Grading NL Central front offices at midway point of 2024 MLB season

Tampa Bay Rays v Pittsburgh Pirates
Tampa Bay Rays v Pittsburgh Pirates / Justin Berl/GettyImages
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Cincinnati Reds: Nick Krall, president of baseball operations; Brad Meador, senior vice president and general manager. Grade: D.

The Reds saw their roster so re-populated by emerging talent in 2023 that this season has amounted to a maturation time. For that very logical reason, the Krall-Meador front office had a relatively inactive offseason.

Since the end of the 2023 postseason, Krall and Meador made a modest 19 personnel moves impacting the major league roster. Only six of those moves produced a positive short-term result; 11 turned negative and two were neutral.

Statistically, the most meaningful move involved the December re-signing of journeyman pitcher Buck Farmer. A veteran of six big-league seasons, but mostly a Reds farmhand since 2022, Farmer has made 27 relief appearances with a 2.60 ERA, good for +0.9 WAA.

But more than perhaps any other team, the 2024 Reds look like the 2023 Reds. Only two players – reserves Santiago Espinal and Bubba Thompson – came over via trade, and the vibrant farm system has produced only backups Jacob Hurtubise, Teejay Antone and Carson Spiers. Spiers, with a 3.45 ERA in seven appearances, has been the most productive. Antone is out for the year.

The Krall-Meador team is, however, in the process of accumulating one curious black mark on its record. Since the end of the 2023 postseason, the Reds front office has released or lost to free agency a half dozen players who have caught on with different clubs. Five of those six – Harrison Bader, Curt Casali, Kyle Herget, Derek Law and Ben Lively - are in the process of producing positive value for their new teams.

Giving away talent is generally viewed as a bad idea.

Score, -1.5 WAA. Grade, D.

These are the five most significant moves made by NL Central teams in 2024. Values are based on Wins Above Average impact on the NL Central team.

1.       Pittsburgh Pirates promote rookie pitcher Paul Skenes, +1.5

2.       Milwaukee Brewers acquire Bryan Hudson in a trade with Los Angeles Dodgers. +1.5

3.       Milwaukee Brewers acquire Joey Ortiz in a trade with Baltimore. +1.5

4.       Milwaukee Brewers trade pitcher Corbin Burnes to Baltimore, -1.4

5.       Pittsburgh Pirates extend pitcher Mitch Keller. +1.4

A mid-term assessment of front office work: The NL West (calltothepen.com)