Walt Jocketty Sets Free Agent Bar for Cincinnati Reds: Michael Morse and Nori Aoki


Would Aoki Nori or Michael Morse really be any better for the Cincinnati Reds in 2015 than Michael Morse. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

For any of us Cincinnati Reds fans who had visions of grandeur as our team dives into the free agent and trade markets this off-season, we can now settle safely into our Winter naps. General Manager Walt Jocketty set the acquisition bar at Michael Morse and Nori Aoki when he spoke with John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer on Friday:

We’ll look at Morse and Aoki in more depth in separate pieces coming up, but for now it’s worth reading into what Jocketty’s “statement” means for the Reds in 2015 and beyond.

With Morse and Aoki as targets, we can surmise that the Reds will look for relatively low-cost options that are past their prime (both of these players are 32) and that bring concerns with either health (Morse) or production (Aoki). Defense also may be a negotiable, as both Morse and Aoki can be exciting in the field, but not necessarily in a good way.

Jocketty’s comment about preferring free agency over trades could indicate that the Reds intend to ride out the string with their current rotation, 80% of which will be free agents after the 2015 season.

That is probably the right tact to take if the Reds seriously plan to compete in 2015, but it’s a tall order given questions about health, a spotty middle bullpen and an offense that hasn’t clicked in over a year.

Morse and Aoki would be “win-now” pick-ups, but the concern is that the Reds are further from contention than adding a middling, aging outfielder.

If Morse and Aori are really the ceiling for Reds’ acquisitions this off-season, then they should save their cash and take their lumps with rookie Jesse Winker in left field.