The Cincinnati Reds have made a whole lot of changes when it comes to their development team at the minor league level in the last four years. The latest changes were made yesterday when the team parted ways – in season – with Hitting Coordinator C.J. Gillman and Director of Pitching Kyle Boddy. Let’s take a quick look back at how things have progressed since 2018:
Two different positions were added since 2018. With that said, the Senior Director of Player Development role has been vacant since Eric Lee left the job in June. While the season is coming to an end this week (though Louisville will be playing until early October and instructional league also begins at the end of this month), half of the jobs that were fill at or near the top of the minor league development food chain are now vacant and were gigs that ended during the season. No matter what the reason for any of those are – it’s not good. At all.
Both Kyle Boddy and C.J. Gillman were hired when Dick Williams was still the President of Baseball Operations. Boddy, in his announcement that he had parted ways with the team, specifically thanked both Williams and Eric Lee for “taking a chance at moving the Reds Player Development department in a new direction – both were instrumental in effecting enormous change”.
Both Dick Williams and Eric Lee have left the organization in the last year. On their own. They were not fired. Both Boddy and Gillman noted in their “parting ways” statements that the organization is going in a different direction of development. That can mean a lot of things. But it seems incredibly clear that the front office under Dick Williams and the front office under Nick Krall see things quite differently. Boddy and Gillman were hired prior to the 2020 season, but that season never actually happened. While spring training did begin, it didn’t get very far and then pretty much all of the teaching/developing was done remotely, hands off. That means that the Reds didn’t even give these two guys a full season before deciding that this wasn’t the way they wanted to go.
This is basically the second time in three seasons that the Cincinnati Reds have essentially turned over their entire development team. It happened after 2018. And it’s happened again now. In the middle of that the organization also gutted and replaced many of their managers and hitting/pitching coaches throughout the organization, too.
It’s going to take a long time to sort all of this out. Was it the right move? The wrong move? We may never actually know. Development is such a difficult thing on it’s own. Trying to assign the success or failure to one or two people is probably a fool’s errand. How would one actually do that? Players spend years in the minor leagues working with how many people along the way? How many people do they work with throughout the offseasons as they work their way up? There are so many variables that it just seems an impossible task.
What we do know is that whoever is calling the shots, and it would seem to be Nick Krall given the whole thing where both guys mentioned the direction of the previous leadership and or Dick Williams by name and then stated the organization was going in a different direction, thinks that this isn’t the way. It’s the second or third time that the philosophy of development has changed within the organization since Hunter Greene was drafted.
Continuity for the sake of continuity is dumb. If it’s not working, sticking with it just to keep continuity makes zero sense. We know that, for the most part, what was happening prior to the last big set of changes wasn’t working. It’s tough to say that this wasn’t working, at least from the outside. As noted above – they didn’t even get a full season of work in of minor league baseball. But it seems that the organization that won’t spend enough money in free agency to play with the big boys needs to be able to out develop the big boys if they want to compete, and over the last handful of years they haven’t been able to make up their mind at all as to how they plan to do that.