Reds hire Krivsky as new general manager

Updated: February 8, 2006, 8:10 PM ET
Associated Press

CINCINNATI -- Minnesota's Wayne Krivsky overwhelmed the Cincinnati Reds' new owner during an interview Wednesday, then got the job as their next general manager.

Krivsky's hiring ended a two-week search that involved eight candidates and ultimately came down to two -- him and Reds special adviser Jim Beattie. Krivsky's second interview went so well that owner Bob Castellini didn't need any more time to think it over.

"He was totally prepared," Castellini said. "He blew us away."

Krivsky was a leading candidate for the Reds' job two years ago, but former owner Carl Lindner chose Dan O'Brien, who had worked for the Houston Astros and Texas Rangers. O'Brien was fired last month by Castellini, who wanted to bring in his own executive to run the baseball operation.

The two share passionate personalities and similar views on how to run a team -- hire good people, develop a strong farm system, make sure to connect with fans.

"We connected," Krivsky said. "Very compatible. Very similar ideas on how you run a quality organization."

In a symbolic gesture, Castellini inscribed a baseball and handed it to the 51-year-old Krivsky, who comes from a small-market team that knows how to win. The Twins won three straight AL Central titles from 2002-04 with comparable payrolls.

"It was a very big consideration -- very big," Castellini said.

Krivsky knows a lot about the Reds already. They were one of the teams he scouted for the Twins, watching perhaps 40 games a year.

He also knows a lot about their history as a model franchise in the 1970s, when they won back-to-back World Series championships as the Big Red Machine.

"There's absolutely no reason we can't get back to being regarded in that light by the baseball fraternity," Krivsky said. "There's absolutely no reason."

Krivsky worked for the Rangers before the Twins hired him in 1994 as a special assistant. He has spent the last eight years as assistant general manager, involved in all aspects of running the team.

"Probably the goal of his life was to become a general manager, and it's become reality," Twins general manager Terry Ryan said. "He's bright. He's organized. He's a relentless worker. He's the type of guy that pays attention to detail. He's good with rules. He's good with contracts. He's a good evaluator.

"He's got a lot of the attributes that you would want to associate with a general manager."

Krivsky got a two-year contract from the Reds that includes mutual options for two additional years.

The Reds are coming off their fifth straight losing season, their longest such streak in 50 years. Krivsky's biggest challenge will be to significantly upgrade the pitching staff, which has been among the league's worst overall for several years.

Cincinnati had the NL's top offense last year, but couldn't overcome the lack of a dependable rotation and bullpen. The Reds let starter Ramon Ortiz leave after the season, and got left-handed starter Dave Williams from Pittsburgh in a trade for Sean Casey.

The Reds failed to develop pitching under general manager Jim Bowden, who was fired in 2003, midway through the first season at Great American Ball Park. During Bowden's tenure, several pitching prospects hurt their arms in the minors.

O'Brien instituted a pitch limit in the minors to try to cut down on the injuries. He also gave left-hander Eric Milton a $25.5 million, three-year deal to upgrade the rotation, a move that immediately backfired. Milton went 8-15 and gave up 40 homers last season, the most in the majors.

O'Brien had a year left on his contract when he was fired Jan. 23. Others interviewed for the job were Philadelphia assistant general manager Mike Arbuckle, St. Louis assistant John Mozeliak, Atlanta vice president Frank Wren, and four in-house candidates: special assistant Leland Maddox, international scouting director Johnny Almaraz, Beattie, and Brad Kullman, who served as GM during the search process.

Krivsky won't have much room to make an immediate impact. The Reds plan to keep their payroll around $60 million -- same as last season -- and the roster is generally set with the start of spring training only one week away.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press