Cincinnati Reds General Manager Walt Jocketty has proved to be a man who loves familiarity.
Witness the fact that he worked in the Oakland Athletics organization for 14 years, the last nine of which was as Director of Baseball Administration. He left that job in October of 1994 and became the new GM of the St. Louis Cardinals.
After a nine-year association of working with then Oakland Athletics Manager Tony LaRussa, he was instrumental in bringing the manager to St. Louis for the 1996 season. They worked there together for the rest of Jocketty’s tenure which ended after the 2007 season when he was hired by the Cincinnati Reds.
There have been several acquisitions made by the Reds for some of Jocketty’s employees from St. Louis, the most obvious of course being third baseman Scott Rolen. There have been others as well including Jim Edmonds, Miguel Cairo, Edgar Renteria, and the latest being outfielder Ryan Ludwick.
With the retirement of LaRussa following the Cards’ winning of the World Series at the end of last year, it makes you wonder if Jocketty isn’t thinking about bringing Tony back when manager Dusty Baker’s contract expires after this season.
Baker had a successful 10-year run as manager of the San Francisco Giants which included his only pennant winning season of 2002. After that he managed the Chicago Cubs and now the Cincinnati Reds for four season each, with identical records – four games below .500.
Baker did turn the team around and surprised many by winning the National League Central Division title in 2010, their first playoff season in many years. He has had some good players with the Reds and many fans were devastated with their dismal finish in the 2011 campaign.
He has had the talent to work with and has been criticized widely for his personnel deployment. He has shown to have a penchant for playing seasoned veterans over younger players even though the statistics didn’t warrant it. He has also been charged by many for ruining the careers of then Cubs’ pitchers Mark Pryor and Kerry Wood by misusing their talent.
Does this mean that LaRussa could be looming in the Reds future? I don’t know, but I wouldn’t bet on Baker being back next year even if the Reds would win the World Series.
With Baker out of the picture and LaRussa doing time in the rocking chair, I would think you might see him preparing for a spring training in Goodyear next season.
What is your take on this?