Sports Outside the Beltway

Reds Retooling in Question

Cincinnati Reds General Manager came out of the Minnesota Twins’ system, and has made noises about remaking the powerful, plodding Reds into the image of the pitching-and-defense oriented Twins. Trading Wily Mo Pena to get Bronson Arroyo was the opening salvo of that movement, and it was long overdue. The five-outfielders-for-four-spots event had become tiresome to everyone, and a starting pitcher was sorely needed.

The midseason deal of Austin Kearns and Felipe Lopez to Washington for relievers Bill Bray and Gary Majewski (with a few other players included) was apparently another dip in the same pool. Concerns about Lopez’ defense at shortstop abounded, and were certainly not without merit. Lopez had shown limited range and below average hands in the infield. Yet, Kearns was the best outfielder the Reds possessed, so the trade overall was not a big boost for the defense, and with Majewski soon going down due to arm trouble, and veteran shortstop Royce Clayton predictably struggling, the critics had a field day at Krivsky’s expense. Then, the Reds’ offense tanked in September, scuttling a playoff run made possible by the Cardinals’ slump.

Cincinnati fans have waited to see what the ever-active Krivsky would do in the offseason, given his alacrity of movement during the 2006 championship battle. The man was never shy about making a move. The deal many fans feared, although others welcomed, was the envisioned trade of slugger Adam Dunn, which would presumably complete the remaking of the team in Krivsky’s image. Thus far Krivsky has only signed third-tier free agents, picking up shortstop Alex Gonzalez and re-signing reliever David Weathers. He shipped off out-of-favor catcher Jason LaRue, but then signed hitting noncombatant Chad Moeller, apparently to be the third catcher.

We will know more about the destiny of this team if Krivsky does trade Dunn over the offseason. That would signal a complete reworking of the franchise. In the absence of a big bat coming back in the deal, it would also signal an era of light-hitting defense-oriented play in the Queen City. Only time will tell.


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