Old-school Jocketty values positivity
Reds' new GM known for evaluating talent, making deals
CINCINNATI -- To anyone who has followed Walt Jocketty's career, the scenario he undertook on Wednesday should sound pretty familiar.About 13 years ago, in the fall of 1994, Jocketty was hired as Cardinals general manager after he was an assistant GM of the Rockies. At the time, St. Louis had been without a postseason visit since 1987. During his 13 years seasons in the shadow of the Gateway Arch, the Cardinals went to the playoffs seven times and won the World Series in 2006. Now, Jocketty is being called upon to perform a similar turnaround in Cincinnati, where the Reds have endured seven straight losing seasons. "Back then it was a little harder to do," Jocketty said. "This organization is further along than St. Louis was when I took over in 1995. There really weren't a lot of prospects in the organization, and a lot of money hadn't been spent in player development and scouting. This organization has a better base to work from. "There are a couple of things we may have to do yet. But I felt when we started the season we had a club that could be a contending club. I still believe this division is very winnable." Before he even warmed his new office chair, many around baseball had already praised the 56-year-old Jocketty for his ability to evaluate talent, make deals and delegate responsibility. "Today, a lot of GMs do a lot of things by e-mail, but he's always a guy who will pick up the phone and make a call," said Brewers GM Doug Melvin, who goes back to the 1980s working as a Jocketty peer and friend while both climbed the Minor League front-office ladder on their way to becoming big league executives. "He's very good at using the people he has," Melvin said. "He'll get the opinions of a lot of people: managers, scouts, special assignment scouts. He relies on his people to help him out. He's not afraid to make deals. He's a risk-taker. He brought in [Mark] McGwire to St. Louis, gave up some prospects. He got Jim Edmonds. He traded Kent Bottenfield after he won 18 games. He's not afraid to deal."
|"There isn't anything that he has a tough time with. He's strong at everything."|
|-- Cardinals manager Tony La Russa, on Reds new GM Walt Jocketty|
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Reporters Jason Beck, Adam McCalvy and contributor George Von Benko contributed to this story. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.