Reds moving closer to naming new GM

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 8, 2003

CINCINNATI - With each new interview, the Cincinnati Reds get a step closer to choosing a general manager - one who will be dramatically different from the last one.

The Reds are completing interviews this week with a group of eight candidates to replace Jim Bowden, who was fired in July along with manager Bob Boone.

Chief operating officer John Allen then will narrow the list to a few finalists. The club most likely will make its choice before the end of the World Series, Allen said Tuesday.

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Clubs are prohibited from announcing major moves during the World Series games, complicating the Reds' timing.

Montreal general manager Omar Minaya was in Cincinnati for the final series of the regular season and was interviewed for the job. The other seven candidates are assistants with backgrounds in player development and farm systems.

''We've made no bones about it - our plan at the Reds has to include a lot of reliance on homegrown talent,'' Allen said.

The Reds had a nightmarish move into Great American Ball Park this season in part because the front office was at odds over its rebuilding plan. The club traded its closer, its top hitter and its only All-Star - third baseman Aaron Boone - for cash and pitching prospects at midseason.

Bowden liked to spend money on free agents - particularly power hitters - during his 11 years of running the Reds. He put together a nucleus of young players who came up one victory short of the playoffs in 1999, then went after Ken Griffey Jr. instead of the starting pitching that was desperately needed.

Without a dependable rotation, the Reds haven't come close to another playoff run. Griffey's nine-year, $116.5 million contract has financially handcuffed the club, which tried to trade him last December.

Allen, appointed to run the team in 1996, prefers the opposite approach. He believes the Reds have to follow the lead of small-market teams like Oakland and Minnesota, staying competitive because of a strong farm system.

The next general manager will be committed to the small-market strategy instead of Bowden's big-gesture style, leaving the Reds with a front office that's on the same page.

When Allen fired Bowden on July 28, he emphasized that the organization has to do a better job of developing pitching. That's been a main topic during the interviews with general manager candidates.

''We talk about it a lot - not so much their opinions of our organization as their philosophy of how they would do it,'' Allen said.

The first job for the next general manager will be deciding whether to keep interim manager Dave Miley, who replaced Boone on July 28. The Reds wound up losing 93 games, but players respected the way Miley handled a clubhouse ravaged by midseason trades and major injuries.