The Reds are all in this season.
It remains to be seen if all the moves Reds general manager Walt Jocketty made this offseason will be enough to reach the playoffs.
But Jocketty was excited and anxious to go when he made his Reds Caravan stop recently at the Lima Mall.
“We set an offseason plan and kind of checked everything off as we went along,” Jocketty said. ... “I think I’ve run out of money,” he laughed.
Let’s take a quick look at what he was able to do and how he did.
First up, the Reds needed a top-of-the-rotation starter. Jocketty filled that in the huge trade with the Padres. The Reds sent hitting machine prospect first baseman Yonder Alonso, right-hander Edinson Volquez and prospects closer Brad Boxberger and catcher Yasmani Grandal for Latos.
The Reds gave up plenty, but Alonso couldn’t play left or third base and he was blocked behind Joey Votto at first. Grandal was behind Devin Mesoraco behind the plate.
Boxberger could be a future big league closer, but you have to give up quality for a pitcher like Latos (9-14, 3.47 ERA). In three years with the Padres, Latos had a 3.37. Volquez was an enigma.
Jocketty also added pitching depth by signing left-hander Jeff Francis (6-6, 4.82 with Kansas City last year).
The bullpen sprung a few leaks last year and with Francisco Cordero being a free agent, Jocketty took a different route. He signed free agent Ryan Madson (from the Phillies). Then he traded left-hander Travis Wood, outfielder Dave Sappelt and Class A infielder Ronald Torreyes to the Cubs for set-up man left-hander Sean Marshall (2.26, 5 saves, 78 games).
Madson (2.37, 32 saves) is an upgrade over Cordero and Marshall will aid the set-up process, mixing him in with Nick Masset, Logan Ondrusek, Bill Bray and Sam LeCure. Marshall can also close when Madson needs a day off.
Next up on Jocketty’s check list was left field, but money was running thin. He signed Ryan Ludwick (.237, 13 home runs, 75 RBIs with the Padres and Pirates last year).
Ludwick, a lifetime .261 hitter, isn’t much of a difference from incumbent Chris Heisey (.254, 18 home runs, 50 RBIs). Jocketty didn’t do much in the way of pulling an upgrade here.
The health of third baseman Scott Rolen (left shoulder surgery in August) and shortstop Zack Cozart (elbow surgery on Aug. 12) was also a question entering the offseason.
Jocketty said both are healthy now, but he went on and picked up utility infielders Wilson Valdez (.249, 14 doubles with the Phillies) and Willie Harris (.246 with the Mets). Both are good insurance policies at shortstop and third.
And Jocketty might not be done. He’s currently trying to come up with creative ideas to sign 34-year-old free agent Roy Oswalt.
The rotation is already set up with Johnny Cueto, Latos, Bronson Arroyo, Mike Leake and Homer Bailey. Aroldis Chapman will compete for the No. 5 spot, but could start the year at AAA.
One idea would be to deal Bailey and his $2.4 million salary and sign Oswalt.
Next up for Jocketty is extending the contract of Brandon Phillips, whose contract runs out after this season. Phillips is the face of the franchise and has to be signed.
Then, comes the major chore of inking Votto, who is signed through 2013.
The Reds’ future is cloudy for next year.
That’s why Reds CEO Bob Castellini and Jocketty are rolling the dice for this year.