Nick Krall to lead Reds' baseball ops dept.

October 19th, 2020

CINCINNATI -- To replace president of baseball operations Dick Williams, who resigned earlier this month, the Reds looked internally for his replacement. Vice president and general manager Nick Krall was named Monday as the head of baseball operations for the club.

Krall, who will turn 43 next month, will retain his GM title and report directly to CEO Bob Castellini. Krall will be charged with getting Cincinnati to take the next step following its first playoff season in seven years and an early exit from the postseason.

“I’m going to answer to Bob now instead of Dick. Not a ton [changes] from a day-to-day standpoint. Just will be more of the head of the department and the person who will make the final decision for this department to take to Bob.”

The last three seasons, Krall has been the GM and worked alongside Williams. He was highly involved in player acquisitions, contract negotiations, arbitration and has overseen the scouting, analytics and player development departments.

That included the trades for pitchers Sonny Gray and Trevor Bauer in 2019 and the offseason signings of free agents Mike Moustakas, Nick Castellanos and Shogo Akiyama.

"We are excited for Nick to assume the lead over our baseball operations,” said Castellini. “His hands-on approach as general manager gives us the opportunity to reinstate that role as the top position in our baseball department and keep the years of hard work that happened under his purview producing stronger, more competitive teams.”

Reds manager David Bell and the coaching staff will return in 2021, Krall said, and no significant changes were expected in the rest of the front office this winter.

Krall’s career has been one where he started from the very bottom and worked his way up the baseball ladder.

A native of Rossville, Pa., Krall went to LSU and began his professional career in a front office with the now-defunct New Jersey Cardinals in the NY-Penn League in 2000. He did everything from overseeing the gameday staff to power-washing the stadium and selling outfield-fence advertising. From there, he worked as a clubhouse manager for the Athletics’ Class A team in Visalia and was able to move up to a baseball operations intern in Oakland under then-GM Billy Beane during the “Moneyball” period, as chronicled in a book and film by the same name.

“We got paid $500 for the whole summer back then,” Krall said. “I needed to actually make some money, so I was able to work on the grounds crew in Spring Training and then work in the clubhouse and as the bat boy during the season.”

Krall has spent 18 seasons in the Reds' organization, from when he was first hired in 2003 to oversee advance scouting preparation. He rose through the ranks to assistant director of baseball operations, and eventually to senior director of baseball operations, and then assistant GM in '15.

“Every experience has been great at helping me prepare for this,” Krall said. “Whether it’s learning what player development is like, to learning to live on the road when I was the clubhouse guy at Visalia, or working the video room and preparing advanced scouting reports, overseeing pro scouting and going on the road, you get to learn what other people’s jobs are, you get to learn how they do their jobs.

“That experience helps you make better decisions, because you understand what people are going through when they’re doing their jobs as well.”

Here are some items on Krall’s agenda heading into the winter:

• Improve an offense that was ranked last in the Major Leagues with a .212 average during the regular season.

“We’ve got to figure out ways to put guys in a better position to succeed or be able to have guys use the whole field and take advantage of when a shift is out there,” Krall said. “There’s a lot of different things you can do, but it’s something that we have definitely talked about over the last couple weeks.”

• The Reds might need to replace two free-agent starting pitchers in Bauer and Anthony DeSclafani. Krall did not rule out bringing both players back, but Bauer is likely every club’s top free agent on the board this offseason.

“He’s [a] top, front-end-of-the-rotation [arm] that, in my opinion, should win the [National League] Cy Young Award this year. I think you’d love to try to get him back if there’s any way possible,” Krall said.

• The club is still figuring out how it will maximize its budget after a pandemic season where fans could not attend games at Great American Ball Park. There is still uncertainty about what the 2021 season could look like.

The Reds were 31-29 in 2020 and reached the National League Wild Card Series before being eliminated by the Braves in a two-game sweep without scoring a run in 22 innings.

“We made the playoffs, but that's not your ultimate goal,” Krall said. “Your goal in this role is to build a sustainable championship-caliber organization that can win World Series for years to come. It's always going to be your goal. We were excited to make the postseason, not excited how it ended.

“We need to figure out how to continue to push forward and move past where we were, and hopefully next year at this time we'll be continuing to be playing. That's always the goal.”