From Jayson Stark:
But at least LaMar set the ground rules early on. If he didn't get your team's best prospect, he wasn't trading with you. He said that from the start -- and stuck to it. The Reds, on the other hand, sent mixed signals in all directions -- and aggravated more teams than anyone else in baseball.
"I don't understand what they were doing," said an executive of one contender. "I thought we made real solid offers for a couple of their guys, and we'd never get a response. They'd never give you names of guys they want. They wouldn't tell you what they were trying to do. You were never sure who they wanted. You could never tell whether guys you were talking about were available. And they might not even call back."
At least the Reds did make one decent trade (Joe Randa for promising pitching prospects Justin Germano and Travis Chick). How the Devil Rays could stand pat, on the other hand, is a bigger mystery to many teams than the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Not returning phone calls is a slightly bad thing. No way to know if this is true obviously, but would it really surprise you to learn that Dan O'Brien is a terrible communicator? We've all heard the man speak, and it certainly wouldn't surprise me.
An alternate view from Dayn Perry:
Ideally, the Reds would've been able to ease their outfield bottleneck by selling high on Ken Griffey Jr. (and thereby unloading his burdensome contract); however, such a deal may not have been tenable. The good news for Reds fans is that GM Dan O'Brien didn't trade away Adam Dunn, the future of the franchise.
Detractors point to his lofty strikeout totals and low batting averages, but Dunn more than makes up for it with his tremendous raw power and exceptional walk rates. He gets on base, beats the ball around -- and out of -- the yard and is still only 25 years old. If paces hold, Dunn will end the season with 164 career home runs, which will put him 16th on the all-time list for homers before age 26. He'll be critical to the next contending Reds team, and O'Brien was wise to keep him in the fold.
I agree with him on Dunn, but you have to think the Reds could have maybe dealt Casey or Aurilia.
Although DanO did say this about Aurilia:
"To be honest, I'm very happy to retain the players we currently have," he added.
Even an unhappy Aurilia?
O'Brien tread delicately and said, "I have to be very careful on how I choose my words here, but I will simply say it takes two parties to consummate a trade. I know (manager) Jerry Narron has explained to Rich what his role is for the time being and ultimately that's Jerry's decision . . . period."