Meetings might mark time for Reds to wheel, deal
Chapman, Bruce, Frazier among those who could entice offers at annual winter event
CINCINNATI -- In what is now Winter Meetings folklore from 1975, White Sox owner Bill Veeck and general manager Roland Hemond set up a makeshift desk and a phone in the hotel lobby with a sign on the table that read "Open for Business."
Fast forward 40 years and well into the 21st century, the Reds won't need to employ such tactics. Everybody already knows that president of baseball operations Walt Jocketty and general manager Dick Williams are willing to trade key players to restock for the long term.
In the digital age, Jocketty and Williams don't even have to leave their hotel suite next week when the Winter Meetings convene in Nashville, Tenn. Smartphones to call, text message or email are all they need to do that business.
Since the General Managers Meetings last month, the Reds have made it clear they are in rebuilding mode and looking to make deals. Closer Aroldis Chapman is a leading candidate to be moved, but Cincinnati will be listening to offers for many of its veteran players approaching free agency within a year or two -- such as right fielder Jay Bruce and third baseman Todd Frazier.
The Reds have generally made little news at the Winter Meetings, often using them to lay groundwork for trades made later in the offseason. Last season in San Diego, however, Jocketty traded starting pitchers Mat Latos and Alfredo Simon on the final day before leaving town. Latos went to the Marlins in a deal that brought back starting pitcher Anthony DeSclafani, and Simon was sent to Detroit in the trade that acquired shortstop Eugenio Suarez. Both DeSclafani and Suarez proved to be bright spots in a difficult losing season.
Williams, who declined to characterize the level of interest he's found in Reds players who are available, could not predict if the transactions will be plentiful this time around.
"It's so difficult to predict when deals come to a conclusion," Williams said. "There are ones where the discussions move along quickly and then things slow down for a while. Some that you're not having much action on, pick up the pace. It's a matter of timing on both ends -- our interest level and the club that we are talking to."
MLB.com and MLB Network will have wall-to-wall coverage of the 2015 Winter Meetings from the Opryland Hotel in Nashville, with the Network launching 35 hours of live Winter Meetings coverage on Sunday at 8 p.m. ET. Fans can also catch live streaming of all news conferences and manager availability on MLB.com, as well as the announcement of the Hall of Fame Pre-Integration Era Committee inductees on Monday at 11 a.m. ET and the Rule 5 Draft on Thursday at 10 a.m. ET.
For all the talk about the Reds looking to move players out, they will also be looking to make additions.
"Absolutely. We're working very hard on that front, in addition to any trades that might happen," Williams said.
While they will not be involved in the high-priced free-agent market, the Reds will be looking at more affordable players to sign or acquire through trade. Williams would not detail what Cincinnati is searching for, but the club could use a veteran starting pitcher to compete for a rotation spot, help in the bullpen and more offense.
"We've got a lot of holes to fill," Williams said. "It's a fluid situation based on how the offseason goes. We've got a lot of different areas of focus."