Hal McCoy talks about the Eric Milton deal today, and how the Reds offered the same contract that Milton received to Matt Clement. When Clement declined they signed Milton:
That's because the Reds offered Clement a three-year $25.5 million deal. When he refused it, turning to the Red Sox, the Reds gave the money to Milton.
"It was a tough decision because the Reds did have things I was looking for," said the 30-year-old right-hander. "I was looking for offense and, in my opinion, the Reds had it. They had a good catcher I had heard a lot about in Jason LaRue ... but (Boston's) Jason Varitek is highly respected, and he is a big reason I came here.
"I played against Sean Casey in high school, and he called me, tried to recruit me," Clement added. "He took me on a recruiting trip to the University of Richmond, too. So, it was a tough decision, but this is close to home (Butler, Pa). And when I left the Cubs and didn't go to the Chicago White Sox, I just wanted to get far away from that whole situation."
McCoy's not really telling us much that we didn't already know, but I don't mind revisiting the worst decision O'Brien has made to date.
I give DanO credit for trying to sign Clement. I really do. But when Clement declined I think O'Brien had two options:
- Up the offer.
- Save the money, possibly for a midseason acquisition.
3. Offer a vastly inferior pitcher the exact same contract.
This isn't hindsight. I much preferred Clement, and when all this went down I just assumed he hadn't even been willing to consider the Reds. And he probably didn't take them seriously, not with a similar offer on the table from the defending World Champion, close to home, Boston Red Sox.
Which is why the Reds should have overpayed him.
Why would Dan O'Brien think someone would come to Cincinnati if they have a similar contract offer from the Red Sox?
O'Brien's mindset is tough to figure out, and it's made even tougher by the fact that he doesn't tell the press anything of substance.
It's possible that DanO had a rational reason for going after Milton, but he makes it tough to believe that when all he ever offers are platitudes about Milton being a "proven winner".
O'Brien is out of his depth. The Reds need an innovater, someone willing to take some chances. Dan O'Brien is the polar opposite of what the Reds need at this stage.
A fire sale is probably coming in the next month and a half. Do you trust O'Brien to properly execute it? I certainly don't, because I think if he mishandles it badly enough it could doom this team for the next 5-8 years. DanO's given me no reason to believe he's capable of making smart, forward thinking moves, which makes me think we're all in for a rough ride as Reds fans.