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Cincinnati Reds Sign Ryan Madson On One-Year Deal, Walt Jocketty Continues Armament

The Cincinnati Reds continue amassing veterans at Walt Jocketty's accustomed rate—they've signed Ryan Madson for a year and $10 million after December saw them trade Travis Wood for the Cubs' Sean Marshall and an enormous box of prospects for Mat Latos. Unlike those moves, the Reds' new closer doesn't reduce their depth in 2013, but it is emblematic of the team Jocketty's built—a paper-thin contender that will require a high amount of GM intervention to remain competitive on a month-to-month and year-to-year basis.

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Which is great if you're Walt Jocketty, and love intervening constantly to rebuild the team in your own image. But it's interesting to see how drastically different the post-Jocketty Cardinals and the New-Jock Reds have become. The Cardinals, a year out of the World Series gate, have protected their prospects and made signings that increased depth and front-line talent at the same time. They resisted signing the most important Cardinal in a generation and have plowed that money into a team that can suddenly afford to lose most of its important pieces for at least a little while.

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The Reds, with a more constrained payroll, have gone another route. It'll be fascinating to watch both strategies play out in 2012, and having watched the Cardinals over the last decade-and-a-half I'm unwilling to ever count Walt Jocketty's team out, but the risks the Reds have taken make them a very vulnerable team for a contender.

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