realistically win year in and year out. Don’t hate the teams that are good year in an year out, just enjoy rooting for another team after the Reds bottom out which they always do. The Reds under Big Bob will never win consistently because he doesn’t understand how to be a winning owner. He is incompetent and the guys he hires will not be successful because he doesn’t understand how to win.