You could say that about the Reds, who, to the surprise of just about everyone, found themselves playing for first place in the NL Central this weekend in their first head-to-head series with the defending NL champion Astros. For this April phenomenon, credit is due new Reds GM Wayne Krivsky and his inherited manager Jerry Narron. While there's no telling how long the Reds can sustain this success, there's also no question that they're a better team. Better because of the deals Krivsky has made since being named GM on Feb. 8 by new owner Robert Castellini after 12 years as Terry Ryan's assistant in Minnesota.
Indeed, they're calling him "the Amazing Krivsky" in Cincinnati after Bronson Arroyo (acquired from the Red Sox for free-swinging outfielder Wily Mo Pena) ran off a 4-0 record and 2.34 ERA in his first five starts, and second baseman Brandon Phillips (acquired in a waiver deal from the Indians) rapped out 17 RBI in seven days and hit .356 in his first 16 games. There's also Scott Hatteberg, a spring-training free-agent pickup, leading the team in on-base percentage.
"Here we were, trying to fly under the radar," Krivsky said, laughing. "It's true we have had a lot of good things happen so far. Arroyo's been terrific, but we were only able to get him because the Red Sox had an excess of starting pitching and they needed an outfielder. The naysayers said he was a fly ball pitcher coming to a fly ball ballpark, but he knows how to pitch.
"As for Phillips, I think he'd just run his course with the Indians. I don't know if he ever got over being sent down (in 2003) and he just needed a change. He's been great for us, although I'd like to see him start getting some walks."
The Amazing Krivsky definitely has a nice ring to it. Hasn't he been called that here in the comments?
There's also this funny non-Reds bit in the notes section:
"I don't think I'm worth anywhere near that."
Royals top prospect Alex Gordon upon learning that his Topps baseball card, which had to be pulled from their 2006 set because he was not on the 25-man roster and had not yet played in the majors, was selling for $1,300. Apparently about 100 of them got into circulation.