Monthly Archives: September 2011

September 23, 2011

Walt Jocketty Back for Three More Years

Today the Cincinnati Reds announced a new 3-year contract for General Manager Walt Jocketty that will keep him with the Reds through 2014.

CINCINNATI – Cincinnati Reds President and Chief Executive Officer Bob Castellini today announced the signing of President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Walt Jocketty to a 3-year contract extension through the 2014 season.

Jocketty’s original contract was to have expired at the end of the 2011 season.

“Since he’s been here, Walt has vastly improved our baseball operations within the organization,” Castellini said. “You can’t develop a winning tradition without stability. Walt and his staff are doing good things here. We want to keep that momentum going.”

Jocketty joined the organization in January 2008 as a special advisor to Castellini, and three months later he was named to his current position. In 2010, in just his third season at the helm of the club’s baseball operations department, Jocketty led the Reds to the National League Central Division title by 5.0 games with a 91-71 record and their first appearance in the Postseason since 1995.

The 2010 Reds club was the eighth led to the playoffs by Jocketty and, including his time in St. Louis, his seventh to win the NL Central outright. His 2006 Cardinals team won the World Series.

After the Reds’ 2010 championship season, Jocketty was recognized by his peers and Sporting News as Major League Baseball’s Executive of the Year. He also won that prestigious award in 2000 and 2004.

In four years as the leader of the Reds, Jocketty has had exactly one winning season. Granted, the team won its division then, but it sure would be nice to see better results. I’m optimistic that his next 3 years will see at least 2 winning years.

September 22, 2011

Jocketty Promises to Do His Job

You might remember the lackluster off-season for the Cincinnati Reds of 2010. Coming off their first winning season in a decade and their first division title in more than that, the team lost big in the playoffs. The weaknesses were obvious: left field, shortstop, and a top-of-the-rotation starter.

Instead of doing anything about it, Reds General Manager Walt Jocketty spent his time signing players who were already under club control to long-term contracts.

But 2012 is going to be different. John Fay interviewed Jocketty about next season, and the GM made Reds fans a promise.

Jocketty promises that this offseason will be busier than last.

“Oh yeah, definitely,” he said.

Time will tell if “busier” will actually mean improving the team or just keeping more of the players that lead the team to a 3rd place finish.

September 21, 2011

The answer to Bronson Arroyo’s woes

Bronson Arroyo has been having a pretty rough year, what with his 8-12 record and 5.34 ERA. But today he had a complete-game, 6-hit shutout. Clearly, the problem all along has been not playing the Astros.

You know, this shouldn’t have been a surprise: not playing the Astros has been a problem for much of the team this year.

September 20, 2011

What is this win of which you speak?

I know I said I’d be raking Walk Jocketty over the coals tonight, but I have been so pleasantly surprised to watch the team looking competent for a change that I find I’m simply feeling too good to do the task justice.

Instead, I’ll just put up this picture of Dave Sappelt and his 24″ vertical for all the nine people out there still paying attention to this team to enjoy. He did catch it, by the way.

Sappelt has ups

September 19, 2011

Let me tell you something about Dusty Baker

At the end of the 2010 season the Reds were the NLC champions, owners of the NL MVP award, and just generally full of promise and hope. The offense was killer, the rotation looked solid, and that ridiculous Jim Edmonds experiment was at an end. Things were looking good.

The Dynamic DuoThen, a month into 2011, and it was already becoming clear that this was, again, not going to be Cincinnati’s year. The pundits are out and talking about how the offense underperformed (though really, they performed plenty, just not at the right times) and how the pitching that was supposed to be a strength turned out to be a liability and how the injury bug bit the team.

While all that is true, I want to make sure that Dusty Baker gets his fair share of the where-did-it-go-wrong attention. Though Brandon Phillips had to take matters in to his own hands to shake up the line-up, I’m not talking about line-up construction this time. And though Juan Fransisco had to await an act of God to get a couple innings at third, I’m not even complaining about the young guys not getting a chance.

My complaint about ol’ In-Dusty-We-Trusty these days is two-fold. First, this just doesn’t seem to be the kind of team he’s good at motivating. Give him some big stars and more mature players, and he’ll get the most out of them. But the most tenured players on this Reds team are Bronson Arroyo and Brandon Phillips. Frankly, I give more of the credit for the team’s success last year to Scott Rolen than Dusty Baker.

Second, there seemed to be an utter strategy disconnect between Baker and Walt Jocketty. Not that I won’t have plenty of words for Jocketty tomorrow, but these two guys have got to be on the same page if there is any hope of wringing the potential out of the roster. The fact that Baker doesn’t care for statistical advice and resents bloggers is really just a footnote compared to being given a roster full of high-potentials whom he was bound and determined to misuse, apparently on principle.

It was not, however, the kind of season that gets a manager fired. If the team wins out, they’ll still make .500, and let’s not forget that they’re still just a season removed from winning the division. Even so, unless Jocketty acknowledges the special needs of Baker and brings in a motivational old guy who can be a leader on the field, I’m afraid we’ll be seeing more of this season in 2012.