As an Oakland A’s and Cincinnati Reds fan, I often wonder what the Reds would be like if they had Billy Beane running the team. If BB had taken over after last season, I can see him realizing that the team was more than 1-2 players away from contending and that the minor league system needed some additional strength. Here’s what I can picture happening:
- Harang to Arizona for a similar haul as he got for Haren (includes Greg Smith, Dana Eveland, Carlos Gonzalez, who are on the MLB team, and Brett Anderson, Chris Carter, and Aaron Cunningham).
- Arroyo to another team for prospects similar to those obtained by Blanton (includes Adrian Cardenas, Josh Outman, and Matthew Spencer)
- Griffey to another team for a minor prospect
- Never invited Corey Patterson within 100 miles of Cincinnati
- Trade Dunn near the trading deadline and called up Jay Bruce
- Kept Josh Hamilton – I just don’t think he would have traded away such an enormous talent. The only way Volquez would be a Red would be if the Rangers would have taken Joey Votto for him.
- A Josh Fogg-ish pitcher would be in the rotation, but so would Smith, Eveland, Cueto, and Thompson/Bailey.
- Not signing Francisco Cordero.
- All in all, reducing the club’s payroll significantly, leaving more room for large bonuses for draft picks and Latin ballplayers, and giving flexibility going into next offseason.
The thing I love about BB is that he makes pre-emptive moves. The A’s weren’t going to win this year without a couple big-name free-agent signings, which just weren’t available last offseason. So, BB, knowing the weakness of A’s farm system, acted to shore it up with short and long-term solutions. Yes, Aaron Harang is a stud, 2008 injury notwithstanding, but so are the 6 players Oakland got for Dan Haren, including the 2 whose MLB pitching performances are not that far behind Haren’s.
The thing that frustrates me about Reds’ management is that they seem to be stuck between wanting to win now (“Going for it”) and building for the future. As Billy Beane shows us, there is a way to succeed at doing both.