Reds overhaul player development department

Bailey's role yet to be determined for 2019

September 25th, 2018

CINCINNATI -- Seeking to improve at getting their prospects to the Major Leagues ready to succeed, the Reds made moves at the top of their player development area.

Shawn Pender was promoted to vice president of player development and Eric Lee was named senior director of player development. The previous senior director of player development, Jeff Graupe, was moved last month to senior director of player personnel.

Pender joined the Reds in 2008 as a Major League advanced scout and spent the past two seasons as a special assistant to the general manager. He was a Minor League second baseman in the Pirates organization from 1984-85, and he has a background in player development, scouting and coaching.

"[Pender] is someone who has been out aggressively scouting other organizations for us, so he's had an opportunity to really study what some other organizations have done and bring that to bear in our Minor League system," Reds president of baseball operations Dick Williams said. "I think by putting Eric in there as well, we're really doubling the capacity of the management team in player development, because you had Jeff by himself, now you're going to have Shawn and Eric working together."

Lee joined the Reds' baseball operations department in 2014 as an assistant and spent last season as senior director of international operations.

The Reds have endured five straight losing seasons since making the postseason in 2013. During their lengthy rebuilding process, they've accumulated a lot of Draft picks -- including the No. 2 overall selections each of the last two years -- and traded for prospects from other organizations. But the club has fallen short in seeing many of these young players -- especially pitchers -- thrive once reaching the big leagues.

"I think that's where we've underachieved relative to our expectations, getting those guys onto the field at the big league level and performing at the level that they know they can," Williams said. "We're going to leave no stone unturned in continuing to augment what we're doing in player development."

The Reds still need to name an international scouting director. Williams expected the candidates to come from outside of the organization.

What's next for Bailey?

One of the offseason questions the Reds will have to answer is what they will do with pitcher Homer Bailey, who is owed $28 million for the final year of his six-year contract and the buyout of his 2020 mutual option.

In 69 starts since signing his $105 million contract, Bailey has gone 18-32 with a 5.27 ERA while enduring three elbow surgeries. In 2018, he was 1-14 with a 6.09 ERA in 20 starts and was shut down for the final month of the season despite being healthy.

The Reds hoped Bailey could move into a bullpen role this season, but the 32-year-old's routine to prepare to pitch made it impractical for him to work as a reliever.

"We're going to have to sit down and discuss it with him -- how we both think he can best help the club next year," Williams said. "I know he's frustrated with the results this year. I think he feels healthy for the most part. We just need to go into it in the offseason and talk to him and make sure we get our coaching staff settled before we make any decisions about what his role will be going forward."

Chattanooga returns as Reds affiliate

The Reds announced a new two-year player development agreement with Double-A Chattanooga on Tuesday. Chattanooga was previously the Reds' Southern League affiliate from 1988-2008 and most recently aligned with the Twins. It replaced Pensacola, which was the Reds' Double-A club since 2012.

"I spoke to their ownership and it came together really quickly," Williams said. "Other than Atlanta, we're the closest Major League team to Chattanooga. We consider Tennessee part of Reds country. It's just down the road from Greeneville, where we just added an affiliate [at the rookie level]. It'll be a much easier drive between Double-A and Triple-A now. For a lot of reasons, we're looking forward to it."