Jocketty begins molding Reds in his image
By Hal McCoy
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
When they design the 2009 Cincinnati Reds uniforms, they should replace the wishbone 'C' on the chest with a picture of Reds General Manager Walt Jocketty.
It is going to be his team, a team in his image.
That became evident over the past few days when he traded Ken Griffey Jr. and Adam Dunn and designated David Ross for assignment. Believe me, there is more to come.
By disposing of the two most visible franchise faces — Griffey and Dunn — Jocketty is cleansing eight years of losing spirits. It is his own TV reality show: Starting Over.
Dunn was sent to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Monday, Aug. 11, for minor-league pitcher Dallas Buck and two players to be named later.
Now what? Well, the 2008 season has been a quagmire for months and it will only get worse because Jocketty didn't get anything in return for this year's team. The white flag couldn't be bigger or whiter.
Jocketty is gathering low-level minor-league players, which sniffs of another long rebuilding process and another tenure that says, "Be patient." Most fans ran out of patience years ago.
The upcoming offseason shall tell the tale. If the Reds go after big-ticket free agents, then maybe they are living up to what owner Bob Castellini said when he fired GM Wayne Krivsky early this season: "We will not lose anymore."
Well, they kept losing. And losing and losing and losing. Lately they've played with the interest a dog has in cabbage and broccoli. Sniff, sniff — not interested.
With the losing comes disinterest at the gate. How many camouflage shirts, lunch boxes, ladies ball caps, build-a-bears and $1 hot dogs can they offer to lure people in to see ... what?
The break-even point this year was 2.4 million fans. That isn't going to happen. So will the Reds have money to pursue top-shelf free agents, compete with the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers?
That's doubtful. That means a long rebuilding process. Again. Patience, please.
It is for sure that the Reds put together eight straight losing seasons with Griffey and Dunn in the lineup, but blaming them for it is like blaming the weather man for the rain.
They didn't win with them, so dump them. But who replaces about 70 home runs and about 180 RBIs every year? They are left with Edwin Encarnacion (unless they trade him, too), who is even less consistent than Dunn, and Brandon Phillips, a guy batting fourth who shouldn't be batting fourth.
They have young players like Joey Votto and Jay Bruce, but they need more. Much more. They have what most thought would be a glorious pitching staff in Aaron Harang, Bronson Arroyo, Edinson Volquez, Johnny Cueto and Homer Bailey. How'd that turn out?
Jocketty stayed quiet and in the background for nearly three months. Now he has thrust his will into the picture. For those with season tickets, all one can say for the rest of the year is, "Hang with 'em and good luck."
And to Jocketty? While searching for players this offseason, find your best photo for the team's jerseys. It's your baby.
Adam Dunn has hit 270 home runs since arriving in the major leagues with the Cincinnati Reds in 2001. Here's where he stands on the Reds' all-time list:
1. Johnny Bench (1967-83) . . . 389
2. Frank Robinson (1956-65) . . . 324
3. Tony Perez
(1964-76), (1984-86) . . . 287
4. Adam Dunn (2001-08) . . . 270
5. Ted Kluszewski (1947-57) . . . 251
Among best in MLB
In the last six seasons, two major leaguers have hit more home runs than Dunn. Homers from 2003 to present:
Alex Rodriguez, Yankees . . . 246
Albert Pujols, Cardinals . . . 235
Adam Dunn, Reds . . . 225
David Ortiz, Red Sox . . . 222