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Walt Jocketty stays, but it’s time for Dusty Baker to go

Sep 23, 2011, 5:56 PM EST

Dusty Baker Reuters

Sure, they’ve dealt with some injuries, but the 2011 Reds have most certainly underachieved.  Playing in what’s arguably baseball’s weakest division, Cincinnati is likely to finish with a sub-.500 record for the third time in four years under Dusty Baker.  Baker is currently 319-323 at the helm of the Reds.  It gives him the same .497 winning percentage he had during his four-year stint with the Cubs.

So, it’s time for Dusty to go, again.  His handling of the Reds’ pitching staff has left much to be desired this year.  His lineups are problematic.  And he’s simply not winning.  The Reds’ have outscored their opponents by 17 runs this year, yet are currently 76-80.

Baker hardly deserves all of the blame.  It’s not his fault that the only Reds pitcher to make 30 starts this year was the extremely disappointing Bronson Arroyo.  It probably wasn’t just his call to stick with Edinson Volquez as long as he did.  Also, Scott Rolen‘s injuries and ineffectiveness left the Reds minus a key bat they really had no one to replace.

However, Baker just hasn’t helped.  He kept moving Drew Stubbs out of the leadoff spot because of all of Stubbs’ strikeouts, ignoring the fact that Stubbs kept scoring runs anyway (69 in 94 games, which works out to 110 runs in 150 games).  He overworked setup man Logan Ondrusek, who went down with a strained forearm in August and hasn’t been the same since returning.  He stuck with Jonny Gomes in left field, even though Gomes was far from the team’s best option against right-handers.  He actually turned Paul Janish, whose only asset was his glove, into a utilityman so that Edgar Renteria, whose only asset was his… ummm… leadership, wouldn’t have to play anywhere other than shortstop.

Bringing back GM Walt Jocketty was the right move for the Reds.  I’m not sure I’d say Jocketty has been outstanding since coming over from the Cards, but there’s certainly been more good than bad.

Baker’s positives don’t outweigh the negatives, though.  The Reds have no reason not to make a change after such a disappointing campaign.

  1. hep3 - Sep 23, 2011 at 6:05 PM

    “He kept moving Drew Stubbs out of the leadoff spot because of all of Stubbs’ strikeouts, ignoring the fact that Stubbs kept scoring runs anyway (69 in 94 games, which works out to 110 runs in 150 games).”

    I guess Dusty should have borrowed Joe Morgan’s unused copy of Moneyball.

  2. foreverchipper10 - Sep 23, 2011 at 6:48 PM

    Matthew,

    You say Jocketty hasn’t been outstanding but there’s certainly been more bad than good. Did you reverse those? If you are endorsing his return that just seems contradictory.

    • Matthew Pouliot - Sep 23, 2011 at 7:13 PM

      Whoops. Glad somebody caught that. Thanks.

  3. dailyrev - Sep 23, 2011 at 6:58 PM

    I mentioned this (probably here) back in June or July when the Pirates were still stomping them: this team has all the hallmarks of a badly-managed group. Which is not, of course, the same as saying: “Baker’s a bad manager.” The point then and now was: Baker seems to be the wrong guy to manage this team, which desperately needs a pitching and defense oriented mgt. team now, both in the dugout and the GM’s office. The model I’d point to for a team on the borders of contention is Toronto, which is more clearly moving in the directions that the Red need to aim for. The Reds are lucky that they’re in a much softer division than the J’s, so they’ve got that going for them if they’re willing to make some tough decisions.

  4. contraryguy - Sep 23, 2011 at 10:39 PM

    Yes, it is time for Dusty to go. But who’s out there to replace him? The Reds have been a graveyard for would-be skippers from within the organization. 2 of the 3 teams that needed a replacement this year went to the senior buffet line at lunch to get their guys (ironically, they’re the last two guys to have winning records with the Reds, not counting part-timer Pete Mackanin).

    Good managing is almost as rare as good pitching, maybe more so. Ditch Dusty, but take your time finding the right guy, Reds. Please.

  5. firemarshal1 - Sep 24, 2011 at 1:09 PM

    Dusty’s coaching rein in Cincinnati is done. His coaching style and effectiveness is gone. The players need new coaching leadership. The players are not responding to him anymore like In Chicago. How about somebody like Mike Schmidt, who’s from Dayton, Ohio. A Hall of Framer from Ohio. Just a suggestion.

  6. metalhead65 - Sep 26, 2011 at 2:38 PM

    dusty needs to go but so does jocketty! what has he done to make the reds a better team?oh wait he signs washed up ex-cardnials because they played for him st. louis. baker is just an idiot and there is no defending him.his constant changing of the line ups is the big reason the reds took a step back this year. how do you not play a guy who hits 3 homers in a game the next night/ who else does not play top prospects everyday when the season is lost? the reds go into next year not knowing who the left fielder will be or the third baseman. they are depending on rolen making a full comeback but wouldn’t it be smarter to go with the younger fransisco? rolen is always getting hurt and making him the backup will lesson the chance of him being out weeks at a time. and the way baker mishandles pitchers is without precedent. yea it was real smart to stick with arroyo even though he was getting pounded every start because he was so weak from not having time to recover from mono. plus he always went an inning to far with his young pitchers taking them out a inning to late when it was obvious the guy was gassed. but no we get to look forward to another season of the same inexcusable decisions that walt and dusty make.

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