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Williams steps down as Reds' baseball chief

@m_sheldon
October 7, 2020

CINCINNATI -- Reds president of baseball operations Dick Williams has stepped down after five seasons in that position. Williams, whose family has an ownership stake in the club, is looking to spend more time with his wife and kids and work in non-baseball endeavors in Cincinnati. Williams, 49, joined the

CINCINNATI -- Reds president of baseball operations Dick Williams has stepped down after five seasons in that position. Williams, whose family has an ownership stake in the club, is looking to spend more time with his wife and kids and work in non-baseball endeavors in Cincinnati.

Williams, 49, joined the club’s front office ahead of the 2006 season, when the ownership group led by CEO Bob Castellini took over.

“I don’t expect everyone to understand my choice, but my situation is unique,” Williams said. “I have a family business -- other than the Reds -- that also means a lot to me. I have four young kids that I need to spend more time with. I have had an exhilarating 15 years and we have given our teams some great opportunities to win it all.

“The ultimate prize has eluded us, and I harbor more disappointment than anybody can possibly imagine but I have thrived on the thrill of the chase. Now I look forward to chasing other goals and aspirations using the platform of our family business.”

The Reds finished the 2020 season with a 31-29 record after a slow start. By going 11-3 over the final 14 games, the club earned its first postseason berth since 2013. But the end came quickly as Cincinnati was swept in two games of the best-of-three National League Wild Card Series by Atlanta. In 22 innings, the offense failed to score.

It is believed that Williams had informed Castellini of his decision to depart in August.

“Dick has been an integral part of the Reds' success from our first days of ownership in 2006 through our postseason appearance in 2020,” Castellini said. “He took the lead on modernizing every aspect of our baseball operations. Dick was the mastermind behind our incredible facility in Goodyear [Ariz.], drove advances in our scouting and player development systems, expanded our capacity for analytics and established our sports science departments, just to name a few."

In their press release, the Reds noted that general manager Nick Krall will remain with the team as the search for a new baseball operations head begins.

Williams came to the Reds after having jobs in investment banking and politics. He was a leader in the design and construction of the team’s Spring Training complex in Arizona, which opened in 2010. He also oversaw the renovation of the organization’s academy in the Dominican Republic.

After the 2015 season, Williams was promoted to GM and took over the club's baseball operations department after the ’16 season when Walt Jocketty stepped aside as part of a succession plan.

Since 2016, the Reds have started their next wave of prospects under Williams with the drafting and/or signings of Nick Senzel, Hunter Greene, José Garcia, Nick Lodolo and Rece Hinds.

Under Williams, the Reds also acquired Trevor Bauer, Sonny Gray, Yasiel Puig, Luis Castillo, Lucas Sims, Curt Casali, Kyle Farmer and Tanner Roark in trades. They made some waiver claims, such as Scooter Gennett, that paid off big dividends.

After the ’18 season, Williams hired David Bell to be manager and oversaw the additions of an all-new coaching staff. That also began the club’s philosophy shift deeper into analytics and sports science. That included the hiring of Kyle Boddy from Driveline Baseball as director of pitching initiatives and pitching coordinator. There were also upgrades made in player development and additional scouts hired to improve the team’s presence in the Pacific Rim and Latin America.

Last offseason, Cincinnati was one of baseball’s most aggressive teams and spent $166 million to sign five free agents: Mike Moustakas, Shogo Akiyama, Nick Castellanos, Wade Miley and Pedro Strop. Much of the moves were meant to bolster the offense after it underperformed in 2019. However, the Reds finished last in MLB with a .212 team batting average this season.

“The Reds will always be my first love,” Williams said. “I was weaned on Reds baseball -- from the Big Red Machine to being arrested for running onto the field after clinching a World Series berth in 1990. To have had a small part in bringing postseason baseball back to town was rewarding. I loved the challenge of building the team and the staff each year and having a part in taking our organization in new directions. My hope is that I can continue to contribute from a distance in my role as owner and fan. Bob and David know where to find me.”

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook.