Taking a cue from his mentor, Bronson Arroyo, Reds pitcher Mike Leake has been speaking his mind about the effort of his teammates and how that relates to action or inaction by the Reds front office.
After his successful start in Miami on Sunday, Leake raised the specter of the team “throwing it in.” He specifically mentioned general manager Walt Jocketty, suggesting (video) his hope that if the Reds continued to play well, that Jocketty would “put his cards in this year:”
“We had a chance to take all four [games]. At least we got out of here with three out of of four — that’s always a good job,” Leake said. “We’re still in this. We’ve still got a chance if we put ourselves in a good position and Walt in a good position, I feel like he’ll put his cards in this year. It’s up to the players and up to us whether we want to bear down and make it a good year or if we want to kind of throw it in.” (Mark Sheldon, MLB.com)
… this year … put his cards in this year …
As Leake and anyone who follows the Reds closely knows, Jocketty didn’t put his cards in last year. Instead, the Reds stood pat in July and August. The team limped across the finish line, losing its last six games including the Wild Card play-in to Pittsburgh. Would trade acquisitions have helped?
In an interview on the MLB radio network before this year’s trade deadline, Jocketty himself pointed out that when the team has battled to overcome everything they have, you “want to show them you support them by bringing in reinforcements.” And “if you could add someone it would really help boost the morale of the clubhouse.”
Leake’s statement on Sunday closely parallels one he made immediately prior to the trade deadline, when he referred in part to the need for “help” to compensate for Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips (“two of our best players, if not the two best players”) being on the disabled list:
“Don’t get me wrong. We’re all trying. We’re all working hard. We have two of our best players, if not the two best players, that are rehabbing right now. It’s tough on us. We either have to pick it up or get help. There’s only one of two ways to go about it. We’ll see what happens.” (Sheldon)
The non-waiver trade deadline has passed and the Reds were once again one of the few teams in contention that did not take any steps to improve its roster.