Lost Latin connection
I just finished up my Reds Insider for the paper. I addressed what I consider the No. 1 problem with the franchise over the last 20 years or so: Not tapping the vast source of talent in Latin America.
This goes back to Marge Schott. But the Reds have been trying to fix it for 10 years or more. There was the Jose Rijo Camp. There was the $1.6 million Alejandro Diaz signing in 1999.
The Reds pulled out of the Rijo deal and opened a new facility in Dominican with a three other clubs in 2004. Players are starting to rise in the minors from there. Johnny Cueto is the closest to the majors. Pedro Viola isn't far behind. Juan Francisco is probably two or three years away.
To compete long-term, the Reds are going to need a steady flow of players from the Dominican and Venezuela. The club seems to be making progress, but there's only one true measure of the progress.
“You don't see it until they get here,” Reds general manager Wayne Krivsky said. “When you're signing players as young as you're allowed to in Dominican Republic, it takes time. You don't see the fruits of your labor until down the road. The fruit's at the end when somebody gets to the major leagues and helps us to win.”