First, I saw this very disturbing post about the Reds, but that was followed-up by this from John Fay.
Did the national guy catch Jockety in a moment of candor? The report is awfully detailed to be wrong. And why not tell the story to John Fay? Too many fans read Fay? Here's what's the most disturbing: Jockety doesn't know what he's doing. He signed T-Virus last year for $6.25 mil. (over two years -- $4 mil. of which is owed this year) because Dusty needed a lead-off guy. What we got was a black hole in the lead-off spot, compounded by Dusty's failure to move T-Virus until it was too late (and really only because he got hurt). The Angels, by contrast, spent $5 mil. on Bobby Abreu, who had a near-MVP type year for them. He was an on-base machine, and positively influenced the OBP of the entire team (see Chone Figgins, regular season addition).
Add to that $4 mil. for Mike Lincoln ($2.5 mil. of which is due this year). But Massett, at just above the league minimum, did what Lincoln could not. So for 2010 we already owe $6.5 mil. to two guys that shouldn't see the field for us if we put out our best 25 guys on the roster for 2010. Jockety's complete failure in reading the market last year may cost us a chance to compete in 2010.
But did he learn his lesson? Apparently not. He's talking about trading guys like BP, Harang, and Arroyo because of their contracts (more on that later). But he wants to keep Cordero? If you were going to trade a guy, it would be Cordero. He's coming off a terific season, but he's got 2 more years on his contract. That's about $25 mil. to do what Massett (or someother guy like that) could do, get three guys out in a row toward the end of the game. On the other hand, finding a starter that will give you 200 + quality innings (Arroyo, and probably Harang) is terribly difficult.
Further, he just traded for Rolen, a guy who's going to make $11 mil. this year. (The Blue Jays apparently paid the rest of his '09 salary, and the Cards are paying his deferred bonus, but every indication is that the Reds are paying the full $11 mil. this year.)
BP is in a different category. For one, he could bring some solid players back in trade because he has real value. Two, he goes from making around $7 mil. this year to in excess of $11 mil. next year. But he is the cornerstone of the infield right now.
I hate to say this (as I prepare my check for my season ticket deposit due next week) but the Reds should probably fold the tent for 2010, and trade all four of those guys if they can, plus Rolen. But I'm going to make another suggestion. Go for it this year, but only to the extent that you put the best team on the field that you can with the guys you have and hope for the best. Don't sign any free agents (at least no multi-year deals) and don't trade anybody that could contribute this year. Hot stove fans love to stoke the flames and that would make for a boring off-season but bear with me a minute here.
The only 2011 comittments the Reds have are Cordero's $12.125 mil., BP's approximately $11.2 mil., and $2 mil. buy-outs for Harang and Arroyo on their club options. (And they do owe $1 mil. to Yonder Alonso on his major league contract.) That's it! (In 2012 they owe $1 mil. buy-outs to BP and Cordero on their club options, and $1.4 mil. to Alonso.)
So put the best team out there they can right now without trading any young, cheap players and see where we are at the trade deadline. If we're not contending in July, trade all of those top 5 guys for whatever you can get and start fresh. And with a new manager; Dusty's contract is done after this year. If you are in contention, stay the course, and let your free agents walk after 2010, getting draft picks as compensation. Sounds like a great plan to me.