Daily Archives: October 15, 2012

October 15, 2012

Reds extend Baker

Dusty Baker talks to Walt Jocketty before a game in 2011No sooner do I put up a post suggesting that the Reds and Dusty Baker should part ways for the sake of his health than the Reds announce they’ve re-upped for another two years.

The timing of this announcement is not well thought out. People are still pretty pissed off at Baker and the Reds in general. Hearing “2 more years of the same!” is a message that will sound pretty good in a few months, but just makes my head want to explode right now.

And I pray he doesn’t really die of a stroke on the field next season.

Here’s the press release:

The National League Central Division champion Cincinnati Reds and field manager Dusty Baker have agreed to terms on a 2-year contract extension through the 2014 season.

The formal announcement will be made today at a 3:00 p.m. press conference at Great American Ball Park by Reds President and Chief Executive Officer Bob Castellini and President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Walt Jocketty.

“In Dusty’s five seasons here he’s taken us to the Postseason twice and has proven he can lead our teams to championship-caliber play on the field,” Castellini said. “He’s the right manager to continue the building process that will take us deeper and deeper into the playoffs in the future.”

Baker, 63, in October 2007 originally was signed by the Reds to a 3-year contract through the 2010 season, then in October 2010 received a 2-year contract extension through 2012.

The 2012 National League Manager of the Year candidate led the Reds to the playoffs twice in the last 3 years to become only the third skipper to lead the club to the Postseason more than once (Bill McKechnie, 1939, ’40; Sparky Anderson, 1970, ’72, ’73, ’75, ’76). The Reds’ 97-65 record in 2012 was the second-best in the Major Leagues.

He is 419-391 (.517) in 5 seasons with the Reds and 1,581-1,432 (.525) in a 19-year Major League career that includes 5 division championships with 3 teams, including the San Francisco Giants (1997, 2000), Chicago Cubs (2003) and Reds (2010, 2012). He ranks 19th on Major League Baseball’s all-time victories list and ranks sixth in wins in franchise history.

Baker already has been named NL Manager of the Year 3 times by the BBWAA, twice by The Sporting News and once by The Associated Press. He also finished second twice, including in 2010 by a single voting point.

October 15, 2012

Rational reason Baker should go

With the Reds making another early exit from the post-season this year, the call for Dusty Baker’s head has arisen again. (Not that it ever really stopped. Such is the plight of the major league manager.)

Dusty Baker walking through the outfield at the Washington Nationals parkIt’s no secret that we here at RHM were enraged when the Reds hired Baker. For one thing, the owners apparently had their fingers crossed behind their backs when they promised to do a thorough manager search, since they couldn’t print a contract fast enough for the first person who stumbled through the door. For another thing, Baker had just finished tanking spectacularly with the Cubs.

But, over the time he’s been with the Reds, Baker has actually improved. You wouldn’t think that a guy his age, who has been in the business long enough to think he’s got everything figured out, would be able to change his long-held beliefs. And yet, when was the last time you heard this guy say anything about walks clogging bases?

That being said, the team’s performance in those last 3 NLDS games highlighted some of the weaknesses many people attribute to Baker:

  • difficulty creating a good line-up
  • poor in-game decisions
  • poor bullpen management

There’s an old chestnut in baseball: you fire the manager because you can’t fire the whole team. In this case, though, no one would want to fire the whole team. A few retirement candidates, sure; maybe a Drew Stubbs or two, yeah; but most of this team is really good. Between this paragraph and the last one, there are lots of reasons people want a new manager.

There’s one compelling reason for Baker to move on, though, that haven’t heard people talking about: the dude had a STROKE.

Yes, it was a mini-stroke, and yes, it shouldn’t have caused any permanent damage. But he’s 3 times more likely to have a real stroke in the next year after having the mini-stroke, if the website I looked at is at all correct. The man has a young son who needs his father. Maybe the priority ought to be on staying alive for a while.

Since Baker’s contract is up after this season anyway, it would be very easy just not to renew it so he can focus on his health and his family. Make the guy welcome in the clubhouse, maybe even give him a different role. He’s obviously a helluva nice guy that has a lot to contribute, so keeping him around in a role without the stress of people constantly tearing him down might be really beneficial for everyone.

It sure would be a lot more graceful and dignified than having to replace him mid-season after he collapses while walking out to argue a call at the plate.