Monday, October 15, 2007


There are many for whom hearing Dusty Baker's name announced as their team's new manager would be the end of the world. I don't put myself in that camp necessarily, mostly because I think that there is a time and a place for a guy like Dusty, albeit a limited time and a narrow place. He has fared generally well with veteran teams and if you have a team where the vets still represent your best chance to win, hey, you could do worse.

The last place I'd want Dusty, however, is on a team with young pitching and developing hitters whose primary assets are plate patience and power. Indeed, Dusty has shown a general disdain for those types of players, preferring toolsy guys with low OBP, especially if they're veterans. He has likewise overused young pitchers -- Mark Prior being the most obvious example -- and young, overused pitchers tend to get hurt.

Unfortunately, the Reds fit the latter profile to a T. To contend, the Reds are counting on the development of young pitchers like Homer Bailey. They will also need to find ways to work young sluggers like Jay Bruce and Joey Votto into the lineup and leave them there, no matter how many Ryan Freels and Norris Hoppers are laying around. They're going to have to give bullpen arms like Jared Burton, Billy Bray, and Gary Majewski more innings than Mike Stanton and Eddie Guardado. They're going to have to do things like sit catcher David Ross if he hits like he did last year, even if he is anointed the Starting Catcher next spring. You know, the things they did in the second half last year as Pete Mackanin had them playing pretty damn well.

Dusty's track record does not suggest that he is the man who is best suited to create an environment in which those things are likely to happen, and for that reason I think he's a bad hire.


Jacob said...

I'm not a Reds fan, but I do follow them due to geographic location. I can't imagine there are too many managers who would have been a worse choice than Baker. Rebuilding with prospects is certainly not Baker's forte.

Jonathan said...

Dusty's Giants teams were consistently near the league lead in walks. And it wasn't all Barry Bonds. Jeff Kent developed more patience during his tenure with the team. Also JT Snow and Ellis Burks certainly fit into the power-and-patience profile.