It sounds like the Cincinnati Reds front office is already letting the fans know that 2023 isn’t going to be a season in which they plan on trying to compete. Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer published a piece this morning with plenty of statements ($$) from Cincinnati Reds general manager Nick Krall. There were plenty of quotes that contradict previous quotes from the same interview.
Krall noted multiple times that the 2022 season was unacceptable. Yet he later says that everyone has to come into spring training and earn their roster spots.
Do you know who doesn’t have to come into a spring training and earn their roster spot? Good players with a track record of being good. Sounds like the plan is to not bring any player like that into the fold.
Later in the piece he’s quoted as saying that “our expectations are always to get to the playoffs, win a World Series”.
That’s nice to say, but when you follow it up with this quote, it kind of means that your expectations are actually just prayers and hopes rather than something you are planning on actually trying to make happen.
“That’s our expectations. That’s what we want to do. I don’t want to do anything less than that. We also have to be realistic about where players are in their growth, and we have to continue to grow them as big-league players and move forward.”
Now, I do think that Nick Krall is being straight with the people here in that we have to be realistic about where players are in their growth. Much of the farm system, one that is well regarded at this point after all of the trades since March, isn’t ready to step into the big leagues. The guys who reached Triple-A this year either have some big question marks about their performance there, or are named Spencer Steer (or in the case of Michael Siani, spent a week there). Double-A Chattanooga had the likes of Elly De La Cruz and Christian Encarnacion-Strand who put up very good numbers in their time in Double-A, but the other top 25 prospects who were in Double-A this season either didn’t really stand out or outright didn’t perform well for much of their time there.
Which brings us to the question of how can the expectation be to get to the playoffs, win a World Series, if you are already saying that the farm isn’t ready to step up yet but you also aren’t going to be bringing in big leaguers that can actually help you reach your expectation?
If the players in the farm system aren’t ready – fine. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that. Develop them in the minor leagues and when they are ready, then bring them up and see what happens. But until then, go out and get players who ARE ready to play in the big leagues and help you compete.
And if the plan is to simply not actually try to compete right now, then just say that. Or at the very least don’t say the expectation every year is to make the playoffs, win a World Series. That statement does not at all jive with the actions of the last year for this organization. That statement does not jive at all with the other things that were said.