Feel free to address your heartfelt apologies to Nick Krall, c/o Great American Ball Park, 100 Joe Nuxhall Way, Cincinnati, OH 45202. Many of you will balk. That’s understandable. Admitting we’re wrong is a chore. It requires packing up our considerable egos and putting them away for another rainy day. But, it’s okay to be wrong. To be wrong is to be alive.
Ownership sent Krall out to face the pubic and answer for their dirty work while they hid behind closed doors, save for Phil Castellini’s embarrassing frat boy act on Opening Day.
Following the 2021 season, Cincinnati could have built on the foundation that was there and made a run. They could have admitted they made a mistake after the 2014 season, waiting until the fruit was overripe before selling. You’d think a produce magnate would know better. You’d think the powers that be would have recognized that after more than half a decade of wandering in the desert, they owed their fan base. But pride goeth before the fall. Cincinnati needed its All Star moment; and Bob Castellini was going to give it to this river town, dag-gummit, even if it meant wrecking the immediate future of the franchise because he’s just an owner, not a baseball guy. Bob has always meddled. Like many people of extreme wealth, particularly those who have built their own business, they believe their brilliance translates to any endeavor they turn their gaze toward.
I don’t have to cite minor league numbers to convince anyone of Krall’s success. I’d rather point to the people who follow this for a living:
Will the Mariners regret trading Marte? Maybe. He’s the prospect I’d lose the most sleep over dealing this deadline, with all due respect to the Nationals’ haul. Did they overpay for Castillo given the rest of the market? Possibly.
Krall didn’t stop there. He made another substantive move, according to many:
Can’t reiterate how much I like the Mahle to the Twins trade as far as the return coming back to Cincinnati
( INF Spencer Steer, 3B Christian Encarnacion-Strand, LHP Steven Hajjar)
— Locked On MLB Prospects (@LockedOnFarm) August 2, 2022
With that rant out of the way, in the market as it stands in baseball today, it seems like the four prospects that the Reds got in this deal was a quality return and probably more than many would have expected. Getting two top 50 prospects in baseball would have been a deal that I would have considered a return that was a little better than I expected given the market over the past few years. That they got that, as well as two other live arms seems like a good get in the current time of the market.
Of course, praise Krall, and the first thing you’ll hear is “Mike Minor.” As if one trade/move defines a GM. I refer to this as Walt Jocketty Syndrome. There was a palpable joy on blogs and radio for bashing Jock trades when ownership gave marching orders to the front office to the tune of “we paid for Joey and DatDude, now make due with less.” That’s how you get Skip, Ryan Ludwick, Jack Hannahan, et al.
It’s a simple, undeniable fact: if you’re active GM, you’re going to get bitten. It’s just part of the job. You live with it and move on. And hopefully you only make those mistakes on short term contracts. And It’s not about the money. It’s about the years. It’s not that they paid Mike Moustakas $16M. It’s that they’ll do it for 4 years.
Where do the Reds go from here? It’s anyone’s guess. I’m skeptical things will change in the long run. The reason the organization never sticks to a plan is simple: ownership meddling. The minute things aren’t going exactly to plan, it’s hard not to think Thurston Howell IV is going to step in and change the coordinates on the yacht and head into a new direction—another storm.
I get it. Not a fan of prospects? Where do you think major league players come from? The stork? We shouldn’t have to ask our fathers to explain this to us. However, as Doug Gray reminded me the other day, it’s perfectly acceptable to be angry at the way ownership has lied to it’s fan base over the years. But blaming the wrong people lets the Castellini’s off the hook, IMO.
None of this is Nick Krall’s fault. With postseason expansion, there were a few more desperate teams out there and Nick took full advantage. Right now, he’s kept the ship afloat. If only someone could wrest the helm from the captain.