Cincinnati Reds: How Well Did GM Walt Jocketty Do at the Winter Meetings?

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistDecember 6, 2012

GOODYEAR, AZ - FEBRUARY 22: President and General Manager Walt Jocketty of the Cincinnati Reds speaks with the media during a press conference at the Cincinnati Reds Development Complex on February 22, 2010 in Goodyear, Arizona. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)
Hunter Martin/Getty Images

After winning 97 games and running away with the 2012 National League Central, Cincinnati Reds general manager Walt Jocketty was conservative at the winter meetings in Nashville.

The week got off to an interesting start for Cincinnati when Jon Paul Morosi of reported that the Reds were interested in outfielder Dexter Fowler of the Colorado Rockies to fill the leadoff hole. The report also said that the Rockies liked starting pitcher Homer Bailey, which set Reds fans off on Twitter. 

A potential Fowler-Bailey trade would strengthen the lineup, but weaken the rotation. For shooting down that rumor to start the week, Jocketty deserves a lot of credit.

On top of shooting that rumor down, the team also showed interest in long-term deals with Bailey and starting pitcher Mat Latos, according to John Fay via Twitter.

#Reds have talked to Bailey about a long-term deal. Plan to talk to Latos also.

— John Fay (@johnfayman) December 4, 2012

Signing both starters after breakout seasons would be costly, but it would also solidify the front of the rotation for years to come.

Just starting negotiations for long-term deals is a good move by Jocketty. The team should sign both pitchers before they enter the Cy Young debate in the near future. 

The focus of this week was on one man; left fielder Ryan Ludwick.

Will the Reds re-sign him or will they choose to pursue other options?

Fay also reported on Twitter that negotiations are going well and there could be an agreement soon.

Ludwick is still contemplating the #Reds' offer. He is fine with a 2-year deal. But all the money being thrown around has affected things.

— John Fay (@johnfayman) December 6, 2012

Re-signing Ludwick would fill the left field spot and effectively end the team's offseason spending. The Reds would still need a solid leadoff hitter, but they would not have the money to sign a free agent.

I'm not saying that Ludwick is a great signing, but he helps solidify the offense. Great American Ball Park was very friendly to him last season, so his numbers could be similar in 2013.

Cincinnati should stick to its guns and stay away from more than a two-year deal with the left fielder. However, re-signing Ludwick would make this year's winter meetings a success.

Reds fans are hoping for a big splash to acquire a leadoff hitter and they want a high-profile player like Shane Victorino. Jocketty was wise not to spend big money on a player like Victorino.

Big names don't always equal production.

Despite the lack of movement, Jocketty did very well at the winter meetings. He is close to re-signing one of the team's leaders from last season and has opened up long-term negotiations for two of the top three starting pitchers on the team.

Winter meetings are filled with rumors and the Reds did a great job of avoiding the urge to make a big move just to change things up. The team still has needs, mainly fixing the bench, but making conservative moves will help lead Cincinnati back to the postseason in 2013.

Big deals in the winter have not always been a sign of good things to come in the regular season, so Reds fans should be content with how management is approaching this offseason.

There is still a long way to go until Opening Day, but the Reds did the right thing at the winter meetings by not being too aggressive.