01/30/12 11:00 AM EST
Jocketty revamped Reds during busy offseason
By Meggie Zahneis / MLB.com
The Reds made a number of major moves, trading for starters Mat Latos and Sean Marshall and inking reliever Ryan Madson, infielders Willie Harris and Wilson Valdez, outfielder Ryan Ludwick, catcher Dioner Navarro and, pending a physical this week, pitcher Jeff Francis.
In particular, the bullpen received a makeover that has Jocketty confident that it will be one of the strengths of the team.
"It has got to be one of the best in the division, if not one of the best in the league," he said. "We've got Madson as the closer, with [Bill] Bray and Marshall as our left-handed setup guys. And with [Logan] Ondrusek and [Nick] Masset and [Jose] Arredondo [and others], we're pretty strong."
Jocketty was confident, too, in the starting pitching rotation he's assembled.
"The addition of Latos should make us a lot stronger. We were looking for a top-of-the-rotation guy like Latos, and the big key will be Bronson Arroyo. If he is healthy again this year -- which I think he will be -- we'll be in great shape," said Jocketty.
The GM feels good about his team's offensive power as well. Aside from the issue of strikeouts, which he hopes to have resolved in Spring Training, Jocketty said the offense, which now includes the potent Ludwick, is complete.
Although signing Brandon Phillips to an extension is high on Jocketty's to-do list, he says that he doesn't feel any extra pressure to sign him because of the Gold Glover's popularity with local fans.
"Both he and [Joey] Votto are guys that we want to try and sign long-term because they are a big part of our ballclub," Jocketty said, but that doesn't mean it will happen. "Everyone has to understand that these are expensive deals and there is only so much we can do."
At this point, Jocketty's primary goal is to create "more depth in the organization, in case there are injuries. And we are working on that, trying to improve the bench and the depth of pitching."
But there are still questions to be answered during Spring Training, according to Jocketty, such as the leadoff spot in the lineup, the order of the rotation, the composition of the bench and whether the strikeout issue will be solved.
As evidenced by the actions he's taken this offseason, Jocketty said he rarely has down time. "Even when I try to take time off, I'm still busy on the phone doing things," Jocketty said.
Jocketty said technology plays a major part in the way he does his job.
"Because of the cell phone, you can never get away," Jocketty said. "It has worked in a positive way because I can be anywhere in the country or in the world, and if I have my cell phone and my computer or iPad, I can stay in contact with everybody."
Meggie Zahneis, winner of the 2011 Breaking Barriers essay contest, earned the job of youth correspondent for MLB.com in the fall of '11. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.