The Cincinnati Reds had no fewer than four former Twins in their lineup for Wednesday's exhibition game with the the Twins (Juan Castro, Javier Valentin, Chad Moeller and Eric Milton). This hardly exhausts the connection between the Metrodome and Great American Ballpark. The reds also have Kyle Lohse, Eddie Guardado and, perhaps most significantly, Wayne Krivsky, barely more than a year into his tenure as the Reds general manager.



Krivsky spent several years as Terry Ryan's top assistant in the Minnesota front office, and he brought with him to the Cincy job a reputation as a master of MLB's complex rules and as a financial wizard. These are valuable skills for a general manager but a different set of skills than Ryan's scouting background — which is why they made such a good team in Minnesota.



It is, I'm sure, overly simplistic to assume that Krivsky approaches the job by asking himself What Would Terry Do? — but what he HAS done, in his limited time at the top of the organizational heap, certainly shows a certain Ryan influence.



The top priorities: Pitching and defense. Days after taking the Reds job last spring, Krivsky swapped toolsy outfielder Wily Mo Pena to the Red Sox for starting pitcher Bronson Arroyo and scooped up infielder Brandon Phillips from Cleveland. Both had big years. During the season, he made a series of deals for more pitching and infield gloves, with an emphasis on rebuilding his ineffective bullpen. In the process, he surrendered a pair of talented young hitters, outfielder Austin Kearns and Felipe Lopez. These trades, made in no small part because the Reds were very much in the divisional race at midseason, were widely panned — and the injuries to Guardado and Gary Majewski made them, at the very least, short-term failures.



This is an emphatic change of emphasis for the Reds, who had been stockpiling power bats with little regard for defense. Lopez is, for a shortstop, a fine hitter; as a shortstop, he is an inadequate fielder. Faced with a tattered pitching staff afflicted with a home park that is an easy touch for homers, Krivsky chose to protect the pitchers by dumping Lopez and going with Royce Clayton and Juan Castro at short. (Clayton's gone this year, replaced by Alex Gonzalez — a better glove than Clayton and still no hitter.) Ryan, in re-signing Ron Gardenhire as manager this offseason, spoke of how he and Gardy were on the same page on the importance of protecting the pitchers.



There are other similarities. Krivsky has a young stud pitcher named Homer Bailey; by all indications, young Bailey is easily one of Cincinnati's best pitchers, and by all indications, Krivsky would be delighted if he never sees the majors this year. Mediocre veterans (Lohse, Milton) will fill the middle and end of the rotation — just as Garza, Perkins and Slowey will await their future while the likes of Ponson, Silva and Ortiz open the season in Minnesota.



The NL Central is really up for grabs; there is no obviously strong team in the division. Krivsky has not had the time (yet) to try to replicate Ryan's player-producing developmental system, but he's making a real attempt to apply the Twins philosophy as a quick-fix. This is a situation that bears watching this summer.

React to this story:

0
0
0
0
0

Trending Video

Recommended for you