Reds reward Narron, Krivsky

Reds reward Narron, Krivsky

CINCINNATI -- Both general manager Wayne Krivsky and manager Jerry Narron have marveled about how well they've worked together this season with the Reds.

In a short amount of time, they've helped make the club contenders again and returned respectability to the franchise. Pleased with the results already, chief executive officer Bob Castellini didn't wait for the division race's final outcome to reward his two main architects.

On Wednesday, Castellini announced that Narron received a two-year contract extension through the 2008 season with a club option for 2009. Krivsky's option for 2008 was also picked up with a club option for 2009 also added.

"I think success breeds success," Castellini said Wednesday afternoon. "We're happy with the direction that we're going. We're very happy with Jerry's performance and Wayne's performance. It was an opportunity to show our appreciation with how much we thought of these two fellows."

Although several preseason predictions expected them to be at or near the bottom of their division, the second-place Reds entered the day with a 41-36 record and 1 1/2 games behind the Cardinals in the National League Central. Cincinnati also held a one-game lead in the still early NL Wild Card race.

Castellini made the decision to offer extensions about three weeks ago after the Reds had staged an eight-game winning streak.

"We were on high," Castellini said. "We're still on high. We're a game and a half out. That's pretty good for a team that was picked last by everybody."

Narron took over as manager on June 21, 2005, originally on interim basis, after former skipper Dave Miley was dismissed. But Narron's future with the club had not been assured since he was signed only for the 2006 season and was a hire of the previous ownership and former general manager Dan O'Brien.

The 50-year-old Narron, who entered Wednesday with an 87-82 (.515) record in 169 games as Reds manager, knew the new regime could have easily brought in their "own guy" to manage.

"I'm very happy about that," Narron said of his carryover. "I'm just thankful they respected what I've done to have me as the guy they wanted to move on with. I really never worried about it. From day one, I've just tried to do my job the best I can and do everything I can to get this team to play well."

"Wayne and I both feel Jerry is the person that can continue to lead us towards whatever we can accomplish, and the sky's the limit for us," Castellini said. "He's got the confidence of his players. He's got the confidence of his GM. He's got my confidence."

Castellini hired Krivsky on Feb. 8, just days before 2006 Spring Training opened. Krivsky spent nearly 30 years in baseball before getting his first GM post, the last 11 as an assistant GM with the Twins.

"Just being here four months to have an option picked up, it's very humbling," Krivsky said.

The 51-year-old Krivsky wasted little time trying to improve a team coming off five straight losing seasons.

In March, right-hander Bronson Arroyo was acquired from Boston for slugger Wily Mo Pena. Catcher David Ross also came over from the Padres for a Minor Leaguer.

And in early April, the Reds got second baseman Brandon Phillips from the Indians for a Minor League pitcher after Phillips' prospect status had faded in Cleveland and he was designated for assignment.

All three moves are considered to be among baseball's best trades this season. Krivsky said he consulted with Narron before making each deal.

"It's really nice for me to have somebody as a general manager that I respect and trust and believe in," Narron said.

When Krivsky was interviewing for the vacant Reds' GM job last winter, he called Narron to talk about the organization despite never having met him.

"Out of the candidates that were interviewed this winter, he's the only guy that called," Narron said. "I thought it showed a lot of what he wanted to do and where he was going to go."

"When I hung up, I said 'This is a guy I can work with,'" Krivsky said. "I had a good feeling from the first phone call on. We were very much on the same page. Frankly, I'm surprised we didn't disagree more than we did. But that told me that either we're both right or we're both wrong. We're going to go down together one way or another. That was encouraging from that standpoint."

Thus far, everything for both men -- and the Reds -- has gone very right.

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.