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Dusty Baker given a vote of confidence

Aug 6, 2009, 9:57 AM EDT

Last night’s spectacularly unexpected start from Justin Lehr notwithstanding, the Reds are in freefall. They’ve lost tons of games — they’re 5-22 since their high water mark on the Fourth of July — their putative ace is gone until 2011, and they’ve made trades that are perplexing to say the least. In such situations, a high-profile, expensive veteran manager tends to be in serious danger because, hey, anyone can lose with these guys, so why not do it with a cheap organizational soldier at the helm? That’s not an option currently on the table in Cincy, however:

Reds CEO Bob Castellini said Wednesday that manager Dusty Baker’s job is safe.

“Absolutely,” Castellini said.

He said Baker will be back for 2010 – the final year of his contract – as well.

“Absolutely,” Castellini said.

The Reds had lost eight straight and 14 of 15 games going into Wednesday’s tilt with the Chicago Cubs. They were tied for last place in the National League Central with Pittsburgh.

“The team has not quit,” Castellini said. “They are still playing hard.”

Contrary to a lot of the stuff you see written about him, Dusty Baker is not a bad manager, and the extreme positions people take to that end are kind of silly. Baker has done well with veteran teams and has served as a stabilizing clubhouse presence. He is underrated in that regard, as that skill (i.e. serving as a stabilizing presence) is itself underrated.

Dusty has not done well with young and developing teams, however, and for that reason is he is probably ill-suited to be the Reds’ manager. It’s not urgent or anything — the manager is not going to be the difference between winning it all and losing in Cincinnati in the next year or so — but if I were Bob Castellini I’d investigate buying out the last year on Dusty’s deal and finding a young teaching manager to keep around until the team has a plausible case for contention.

  1. Omega in Colorado - Aug 6, 2009 at 11:03 AM

    Don’t the bosses usually give their manager/coach/whatever the big vote of confidence before they fire them?

  2. Brad in Orlando - Aug 6, 2009 at 12:25 PM

    As a Reds fan, ownership needs to realize that we are sick and tired of a bad product. We lose, lose, and lose some more. Put something out there that we can be proud of. And yes, FIRE Baker.

  3. Dave in Chicago - Aug 6, 2009 at 3:58 PM

    As a Cubs fan, the Reds are starting to see what we saw a few years ago. “In Dusty we Trusty” is the theme if you have an established team, but he’s not particularly good with a developing team with a lot of young players. Ryne Sandburg is being groomed to be Lou Pinella’s eventual replacement and he’s excellent with young talent. If the Reds really wanted to show they’re serious, they’d make him an offer he couldn’t refuse(though as a Cubs fan I’d hate to see this happen).

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