CINCINNATI (BVM) — Nick Krall has been to heights in baseball that many would be envious of. Though he didn’t achieve his success on the diamond, Krall has spent the past 20 years in baseball operations including the past 18 years with the Cincinnati Reds. On Oct. 19, his role with the organization was expanded beyond his previous duties of vice president and general manager of the club to the head of baseball operations, replacing longtime president of baseball operations Dick Williams who resigned on Oct. 7.
Though Krall will also retain his title as GM, his new role will now have him report directly to CEO Bob Castellini.
“I’m going to answer to Bob now instead of Dick,” Krall told Reds.com. “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.”
Krall, 42, worked closely with Williams over the last three years as the team’s GM and has worked alongside him over the past 15 years. During his time with the organization, Krall has been involved in nearly every aspect of baseball operations from player acquisitions, contract negotiations and arbitration and was key to bringing in pitchers Sonny Gray and Trevor Bauer in 2019 as well as Mike Moustakas and Nick Castellanos for a Reds team that made its first playoff appearance since 2013.
“We are excited for Nick to assume the lead over our baseball operations,” Reds CEO Bob Castellini said. “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.”
Krall has had an incredible journey through the ranks of the baseball front office. A Rossvile, Pa. native, Krall was a student at York Catholic High School in York, Pa. where he played on the school’s baseball team. Upon graduating from the school in 1995, Krall attempted to walk on at Louisiana State University, but was unsuccessful. Instead, the former athlete found a different way to stay close to the sport he loved by landing an internship with the New Jersey Cardinals of the New York-Penn League. After that, Krall obtained another baseball internship, this time with the Oakland Athletics’ Class A-affiliate team in Visalia.
This internship would become Krall’s biggest breakthrough in the business.
From his internship with the Visalia team, Krall was able to earn a baseball operations internship with the A’s organization under General Manager Billy Beane, around the same time the team was going through its “Moneyball” philosophy, which has become a trendy managing style in the MLB in recent years.
In 2003, Krall was hired by the Reds to oversee advance scouting preparation. From there, he rose through the ranks to become assistant director of baseball operations, then senior director of baseball operations and to assistant GM in 2015 before finally becoming the team’s GM in 2017. The experiences he had throughout each level of the baseball organizations, from the minor leagues to the MLB, have helped Krall with where he is today.
“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.”
Last season, the Reds finished the year 31-29 after being swept in the playoffs by the Atlanta Braves. The series was a historic one, but not for the Reds, as they became the MLB’s first team to ever be swept in a series without scoring a single run. Much of that has to do with the fact the Reds finished the year with an MLB-worst .212 combined batting average.
The first offseason in the new role won’t be easy for Krall as he will have to manage not only the roster, but budget restrictions due to the lack of revenue from the COVID-19 pandemics. Among some of his top priorities include attempting to resign Bauer, who will become a free agent, as well as improving the team’s hitting performance. Krall will not have to restructure much in-house though as he said Reds manager David Bell and the coaching staff will return in 2021 and no significant changes were expected in the rest of the front office this winter.
While he may not have taken the traditional route to the MLB, Krall made it and has made an impact since he got there. If only the young baseball player from York Catholic could see where he is now.