Cincinnati Reds are fighting an internal war with few winning outcomes

Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports /

The Cincinnati Reds have a battle in the front office between traditionalists and sabermetricians and the losers are the fans.

The Cincinnati Reds have a split front office.  Former general manager Walt Jocketty is still an active force on the side of tradition.  He believes in veterans and throwing money at a problem.

On the other side is current general manager, Dick Williams.  Coming from the finance industry, Williams aligns closely with the lead statistician, Sam Grossman.  That duo has shown an aptitude for new age ideas like extensive defensive shifts and pitch counts for both starters and relievers.

The Reds just signed a new TV contract which should bring them some nice money for players, development, and scouting.

This debate has been going on for several years in MLB.  Most teams have found a middle ground across the board between the two camps.  The Reds seem to be on one side or the other of each issue instead of finding any middle ground stances.

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Teams like the Houston Astros and the Pittsburgh Pirates have taken a lead in this area.  The Astros in particular have dived into the arena.  Even the rich Chicago Cubs have invested heavily into analysis.

The Reds need to use analysis throughout the organization to save money on players including free agents.

An interesting juxtaposition is the difference in the rankings between the international and domestic scouting departments.  Chris Buckley is the director of scouting and has shown an inability to make use of players drafted in the later rounds.  The director of international scouting, Tony Arias, has signed three of the top 35 international prospects since the start of the 2016 season.

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While other teams regularly have drafted players in the later rounds that make the big league club, the Reds have shown an inability to see any players drafted later than round ten even make the forty man roster.  The Reds’ roster is filled with high draft picks from the Reds as well as other teams.  Somehow the Reds can’t develop secondary prospects.

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Then there’s the free agent situation.  While the Reds have a done a nice job of claiming Ross Ohlendorf off of waivers, signing Blake Wood as a minor league free agent, and signing Alfredo Simon as a big league free agent, none of these moves seem to be franchise changing.  The Reds are at a point in their history that they need a strategy to get the most talent for the least money.  The new TV contract will help, but it likely won’t close the gap with any of the other National League Central teams west of Pittsburgh.