“The best word or term I saw was from (Detroit GM) Dave Dombrowski: reboot,” Jocketty said. ”That’s kind of what we’re doing. We’re rebooting or retooling. It’s not a rebuild.”
Keep that in mind - it was not a rebuild.
Those words were uttered by then-GM Walt Jocketty just after the non-waiver trade deadline in 2015, just days after the team dealt away resident ace Johnny Cueto and rotation stalwart Mike Leake, who had long been a prototypical Mike Leake type. Jocketty spoke to the media in the wake of those moves, with then-Enquirer beat writer John Fay able to relay them to us.
I suppose you could chalk those moves up to a much older example of a franchise aligning payroll to its resources, as there was clearly still very much a market for the services of both Cueto and Leake beyond 2015. The Giants and Cardinals immediately ponied up over $200 million combined for their services after the season, after all.
That the franchise that sold off those players then is the same one currently aligning its payroll to resources does seem a bit odd, though, especially when the current GM has begun to justify his destruction of the existing roster as a necessary part of his plan for the Reds, one that focuses on the need to ‘eliminate peaks and valleys’ and finding ‘sustainable success.’
Pardon my french, but where the goddamn hell have the peaks been that we’re eliminating here?
Pardon more of my french, but why the goddamn hell are we trying to eliminate peaks?!
It’s the jargon that gets me here, even though I know what Nick Krall is trying to say is that they’d like to avoid the peaks and valleys of spending money, not winning. They’d love to find a way to settle in at a payroll of ninety million bucks a year with a consistent, fresh pipeline of young (read: cheap) players and avoid having to commit the kind of money to aging players or free agent players that will take the payroll beyond that amount.
The jargon. It’s always the jargon. While letting ‘peaks and valleys’ settle into my memory alongside the infamous ‘align payroll to resources,’ I couldn’t help but circle back to the previous iteration of the Reds being unwilling to pursue winning baseball when it was going to cost them so much as a league-average payroll to keep their roster full of elite players.
It goes without saying that The Reboot failed miserably. After years of dismantling, years of giving away Cueto and Leake and Aroldis Chapman and Jay Bruce and the likes for absolutely nothing, years of losing 90+ games, years of rebooting around Anthony DeSclafani and Sonny Gray and Eugenio Suarez asshole Trevor Bauer and Jesse Winker, it failed. It crashed and burned, with a shortened 2020 season that saw the Reds play 62 total games and lose as many as they won the best we got out of any of it.
The players who were rebooted around are now in exodus, with Disco long gone and Gray, Suarez, and Winker now dealt. Luis Castillo, himself a huge piece of the would-be rebuild, surely is next to go, whether that’s this winter or at the trade deadline later this summer when the Reds are 12 games under .500. Nick Castellanos and Wade Miley are gone, too, themselves part of the first big spending push to help augment what ended up the failed infrastructure of the reboot. I can only assume Mike Moustakas and Shogo Akiyama would be gone by now, too, if there was such a thing out there as a taker for them.
This isn’t meant to rub more salt in our wounds, of course. We’re Reds fans, that’s part of our morning routine anyway. Rather, this is simply pointing out once again that the people in charge of running this franchise have long tried to go the cheap route when it comes to winning, haven’t been able to succeed in that route, and are going to keep hurling jargon at you and me and us as they repeat the process so long as it continues to ensure they get cash in their pockets at the end of the day.
It didn’t work last time, and most of the same folks who ran it last time are still around to help run it this time. Their best practice is treating us like low-hanging fruit, and leveraging that 110%.