Thursday, December 21, 2006

Profiles In GM'ing: Wayne Krivsky (part 1)

Wayne Krivsky was named Cincinnati Reds GM on February 8th, 2006. It hasn't even been a year yet, and he has already managed to acclimate himself with a reputation as one of the worst general managers in the game. Everyone knows about his horrendous big move, but to fully evaluate how bad of a GM Wayne Krivsky is, we need to reach into the most minute moves.

This part will be about the preseason, later we will cover the in-season moves. Then the offseason of 2006-2007. First, lets focus on the good he did.

March 20, 2006 - Traded Wily Mo Pena to the Boston Red Sox. Received Bronson Arroyo.
March 21, 2006 - Traded Bobby Basham (minors) to the San Diego Padres. Received Dave Ross.
April 7, 2006 - Traded a player to be named later to the Cleveland Indians. Received Brandon Phillips. The Cincinnati Reds sent Jeff Stevens (minors) (June 13, 2006) to the Cleveland Indians to complete the trade.

Few, if anyone, expected these three trades to come out as well as they did for Krivsky. Perhaps he had a magic touch, or perhaps he was lucky, but you can't take away the fact that all three of these moves were an immense help to the Reds. Brandon Phillips didn't even hit as well as he did last year in the triple A in 2005. The talent had always been there, as evidenced by Phillips' multiple appearances in multiple prospect rankings from 2002-2004. Maybe it was the fresh start he needed, or maybe it was a massive fluke and he's coming back to earth. It's too soon to tell.

David Ross, on the other hand, was universally regarded as an average-ish catcher (well, not universally; many people just didn't care) with some pop. He turned around and put up 21 homers and a 126 OPS+ in 247 AB's (why was he on the bench this much anyway?).

Bronson Arroyo, while being pumped in our face all year because he used to be a Red Sox player (one of the two teams in baseball), put up a pretty stellar year. He had a 146 ERA+, pitched more innings than anyone in the NL, and regained his strikeout rate that he had bobbled a bit in 2005.

Meanwhile the guys he gave up still have a little promise. Bobby Basham was busy being injured and only pitched in 2 games for Mobile this year, but Jeff Stevens was pretty okay in limited innings (4.4 ERA, but 43 K's in 42 innings for single A Dayton.) Pena is sort of an enigma at this point, because he has the bat to contribute (112 OPS+ in 276 AB's) , but wasn't given a lot of at-bats this year and does strike out a lot and he isn't a sterling defender. A second trade might be in order to find somewhere where he can play, and might I suggest beautiful Flushing? I think a Heilman/Pena trade would be mutually beneficial for both sides provided the Mets miss out on Zito and use Milledge to deal for a starter.

As for the bad, well...heres an auspicious start for you:
February 10th, 2006: Cincinnati Reds sign OF Timo Perez to a minor-league deal
February 14th, 2006: Cincinnati Reds sign OF Quinton McCracken to a minor-league deal

Well lets see, Timo Perez has been a bad 6th outfielder/minor league fodder for years. Rather than take a chance on someone new and unestablished, Krivsky opted for blandness. This is to become a defining characteristic of his GM-ing skills.

Then, apparently unsatisfied with his depth in terrible outfielders, he went out and got Quinton McCracken. Whenever I think of Quinton McCracken, I think of Ken Griffey Jr's Slugfest, where he was okay for some reason. However, doing research on these guys shows me a lot. Namely, the fact that Quinton McCracken went to Duke University. As if you needed more reasons to hate him!

Also, heres one other thing you'll learn about Krivsky: The guys he is acquiring have playoff at-bats. McCracken had 11 good at-bats with the Snakes against the Cardinals in 2002, and Timo Perez is a fuckface who can't be bothered to run home on Todd Zeile doubles.

Net value these two contributed: Perez was released and picked up by the Cardinals. Quinton McCracken added 53 at-bats of 45 OPS+ hitting.

February 19, 2006: Signed Karl Rhodes as a free agent.
March 19, 2006: Released Karl Rhodes.

Whew, that was close. Can't be having those 450 homer Japanese League players getting a shot over the likes of Quinton McCracken.

March 9, 2006: Released Luke Hudson.
Hudson wound up playing for the Royals last year, putting up a 5.12 ERA (95 ERA+) in 15 starts in a superior league (including no breaks, as he didn't get to pitch against the Royals). Heres a list of players who started more than one game for the Reds in 2006 that weren't Bronson Arroyo or Aaron Harang:

Matt Belisle, 2 starts, (ERA+ is for full year), 0.80 ERA as starter (sleeper if you're in an NL only league next year, and he only got to start at the end of the year when it became apparent that everyone else was shit.)
Kyle Lohse, 15 starts, 105 ERA+, 4.57 ERA
Chris Michalak, 6 starts, 95 ERA+, 4.89 ERA
Eric Milton, 26 starts, 93 ERA+, 5.19 ERA
Elizardo Ramirez, 19 starts, 90 ERA+, 5.37 ERA
Brandon Claussen, 14 starts, 78 ERA+, 6.19 ERA
Dave Williams, 8 starts, 77 ERA+, 7.20 ERA
Joe Mays, 4 starts, 66 ERA+, 7.33 ERA

Yeah, would've hated to have Hudson around to break up that murderers row.

Other pre-season signings:
Alex Sanchez - Noted steroid user put up a .492 OPS last year. In Triple A. Doesn't seem to fit any pattern of Krivsky's, although it does betray his weakness for people with reputation of a good glove.
Terrence Long - Lasted a month in Louisville before comically showing up in Yankee Stadium for a few games. Once again, another weak fifth outfielder candidate with playoff experience.
Darrell May - Started 8 games for Louisville last year, was released despite having a 3.86 ERA.

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