Walt Jocketty and Dusty Baker share a moment.
I don't have a whole lot for today. Until the Reds make their final cuts or possibly sign any of the recently released players, I doubt we'll hear much from them outside of some build up for the two games against the future Reds this weekend.
You know what's nice though? Even when we don't have a lot of news, at least we have a GM that doesn't try to prevent every little tidbit from getting out to the media. He hasn't done a whole lot to reshape the Reds to this point, but I will say that I at least like how Walt Jocketty is willing to answer the questions he gets from the press. This is a far cry from what we saw from Wayne Krivsky, who spent a lot of his time not saying anything about any rumors.
For instance, let's compare two Spring rumors and how each GM handled them. In the most recent rumor involving Gary Sheffield, Jocketty has been very open about the situation. From Wednesday:
"Perhaps, it’s something we’ve talked about," Jocketty said. "We’re going to at least explore the possibility. He’s still a threat in the lineup … if the price is right."
Walt Jocketty spoke to Gary Sheffield's agent and Dusty Baker spoke to Sheffield today. Both were phone conversations. There was no meeting.
"He's talking to two or three other clubs," Jocketty said. "He'll play for the minimum (salary). It's a matter of playing time."
Compare that to last February when there were rumors that the Reds were interested in free agent Kenny Lofton:
Actually, I have nothing from Wayne Krivsky on Kenny Lofton. In a stunniung upset, Krivsky would not confirm or deny the foxsports.com report that the Reds are talking to Lofton.
This despite the fact that 6 days later, Dusty Baker was more than willing to admit that he had talked to Lofton about coming to the Reds.
I think the thing that Jocketty understands that Krivsky never really got was that there isn't a whole lot of benefit to denying interest in free agents. Sure, you don't want to sound desperate for them, but you've already talked to them, so they know you are interested. On the other hand there is some benefit to the fanbase to allowing a little bit of transparency. How hard is it to say, "Yes, we've had conversations with him, but nothing is imminent." Krivsky never seemed to see the value in that for a fanbase that just wants something to talk about.
So I tip my hat to Walt Jocketty. He's done two things this off-season that have impressed me. First, he held on to the key youngsters in the system. And second, he hasn't avoided letting us know what is going on. When a rumor has legs, he usually admits that something is in the works, and when it's bunk he's quick to put the kibosh on it. For dedicated fans like ourselves who follow the team all year, there's something to be said for that openness.