Let’s take a look at how this 2015 Reds team was built. The team is in the midst of a losing season right now, but most of the players who are on the current squad were key cogs on three playoff teams in 2010, 2012 and 2013. The Reds’ roster has been remarkably stable over the last several years. I doubt any other major league team has exhibited the level of roster stability displayed by the Reds during the Walt Jocketty era.
Let’s go over the entire roster chronologically to find out how each player was added to the mix and who acquired each player to see if we can find any patterns.
2002 — Jim Bowden was the General Manager, Bob Boone was the manager and Carl Lindner owned the team. Last year in Riverfront Stadium
- Joey Votto was drafted in the 2nd round of the draft (44th overall). Future Reds Micah Owings, Jonathan Broxton and Fred Lewis were also drafted in that same round.
2003 — Jim Bowden was the General Manager. Bob Boone was replaced as manager mid-season by Dave Miley. First year in Great American Ball Park
2004 — Dan O’Brien hired as General Manager before the season. Dave Miley is the manager.
- Johnny Cueto wasÃ‚Â signed as an international free agent out of the Dominican Republic at the age of 18.
- Homer Bailey was drafted in the 1st round (7th overall pick), five picks after Justin Verlander (Cy Young and MVP) and one pick after Jeremy Sowers, whom the Reds had drafted in the 1st round in 2001 despite knowing he would not sign (because the Reds did not want to have to pay big money to a draft pick).
2005 — Dan O’Brien was the General Manager. Dave Miley was replaced as manager mid-season by Jerry Narron.
- Jay Bruce was drafted with the 12th pick of the 1st round, one pick after the Pirates took Andrew McCutchen. Future Red Trevor Bell was taken by the Angels later in that draft round.
2006 — Bob Castellini buys the team in January and promptly fires Dan O’Brien and hires Wayne Krivsky as General Manager. Jerry Narron was still the manager.
- Brandon Phillips was acquired in a trade from the Indians for “prospect”Ã‚Â pitcherÃ‚Â Jeff Stevens, who would eventually reach the majors with the Cubs and put up a 6.27 ERA in 37 career innings.
2007 — Wayne Krivsky was the General Manager. Jerry Narron was the manager but was replaced mid-season by Pete Mackanin.
- Devin Mesoraco was the Reds’ 1st round pick in the 2007 amateur draft (15th overall).
- Todd Frazier was a supplemental 1st round pick (34th overall) in the 2007 amateur draft. The Reds received the extra pick as compensation for the loss of free agent Rich Aurilia.
- Zack Cozart was drafted in the 2nd round (79th overall), one pick after Freddie Freeman of the Braves, and three picks after Giancarlo (then Mike) Stanton of the Marlins.
2008 — Krivsky hires Dusty Baker as manager, then Krivsky is fired and replaced by Walt JockettyÃ‚Â on April 23rd.
- Pedro Villareal was drafted in the 7th round (209th overall). One of only seven players from that round to make the major leagues.
2009 — Walt Jocketty GM and Dusty Baker manager.
- Mike Leake was drafted with the Reds’ 1st round pick (8th overall). Mike Trout went with the 25th pick. The Reds also drafted current Tampa Bay Rays closer Brad Boxberger in the supplemental first round that year.
- Billy Hamilton was drafted in the 2nd round of the draft (57th overall). Future Red David Holmberg was also taken later in that round.
- Tucker Barnhart was drafted in the 10th round (299th overall). One of five players from that late round who haveÃ‚Â reached the major leagues thus far.
- Kristopher Negron acquired via trade from the Red Sox for shortstop Alex Gonzalez and cash.
2010 –Ã‚Â Walt Jocketty GM and Dusty Baker manager.
- Aroldis Chapman signs as an international free agent after defecting from Cuba.
2011Ã‚Â –Ã‚Â Walt Jocketty GM and Dusty Baker manager.
- Tony Cingrani was drafted in the 3rd round (114th overall). The Reds first round pick that year was Robert Stephenson and their second round pick was Gabriel Rosa.
2012Ã‚Â –Ã‚Â Walt Jocketty GM and Dusty Baker manager.
- J.J. Hoover was acquired in a trade with the Braves for Juan Francisco.
- Jumbo Diaz signs as a minor league free agent. The Reds are his 5th organization. Originally signed as an international free agent by the Dodgers in 2001.
2013Ã‚Â –Ã‚Â Walt Jocketty GM and Dusty Baker manager.
- Manny Parra signs as a free agent.
- Michael Lorenzen was drafted in the supplemental portion of the 1st round (37th overall). The Reds had drafted Phil Ervin with the 27th pick.
2014Ã‚Â –Ã‚Â Walt Jocketty is the GMÃ‚Â and Bryan Price is theÃ‚Â manager.
- Brayan Pena signs as a free agent.
- Skip Schumaker signs as a free agent.
- Raisel Iglesias signs as an international free agent after defecting from Cuba.
2015 — Walt Jocketty is General Manager. Bryan Price is the manager.
- Marlon Byrd was acquired from the Phillies in a trade for prospect pitcher Ben Lively.
- Jason Marquis signs as a free agent. Was a 1st round pick in the previous millenium (1996). The Reds are the 10th franchise to employ Marquis. He has made $52 million dollars despite his 4.61 career ERA.
- Brennan Boesch signs as a free agent.
- Burke Badenhop signs as a free agent. The Reds are Badenhop’s 6th organization. He has been traded four times.
- Anthony DeSclafani acquired along with catcher Chad Wallach in a trade with the Marlins for Mat Latos.
- Ryan Mattheus was selected off waivers from the Angels. He is 31 years old and was originally drafted by the Rockies in the 19th round way back in 2003.
It seems like ages ago that Jim Bowden was the GM of the Reds, but he is the guy who brought in our best player — Joey Votto. When Dan O’BrienÃ‚Â was running the show he took a lot of abuse from the fans because the major league team was awful, but he was one of the key architects of the playoff teams that came later. O’Brien gave us Johnny Cueto, Homer Bailey and Jay Bruce. Then Wayne Krivsky took over and snaredÃ‚Â us Brandon Phillips in one of the best trades in Reds history. Krivsky also delivered Devin Mesoraco, Todd Frazier and Zack Cozart (and Bronson Arroyo).
Krivsky also acquired future MVP Josh Hamilton in brilliant fashion and then traded him away. Jocketty was a Special Advisor in the Reds’ front office at the time Hamilton was tradedÃ‚Â for Edinson Volquez.
The core of the Reds current roster is comprised of the eight Opening Day position players, the starting rotation and their closer. Six of the eight position players and their two best starting pitchers all pre-date Walt Jocketty even though this is his 8th season as the General Manager. Billy Hamilton and Marlon Byrd are the only starting hitters brought in by Jocketty. I find that remarkable. The meat of the 2015Ã‚Â Reds roster was already here when Jocketty and Dusty Baker came to town prior to the 2008 season. They basically inherited a playoff team, yet they have received a lot of credit for turning the franchise around. It seems to me the train was already on the right track before they got here. Jocketty and Baker did a good job of not derailing a train that was already gaining speed on the track to the playoffs, but they did not build that team.
Jocketty is one of the longer-tenured GMs in the league yet the core of his team was already here when he took over. What does that say about Jocketty? Does it confirm the popular image of “Sleepy Walt” as a guy who doesn’t do much? There is a strong element of truth to that. He has made a small number of big moves (Rolen, Latos, Chapman) and quite a lot of minor moves to fill out the roster each year, but the key players have remained in place for long stretches of time, through good years and bad.
Another hallmark of Jocketty’s tenure is the quantity of large contract extensions given out, someÃ‚Â of them questionable. Phillips, Votto, Bailey, Marshall, Broxton, Arroyo, Rolen and Bruce have all received big money deals. Multi-year deals were handed out to a lot of players who were unlikely to get multi-year deals anywhere else (Cairo, Hannahan, Schumaker, Valdez, Ludwick etc.).
The bottom line is wins and losses. The Reds have had a winning record in three of Jocketty’s eight seasons, making the playoffs each of those years. Those playoff berths were the first the Reds had since 1995. The team has 603 wins and 575 losses during Jocketty’s 8 seasons. By and large the Jocketty era has been one of rejuvenation and improved success compared to the “Lost Decade” era prior to his arrival. How much of that success you want to credit to Jocketty or his predecessors is up to you.