After winning the NL Central in 2010, the Reds fell short of the playoffs last season, stumbling to a relatively disappointing 79 wins. With a strong nucleus of position players and complementary pitchers in place, Cincinnati is expected to make a push for a top-of-the-rotation starter and perhaps a closer this offseason.
But aside from ongoing negotiations to extend second baseman Brandon Phillips, it has been a pretty quiet winter thus far for the Reds, which GM Walt Jocketty addressed with Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com.
The shortage of activity has not been for a lack of trying, according to Jocketty:
“We have to keep being aggressive and try to improve. What we thought we had to do for 2012 was really address our pitching. That’s what we’ve been busy trying to do, but without success so far.”
As Rosenthal notes, the Reds own a few attractive prospects that are rumored to be sought by other teams — in particular, first baseman/outfielder Yonder Alonso and catchers Yasmani Grandal and Devin Mesoraco.
However, it sounds like Jocketty isn't comfortable with the asking price for the top available pitchers on the trade market: “They just want too many of ’em.”
To that end, Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com tweets that the A's asked the Reds for Alonso, one of the catching prospects and another player in exchange for left-hander Gio Gonzalez. The Reds have also shown interest in Rays pitchers, including James Shields, and the Braves' Jair Jurrjens, tweets Knobler.
Meanwhile, the Reds' competition in the NL Central has arguably been weakened this offseason, writes Rosenthal. The Cardinals have lost Albert Pujols and are transitioning to a new manager, while the Brewers will almost certainly lose Prince Fielder to free agency and perhaps Ryan Braun to a 50-game suspension at season's outset.
So, Jocketty said he doesn't necessarily feel like he must make a move:
“But we feel that if we did nothing, we’d still have a club capable of contending and competing in our division all year. We felt that way last year. We just had some things that didn’t go well for us."
Jocketty's deliberateness could work to his advantage this offseason, according to Rosenthal, who speculates the Reds will "almost certainly" end up with one of free agent closers Francisco Cordero, Ryan Madson or Brad Lidge, or trade candidate Andrew Bailey of the Athletics.