Thursday, April 24, 2008

What Next for the Reds?

Wayne Krivsky out, Walt Jocketty in as Reds general manager. The move itself is no surprise -- an involved owner like Robert Castellini doesn't bring in a big-name GM like Jocketty just to serve as window dressing -- although the timing did catch most Reds watchers off-guard.

Not that any of those Reds fans will miss Krivsky, who was viewed by most as in over his head. In reality, Krivsky's record is much more mixed than terrible. While he certainly made his share of moves that do qualify as terrible, he also rebuilt the Reds' farm system into one of the best, and had success taking cheap flyers on players nobody else wanted.

But now Jocketty is in charge, and what does that mean for the Reds? Well, it might increase the odds of manager Dusty Baker being dumped. Baker was Krivsky's hire, and Jocketty might prefer his own man in there. But the guy Castellini and Jocketty both want -- Tony LaRussa -- already has a job. And besides, Baker is the kind of veteran baseball man that Jocketty probably prefers. So the move may come out a wash as far as it relates to Baker.

Expect pitcher Homer Bailey to be in the big leagues within a month, taking Matt Belisle's spot in the rotation.

Expect Adam Dunn to be traded for some combination of catching, bullpen and/or shortstop prospects around the All-Star Break.

And superprospect Jay Bruce to be ensconced in centerfield at least by the All-Star Break.

And expect Jocketty to attempt to convince Ken Griffey Jr. to spend the last few months of 2008 with a contender rather than with the Reds.

This is all assuming, of course, that the Reds don't suddenly turn into contenders themselves. Fact is, despite their slow start, the Reds have seen some very good things happen in the early going: pitchers Johnny Cueto and Edinson Volquez have proved to be real-deals; infielder Jeff Keppinger has shown he really can hit; Joey Votto has grabbed first base with gusto.

There is much for Walt Jocketty to work with.