Walt Jocketty Rumors

Talkin’ Reds Baseball

Paul Daugherty of the Cincinnati Enquirer believes the Reds need to make a "bold" move to stay in contention, but doesn't think it will necessarily happen.

"The Reds chances of trading for Matt Holliday are slim and none," Daugherty begins, "and slim just left for the church festival. … Holliday would cost the Reds precious prospects and some $7 million in salary for the rest of the year.  The chances of him remaining a Red next year wouldn't be good. … There aren't a lot of reasons even to contemplate it."

Except one: "It's a bold move.  Without boldness, the Reds will never catch the Cubs, Cards and Brewers."

Walt Jocketty, the current GM in Cincinnati, has made bold moves throughout his front-office career (click here for his full trading history), but he's used to a bigger payroll than the Reds can offer.  Even if they are "buyers" in this market, Holliday is probably a bit of a stretch. That doesn't mean it's time to give up on the '09 season, however.  There are plenty of fish in the hot stove sea.  It's clear the Reds want a bat — who, besides Holliday, makes sense?

Jocketty: “I’d Say We’re Buyers”

The Cincinnati Enquirer's John Fay spoke payroll and trade possibilities with Reds general manager Walt Jocketty this afternoon.  Here's a quick rundown…

Jocketty first addressed a small rumor that ran in the Boston Globe this week concerning right-hander Bronson Arroyo, who is 8-5 with a 5.16 ERA and 1.39 WHIP over 14 starts this season.  The Globe's Nick Carfado implied Sunday that Arroyo might be available because the Reds are making "an effort to get younger and reduce payroll."  Jocketty refuted both claims.

"I haven't talked to anyone about Bronson," the GM said plainly.  And as for the issue of payroll:

"I'd say right now we're buyers.  We're looking for a hitter.  If we did something," he continued, "it would probably be to bring in a hitter.  Getting Joey [Votto] back is going to help.


Dunn Back To Reds Unlikely; Reds Looking At OFs

The Cincinnati Reds are still looking for outfield help, and a left-handed bat isn’t off the table.

Mark Sheldon of MLB.com wrote that much of the Reds’ search has focused on a right-handed bat, but since the market is drying up, the Reds are willing to look toward the other side of the plate.

“We’re open minded about it,” Reds general manager Walt Jocketty told Sheldon.

One slugger who could be on that list is former Red Adam Dunn, who was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks in August 2008, though Jocketty is pessimistic.

“I doubt it,” Jocketty told Sheldon when asked about the possibility of Dunn returning to Cincinnati. “Especially at the price he’s looking for.”

One name Sheldon listed was right fielder Bobby Abreu, but Jocketty said he hasn’t recently spoken with Abreu’s agent.



Reds Still Looking At Baldelli, Hairston Jr.

The Cincinnati Reds remain interested in free agents Rocco Baldelli and Jerry Hairston Jr., MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon reports.

Reds general manager Walt Jocketty told Sheldon that he has talked with their agent, Casey Close, during the weekend.

Jocketty said that he expects something to happen this week with regard to Hairston Jr.

The Reds have had no talks with the Los Angeles Dodgers on Andruw Jones and appear not to be interested, Sheldon notes.

The Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Fay also spoke with Jocketty. In addition to the Reds’ stance on Baldelli, Hairston Jr. and Jones, Fay notes that the Reds won’t be trading first baseman Joey Votto.

Jocketty also told Fay that Votto (Canada), Edinson Volquez and Johnny Cueto (Dominican Republic) might play in the World Baseball Classic.


More Jocketty Talk On The Reds

C. Trent Rosecrans of TheLotD.com also talked with Cincinnati Reds general manager Walt Jocketty today. Here are some conversation highlights:

  • The Reds are still talking to Jerry Hairston Jr. to play left field. “We’re still trying to get Hairston,” Jocketty told Rosecrans. “We’ll have a different look on our club, but we still have guys like (Joey) Votto, (Jay) Bruce, (Brandon) Phillips, (Edwin) Encarnacion and even (Ramon) Hernandez with power.”
  • Jocketty hasn’t spoken with Pat Burrell in awhile. They are holding back on that one right now.
  • Health remains a serious issue with Rocco Baldelli, Jocketty said.
  • The Reds have been in discussion with the New York Yankees about their extra outfielders, but no deals are close.
  • No Barry Bonds; no Sammy Sosa.

No Sammy In Miami, Texas Or Cincy?

The MLB Hot Stove Blog is reporting that free-agent veteran Sammy Sosa won’t be playing for the Florida Marlins.

Joe Frisaro believes the Marlins want to go into Spring Training with a younger group of outfielders, in particular John Raynor and Scott Cousins, competing for a major-league job.

Raynor is a speedster and played for Double-A Carolina Mudcats in 2008. He hit .312 over 452 plate appearances, and he stole 48 bases. He can play left field or center field.

Cousins split 2008 between Carolina and High-A Jupiter. He hit .304 with the Jupiter squad and dropped to .264 with the Double-A club. He primarily saw time at right field and center field.

Frisaro wrote that Jeremy Hermida will switch from right field to left field, and Cody Ross will be in right field.

Rangers beat writer Anthony Andro of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram notes that the Texas Rangers don’t want Sosa’s services, either. “I don’t think we’ll pursue Sammy,” Rangers general manager Jon Daniels wrote.

C. Trent Rosecrans of TheLotD.com, and formerly of the Cincinnati Post, spoke with Cincinnati Reds general manager Walt Jocketty about Sosa. “I don’t think so,” Jocketty told Rosecrans.


Walt Jocketty – GM Trade History

Brendan Bianowicz is back with another GM Trade History.  This time it’s Reds GM Walt Jocketty.  Click here to download the spreadsheet, which also includes info on free agent signings and draft picks (for both the Reds and Cardinals).

Click here to access the other GMs Brendan has profiled.


Odds and Ends: Astros, Reds, Mariners, Mets

Light day for baseball today, with only five games on the docket.  Perhaps these links can fill the void.


Rosenthal’s Latest: Crede, Lofton, Millwood, Dunn

Ken Rosenthal has a new Full Count video up; let’s discuss.

  • Despite his .268/.330/.537 start, the White Sox would still entertain trading Joe Crede if it’d help the big league team.  This is a change from their apparent springtime willingness to deal him for prospects.  The most likely desire would be pitching, if the Sox can find a suitor.
  • Jake Peavy put on his GM hat, suggesting the Padres sign Kenny Lofton.  Rosenthal likes the idea, but notes that Kevin Towers will first turn to his farm system.  I discussed some future trade candidates for San Diego in my latest video mailbag.
  • Rosenthal suggests Kevin Millwood‘s contract will be an obstacle in trading him.  He earns $8.5MM this year, $11MM in ’09, and a fairly achievable $12MM vesting option for ’10.  Plus there’s a limited no-trade clause.
  • Walt Jocketty’s biggest test this year might be deciding whether to trade Ken Griffey Jr. and/or Adam Dunn.  They both have no-trade clauses to deal with; even after June 15th Dunn’s includes most high-revenue teams.


Brian Gunn On Walt Jocketty

Brian Gunn is a regular at Baseball Analysts and The Hardball Times, among other places.  Recalling his fine "GM In A Box" piece on Walt Jocketty in the THT annual a few years back, I asked him to dispel his wisdom once again on the Cards ex-GM back in October of 2007.  An excerpt of his piece follows.

WALT JOCKETTY
By Brian Gunn

New Reds GM Walt Jocketty was a big-game hunter with the Cardinals.  He generally looked elsewhere for talent, and he landed some of the biggest names around.  Here’s a brief look at his legacy.

JOCKETTY’S STRENGTHS

Jocketty built arguably the premier National League franchise of this decade.  Since 2000, the Cardinals own more regular-seasons wins than any other NL team, won more playoff games, won more league titles, and, of course, won it all in 2006. 

How did Jocketty do it?  First of all, he was fearless.  A master wheeler-dealer, nobody did a better job turning lemons into lemonade, often flipping questionable talent for marquee players. 

Consider:

Jocketty landed, via trade, Mark McGwire, Jim Edmonds, Edgar Renteria, Darryl Kile, Scott Rolen, Dennis Eckersley, Todd Stottlemyre, Fernando Vina, Larry Walker, Will Clark, Adam Wainwright, and Woody Williams

Here are the most notable players he gave up to get them: Eric Ludwick, T.J. Mathews, Kent Bottenfield, Adam Kennedy, Braden Looper, Pablo Ozuna, Manny Aybar, Jose Jimenez, Placido Polanco, Bud Smith, Steve Montgomery, Jay Witasick, Juan Acevedo, Chris Narveson, Jose Leon, one year of J.D. Drew, and the waning days of Ray Lankford’s career.

It’s an astonishing haul.  Generally Jocketty would use the same formula: go after some established but underappreciated star, give up a few middling prospects for him, let him soak in the cozy St. Louis fan experience, win ballgames, re-sign the guy to an extension (often with a hometown discount), win more ballgames, then repeat the whole process as one big feedback loop.  Jocketty was a master at that (and he was probably the best trading-deadline dealer there ever was – that’s how he got McGwire, Clark, Williams, Rolen, Walker, Chuck Finley, and Fernando Tatis).

Jocketty’s other big strength?  Cobbling together a pitching staff on the cheap.  It took him a while to get the hang of it – Cards’ hurlers in the ‘90s were usually awful.  But Jocketty, along with rehab specialists Tony La Russa and pitching coach Dave Duncan, were able to buy low for arms like Chris Carpenter, Jeff Suppan, and Darryl Kile, and let them succeed in front of those reliable St. Louis infielders.  At its best it worked beautifully.  For example, in 2005 the Cards led the majors in ERA with a starting rotation that cost, altogether, $17 million – or less than what Roger Clemens alone made that year.

JOCKETTY’S WEAKNESSES

He was never that great at developing talent from within.  Oh sure, he had his moments – he drafted and signed both Rick Ankiel and J.D. Drew when other teams wouldn’t touch ‘em for fear of being out-negotiated by Scott Boras.  And of course, Jocketty was responsible for Albert Pujols, merely the best player in the league, if not all of baseball.  But by and large the Cards’ cupboard ran rather bare during the Jocketty years.  Baseball America has recently ranked them near the bottom of all major-league farm systems, and the Cards have been especially weak locating talent overseas.  Perhaps that’s the flipside of Jocketty’s wheeling-and-dealing prowess – it gave him a sense that the team didn’t need to develop from within in order to succeed.

Jocketty’s other big weakness was that he tended to construct rather shallow rosters.  Often the ballclub would be led by big shots like Pujols, Edmonds, and Rolen, while the margins were raggedy at best.  Cards fans no doubt remember some of the team’s biggest playoff games left in the hands of shlubs like Craig Paquette, Garrett Stephenson, or Jason Marquis.  To be fair, however, Jocketty improved in this area over the last couple years.  The Cards’ bench and bullpen were among the best in the league this past year, and role players were crucial to winning the World Series in 2006.

JOCKETTY’S BEST MOVE

Landing McGwire was a masterstroke that rejuvenated the franchise, but I’d still go with the trade of Bottenfield and Kennedy to the Angels for Jim Edmonds.  In 1999 Bottenfield was an 18-game winner while Edmonds was an underperformer clouded by “character issues.”  But Jocketty noticed that Bottenfield’s peripherals were weak, Edmonds were strong, and he moved on a deal.  Kennedy ended up a dependable starter in Anaheim, but Edmonds ended up the best centerfielder in baseball for a number of years.

JOCKETTY’S WORST MOVE

I can still remember December 18, 2004, when the Cards traded starter Danny Haren, reliever Kiko Calero, and hitting prodigy Daric Barton for Mark Mulder.  As others have pointed out (I can’t remember where), Calero for Mulder straight-up would’ve been a poor deal for the Cards, to say nothing of losing Haren and Barton.  When I first heard the news I became literally sick to my stomach, and the feeling hasn’t quite gone away.