Reds players surprised by GM change
Baker, team ready to move forward with proven winner
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com
CINCINNATI -- It never occurred to Dusty Baker to turn his phone on Wednesday morning.
The Reds manager was asleep when the call came from owner/CEO Bob Castellini that he had decided to replace general manager Wayne Krivsky with Walt Jocketty.
"He left me a message. He was trying to reach me," Baker said. "My phone is off in the morning so I can get some rest."
Baker hadn't checked his messages yet when he called Krivsky after waking up.
"I went to call Wayne on some things, and he informed me," Baker said. "My take is I don't know what to take on it right now.
"It's part of baseball. Nobody likes it. Nobody likes to have it happen to them. Anybody that's in this game, it's going to happen to them for whatever the reasons are. I didn't have it happen to me until I was in Chicago when my contract expired [in 2006]. I was basically fired. It's not a very pleasant feeling about yourself. Wayne's a good baseball man. I know he will land on his feet some place. He's been in the game a long time with a lot of people."
Reds players were also stunned to get the news that their boss was let go only 21 games into the season. Ken Griffey Jr. learned about the change, literally through channels.
"I turned on the TV and that?," Griffey said. "You never want to see anybody lose their job. Bob felt that there had to be a change. He's got control of this, and he pulled the trigger."
"I just heard about it on my way in," rotation ace Aaron Harang said. "It's kind of a shock. I guess we weren't going the way the owners felt we could be going, and they decided to make some changes."
Harang was aware of Jocketty's history from his 13 seasons as the Cardinals' GM. St. Louis went to the playoffs seven times and won a World Series in 2006.
"He has a reputation," Harang said. "He ended up turning St. Louis around and making them a very solid organization and a very good team. Hopefully, that's what Bob and the rest of the owners were looking for. Seeing his past track record, they obviously think he can do something good."
Jocketty, who was a special advisor to Castellini before the latest move, was on the Reds' most recent road trip through Milwaukee, Pittsburgh and Chicago. He and Baker often talked, and they've already met about their plans going forward.
Baker and Jocketty, however, weren't strangers by any stretch before this season.
"I've known Walt forever," Baker said. "I remember Walt when he was my last assistant GM in 1985-86 with the A's when I was a player. [When he was] in Colorado and St. Louis, I battled against Walt's teams many times. Walt's going to do fine."