Dusty Baker has been with the Cincinnati Reds now for four years and is in the last year of his contract. Of those four years, only one has been a winning season. That was 2010 when the Reds won the Central Division and were thrown a no-hitter by Phillies’ Roy Halladay.
Overall in four years, Baker’s record with the Reds is four games under .500 at 322-326. Coincidentally that is the exact record he had with the Chicago Cubs before moving to ESPN.
In 18 years he has won four divisional titles and one National League pennant.
So I would like to present you with a big question. Do the Reds have to win not only the Central Division flag, but the National League pennant as well, in order to keep his job?
Don’t answer just yet. Let’s talk for a moment, you and I.
Baker has always supposedly been a players’ manager. It is difficult to find a definition for that moniker in the Webster’s Dictionary.
Since becoming a manager back in 1993 with the San Francisco Giants, Baker has shown a proclivity to favor the veteran player over the youngster, at times seemingly without regard to the output. This definitely has been the case in Cincinnati.
There is nothing wrong with showing veterans respect, however it should be measured with a dash of statistics. Last year he showed that frequently in the left field quandary, continuing to play veterans Jonny Gomes and Fred Lewis over power-hitting youngster Chris Heisey.
I also noticed the tendency Baker has to not play the “hot hand”. For example if a man got four hits in one game, logic would dictate starting him the next game, yes? That is not the practice of Baker.
According to beat-writer John Fay it may not matter whether he wins it all or not. When asked the same question I posed to you earlier, Fay said, “Without question. Even if he does, I don’t think it’s a lock he’s back. The Reds didn’t make David Bell the manager at Louisville because they wanted Rick Sweet to work with catchers.”
A reader can interpolate that statement two ways. First, he could think that the Reds wanted Bell to get his feet wet at AAA – Louisville before coming to the Reds. Alternatively it could be construed as saying that the Reds moved successful Louisville manager Rick Sweet for a season to work with catchers prior to coming to Cincinnati. Who knows?
I do know that the success of Rick Sweet should not go unnoticed. He is the franchise leader at Louisville in career wins with 466.
At any rate, I am sure Baker can hear the footsteps behind him. If that would not be incentive enough, nothing would.
Fans have been hyper critical of Baker in the last few seasons. His constant chewing on toothpicks becomes easy fodder for sports writers to load up on.
One thing is for sure, he has the pitching staff that should be superb. He has a good to very good offensive club and probably one of the best defenses in the major leagues.
Win it all, or it has been nice knowing you Dusty.
What are your thoughts?