Reds may be busy at Winter Meetings
GM Krivsky seeks offense to complement improved defense
CINCINNATI -- Since he took over as Reds general manager in February, no one can accuse Wayne Krivsky of being an idle baseball executive.Krivsky has made an astounding 42 player acquisitions during his first year as a GM, many of them via trades. Could that number creep further upward at the annual Winter Meetings next week in Orlando? The conditions will certainly be ripe for activity. Nearly every top-level baseball executive will be hunkered down with their advisors at Disney World's Swan and Dolphin Resort Hotel from Dec. 4-7. Agents will be crawling all over the place trying to market their clients. Krivsky's Reds have some holes to fill in an effort to get better next season after an 80-win season in 2006. And then there are the Reds' National League Central rivals -- the Cubs and Astros, who have already been aggressive this offseason. "It's a place where you can meet face-to-face, which sometimes facilitates things getting done," Krivsky said. "But you can still get things done over the phone, too. "Everybody, including the scouts, is in the suite. It's easier for us to communicate when everyone is in one spot." Those factors don't automatically mean the Reds have to be active next week. "I'm not placing added pressure on myself to get something done," Krivsky said. "I put enough pressure on myself every day. You don't have to get everything done at the meetings. I want to do something that makes sense for our club." Although they have avoided marquee free-agent names up to this point, the Reds have already been proactive this offseason. Shortstop Alex Gonzalez, one of the best gloves at his position in baseball, was signed to a three-year, $14 million contract on Nov. 20 and helped upgrade one of the Majors' worst defenses. On the same day, the ongoing remodeling of the bullpen continued when veteran lefty Mike Stanton was signed to a two-year, $5.5 million deal. On Monday, backup catcher Chad Moeller was signed to a one-year deal to add depth following the trade of Jason LaRue to the Royals. Some gargantuan contracts have been already been offered and sealed by clubs around the Majors over the past month. The Cubs raised the division stakes when they added Alfonso Soriano for eight years at $136 million, and Carlos Lee joined the Astros with a six-year, $100 million deal. Those acquisitions don't appear to have changed the Reds' plans, or forced an increase of planned spending. The club, which worked with a payroll near $60 million in '06, has kept its anticipated 2007 budget plans under lock and key. "It's about putting the best team together," Krivsky said. "Everybody is making decisions to make their teams better. That's what we're trying to do, too. Obviously, the teams in our division have made some sizable moves. I like the moves we've made."
The Reds are seeking a starting pitcher to bolster the rotation behind Bronson Arroyo and Aaron Harang. Coming off a season where hitting and run production slipped, more offense is also a key need. Cincinnati currently has a vacancy in the outfield and would also like to add a right-handed hitter that can back up first base.Krivsky has also kept specific names on his wish list confidential, but no one is expecting top names like Barry Zito, Jason Schmidt or J.D. Drew to make Great American Ball Park their new home. However, if their targeted free agents price out of range, expect the Reds to start exploring trades. "Everybody has a budget and so do we," Krivsky said. "We're working within our parameters as many other teams are. It's a fact of life. It doesn't mean they'll win because they spend the most money. It's not all about payroll. It's about doing what it takes to win and doing the little things."
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.