Rosecrans/Buchanan: Q&A with Reds GM Dick Williams, a sweeping view from the top

From C. Trent Rosecrans and Zach Buchanan at the Cincinnati Enquirer on October 16, 2017:

Cincinnati Enquirer: I’m sure you feel that the team has made some strides. But when you look at the record, it’s the exact same as 2016. What are the strides you feel you made this year?

Dick Williams: We were poised to improve on the record, and the last couple of weeks there, a lot of one-run games didn’t go our way. We didn’t finish strong. We lost a bunch there at the end. You went into the last 12-14 games thinking there’s almost no way we’re not going to improve on the record. We let a few get away there at the end that really stung. I think it would have been nice to show the record improvement. But I agree with you, there were a lot of things that did move in the right direction and that we did accomplish this year that we wanted to. You don’t spend a lot of time patting yourself on the back, though, when you finish fifth. You just continue to stay focused on the successes that you had and you try to build off that.

With the young guys, a lot of people said the young guys didn’t step up or the young guys didn’t succeed like we thought the young guys were going to pitch. I think that’s a little unfair because we asked the young guys to accelerate their development. We were putting them in the big leagues before we wanted to. If you look at the amount of Triple-A innings these guys had pitched before they’re being asked to succeed in the big leagues – (Sal) Romano pitched 13 innings in Triple-A before he was starting in the big leagues; (Luis) Castillo didn’t pitch any, Rookie (Davis) had 24 innings; (Amir) Garrett, 67; (Cody) Reed, 64; (Tyler) Mahle, 59 – not a single pitcher even had a third of a season in Triple-A before they were pitching in the big leagues. Those were six of our top prospects, and we’re essentially asking all of them to skip Triple-A, which is the level where you start to face big-league hitters, older guys. That’s something that caught up with those guys a little bit. They were asked to develop in the big leagues. I’m encouraged by the way they did handle the opportunity they were given, the adversity they faced. You began to see some positive signs from those guys as soon as they were able to settle in.

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Originally published: October 16, 2017. Last Updated: October 16, 2017.