"No. He's done a good job overall," Castellini said from the Reds dugout during an afternoon rain shower. "He's trying real hard. We're all trying hard."
On June 28, 2006, Castellini picked up Krivsky's option for the 2008 season and gave manager Jerry Narron a two-year extension as manager. However, Narron was dismissed on July 1 when the Reds had a 31-51 record.
The Reds won 80 games last season and contended for the National League Central division title until fading late. Expectations were high for 2007. Krivsky made a few moves that paid off, like signing shortstop Alex Gonzalez and re-signing closer David Weathers as free agents and getting once-troubled outfielder Josh Hamilton and reliever Jared Burton in the Rule 5 Draft.
But there have been several decisions that backfired, especially bullpen acquisitions. Veteran lefty Mike Stanton was signed to a two-year, $5.5 million contract and has been inconsistent. Kirk Saarloos was acquired in a winter trade with the A's -- signing for $1.2 million -- and performed poor enough this season that he was given an outright assignment to Triple-A Louisville on July 27 and got taken off of the 40-man roster.
A bright spot from last season, right-hander Todd Coffey, was signed for 2008 in April and then struggled while also being demoted to Triple-A twice. Rheal Cormier was acquired in a trade deadline deal July 31, 2006 and signed to a $2.25 million contract for this season to get him to waive his no-trade clause with the Phillies. Cormier got off to bad start this year and was released in May.
Near this season's non-waiver trade deadline, Krivsky dealt pitcher Kyle Lohse to a contending Phillies club and acquired disenchanted former prospect Jorge Cantu from the Devil Rays. Defying expectations, there was no sell-off to clear payroll and roster space towards retooling for next season with Adam Dunn, Scott Hatteberg and Jeff Conine sticking around.
Krivsky likes to keep all pending decisions close to the vest with the public and media, so it's hard to determine why some moves were made or not made. From his spot, Castellini had a different perspective.
"Wayne's a plugger," he said. "He just keeps after it. He has a lot of determination. I think Wayne is taking a studied approach to everything. We're on the same page."
As for interim manager Pete Mackanin, Castellini appeared to be in no hurry to name a permanent successor to Narron.
"We'll take a look at it after the season," Castellini said. "Pete's doing a good job. There's no sense talking about it right now."
For his first managerial hire since he bought the team in January 2006, it's believed Castellini wants to land a big-name skipper. But he's been impressed with the performance of Mackanin, who entered the night with a 17-13 record since taking over.
"All of us have [been pleased]," Castellini said. "He's got a nice way about him. He communicates well with the players."
One topic Castellini didn't want to address was the future of Dunn, who has a $13 million club option for next season. The slugging left fielder's name was involved in heavy trade speculation before the deadline. Will he be back next year?
"I'm not going to talk about that," Castellini said. "The guy is playing good baseball. Did you see him [Tuesday] night? I congratulated him today. He did that 100-yard dash around the bases. He's getting key hits. He won the game for us a couple of games ago. He drove in the first run last night."
Cincinnati entered Wednesday's game vs. the Dodgers with a 48-64 record for fifth place in the NL Central, 11 games out of first place. Yet Castellini wasn't ready to write off the season.
"C'mon. You don't give up yet," Castellini said. "We have 50 games to go. Rose-colored glasses? No. You can't give up on guys. These players haven't given up. They're not just playing for individual stats. They're playing like a team."