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Reds GM Wayne Krivsky: Offensive Ks Are The Problem

Following up on UtesFan89's diary, it appears that Reds GM Wayne Krivsky is crazy. I'd like to fill in a few gaps in this story about Krivsky.

So it stands to reason that Krivsky is trying to rebuild the Reds in the Twins' mold - given the success of the franchise...

The Twins led the American League in batting average. They struck out fewer times than any team in the AL. They were 13th in home runs. And they were fourth in the AL in sacrifice flies.

And the Twins were eighth in the AL in runs scored. Some good leading the league in batting average does.

The Twins won 95 games; the Reds 80.

The Reds were 20th in baseball in fewest runs allowed. The Twins were third. Might that have something to do with those teams' records?

"I don't like strikeouts," [Krivsky] said. "I'd give up home runs for (fewer) strikeouts."

"Here's your ticket out of town, Adam! Who wants Adam for pennies on the dollar?"

Krivsky traded away three of the five hitters who struck out 100 times in 2005 - Wily Mo Peña, Kearns and Lopez.

Yep. And the Reds scored 71 fewer runs in 2006 than they did in 2005.

[Hitting coach Chris] Chambliss got fired because the Reds didn't hit after Aug. 24.

They were first in the NL in slugging percentage and on-base percentage at that point. They ended up sixth in slugging percentage and seventh in on-base percentage...

Some of that had to do with the trade that sent Austin Kearns and Felipe Lopez to Washington. Some of that had to do with injuries to Ken Griffey Jr. and Ryan Freel.

Yeah, you think? Brandon Phillips, Dave Ross and Scott Hatteberg also turned back into pumpkins in September. You could see that coming from a million miles away. If Chambliss was responsible the way those three performed in the first half of the season, he might be the best coach in baseball. If your team's offense stinks because Scott Hatteberg and Brandon Phillips fall apart, that's not the fault of the hitting coach. It's the fault of the guy who acquired those players and depended on them.

True, Dunn and Edwin Encarnacion also fell apart in September, but it's a shame that the guy who replaced Lopez with Royce Clayton at midseason gets to fire his hitting coach when such a move doesn't work out.

Chambliss was always concerned about the strikeouts. But he saw them as a byproduct of the kind of hitters the Reds had. "Strikeouts come with power," he would say.

This seems like a pretty sensible view. Strikeouts are bad because you don't want your team making outs, but in general, strikeouts are almost literally no worse than any other out. This isn't my opinion, it's a fact. And strikeouts do often come with power. Just look at the major league leaders in strikeouts for 2006. It's practically a who's-who of amazing power hitters.

Over and over in this article, the perpetually losing Reds are compared to the more successful Twins. Nowhere does the author point out the obvious: the Reds have been worse than the Twins because of terrible pitching, not because the Reds' offensive philosophy has been wrong. The Twins' pitching has been light years better than the Reds' in every season the past five years. Offensive strikeouts have absolutely nothing to do with it. To Krivsky's credit, he does identify defense as a problem for the Reds, but he's making the offense much worse by focusing on strikeouts and trading guys like Kearns and Lopez for nothing.

If I weren't positive that Dave Littlefield is going to out-incompetent Krivsky at every turn, I'd feel pretty happy with Krivsky running another team in my division. In the meantime, I hope Chambliss catches on somewhere else.

UPDATE: Red Reporter is panicked about the way the Reds are behaving.

UPDATE II: True Blue LA / Dodger Math Andrew wonders if it's time to consider Krivsky for the title of baseball's worst GM. With all due non-respect to Krivsky, though, let's be serious. Our boy DL already won that competition, and it wasn't close. It's going to take several more years of Krivsky mismanagement for him to even warrant consideration.