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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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Friday, October 5, 2007

All quiet

The Reds continue to search for a manager -- very quietly. The people who know what's going on -- ownership, Wayne Krivsky -- aren't talking. I don't expect decisions on the players with options until a manager is hired.

There has been speculation about Walt Jocketty and Tony LaRussa going to Seattle. The Mariners, however, this is from a Sept. 27 AP story: manager John McLaren and general manager Bill Bavasi are keeping their jobs for next season, Mariners chief executive Howard Lincoln announced.

Of course, Lincoln could change his mind.

I'm starting to work on my Sunday Insider for the paper. The theme is going to be: The Reds better figure out how to find out how to evaluate pitching or it's not going to matter who the manager is. The pitchers brought in on Krivsky's watch combined to go 34-52 with 4.93 ERA this season. It's not like one guy pulled down the whole class. Thirteen of them pitched for the club this year. Only one -- Jared Burton -- had an ERA under 4.00.


at 2:33 PM Anonymous cheviot sports authority said...

The Krivsky pitchers records along with the over-all 72 win season tells it all about the job Krivsky did. Thank you John.

at 2:38 PM Blogger Chris at Redleg Nation said...

You've hit the nail on the head, John. The worst part is that it's not just Krivsky. Dan O'Brien-acquired pitchers were even worse, and Bowden was living off Schourek, Harnisch, and Don Gullett for years.

To give Krivsky his fair due, he did go out and get Arroyo, and had the good sense to extend Harang's contract. But other than that, and Burton, its been a disasterous two years.

at 2:45 PM Anonymous cheviot sports authority said...

Just read where Jim Tracey got fired as Pittsburgh manager. Sounds like a perfect fit for Pete McKrivsky. I can only hope.

at 3:05 PM Anonymous cheviot sports authority said...

John, I thought baseball had some sort of rule about announcing trades, hirings, firings, etc. until after the World Series, or maybe it was just during the WS that announcement s couldn't be make. Am I mistaken or has that been changed?

at 3:14 PM Blogger John Fay said...

you can get around it -- off days, etc.

at 3:45 PM Blogger Max said...

Wake up people. It may very well not be Wayne's talent evaluation of pitchers, it may be the hiring of Dick Pole. Our guys need a GOOD pitching coach! They've got the stuff to be successful.

If Dick Pole's abilities (or lack of) aren't included in your article John, your work on this issue should be graded as imcomplete.

at 3:52 PM Blogger Dan H said...

Couldn't agree more with the pitching topic. That is the single most important issue by far the Reds need to address this off season. They need to shave off at least a half a run off the team ERA to have any chance at the NL Central title.

at 4:09 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

John, With Tracey out in Pittsburgh, is it possible there would be a mutual interest there with Mackanin? I know he was a manager in their farm system, which maybe doesn't count for anything with a new GM there. Think he'll throw his hat into that race while still under consideration in Cincinnati?

at 4:30 PM Blogger John Fay said...

The Pirates would have to ask permission to talk to Mackanin. He's still under contract with Reds.

at 4:55 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pete's contract reverted to "pre-interim" status through October only. The Reds will most certainly allow him to talk to other teams.

I hope he gets the opportunities.

at 5:04 PM Blogger Mr. Redlegs said...

Not saying those pitchers' numbers don't stink, or that Coffey doesn't stink, or Saarloos doesn't stink, or Stanton doesn't stink-stank-stunk, but in some level of fairness you have to consider the ballpark.

By looking at the team pitching stats of all NL Central squads, since they play the most times in that rathole park, almost every team's top three guys in their rotation had significantly higher ERAs and homers allowed at GABP than their average at other road parks.

So it's not just about picking up pitchers with seemingly girlie arms, but guys you think might be a fit in that park (Lohse, Saarloos, Majewski--all groundball pitchers) apparently are not.

The opponents' best pitchers have the same issues--just they have the luxury of not having pitch in that sardine can but 2-3 times a season. And that's the margin of error in your piece.

at 5:12 PM Blogger John Fay said...

No question the ballpark is a factor. But the team ERA went from 4.51 to 4.94 from '06 to '07.

And the Reds' ERA for '07 was better at home (4.93) than on the road (4.96).

at 5:23 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

For those down on Dick Pole, was Don Gullett really that much better. Both are dealing with a lack of talent and a ball park not very conducive to good pitching numbers.

FWIW I think the Reds have a pretty good talent pool to choose from regarding their bullpen and they need to add one player to the rotation.

In the bullpen, those players that should be solid contributors next season are: Weathers and Burton from the right side and Bray and Countlangus from the left. Add to that righty candidates Salmon, McBeth, and Coffey and lefties Guardado and Stanton.

The rotation has Harang and Arroyo etched in stone. Bailey was very solid in 7 of his 9 starts. He left with the lead 7 of 9 starts and if you throw out his two bad outings when his groin was hurt he went 4-0 with a 3.60 ERA. Therefore, I'm very excited about him. The other two spots are wide open. And I hope the Reds can add another proven starter in the off season. Maybe an innings eater like Livan Hernandez or someone like Dontrelle Willis. But optaining either will be difficult. For the 5 spot I hope the Reds allow for a real competition between Belisle and Cueto.

I see no reason to rush the managerial hire. I hope the Reds take their time and find the best candidate. I'd prefer a young manager that will relate well to the younger players and create an upbeat environment. I'm rooting for Girardi or Pete myself, but I'm sure there are other candidates that could do a good job as well. To me the most important decision in the off season is picking up Dunn's option and finding a way to get another starting pitcher.


at 5:39 PM Blogger Mr. Redlegs said...

Yep, but I believe you still have to look at X-factors. It's not as cut-and-dried as the surface numbers.

The team ERA for home and away is differed by one bad inning, or a Coffey appearance.

But the difference from '06 to '07 can be further explained by breaking down the numbers of the starters and the relievers over those two years. Especially the hits and walks allowed per 9-inning average of the bullpen.

That's where it gets ugly. And like I mentioned before, what the opponents' best pitchers did in their turns in that cesspool of a park also says something quite large.

When you start eyeballing those numbers under a microscope, you see clearly why no pitcher's agent wants to talk to the Reds unless they're offering extra years on the contract or some outlandish salary.

Philadelphia moved back its fences, so the Reds have no excuse.

at 6:48 PM Anonymous cheviot sports authority said...

Quit crying about the ballpark. I seem to remember a place in Atlanta (Fulton Co Stadium) called the launching pad. Seems the Braves in those days were able to put together a pretty decent pitching staff.

at 6:55 PM Blogger Mr. Redlegs said...

Quit crying about the ballpark? It's a serious issue.

Atlanta was no where near the launching pad of GABP, and the Braves went to the playoffs just twice in 25 years before they were able to steal Smoltz from the Tigers, sign Maddux as a free agent and farm-raise Glavine.

They didn't exactly knock 'em over on getting pitchers into that park. And GABP is worse.

at 8:10 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Absolutely, you must blame the pitching coach for the huge drop in good pitching this year. Never mind the 40 point rise in ERA, look at individual performances by the pitchers. Arroyo couldn't get going from the start, going from 3.29 to 4.23. Coffey from 3.58 to 5.82. Belisle from 3.60 to 5.32 (the only mitigating factor being a switch from relief to starting). Bray, 4.23 to 6.28 (mitigating factor, injury). The only pitchers whom it didn't matter to were (good) Harang, Weathers, (bad) Milton and Majewsky.
Here's some idea of how useless Pole was this year: the Reds did worse with him as the only coach this year than they did with two different coaches (Hume and Ruhl) last year. As for Pole being no worse than Gullett...well when Gullett first started coaching, you could argue he had better pitchers (Rijo, Smiley). But the problem was, Gullett was coach for 12 years. His style never changed and he couldn't make adjustments to new pitchers or even the new stadium. This is a problem with keeping coaches too long----complacency. Even look at Chris Chambliss last year. He got fired as hitting coach because he got complacent in his approach and he wasn't telling the hitters (most notably Dunn) anything new that would help them.
And I will repeat something that someone once actually agreed with me about. Several piutchers this season who got sent down to triple A pitched better their first couple of games back before they stumbled again. Does this mean Ted Power was telling them something more useful than Pole? I don't know. But Pole certainly wasn't doing the job at the major league level

at 2:19 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Redlegs, our team ERA at home was 4.94, and on the road it was 4.97. We had 5 shutouts at home and 2 on the road.

I don't see a stadium discrepency here.

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