MLB: Rating the front offices of the NL Central

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - OCTOBER 28: Theo Epstein, president of baseball operations of the Chicago Cubs at a press conference introducing David Ross as the new manager of the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on October 28, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - OCTOBER 28: Theo Epstein, president of baseball operations of the Chicago Cubs at a press conference introducing David Ross as the new manager of the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on October 28, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

Cincinnati Reds

Dick Williams, president of baseball ops & Nick Krall, VP and GM: -4.6

The Reds’ 2020 MLB season certainly did not unfold as the front office expected.

What was expected was offense in large quantities. After all, Williams and Krall spent $149 million to sign up free agent sluggers Nick Castellanos, Mike Moustakas, and Shogo Akiyama for four, four, and three years respectively.

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They were to join veteran Joey Votto and developing star Eugenio Suarez. What Williams and Krall got instead was literally baseball’s worst offense: a team .212 batting average and a paltry 390 base hits, 20 fewer than any other team.

Castellanos was a big disappointment, hitting just .225. At .230, Moustakas only beat him by five points in the batting race.

But that was typical for the 2020 Reds additions. Of the 31 players added since the end of the 2019 season, 18 produced negative value, and only eight returned a positive contribution. The most impactful was rookie pitcher Tejay Antone, a bit player whose 134 appearances resulted in a 2.80 ERA and a +0.6 WAA.

By contrast, Williams-Krall made five personnel moves that negatively impacted the Reds by at least -0.7 WAA.

The composite mounted to the National League’s worst front office performance of 2020. Fortunately for the Reds, the existing talent base – notably Trevor Bauer – was good enough to forestall the utter disaster of missing the 16-team playoffs entirely.

Next. MLB: Rating front offices of the AL West. dark

Here is the annual short-term performance rating of the Reds front office since the Williams-Krall tandem was put in place prior to the 2018 season:

  • 2018:     – 0.8
  • 2019:     +3.2
  • 2020:     -4.6