Intrepid Reds general manager Walt Jocketty says that starting pitching is the priority this off-season:
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t comment of other teamÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s players, Jocketty said, Ã¢â‚¬Å“although others are OK talking about ours. I will say weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re looking at improving pitching. The first priority is finding a starting pitcher. If (Francisco) Cordero leaves, weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll have to look at finding a closer.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Jocketty’s quote was in answer to a direct question about the Andrew Bailey report Bill mentioned earlier.
It is comforting, at some minimal level, that the Reds have clearly identified what we’ve known for a while: this club needs pitching. Specifically, the Reds need starters. How they are going to acquire that starting pitching, I haven’t the foggiest idea. Fortunately, Cincinnati’s front office is filled with people that are smarter than me. I hope.
The second part of the quote above concerns me, somewhat. I’m as big a CoCo fan as you’re likely to find in the Nation, but handing a closer a ton of money is a dumb, dumb idea almost 100% of the time (see Nathan, Joe). Especially with a small-market club. The Reds just can’t afford to repeat their CoCo mistake (it’s more a budgeting mistake than anything; Cordero was most certainly not a bad pitcher. He just wasn’t worth the percentage of the budget that he ate up).
Frankly, I’d be fine with almost anyone as closer (except Aroldis Chapman). I’m much, much less concerned with that position than I am with the #1 spot in the starting rotation. James Shields, anyone?