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Fun Cards: 2012 Topps Walt Jocketty

This is the guy who puts the team together, general manager Walt Jocketty. He signed Jay Bruce to a long-term deal, and convinced Joey Votto to stick around at least through 2013 (and hopefully he’ll be able to extend that). He reeled in Aroldis Chapman and traded for Mat Latos. I hope all the pieces to the puzzle finally fit together this year.

Reds trade Votto to the Rays…and he’s happy about it

This photo shows Joey Votto sporting his new uniform.

After vehemently denying the rumors, Walt Jocketty traded All-Star first baseman and 2010 NL MVP Votto to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays today for a box of cracker jacks and tickets to the Harlem Globetrotters game December 30 at US Bank Arena in Cincinnati. I’m sure someone at the Arena could have hooked him up with a free pair of tix, but he didn’t want to give the wrong impression to the youngsters. “If you want something in this life, you have to work hard for it. Or barter for it,” the Reds GM said. “I wanted to see the Globetrotters when they came through town next month, and Andrew (Friedman, Rays GM) wanted a new first baseman. Plus, I’ve always loved Cracker Jacks. I can’t wait to get back to my room to see what my surprise is!”

Votto didn’t waste any time posing in his new uniform. “Florida is nice, eh,” he told the press. “It’s not Toronto, but it’s nice, eh.”

2011 Reds (’92 Style): Walt Jocketty

The man who has managed to (so far) keep it all together, locking up Jay Bruce and Johnny Cueto long-term while signing Joey Votto to a possible value-saving contract that will expire as the NL MVP is eligible for free agency, Walt Jocketty has a lot of people in Cincinnati believing in a Reds renaissance. Hopefully the 2010 Sporting News Executive Of Year’s decisions will lead to a World Series title or two in the Queen City very soon.

This is not the shortstop you are looking for…

If ever there was a time that I wanted the Jedi mind trick to work on a general manager, this is it.

For some reason, Walt Jocketty wants to re-sign Orlando Cabrera for 2011. The good news is, it won’t be at the ridiculous $4 level that the option calls for. He wants the shortstop to return at a lower price. But based on his performance in 2010, particularly in the postseason, I don’t want him back.

Orlando Cabrera is not a good baseball player. Look, I understand that when you’re playing on the same team as Joey Votto, Scott Rolen, Brandon Phillips, and Jay Bruce, it’s tough to look like a good ballplayer by comparison. But even when you remove your teammates and look just at the stats, it’s bad. today looked at candidates for the 2010 Least Valuable Player. And when posting the list of those with the worst OPS+, Cabrera comes in at #8. Sure, his .263 average doesn’t look terrible, but he only has a 78 OPS+! And that’s not the eighth worst on the Reds…that’s the eighth worst IN THE MAJOR LEAGUES.

Looking at WAR, Cabrera has a pathetic 0.4. 0.4. Shortstops, in this day and age, should never have a 0.4 WAR. Out of fairness to Cabrera, he’s not the worst shortstop on the list. That dishonor goes to Cesar Izturis, who posted a -0.4. So at least OCab came out in the positive. But still. 0.4.

Surely there is a free agent shortstop that could better fill the role for the Reds. No I don’t expect Jocketty to go after Jeter (wouldn’t that be awesome), but there has to be someone that won’t boot the ball in the first inning of the most critical game of the year when you’re down by 2 games in a best-of-five playoff series.

In any case, Orlando Cabrera is not the shortstop you are looking for.

Reds Winter Caravan

Every year, representatives from the Reds visit several cities in Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, and West Virginia as a part of the Reds Winter Caravan. Players, broadcasters, coaches, and team officials answer the fans’ questions and sign autographs. On Saturday, my sons and I traveled to Dayton to meet Jay Bruce.

The event just happened to be held at the National Museum of the United States Air Force, so in addition to meeting the players, we got to see some pretty cool airplanes and stuff. We were greeted at the door by Icarus himself…

We didn’t even attempt to get Bruce’s autograph at the Redsfest because of the insanely long line, but figured we had a better chance at the Winter Caravan. And we did…just barely. We were the very last ones let in through the line. Before the ink was even dry, the sports celebs were standing up getting ready to leave.

In addition to Jay Bruce, we also met Phil Castellini (Reds COO), Thom Brennaman (broadcaster), Walt Jocketty (general manager), Todd Frazier (one of the team’s top prospects), and Todd Benzinger (former player, current manager for the Dayton Dragons).

We each got baseball cards signed by Jay Bruce…

(my card)

(Derek’s card)

(Joshua’s card)

…and Todd Benzinger…

(my card)

(Derek’s card)

(Joshua’s card)

…and we each got a 2010 Reds pocket schedule signed by Todd Frazier…

The Reds also had some Winter Caravan autograph booklets in case you didn’t have cards, so we had Castellini, Jocketty, and Brennaman sign those for the boys (I didn’t get one for myself).

And yes…before anyone asks…the boys get to keep the cards they got signed. (Even though I really really really want Joshua’s Bruce card. The lucky dog pulled it from a pack.)

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