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General manager Walt Jocketty calls Reds’ lack of moves “very frustrating”

Dec 14, 2011, 2:57 PM EDT

Walt Jocketty AP

Reds general manager Walt Jocketty has come up empty on various attempts to make a significant move this offseason and called it “very frustrating.”

“It’s all I’ve been working on, trying to improve our pitching,” Jocketty told John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer. “It’s been an extension of the winter meetings. But we’re still not close on anything”

There’s been a lot of speculation about the Reds shopping Yonder Alonso for pitching help and Fay specifically mentions James Shields of the Rays, Gio Gonzalez of the A’s, and Jair Jurrjens of the Braves as potential targets.

Jocketty also indicated that he’ll look into free agent outfielder Michael Cuddyer, who might already be close to signing with the Rockies, and could pursue non-tendered starter Joe Saunders. And he’s still working on a contract extension with Brandon Phillips, who’ll earn $12 million in his final season before free agency.

  1. cintiphil - Dec 14, 2011 at 3:15 PM

    Well Walt, we are still waiting. How can you let everyone get past you? Make a good offer! The Reds will not win next year with the same line up. Willis is already gone. Who is next?

    • stlouis1baseball - Dec 14, 2011 at 3:33 PM

      Although I am suprised he hasn’t made a bigger play for Jurrjens or Shields at this point…
      I wouldn’t consider Dontrelle being gone as a bad thing.

  2. bmoreballers - Dec 14, 2011 at 3:29 PM

    I thought that was a picture of George jones for a second

    • stlouis1baseball - Dec 14, 2011 at 4:35 PM

      Hahaha! He does sorta’ look like George Jones. A little younger…with far less Whiskey.
      But George Jones nonetheless.

  3. cintiphil - Dec 14, 2011 at 3:39 PM

    Willis can be effective in long relief or set up man. he has lost something as a starter, and was not successful last year. He has shown good results for one or two innings, but not after 4. However, the Reds must make some changes in order to improve the team. The Cardinals have taken some action even after losing Albert. Milwaukee is making changes and even the Cubs and Pgh are adding players who may help them. We need to keep up with the others.

  4. evanwins - Dec 14, 2011 at 3:39 PM

    I don’t understand. There is pitching out there, just go and get it. Put your head down and move forward – forcefully. Funny how I haven’t heard one word of the Reds being in on Yu Darvish; he’s pitching , right? What’s that? Too expensive? I see, you want good pitching that’s cheap. Well, you have to grow that yourself, you can’t buy it. Or you could trade for it (Gio Gonzalez) but that too is gonna cost you.

    Funny how people wouldn’t shut up about the Reds great young pitching 2 years ago, Wood and Leake. Guess they aren’t panning out yet?

    • cintiphil - Dec 14, 2011 at 3:40 PM

      Exactly. You said it better than I. They need help, and are not going after anyone. With this kind of inaction, they will lose Brandon next year too.

      • paperlions - Dec 14, 2011 at 4:51 PM

        Go get pitching with what?

        They don’t have the resources to go after anyone. Needing pitching doesn’t suddenly make a franchise less poor or more stocked with the talent you need to trade for it.

        Darvish will probably cost in the neighborhood of $80M-100M for 5 years when you consider contract and posting fee…do they just have that money lying around?

      • Reflex - Dec 14, 2011 at 5:40 PM

        Because I’ve been doing this all week –

        Reds average ticket price: $47.65
        Reds average attendance: 27,327
        Reds home games: 82

        2011 ticket revenues: $106,774,787
        2011 team payroll: $80,826,667

        And again, I am not pretending that players are all they pay. But between revenue sharing, merchandising, media deals, parking(if they have a deal), concessions, etc, it would take a lot to convince me that they do not make between 2-3x the ticket revenue in total. The last time numbers were released(I believe it was around the last collective bargaining agreement) players accounted for 54% of total expenses.

        The Reds have plenty of money. Not as much as the Yankees of course. But plenty to go sign a couple top flight starters if they really wanted. CJ Wilson and Mark Burhle could have both been Reds were they serious about it.

        I just don’t buy the ‘poor team’ thing. Baseball sets records almost every single year for revenue. Teams valuations climb at rates far far above inflation, and at rates that make zero sense if they are all operated at a barely profitable level. Every time team financials leak out, such as the recent leak of the Pirates docs, it turns out that even the poorest teams rake in the bucks.

        The problem is owners do not want to spend on the on the field product, and they continue to pretend to be poor in order to excuse inaction.

        And yeah, I’ll keep running numbers every time this comes up. I’d really like to come up with a good estimate of a per team concessions income, I’m willing to bet thats near or higher to ticket revenue on its own, I can’t believe what it costs me to eat during a game.

      • paperlions - Dec 14, 2011 at 8:56 PM

        Average ticket price is likely in accurate for 2 reasons: 1) because more expensive tickets are less likely to sell, and 2) MANY tickets are given away, or sold at huge discounts as part of a package or promotion. Relatively few tickets are sold at face value.

        If you only add benefits and player maintenance costs (insurance, medical care, per diems travel costs, hotel costs) you are already getting close to or exceeding the inflated estimate of their take from the tickets….and none of that includes money that goes to pay down whatever debt they owe from purchasing the club or stadium. If figures like those you trotted out were anywhere near relevant, every team could have a $200M payroll and break even or make money.

        You can keep on running inaccurate and poorly interpreted figures out all you want. It won’t change the fact that the Reds actually don’t have a lot of money.

      • Reflex - Dec 15, 2011 at 1:23 AM

        Paperlions –

        The figures I am using were presumably from actual ticket sales. I can also use secondary sales figures which several sites collect to see what the going market rate is, but on average they are slightly *higher* than the team versions. Furthermore, you need evidence to claim that certain sections are fuller than others with it favoring cheap seats. I purposefully pick the bleachers at Safeco because I like that they are rarely full, even in good seasons, compared to more expensive seats behind home plate and down the baselines.

        And again, as I stated before, it has already been published in the past that player payroll accounts for around 54% of a major league team’s total expenditures. Using Cot’s Contracts you can pretty easily determine what a team’s expenditures are based on that estimate. Certainly there is variation roster to roster, but with only 30 teams it can’t possibly be that extreme.

        And yes, I do honestly believe that almost every team could field a $200 million payroll if they wished. Baseball makes unbelievable amounts of money. Every single time the numbers from any team have leaked they have shown this to be the case. Furthermore, the idea that they are all just breaking even, or even that a significant number of them is, flies in the face of the massive runup in valuation of major league teams over the past two decades. If they don’t mak money, billionaires wouldn’t be fighting each other to own them. They are first and foremost, businessmen.

        The burden of proof is on those pleading poverty to show us where the money is going. The fans who buy into the pleading of exceedingly wealthy men running franchises worth hundreds of millions of dollars about how destitute they are are gullible. There is literally ZERO evidence that this is true, and a overwhelming amount of evidence that it is false.

    • contraryguy - Dec 14, 2011 at 10:40 PM

      Leake did OK last year. I think they limited him to about 160 innings, but he came up with a record equal to some guys mentioned as trade options (Davis and Niemann).

      The Reds need one good starter, but they also need about 3 good middle relievers, ones that won’t spontaneously combust with a 2-4 run lead in hand. My prediction (or assumption) is that Chapman won’t last as a starter candidate, and will be appearing in the 8th or 9th most of the time.

      And talk of signing Dmitri Young, really? Sheesh. I don’t care much weight he’s lost, he’s 38. Just… no. Now somebody find Walt a speedy CF who can strike out less than 200 times a year, and we’re in business.

      • metalhead65 - Dec 14, 2011 at 11:51 PM

        part of the reds pitching problems and relief in particular can be traced to how the idiot manager uses them. chapman had no history of arm problems till dusty decided it would be a good idea to use him 3 days in a row and 4 innings in one of those! but it was not his fault he had control issues from then on went on the dl shortly after right? those of you who do not follow the reds have no idea how frustrating it is to watch dusty mismanage his staff the way that guy does. he brings in a guy to only face 1 batter and removes him as soon as yjat at bat is done only to watch the next guy give up a hit and keep the rally going for the other team.screw your stupid match ups and leave him in to do his job. why should he go thru 3-4 pitchers an inning when 1 guy could do the job? then people wonder why the relief core looks so bad? I also am sick of hearing the reds “small market” excuse to. if you are not going to pay for top quality talent then at least play the prospects you have instead of signing washed up ex-cards and every other teams rejects because they are cheap. if you are going to lose then do it with your own players and give them the experince it takes to play in the majors. there was no point in keeping hernandez and fred lewis out there everyday after the reds were 10 games back in july. had not won more than 5 in a row to start the season but they were magicly going on a run then? so now you have a backup catcher with lots of potential with little or no experiance and no left fielder with any meaningful playing time because you stuck with fred lewis instead of giving Chris Heisey real playing time.and the fact they are discussing signing a guy who has not played in 3 years and giving him the job instead of giving Heisey or Alonso a chance. if you are so concerned about money it woould be cheaper to play those 2 instead the washed up young or cody ross. there is a reason both are available and it is because they both suck!

  5. paperlions - Dec 14, 2011 at 3:43 PM

    This is what happens when you have no money and lack an over-abundance of cheap talent. You can’t trade your cheap talent because you need it, you can’t acquire expensive talent because you can’t afford it, and you can’t trade for cheap talent because the cost in players is too high.

    Of course it is frustrating, they don’t have the resources to do anything…trading Alonso is about the only options, but I bet he is worried about losing Votto in 2 years.

    • cintiphil - Dec 14, 2011 at 3:46 PM

      Yes it is, but they will lose Brandon first.

      • stlouis1baseball - Dec 14, 2011 at 4:01 PM

        They have already stated they are re-signing Brandon.
        I wouldn’t be too worried about that at this point.
        But on 2nd thought…what the hell do I know?
        My team just lost the best player of this generation…potentially ever.
        So I wouldn’t take any advice from me when that advise pertains to Free Agency.

      • paperlions - Dec 14, 2011 at 4:09 PM

        Yes, but Alonso can replace Votto at first, he can’t replace Phillips.

      • spudchukar - Dec 14, 2011 at 4:33 PM

        Actually he cannot replace Votto. The kid can hit, but he is a disaster as a defender. He is a DH, and only a DH, and the value for a young unproven, DH isn’t what many teams treasure. So far, Jocketty has hoped for too much.

        Better settle for Niemann or Davis, Shields is out of their reach, and be willing to throw in Grandal.

      • paperlions - Dec 14, 2011 at 4:39 PM

        There are plenty of teams that live with disasters at 1B. A fat guy that can’t play the field is in line for a $20M+ annual salary right now….and another such being is starting a 5 year $125M contract next year.

      • cintiphil - Dec 14, 2011 at 4:49 PM

        Nobody but Fielder or Albert can replace Votto. And one of them is already spoken for.

      • paperlions - Dec 14, 2011 at 4:55 PM

        Jeez, replace as in, stand a 1B and hit the crap out of the ball, not replace all of his production. If the Reds don’t have a cheap option to play 1st in 2 years, what are they going to do? Throw away $7-9M/year on some retread aging player? Probably.

      • spudchukar - Dec 14, 2011 at 4:56 PM

        Alonso makes both Fielder and Howard look like Wes Parker. There is below average but tolerable, but then there is Yonder Alonso. Plus there is no guarantees that he can produce like either.

  6. metalhead65 - Dec 14, 2011 at 4:33 PM

    see making a trade or god forbid a major trade is not how walt is building the reds. he is using this time to track down all the former cardinals that he can find along with getting every other teams rejects as cheap as he can. if they sign theriot then you can bet dusty will play him instead of cozart and there are rumors that he wants to sign dimitri young and cody ross to play left field. right sign and start a guy has not played in 3 years over guys with potential like Heisey and Alonso makes perfect sense. and make no mistake if they do sign either of those dusty will play them ahead of those guys. maybe if they had played the prospects in sept. like every other team in baseball does that is out of the race then they would have an idea if they could play or not. but finishing with a .500 record with guys like fred lewis was more important.

    • cintiphil - Dec 14, 2011 at 4:50 PM

      I am afraid you are to close to the truth.

  7. WhenMattStairsIsKing - Dec 14, 2011 at 4:50 PM

    Also, when asked how he felt about his wife not making moves on him either, he said “very frustrating.”

  8. tomlotter1948 - Dec 14, 2011 at 8:05 PM

    Walt, you are a cheapskate…you know you have to give something, to get the pitching you desire…

    • cintiphil - Dec 15, 2011 at 2:52 PM

      One can only spend the money available. They are not that rich!

      • Reflex - Dec 15, 2011 at 6:24 PM

        Much wealthier than they are letting on, however. If you believe otherwise, show me the next time a small market team sells for less than an inflation adjusted valuation of the price it was purchased for. Even the run into the ground Dodgers will sell for multiples of the price it sold for just a few years ago…

  9. 4d3fect - Dec 14, 2011 at 9:34 PM

    What am I missing? WJ , GM , responsible for this, is calling his lack of moves frustrating?


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