Reds GM Jocketty not a candidate for vacant job with D-backs

Reds GM Jocketty not a candidate for vacant job with D-backs

CINCINNATI -- On the heels of the D-backs dismissing Kevin Towers as general manager on Friday, a list of replacement candidates has already taken shape. One prominent name that had been speculated as a possibility for much of the summer can be crossed off in Reds GM Walt Jocketty.

Arizona chief baseball officer Tony La Russa, Jocketty's former manager for the Cardinals, made it clear to reporters that his former boss would not be a candidate to replace Towers.

"I think I'm very confident in saying that Walt is entirely committed to the Cincinnati Reds and his total interest is about what it takes to make them a champion," La Russa said. "And I know his loyalty to [CEO] Bob Castellini and the folks that work with the Reds, so Walt's not part of what we do here. He's working and he's committed."

Jocketty's three-year contract with the Reds expires after this season. In a phone conversation with MLB.com later on Friday evening, he was optimistic he would be re-signing with Cincinnati.

"I've had discussions with Mr. Castellini and we're still working out some things that will be resolved hopefully very soon," Jocketty said while traveling to see the Reds' Class A Advanced Bakersfield affiliate compete in the playoffs. "I feel like I have a commitment to win a championship here. I want to hopefully stay until we accomplish that."

La Russa, a Hall of Fame manager, was hired by the D-backs for a newly created position above Towers in May. The move prompted immediate speculation that Towers' job security was tenuous, at best.

An early name speculated as a Towers successor was Jocketty, in part because of his past relationship with La Russa and that he was nearing the end of his current contract.

The Reds are enduring a subpar 2014 season after reaching the postseason in three of the past four years. Because of expensive contracts with players like Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips, Jay Bruce and Homer Bailey, and four of the five members of the starting rotation a year away from free agency in 2016, making roster upgrades will be a challenge to fit into the payroll this winter.

As for what direction the club pivots to this offseason, that will remain a mystery for now.

"That's something we'll discuss here in the next few weeks with my staff, and [manager] Bryan [Price] and his staff," Jocketty said. "We'll have to decide what to do to get us back in contention.

"There will be some changes."

Jocketty joined the Reds' front office as president of baseball operations in January, '08, and assumed GM duties to replace Wayne Krivsky in April of that season.

As the Reds sit in fourth place, just ahead of the fifth-place Cubs, in the National League Central standings, Jocketty is looking for the club to finish on a positive note.

"I want to see guys keep competing and trying to win games," Jocketty said. "We saw it the other night with the young kids [in the lineup].

"I want to see our players compete with energy every night on the way out of this season."

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.