Off Day: Two Things

The second off day of the 2011 provides everyone within the Reds fanbase to think about a couple of things that revolve around the team.

And it is a couple of things…one an extreme positive, the other provides us just something to think about.

Shall we start with that positive or the thought first. Let’s do the thought first so we can end on that positive note, shall we?

I don’t want it to sound like this “thought” is a be heaping pile of negativity because it really isn’t. It’s a fact that’s out there and one that’s really no secret. It’s not getting a lot of play.

For the opening series of the season, pregame festivities revolved around Reds being recognized for their 2010 seasons. On opening day, that was Joey Votto getting his day in Cincy to be recognized as the 2010 NL MVP. Prior to Saturday’s game, Scott Rolen, Brandon Phillips and Bronson Arroyo were front and center as Gold Glove recipients. Yesterday saw the culmination of last season’s surprising (in the eyes of some) outcome when Walt Jocketty was presented with his Sporting News 2010 Executive of the Year award.

No one, especially among Reds fans, would even debate that Walt truly deserved the honor. With all these honors comes the anticipation and the pressure. There is both in this one fact: 2011 is the final year of Walt Jocketty’s contract.

Think about that for a moment or two. Walt Jocketty is, in essence, a free agent after 2011 unless something is done between Reds ownership and Jocketty. Which leads me to ponder…would the Reds have had the success during the brief time Walt has been associated with the organization if there was no Walt?

You would have to say “no”. I have needled a bit about how Jocketty brought in “his guys” on an occasion or two. But there are a few facts (and they are facts) that we must remember in the Jocketty era.

There would be no Scott Rolen on the roster. There would most likely be no Miguel Cairo either. And look at the draft picks Jocketty and his staff have made since he’s been in Cincy. Yonder Alonso in 2008? Mike Leake in 2009? Yasmani Grandal in 2010.? And don’t forget these guys that have been drafted in just the last two drafts: Billy Hamilton, Ryan LaMarre, Bradley Boxberger, Donnie Joseph, and Tucker Barnhart are just a handful of prospects (and good ones at that) Walt and his crew have brought into the Cincinnati farm system. And I din’t mention that in 2008, his staff selected a guy named Dave Sappelt.

I know the farm system wasn’t the worst when Walt came on board. It’s better now. For the improvement in the farm system alone, some GMs would get extensions. Jocketty had help provide both: better big league club and improvement in the system. And his best work could still be ahead of him.

That positive I was referring to could partially (at the very least) be attributed to Jocketty.

Some time back, teams were contacting the Reds in regards to their depth, not at pitcher, but at catcher. Along with Ramon Hernandez, yesterday’s bat in Ryan Hanigan, Grandal, Barnhart, Devin Mesoraco. That’s not the complete list either. Those are the guys in Cincinnati or considered a top notch prospect. The Reds are definitely deep at the backstop. And they have that wild card. That veteran that will help these young guys: Corky Miller. Easy to see why teams were ringing Jocketty’s phone inquiring about a catcher.

The future is certainly looking bright for the Reds. One can hope Walt will continue to be a part of it.