Cincinnati Reds general manager Walt Jocketty proved during the 2014 MLB trade deadline that the game has past him. While younger saber-savvy Ivy League GMs fiddle with their digital gadgets, Jocketty sits on his rocker waiting for his rotary phone to ring. Adapt or die; and like former Reds manager Dusty Baker, adaptation is a word unknown in Jocketty’s vocabulary.
Look at some of yesterday’s deals. The New York Yankees acquired Martin Prado from the Arizona Diamondbacks for a minor league catcher. The Atlanta Braves received James Russell and Emilio Bonifacio for a low-level third base prospect from the Chicago Cubs.
While none of those players would have turned the Reds into a playoff team, they were all available on the cheap and would’ve appeased fans’ aggravation with upper-management that started in the offseason when Jocketty sat on his duff and didn’t swing anything for a competent left fielder or middle-relief help.
More wisely the Reds should’ve started selling. Check this deal the Baltimore Orioles made with the Boston Red Sox; the O’s got lefty-reliever Andrew Miller for Eduardo Rodriguez. The left-handed starter Rodriguez was rated Baltimore’s No. 3 prospect, behind Kevin Gaussman and Dylan Bundy. Jonathan Broxton, and he is perfectly capable of closing games for the Reds. They could have scored Bundy or Gaussman for Aroldis Chapman or probably nabbed Rodriguez for Broxton.
A million dollar question will follow this Jayson Stark tweet:
Not only are #Reds not buying. Other teams say they’ve dangled Mat Latos. Looking for big return of course
— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) July 31, 2014
If the Reds were shopping Mat Latos, why on earth did they wait until yesterday to make it known? Let teams drool and clamor as they did for David Price and Jon Lester. It’s well known that Jocketty likes to keep his cards close to his vest — sometimes that’s okay — but in a trade market full of strong arms, contenders would have started making offers a couple of weeks ago.
Since 2011, this team has teased its fans with division championships and Wild Card berths only to be knocked out without advancing. Owner Bob Castellini promised fans a “winning team.” Maybe Reds country misinterpreted that statement. Maybe he meant an above .500 club.
That’s obviously how Jocketty took it.