Q&A with Walt Jocketty

By John Fay • jfay@enquirer.com • February 14, 2009

Five questions with Reds general manager Walt Jocketty:

What's the biggest difference between this year's team and last year's?

"The defense is better. We've improved team speed. The pitching staff is deeper. I think people had high hopes for (Edinson) Volquez. But I don't think people expected - at least I didn't - for (Johnny) Cueto to come along like he did. The depth of bullpen is better. Dusty (Baker) also has a better awareness of the players and they know what to expect from him. That's a big factor."

What's your biggest concern going in?

"Health is always the No. 1 concern. I think if we stay healthy and players play up capabilities, we've got a chance to very good club and an exciting club that's fun to watch."

What's the club's biggest strength?

"Our pitching. I had lunch with Joe Buck the other day. I was talking about the depth of our rotation. We go at least four deep and have a lot of good young guys competing for the fifth spot."

Name a player who is poised to have breakout year

"I hate to predict that. But we've got a lot of young guys. Micah Owings is capable of doing well. He was very good two years ago. He can be an impact player. (Willy) Taveras and (Ramon) Hernandez are better than what he had last year."

What attracted you to the job?

"A big part of it was Bob (Castellini). I knew him. I knew his goals. I thought the situation was similar to St. Louis in the mid-90s. It's a great challenge to repeat what he did in St. Louis."