In letter, Reds front office lays out strategy for '09 and beyond

CINCINNATI -- Dear fans: Please be patient.

The Cincinnati Reds explain why they traded stars Ken Griffey Jr. and Adam Dunn and ask for patience in a letter sent to fans this week.

"By executing these inevitable changes now, we secured more players as part of our focus towards building a deeper, stronger inventory of young talent," the letter states.

The letter was sent to fans by e-mail and posted on the team Web site. It's signed by owner Bob Castellini and general manager Walt Jocketty and says the team is building with young talent and believes the trades were important for the club's long-term success.

Cincinnati traded Griffey to the Chicago White Sox on July 31 and sent Dunn to Arizona on Aug. 11.

The Reds say they have signed most of their draft picks, including top choice Yonder Alonso from the University of Miami, and other promising young players to go with current young players Joey Votto, Jay Bruce and Johnny Cueto.

The Reds fell 22½ games behind the Cubs in the NL Central with Tuesday night's loss in Chicago and are on their way to an eighth straight losing season.

"We had high expectations for the 2008 season," the letter states. "Unfortunately, the team has not played up to our expectations and we have sustained injuries to key players within our starting lineup and rotation."

The letter asks fans for "your continued trust and patience as we build the roster that will get us back on top."

A few excerpts:

• On trading Griffey and Dunn: "While the run production generated by these two veterans will not be quickly replaced, we chose to endure the short-term ramifications for the sake of building a strong, competitive team for 2009 and many seasons to come."

• On newly signed young players: "The vast majority of our 50 draft picks were signed, culminating last week with first-rounder Yonder Alonso and a pair of talented pitchers. Our expanded scouting operations also signed Juan Duran from the Dominican Republic and Yorman Rodriguez from Venezuela, who are arguably the best amateur free agent position players from their respective countries."

• On the immediate future: "As we near September, we will continue to provide valuable playing time to our young players and new acquisitions who we feel can become significant contributors at the Major League level. We ask your continued trust and patience as we build the roster that will get us back on top."

The Reds' moves made sense to fan Ian Cioffi. He thought they were paying too much to Griffey for his declining production and that they should try younger players.

"Obviously what we had wasn't working; might as well try something else," the electrician said during a break from work Wednesday.

Willie Wilson, chatting with his friend Harold Atwater on Fountain Square downtown, said he's a lifelong Reds fan but is unhappy with the current state of the team.

"You might not be able to print what I think about them," he said.

Wilson said some fans expected too much from Griffey, whose Reds teams never made it to the playoffs after the 2000 trade that brought him to his hometown.

"They thought he was going to be the savior, the miracle man," Wilson said. "It's not his fault he got hurt."

Atwater thinks the Reds should use the salary money saved by trading Griffey and Dunn on pitchers. But that reminded Wilson of a still-irritating trade before the 1966 season that sent another slugging outfielder away in a move to add pitching.

"I can take you all the way back to when the Reds traded Frank Robinson to Baltimore for Milt Pappas," Wilson said. "And then Robinson won the Triple Crown that year."