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Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Who's to blame for Majewski? Bowden, or Krivsky?

"It is the nature of being the general manager of a baseball team that you have to remain on familiar terms with people you are continually trying to screw." - Michael Lewis, Moneyball

With one his of the two prized relievers acquired in The Trade now on the disabled list with soreness in the shoulder that might be traceable all the way back to the World Baseball Classic, the Reds' front office is fuming. Here are the facts that I'm aware of:

1. Majewski claims to have started to feel the tendonitis during the World Baseball Classic. From Will Carroll's Under the Knife:
Call it the WBC curse. Gary Majewski heads to the DL with shoulder soreness and blames pitching in the World Baseball Classic for his troubles. It's interesting that Majewski never noted this in the previous four months and certainly didn't indicate this problem to his new team, the Reds. The team was aware when they traded for him that he'd been dealing with "mild shoulder tendonitis," but one cortisone injection back in May cleared up the problem. If this has been bothering him since the trade, it does explain his poor performance. There's no clear indication when Majewski could return. Luckily, the Reds' bullpen is one loaded with quantity, if not quality.
2. While the Reds were aware of the cortisone injection in May, there apparently was a cortisone injection only a few days prior to the trade due to a resurgence of these problems. And the Reds were not told about that by the Nationals' trainer, or by Jim Bowden. Or by Majewski.

3. Wayne Krivsky is trying to be subtle, but the guy's furious...I love how this quote moves from saying "the right thing" to just outright bitching. From Marc's blog:
"This doesn't preclude doing future business," said Krivsky. "I don't like eliminating talent pools. I don't like eliminating teams. Hopefully, people feel like when they're dealing with us they're dealing straight-up. I want people to feel like they're being dealt with honestly. For me, Wayne Krivsky talking, your credibility is paramount -- not only with (the media) but with other teams and the fans and ownership. You lose your credibility, youre done in this business. You better treat people right and treat them the way you want to be treated, or youre not going to be as effective a general manager, farm director, scouting director, scout. To me, thats a pretty big thing right there."
My thoughts:

1. This is just the latest demonstration that Jim Bowden is a despicable human being. This is not a surprise, and is completely consistent with his track record. Someday it might be fun to try to list the rest of his history.

2. Krivsky feels wronged, and probably has a right to. But frankly, I think the major thing that's going on here is that he's finally realizing how bad that trade was for the Reds. Yes, we absolutely needed relief pitching. But there were quality guys available that could have been had for a lot less than the price of Austin Kearns or Felipe Lopez. Mike MacDougal, Bob Wickman, Scott Williamson, and of course Rheal Cormier and Kyle Lohse (who the Reds did get) all were acquired for minor league talent in July. Yes, those minor league players may turn out to have an impact in the major leagues in the future, but they might not. Minor league players are more risky--and less valuable--than established, successful, and still young guys like Kearns and Lopez.

So now, one of the moderately valuable acquisitions from this trade turns out to be hurt, perhaps for a good chunk of the rest of the season. Yes, the Nationals should have been more forthright in this transaction. But injuries happen. It's just that when they happen after you know you've already been ripped off, they hurt so much more than when you know you've done everything right and have just been unlucky.

3. Frankly, if the Reds file a grievance, I hope it does result in sanctions against Bowden. Not because Krivsky deserves the vindication, but because Bowden's a jerk. 'Course, what can they do? The trade would never be reversed, as much as I'd love for that to be a possibility, which it's not. Maybe the Nationals could get fined? My guess is that the best thing we could hope for is that the new owners of the Nationals might realize the sort of person they have running their baseball team and give Bowden his walking papers. Maybe not this year, but eventually they're bound to realize how someone like that can poison the moral your entire organization. They need only look at his previous employers.