We started to see some personnel moves on Friday when the Cincinnati Reds parted ways with minor league Director of Pitching Kyle Boddy and minor league Hitting Coordinator C.J. Gillman. Those moves were a bit of a shock given the timing – they happened while the season was still on-going, though near the final stretch (the regular season came to an end this weekend for all teams except the DSL Reds and at this point only Louisville will have their season continue into the playoffs in a strange year with non-normal playoff procedures). Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer had another move of note from the weekend – Brad Meador is being promoted to Assistant GM, opening up the role as amateur scouting director that he had previously filled.

The stay at amateur scouting director for Meador was a short one or sorts as he was in the role for just three seasons/drafts. He took over the gig from Chris Buckley, who was promoted within the organization to VP of Player Personnel. Nightengale’s reporting notes that Meador will still be working with the amateur scouting (both domestic and international) departments and with player development.

TJ Friedl’s 1st MLB home run

A players first big league home run is always memorable. But for TJ Friedl his first home run in the majors might be a bit more memorable for those outside of his family than other first home runs because of what followed immediately after.

In the 6th inning on Sunday, TJ Friedl took a 94 MPH fastball from Tony Gonsolin and put it into the stands in right-center field in just his second at-bat in the big leagues. The fan who caught the ball threw it back onto the field. That’s not something you tend to see for homers hit by the home team. But the fan threw it back because Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Mookie Betts offered to “take care of him” if he tossed the ball back in, as Betts knew that it was the first hit and home run for Friedl. That was more than enough for the fan, who for his troubles, got an autographed bat from Betts the next inning when he took the field again.

“That’s just first class,” said Friedl of Betts gesture after the game. “It’s incredible for him to do something like that. It’s definitely just world class. I want to go over there and say thank you in person. Thank you, that’s all I can really say because it means so much, just to get that ball back – my first home run. Just for him to know that, and turn around to the fan and I believe traded him for a bat. I saw him running out there with a bat the next inning, gave him a bat – just incredible. He’s a great guy and I just want to find a way to say thank you to him.”

As for TJ Friedl’s home run itself, it was a 385-foot blast. That is the second furthest home run he hit in 2021. Only one home run of the 12 home runs he hit while in Triple-A this season was further – a 391-foot home run on June 3rd. Back in 2019 the top distance on a homer from Friedl was 406 feet when he was with Chattanooga.

15 Responses

  1. Luke J

    Mookie Betts just got a new fan.

    Well, I mean, he has gone from “I don’t really like that guy”, to “He’s a good dude and I wish him the best” all while still hoping he loses every game. lol

    • DaveCT

      Got a chance to see Mookie at AA and AAA, including his first games in the OF. He’s the real deal. Same now as he was then. A true ambassador.

  2. LDS

    What’s the informed opinions on Meador? As a casual observer, I can’t say that I’m overwhelmed by the Reds’ drafting and player development. Almost feels like a consolidation of loyalists. But again, I don’t follow things closely enough to make a truly informed opinion.

  3. Randy in Chatt

    That gesture from Mookie Betts needs national airplay attention. With all of the craziness going on, the world, and particularly America needs a feel good story like this.
    What an incredible gesture from an opposing player. My respect just shot out of the roof from him. I always knew Mookie was a great player. Now I know he is a great man!

  4. BK

    Very classy on the part of Betts.

    As for the Reds, I would love to see one of the Athletics writers take on doing a deep dive into the inner workings of the Reds. While there may be very reasonable reasons to move in a different direction, the Reds seem to struggle in maintaining a strategy.

  5. ClayMC

    I loved the Boddy hire as it signaled that the Reds were willing to go outside the organization for critical hires. I’m happy for front office guys that move up in the system, because there’s no doubt they’re working hard and fulfilling lifelong dreams themselves, but when a team is looking at 20+ years of zero playoff series wins, at some point you have to think that stepping outside the organization is a good idea.

    Meador’s been with the Reds since 2009.
    Buckley since 2006.
    Dick WIlliams since 2006.
    Nick Krall since 2003.
    Jeff Graupe since 2005.
    Castellini’s since 2006.
    Walt Jocketty since 2008.
    Sam Grossman since before 2008.

    I’m sure the longevity of player development positions don’t quite mirror that of the upper front office positions above, simply due to the seniority required, but there’s far too many people occupying positions for far too long despite quite literally zero playoff success. Do we need to complete a third decade with no playoff success before the organization starts scrutinizing the people at the top?

    • Tom

      Well put. I wouldn’t consider the talent pipeline to be too deficient. The Latin American issue really dragged them down for 20 years. Hopefully that is getting fixed. Cabrera might be the best bat in next years International class and the Reds are the favorite. That gives me a lot of excitement. This was a good year on the farm, as well.

      So in the list above, who to scrutinize? It’s Bob. He’s the one who screwed up the 2014-15 transition. He’s the one who’s kneecapped 2021 into a potentially dead end to a 6 year rebuild by not paying for a bullpen. It’s him. The other guys are working within the constraints they’ve been given.

      • DaveCT

        Agreed. It’s Bob, and Bob some more.

        And, I also think Krall is not the one for the job. Or at least the part of the job representing one of the top faces of the organization. Time after time after time, when the fans need someone to get out in front of something and LEAD, Krall is silent or otherwise falls short in talking to us.

        In other circumstances, the manager can do that, but it’s just not Bell’s style (except when he gets ejected). So, knowing that, who is the public face of the organization? Joey and Nick C and Miley and Moose aren’t management. Bell is not Lou Piniella or even Dusty. So it’s Krall, or just hire someone intelligent and verbal and charismatic like Larkin (who I admit i’ve enjoyed more than I thought or wanted to). Make him an Assistant GM and tell him to do one thing: LEAD.

      • Tom

        Perhaps Nick isn’t the great interview, but Jocketty said as much or less. I’m not sure Krall would be my pick for marketing director, and Bob has receded since the days of Jocketty and Dusty, but I’m not really looking for media savvy from a GM. It’s a landmine as it is. Look how people put Bob’s head on a stake for his media savvy press conference 15 years ago.

    • Allen

      Brad Meador’s 4th round pick 2020 Reds drafted and signed was MacKenzie Wainright out of HS in this teams backyard of Ohio. Awaiting trial in early October of rape charges. State of Ohio vs Mackenzie Wainright trial set for 10/10/2021 2 charges of rape. Sounds like something the Nick Krall era of Reds acquisitions is familiar OK with. Forgot to mention Trevor Bauer and Yasiel Puig’s legal issues all acquired under this Nick Krall umbrella. Sad to see this once proud organization reward mediocrity. Don’t see any minority hires from this organization recently in this front office either. Brad Meador’s background and contacts in this state should have alerted him to the makeup of this kid. Castellini Family accepting this WOW!

      • Tom

        Why leave Dick Williams out of your assessment? And are these guys supposed to predict the future? Mac W in particular seemed to say all the right things. Do you want the Reds tapping Bauer’s phone to find out what he’s doing? Pretty unrealistic take.