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John Fay
John Fay has been the Reds beat writer for the Enquirer since 2001. Prior to that, he served in a variety of roles for the Enquirer: backup Reds writer, UC beat writer, backup Bengals writer and as a general assignment reporter. He is a Cincinnati native and a graduate of Elder High School and the University of Dayton.

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Saturday, September 8, 2007

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.”


at 3:10 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Viola. Wow, what a pitcher. He, along with Burton and Bray, will save our bullpen's future. Expect him up here sometime next year...

Francisco better work on is OBP, and strike out less if he wants to be a truly productive player; I can tell you he'll be a Dominican version of Dunner.

Cueto, he'll also make his way up here next year, to complete our rotation.

at 4:04 PM Blogger Sabo said...

Nice take John. It's one of those things where you read it you say, "duh, that makes sense", but at the same time you rarely read it and never think about it. My question is, is the money put into stuff like this and the minor leagues/draft seperate from money put into the current Roster. Or in other words, is it a zero sum situation?
Last year we didn't spend much in free agency, did that lack of spending correlate to a greater amount put into development?

at 4:48 PM Blogger John Fay said...

The Reds have addressed the situation by upping the budget. Ten years ago, Johnny Almaraz going to the D.R. a couple of times a years was all they did internationally. Now they have 22 people in the international scouting department. The next couple of years will tell how successful the venture was.

at 4:56 PM Blogger Jim said...


What are the rules for obtaining the rights to a Latin American player? What is the age limit? Are they part of the amateur draft?

at 6:27 PM Blogger John Fay said...

They can be signed at 16. There's no draft. Bonus have gone up a lot lately. The Nats signed a 16-year-old SS for $1.6 million.

at 7:13 PM Blogger ThaneOfPriceHill said...


Is that because the SS is worth the money or because the GM in Washington is an idiot? Also, how much (if any) has the Reds international scouting effort been set back by Johnny Almaraz's departure last year?

at 7:22 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

htey tried to get miguel cabrera i remember.

at 7:56 PM Anonymous Tom said...

Political change is coming to Cuba and I sure hope the Reds are there when it happens in that baseball crazy island. Also the Reds have a historical link to baseball in Cuba, i.e. Tony Perez and others.

at 11:02 PM Anonymous ADMS said...

Great topic to bring up since it looks like our recent call-ups can really play at the MLB level. I'm always curious to see who will take their place in Louisville come next spring. For as much grief that we've been through this season, we really have some of the best in the minors...just help with pitching!

Earlier in the season, I posted a question, but it was at the end of a thread so I want to ask it again here. Have the Reds made any kind of inroads in Japan or emerging talent in China or South Korea? Los Angeles, Seattle, Saint Louis, and New York (among others) all have/had talented players from Japan and Korea - I would like to see the Reds explore that route.

Our recent play has actually given us hope for next season (Pittsburgh nightmare blocked out) and the best teams always have a pipeline from multiple sources delivering talent. We can be one of those teams.

at 11:09 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

John - Nice piece, very informative.

at 1:36 AM Anonymous George Hale said...

What does this have to do with the lack of pitching throughout the Reds organization? Neither offense or defense has been too much an issue. You did mention Jose Rijo, but didn't take the research far enough. What pitchers are available there that we've missed and others didn't? Or, is this a general comment about the issue?

at 7:08 AM Blogger jkbuckeye said...

Whatever happened to Wirfin Obispo, he of the D.R. marriage scam and 95 mph fastball? No sign of him in the minors or DSL.

Miguel Cabrera could've been a Red...


Ol' Leatherpants spent about a couple million dollars chasing a 5-tool OFer in Japan named Alejandro Diaz who had two names and gained four years in age, never getting out of AA ball, instead of Cabrera.

at 8:34 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Reds also are without a Latino coach at the big league level to help nurture the guys if/when they do arrive.

John Burroughs
Hyde Park

at 11:04 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fidel Castro actually tried out for the Reds.

at 11:27 AM Blogger RickNMd said...

Turns out Fidel was a Red after all.

at 12:49 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice article on the lack of a Latin pipeline. Now we need an article on how the Reds are way behind the curve for Asian players, as well. The Reds used to be the model franchise everyone else in the league copied. Now the Reds are the reactionaries and always 10 years too late.

at 12:59 PM Blogger John Fay said...

The Reds are starting to do some scouting of Asian players. They hired Jim Stoeckel, who worked for the Dodgers. They also have Luke Prokopec scouting Australia. I'll probably do insider on that subject in the offseason.

I suggested to Wayne Krivsky that they hire Tuffy Rhodes to scout Japan.

at 4:48 PM Blogger Cheviot Sports Authority said...

They need to give Krivsky a one way ticket to go scout the Ukraine.

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