It came as a bit of a surprise to many of us when Dick Williams stepped down as Cincinnati Reds President of Baseball Operations nearly two weeks ago. The Reds, you’ll recall, had just made the playoffs again for the first time since the signing of the Magna Carta, and were seemingly just beginning a run that ownership and the front office had invested in heavily just last winter.
While the precise direction where the Reds headed next was, and still is a bit of a mystery in the wake of that news, we found out Monday morning that there will absolutely not be too big of a deviation. In a press release earlier today, the Reds announced that General Manager Nick Krall will head their Baseball Operations department in Williams’ stead.
Krall, of course, has served as the team’s GM under Williams for each of the last trio of seasons, and is acutely aware of the ins and outs of the club. What is not exactly clear from this press release, however, is whether or not the Reds are having him serve in dual roles, or if there is still a pending move to appoint another GM as he moves up the ladder.
Perhaps that’s the bigger story here, anyway.
As the COVID-19 pandemic shrunk the 2020 MLB regular season and prevented paying fans from rolling through the gates 81 times for every home stadium, revenues have plummeted for each and every billion-dollar franchise. So while it’s a problem that every team out there is forced to deal with, that doesn’t really level the playing field completely, as each team is still going to tighten its belt this winter.
While that’s not a presumption that Williams stepped down due to the financial implications of his own contract and that the Reds are combining positions in their front office as a cost-saving measure, it might well be an indication that the coffers that were available to the Baseball Ops department in previous years might not be there this winter. It certainly changes the game, the tactics, the ability for a front office to make moves and acquire talent when there’s not nearly as much money to sling around, and that’s going to make a lot of pertinent moves that much harder to make.
Either way, this is once again a sign that the Reds ownership values continuity in their front office over everything else, as it’s again an appointment/promotion from within, something that has been the norm since the Castellini group took over and since Walt Jocketty was first brought in to run the front office nearly a decade and a half ago.