GM hoping to make moves at meetings to fill voids
Baseball's Winter Meetings open Monday at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. The Reds see the meetings as a chance to close some of the deals they've been talking about this offseason.
"We've had a lot of discussions with clubs," Reds general manager Walt Jocketty said. "Hopefully, we'll be able to follow and get something done."
They had better hope so.
The club is frightfully thin in a couple of areas - most notably outfield and catching.
There are only four outfielders on the 40-man roster. Two of them were rookies last year (Jay Bruce and Chris Dickerson) and two of them spent most of the last year on the disabled list (Ryan Freel and Norris Hopper).
Ryan Hanigan is the only catcher on the roster who's caught an inning at the major league level. The sum total of his experience in the big leagues? Thirty-three games.
The Reds went into the offseason with their expressed needs as a right-handed-hitting run-producer, a frontline catcher and a center fielder/leadoff man.
They've been unable to fill any of those needs. The only thing they have done, in fact, is re-sign reliever Mike Lincoln. They still are trying to re-sign reliever David Weathers and outfielder/infielder Jerry Hairston Jr.
Signing Hairston would go a long way toward filling the center field/leadoff void.
Jocketty has said from the start of the offseason that the Reds would prefer to fill their needs through trades.
They've been the subject of numerous rumors. Two that have legs are that they're trying to get outfielder Jermaine Dye from the Chicago White Sox and that they're trying to get catcher Gerald Laird from the Texas Rangers.
Jocketty won't comment on the trade talks, but he acknowledged that the Reds have talked to the White Sox about several players.
While trading is the preferred route, it looks like there will be bargains at the free agent table.
Only a handful of free agents have signed. With the down economy, it's clear that very few clubs are in the spending mode.
MAGIC JUAN: Third baseman Juan Francisco is tearing it up in the Dominican Winter League. He's hitting .347 with eight home runs and 25 RBI in 29 games for Cibao. Those are pretty impressive numbers for a 22-year-old.
Speaking of Winter Ball, neither Edinson Volquez nor Johnny Cueto has pitched yet.
Guess Dickerson can't play center.