On the Winter Meetings and Frustration

"The Reds have no money and are talking to no one."

This is a refrain that, though factually inaccurate, has become the rallying cry of resignation for this off-season. Sure, the Reds have a little money, and yes, they are talking to a number of folks about possible trades and free agent signings. But watching baseball's Men of Action (namely, the Marlins and Angels) get their work done in dramatically emphatic fashion these past few days has only served to deepen our collective chasm of apathy. The phrase may not be actually true, but the feeling certainly is.

Walt Jocketty knows how you feel, man. When asked about how the Winter Meetings were going, he answered, "Very frustrating. It's that way every year. You plan. We've been working on stuff since the Trade Deadline. You start looking at things, you start putting things together and your plan. You start trying to work on it. You start putting it into play, and you're not able to do anything."

Mr. Jocketty will have to excuse me if I'm not sympathetic to his frustration. It's impossible to know why the Reds aren't able to do anything. Is it because other teams are being unrealistic in their trade demands? Or is it because the Reds are? Without being privy to those conversations, we can't know. What we do know, though, is that this organization has been risk averse - one could say pathologically so - over the past few seasons. Shipping Jonny Gomes to Washington in exchange for a few inconsequential minor leaguers is the only - the only - trade this team has made in the past year.

It's obvious that Jocketty can clearly see the weaknesses of this ballclub. He's stated numerous times this off-season that priority #1 is a front-end starter. And there is still plenty of time left before Spring Training to find one. But watching the Winter Meetings come and go without any movement at all - they didn't even make a pick in the Rule 5 draft - is almost too much to bear at this point. The whole reason for the Winter Meetings is so teams can get together and make deals. Everyone is in the holiday spirit or something like that. But still, nothing.

I know in a more rational frame of mind that I would be more than willing to accept Walt's explanation. But right now I'm pissed off. We most likely only have another two years for this team to win a World Series, and last year was squandered in large part due to complacency and risk-aversion. The clock is ticking ever louder. The Reds must take bold and decisive action. I just hope we have the right man in office to push the button.

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