breaking news

Trump intends to declare NKorea a state sponsor of terror

New Dragons manager could have talented team


It didn’t take Jose Nieves long to get a sense of what makes the Dayton Dragons organization successful.

Walking around Fifth Third Field on Friday, seeing the facility and meeting the people who make the franchise go, the new Dragons manager marveled at the opportunity in front of him.

“If you had never had the privilege of being in the big leagues,” Nieves said, “this is the closest thing to being in the big leagues.”

Nieves was introduced to the media 34 days before the Dragons’ first spring training game, 55 days before their Midwest League opener and 62 days before the home opener on April 11. The native Venezuelan and former infielder for the Cubs and Angels is the seventh manager in the 14-year history of the Dragons.

Nieves will take over a team that should be stocked with talent. The full roster won’t be known until April, but the Reds Director of Player Development, Jeff Graupe, who was on hand for Friday’s press conference said the amount of signing bonuses paid to the players projected to be on this year’s Dragons roster was $7.5 million. Last year’s team, which finished last in the Midwest League Eastern Division at 60-78, had total bonuses closer to $2 million.

“I’m very excited about the potential roster we’re talking about internally right now,” Graupe said. “Last year was a tough year with the win-loss record. With the ebb and flow of minor league talent and how rosters come together, this has a chance to be a special team for Dayton.”

Nieves knows many of the players who will end up in Dayton because he managed the Reds’ Arizona League club in Goodyear the last two seasons. He joined the Reds organization in 2010 as the manager of the Reds affiliate in the Venezuelan Summer League.

“We want our team to win,” Nieves said. “But it’s always going to depend on the character, not the talent. If you have players with passion and character, who play with abandon and give everything possible, good things are going to happen.”

The Dragons won a franchise-record 83 games two years ago. Graupe said he expected last year’s team to do better, but it didn’t have a first-round pick on the team until the second half when pitcher Robert Stephenson joined the Dragons. This year’s team could have several first-round picks, Graupe said.

“We try to stress winning, but we’re not willing to sacrifice development,” he said. “It’s a lot easier to get your work in and develop players when the team’s winning. Everyone’s happy. They want to get to the yard. They want to get their work in. They’re feeling good about it. That’s not always easy when a team is losing.”


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Sports

Kentucky football: Wildcats release depth chart ahead of Louisville game
Kentucky football: Wildcats release depth chart ahead of Louisville game

Kentucky released its depth chart on Monday, but there are no changes to report. Kentucky and Louisville will kick off at noon ET Saturday at Kroger Field. Here’s how the Wildcats will be lining up. Quarterback 1. Stephen Johnson (Sr.) 2. Drew Barker (Jr.) ...
UCLA firing could throw wrench into Florida’s pursuit of Chip Kelly
UCLA firing could throw wrench into Florida’s pursuit of Chip Kelly

Welcome to Chomp Chat, SEC Country’s  daily Florida podcast with Gators beat writer Zach Abolverdi and Florida broadcaster Jeff Cardozo. Florida officials flew to New Hampshire on Sunday to meet with former NFL and Oregon coach Chip Kelly. In the latest edition of Chomp Chat, Zach Abolverdi and Jeff Cardozo discuss the...
Erroneous report said Arkansas guard Jaylen Barford was cited for shoplifting
Erroneous report said Arkansas guard Jaylen Barford was cited for shoplifting

An erroneous report from report from NWAHomepage.com on Monday indicated that Arkansas basketball player Jaylen Barford was allegedly cited for shoplifting Saturday evening. The report stated the Fayetteville Police Department said Barford was caught shoplifting at a Walmart Neighborhood Market and was given a citation...
Can South Carolina upset Clemson? Gamecocks do these 3 things, and they’ll have a chance
Can South Carolina upset Clemson? Gamecocks do these 3 things, and they’ll have a chance

There’s just no way. At least that’s the immediate reaction when you delve into Clemson’s statistics and try to figure out how South Carolina might shock the college football world Saturday night. The Tigers are as statistically dominant in the ACC as Alabama is in the SEC, leading to the natural assumption...
Terry Glenn dies in car accident: Former teammates, Ohio State players react
Terry Glenn dies in car accident: Former teammates, Ohio State players react

More Stories