Reds general manager Walt Jocketty says that he intends to remain in his position for “another year or so,” as C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. The veteran executive says he’s not ready to follow the path of Doug Melvin, who’ll move into an advisory role with the Brewers after the season, though certainly his phrasing suggests that his time in the GM seat may be drawing to a close at some point in the relatively near future.
Of course, Jocketty’s own preferences are not the only ones that matters here, and his job security has been called into question — at least speculatively. The Reds are mired in last place in a highly competitive NL Central, which led the team to deal away several pending free agents at the deadline. And the club disappointed last year as well after reaching the post-season in three of the preceding four seasons.
It is worth noting, though, that Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported earlier today that Jocketty was expected to be retained. He is still under contract through 2016 under a previous extension with the club.
Jocketty also discussed his recent trades with Rosecrans, saying that the recent deadline swaps of pending free agents were deals “we knew we had to make because of the free agents and injuries.” The sell-off of Johnny Cueto, Mike Leake, and Marlon Byrd brought back a nice group of young arms. Cincinnati had already picked up some useful pieces in offseason trades of Mat Latos and Alfredo Simon.
The Cinci GM acknowledged that the club is rebuilding, saying that it is “an interesting process” and “kind of a fun process” to undertake. It remains to be seen whether the Reds will look to cash in other assets this winter, with players like Aroldis Chapman, Jay Bruce, and Brandon Phillips profiling as potential chips.
Jocketty emphasized that he sees plenty of promise in the talent already assembled at or near the big league level. “I think when we get three guys back like [Devin] Mesoraco, [Zach] Cozart, [Homer] Bailey, those guys will make a big difference,” he said. “We’ll still have the other guys under our control.”
As for areas to improve, he focused in on the relief corps. “Our big thing is to try to improve our bullpen and depth in our bullpen while we keep developing our young pitchers,” said Jocketty. “I think a couple of tweaks here and there and I think we’ll be very competitive next year.”
Indeed, the pen is an obvious area to improve based on its middling results in 2015. As I recently suggested in breaking down the team’s three primary needs, it could make sense to act there even though Cincinnati faces an uphill climb in a highly talented NL Central. While Jocketty did say that he thinks the club can compete next season, it still seems likely that the bulk of his focus will remain on setting up the organization for 2017 and beyond.