A Shopping List for the Winter Meetings


As the Winter Meetings are set to take place in Dallas, many a Reds fan may be waiting (possibly in vain) to see what Reds GM Walt Jocketty will do once there. If the past three times are any indications, they might as well keep waiting for such an announcement of any deal. That’s not to say the Reds won’t be trying, it only appears that way.

There are a couple of things we know when it comes to Jockettty. There will be no quick decisions and any rumors circulating are usually denied whether there’s anything going on or not. Walt plays his hand very tight and aggression is not inherently in his game.

Case in point is Mark Sheldon’s latest on MLB.com.

"In the years under Reds general manager Walt Jocketty’s regime, most of the Winter Meetings action has been quietly done behind the scenes and out of sight in the way of talks and negotiating.In the past three Meetings, in fact, Jocketty has been to the press room podium just once to announce a significant move."

While the track record is anything but a highlight reel, Walt does plan on improving the starting staff. In order to do so, it is widely believed that a major league ready player will be heading the other way. And that leads me to #1 on the list.

#1 – Starting pitcher

Have we heard enough about James Shields? I know I’ve mentioned his name at least a half a dozen times this month alone. Recently the names of John Danks and Gavin Floyd popped up on a Chicago site. Another name maybe to thrust into this is Matt Garza. If the right deal came along, the Rays, White Sox or Cubs would most likely do a deal.

And when there was talk of Andrew Bailey, I read on Twitter the name of Gio Gonzalez, too. Just yesterday, I mentioned the Blue Jays. They, too, might have a player or two on their wishlist.

The one name (yes, I said it yesterday, too) is Yonder Alonso. Don’t be too quick to shove him out the door.

#2 – Reliever

If Aroldis Chapman does make the move into the starting rotation, the bullpen will need some help. Actually, it did before the announcement of Chapman beginning the transition. One less lefty down there means one less match up opportunity for manager Dusty Baker. If another lefty is not brought in, are you sold on that other lefty being Jeremy Horst? At this point, can anyone assume Horst is ready for a full season at the MLB level? More importantly, is that a risk you are willing to take?

There are two that seemingly have a spot already for them: Sam LeCure and Bill Bray. The ‘Stache and the Socks are givens. That leaves Nick Masset, Jose Arredondo and Logan Ondrusek. How comfy are you there?

#3 – Closer

With today’s news of Jonathan Broxton inking a one-year deal with the Kansas City Royals, you have to wonder if the Reds are seriously looking outside the organization for such. Add the fact that the deal was only for $4 million you have to wonder if he was ever on the Reds radar or if there is something going on with Francisco Cordero. Recent rumblings of interest in Octavio Dotel have surfaced, too. The Andrew Bailey talk is boring me.

Then again, maybe it will be an in-house move. You never know if one of the names already mentioned in regards to the pen is ready. It was assumed that Masset was the guy once Coco was gone. Well, Coco’s not completely out of the picture and Masset is coming off his worst season.

#4 – Leadoff spot

I know the Reds haven’t done particularly well from this spot and we did see Brandon Phillips elevate himself rather well after showing the willingness to take the lead. Considering the recent events centering around BP, his contract talks and a recent tweet, you have to wonder why he decided to make such a move.

I’m not particularly sold on BP being a leadoff guy for a full season as I’ve always felt he’s more effective in the #2 slot. Pull all the stats you want, but I just got a gut felling about the deal.

Of course, talk then shifts to Drew Stubbs. And you what else follows there…

#5 – Shortstop

Do not throw things at your screen. I’m in no way implying that Zack Cozart should not be the starter out of spring training. He definitely deserves the shot. Here’s my thinking though…

What if Cozart struggleseither in the field or at the plate or both? Are you willing to hand over the position to Paul Janish…everyday? The .260 average Janish posted in 2010 was clearly an aberration, wasn’t it? Wouldn’t you like to know that there is a veteran that can field the position and consistently hit just in case Cozart isn’t 100% ready? I know I would.

#6 – Left field

This is why I wouldn’t push Alonso in a deal (or out the door) just yet. Sure, he has strides to take in order to be an everyday left fielder, but imagine how a lineup could be configured. If Alonso can show the prowess he did in a brief appearance last season, I could lean more toward putting Jay Bruce in the cleanup spot…with Alonso 5th. Yes, it does create an issue with three straight lefty bats, but those bats…

If that’s not the direction the Reds are choosing, could we live with Chris Heisey being the everyday guy in left? Some would say yes and some would say no. Some would say the Reds may have missed the boat on that last season.

The problem may be that we’re expecting too much for too little. What do you ideally want from your left fielder? 20 HR and 80 RBI? If so, the numerous bodies put out there last year managed 21 HR and 71 RBI. The only real negative was the combined .227 batting average.

If nothing transpires in Dallas, I might begin to wonder how serious it all is. Or if someone forgot to set the alarm.

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