Cincinnati Reds Look to Improve: Sign Ward and Jones to Minor League Deals

Eric SkibaContributor IFebruary 5, 2009

How many years now have Reds fans had to hear, "We will do whatever it takes for this team to make the playoffs soon?"

Over and over, general managers have come in and decided to make changes. They decide that spending more money and finding the right players will make this team a playoff contender.

Then why does it seem that we never really do hire the big-name guy that we truly need? The Reds have used their farm system and seemingly unimportant trades to finally set up a rotation that can do some damage. Another solid arm wouldn't hurt, but I cannot complain too much.

What Cincinnati needs now is to improve the bullpen just a little more and bring in a right-handed power hitter. As for the first need, the organization decided to resign David Weathers to a deal worth way too much.

The past two seasons, Weathers has put up decent numbers, but not great. At his age, it is not worth it to keep him around. He comes in and ruins far too many games, even if he does well in a higher percentage of games overall. He has lost a lot of velocity in recent years and does not show the kind of talent he used to have.

After this simply stunning signing, the Reds now look for a right-handed power bat. Although they have certainly put their name out there in certain cases, they have not yet made a lofty attempt to help this situation. Instead, the Reds decided to make a different move.

On Thursday, the Reds announced that they have signed outfielders Daryle Ward and Jacque Jones to minor-league contracts and invited them to spring training. Both players are 33 years of age and far past the prime of their careers. Jones played in 42 games last season and Ward played in 89, splitting time between first base and the outfield.

This team might look better than years past simply because of starting pitching and the maturation of their young infielders, but come on. Granted the Yankees have a significantly higher cap, but look at the talent they go after.

Walt Jocketty and the front office for the Redlegs are working on making improvements, which I both understand and appreciate. However, signing two 33-year-olds to minor-league contracts is not going to fix squat.

At this incredibly slow pace, the fix will likely jolt us into the playoffs by the year 2020! Alright!! Hey, New York Yankees, keep signing the players that will take you to the Playoffs. Meanwhile, the Reds are just going to keep dropping the ball on filling their needs to become a contender.