4:00pm: Williams signed a three-year deal to serve as GM, MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon tweets. C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer adds that Jocketty will remain with the Reds for two years beyond the 2016 season in an advisory capacity (Twitter link).
1:55pm: The Reds have announced that Dick Williams has been promoted to the general managerial role. Prior GM Walt Jocketty will remain with the club as its president of baseball operations.
Williams, not to be confused with the long-time big league ballplayer of the same name, had served previously as the organization’s assistant GM. In other words, it appears that this move largely tracks other recent promotional trends around the game.
It’s not always easy to determine whether and when title changes come with shifts in job responsibilities, of course, and it remains to be seen what the case will be in Cincinnati. Per the team’s announcement, though, it does appear that the 44-year-old Williams will take on more day-to-day duties even as Jocketty “continue[s] to oversee the department.”
Jocketty indicated in his comments that there would be a tangible change in the organization’s structure. “As is the case with any business,” he said, “it’s critical to have a succession plan in place. Dick has been here for 10 years, he’s learned the business, and we are confident he is ready to take on the GM responsibilities.“
But that handoff won’t be dramatic, at least at first, as C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports in a series of tweets (links: 1; 2; 3; 4). Jocketty said that he organization has been “grooming” Williams for the role for some time, so much so that it was part of the discussion when he reached an extension with the team a few seasons back. Jocketty said he’ll only be taking and making phone calls for another year and will shift to an advisory role next year.
Notably, Williams is not the only person by that surname on the upper reaches of the Cincinnati front office chart. As this article from the passing of former club owner William J. Williams Sr. indicates, the new GM is intimately related with the organization’s key family.
He’ll be tasked with continuing to help guide the organization through a tough stretch on the ballfield. The Reds have already begun cashing in veteran assets, though the focus has been on moving pending free agents. This winter will pose a difficult test, with opportunities and risks that are magnified by the club’s major commitments (e.g., Joey Votto, Homer Bailey) and lower-middle-class spending capacity.