Thursday, June 5, 2008

The Reds Draft Players Today. Me Excited! Sort Of.

About fourteen different times after the Reds signed Josh Foggstein this spring, I promised to tell you why I hated the deal. I never got around to it.

But a promise is a promise, so here goes:

Foggstein was never going to be a determining factor in the Reds' success this season - it just wasn't going to happen. His past had proven that he was, at best, an average Major League starter. But the Reds already had that in Belisle and Affeldt, both of whom would probably post numbers similar to Foggstein, with the only difference being upside; Belisle and Affeldt have it, Foggstein ain't never do.

The bottom line: The Reds weren't going to do a damn thing this season unless they received significant contributions from the Cueto-Volquez-Bailey-Votto-Bruce group. It's as simple as that. Three (or more) of those players have outstanding seasons, and the Reds have a chance. Anything less and the Reds will be drafting in the top 10 in 2009. Again.

Even if Foggstein were to throw up his customary 10-10, 4.92 ERA, it wouldn't matter. It's just $1.5 million wasted, which doesn't sound like much, but it is.

Consider: The MLB draft is today, and the Reds won't be taking the best player at No. 7. Nope, they'll be taking the best player at No. 7...who they'll be able to sign. There's a difference. Every year, stud prospects fall in the draft because small-to-mid-market teams (i.e., the teams routinely picking in the top 10) refuse to pony up the extra cash to lock down a potential savior. It's often a matter of $1 million or less, but these teams are on budget and can't justify spending the extra money on a high school pitcher. Which is stupid, considering they routinely throw that kind of money at washed-up bums like Foggstein.

Even when things are going great for a small-market team (think Tampa and Florida and Oakland), the future has to be considered with every decision. That means staying away from dumb contacts, trading All Stars away before or during their peak (but never after), and pumping more money into scouting than everybody else.

Here's a chunk of an email I sent my buddy Wess on April 22, illustrating my frustration towards the Foggstein situation:

And would they consider eating Fogg's contract? The reason I didn't like the move is because $1.5 mil is significant to the Reds, and it's money they could spend on a power-armed Boras client in the draft. Rick Porcello slipped to the mid-20's last year because teams didn't want to spend the extra money on him, which was stupid. Who would you rather have, Devin Mesaraco or Porcello? And it isn't just Fogg; it's Stanton and Cormier and Patterson, too. The money adds up, and the farm system gets neglected. It's shortsighted. And dumb.

That is all.

-Brad Spieser (