Castellini pays Reds a visit in Houston
Owner meets with Baker, Jocketty before Tuesday's game
HOUSTON -- Reds owner Bob Castellini has popped in on his team to watch it play on the road before, but Tuesday's appearance at Minute Maid Park had a more significant purpose.Cincinnati entered the day losers of four straight, and Castellini seemed intent about halting a nosedive. He met for about an hour with manager Dusty Baker and general manager Walt Jocketty in Baker's office with the door shut. "It's been discouraging and frustrating, but we've got talent on this team," Castellini said. "I was in Colorado. It was a good opportunity to swing by and give everybody moral support. This is the time of year where you can lose confidence. That shouldn't happen to a team of this caliber."
The Reds just came off a bad three-game weekend sweep at home, where they were knocked around by the Rockies. That was still burning up Castellini."It was the worst series we've had since we've owned the team," he said. "These fellas are better than that. The manager and coaches behind them -- we're all better than that." The Reds entered the day 50-57 and 12 1/2 games out of first place in the National League Central as Thursday's 4 p.m. ET non-waiver Trade Deadline loomed. As far as potential deals involving Cincinnati, it's been mostly quiet. "There's nothing close," said Jocketty, while standing next to Castellini. "I've had a lot of conversations with clubs that are looking. If something happened, it'd probably happen close to the deadline. Lately, I've been initiating more calls than I've been receiving." The front office and Baker have placed a premium on trying to finish over .500. "I think a winning record is very important," Castellini said. "Walt has not been instructed to dump salary." Pitcher Bronson Arroyo has been front and center for many trade rumors regarding the Reds this summer. Last week, Arroyo made it clear he didn't want to be traded and said any move to deal him would be a salary dump. It didn't appear he had anything to worry about. "I'd rather Bronson Arroyo be here next year than me," Castellini said. "He's been one of our shining stars here lately." Arroyo has two more years left on his contract, but the Reds have 13 possible free agents at season's end. One of them is power-hitting left fielder Adam Dunn, who has long had Castellini in his corner. "How can you not be a supporter of his power?" Castellini said. "He's going to have the best year he's ever had in Major League Baseball." However, Castellini did not answer a question that directly asked if efforts would be made to re-sign Dunn beyond this season. "If you're going to trade someone and take them away from our club, it will have to be for someone that can help us now and in the future," Jocketty said. "There's just not a lot of discussion." Castellini also addressed a brewing feud between right fielder Ken Griffey Jr. and broadcaster Jeff Brantley. After he hit a home run on Saturday, Griffey was seen making a cutthroat gesture to Brantley in the radio booth because he was unhappy with comments made about him on the air. The dispute carried over into Sunday and has been a hot topic back in Cincinnati. "I got a whiff of that today," Castellini said. "That will be handled internally. That stuff should stay internal." Brantley, along with Hall of Fame radio voice Marty Brennaman and Thom Brennaman have never been afraid to criticize Reds players during broadcasts. Castellini was asked if having outspoken on-air talent bothered him. "They're still working for us," Castellini responded. "Sometimes all of us can get overly critical or maybe say things and keep saying them and saying them instead of leaving them alone. If once in a while that happens with some of our announcers, that's a human error and they hear about it from the fans and everybody else. But I don't think any one of our five key [broadcasters] are overly negative, as I've seen in other cities."
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.