Reds give GM Jocketty two-year extension

Reds give GM Jocketty two-year extension

CINCINNATI -- With his contract set to expire at the end of this season, Reds general manager Walt Jocketty has agreed to a two-year extension to remain with the club through 2016.

"Yeah, it's done," Jocketty said on Friday. "I've got a great relationship with [Reds CEO] Bob [Castellini]. In my position, there are two things that are important. You have to have a great relationship with your owner and you have to have a great relationship with your manager. I have that here with both those guys.

"I'm fully committed to trying to get this team back into the postseason because I think we're good enough to do that with a little bit of help here. I think our ownership certainly deserves it and our fans deserve it."

Jocketty joined the Reds' front office as president of baseball operations in January 2008, and he replaced Wayne Krivsky as GM in April of that season. Despite not advancing this season, Cincinnati made the playoffs three of the previous four years, winning the National League Central in 2010 and '12, while earning a spot through the NL Wild Card last season.

"This franchise has had great success under Walt's guidance, and we're delighted he has signed a 2-year extension," Castellini said.

First-year Reds manager Bryan Price, who has two years remaining on his contract, received a full endorsement as well after what's been a disappointing season for Cincinnati. Jocketty voiced his satisfaction with Price's work.

"Absolutely," Jocketty said. "I feel bad for him -- the things he had to overcome this year, the injuries and bringing in a new staff and new ideas. I thought he did an excellent job. I know the players feel that way."

When asked about the future of the coaching staff, Jocketty declined comment.

The Reds were within 1 1/2 games of the NL Central lead at the All-Star break before a collapse that had them out of realistic contention by mid-August.

While several players served time on the disabled list -- including Joey Votto, Jay Bruce, Brandon Phillips, Mat Latos and Homer Bailey -- the Reds' lack of offense proved integral in the team's struggles. Cincinnati is ranked last in the Majors in batting, hits, slugging and on-base percentage in the second half.

Jocketty should have a lot on his plate to get the club ready for 2015.

"We're already working on it," he said. "I expect to be busy and active in the offseason in a number of areas. I don't know how much we'll change this club. There is still a nucleus of a very good club. I know we've talked about injuries all year, but I still firmly believe that it finally took its toll.

"I still believe this is a very solid group. Saying that, we have to do some things differently. Our pitching was still solid. The bullpen has to improve. We have to improve it somehow, whether it's internally or externally. That was a strength we had last year. We already have one guy to replace in [Jonathan] Broxton, who we traded. There will be some changes in the bullpen. Offensively, we recognize the fact we had fewer guys on base this year. With fewer guys on base, fewer guys are going to score. We have to look at that. Part of that was a function of Joey not playing."

Another important mission is to determine the futures of four members of the Reds' rotation that are a year away from becoming free agents. Johnny Cueto has a $10 million club option for 2015, while Latos, Bailey, Mike Leake and Alfredo Simon are third-year arbitration-eligible.

Nine players are already under contract for $71 million next season, leaving the small-market Reds constrained from making big moves.

"I really hope to find a way to manage to keep everybody that we can," Jocketty said. "We may not be able to. We've been creative in the past with payroll and we've been able to do things. We'll continue to look at ways that we can get better. I want to try and maintain as many players as we can from this year -- the critical guys -- and try to add to it if we can. I don't know how what we're going to do yet, but it's something we'll be working for the next month or so."

Jocketty said he does not feel compelled to trade one of the four starters before they become free agents.

"Especially if we're trying to win," he said. "Somebody might knock you out for somebody, so you never say never. But it would be pretty tough to do it. Pitching has been the strength of this club. I've always tried to build my clubs around strong pitching and defense. I thought we'd have enough offense to score some runs, but we didn't do it this year."

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for 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.