Tag: Dusty Baker

Dusty Baker Comments on Potentially Changing Lineup After Bryce Harper’s 6 Walks

Washington Nationals manager Dusty Baker doesn’t plan to change his lineup after reigning National League MVP Bryce Harper reached base seven times without recording a single hit on Sunday.   

“I thought about it hard and long, but a few days doesn’t merit you switching it up,” Baker said, per Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post. “If he had gotten one hit one of those times, you wouldn’t be asking me this today. Not yet.”

The Chicago Cubs walked Harper 13 times during their four-game series against the Nationals, with six of them coming in Washington’s 4-3 loss Sunday in 13 innings. Harper went 1-for-4 in the series with one RBI.

The Las Vegas native has hit 10 home runs and bats third in the lineup. Third baseman Ryan Zimmerman is normally the cleanup hitter, but the veteran has batted .236 this year.

Baker was also asked about moving the newly acquired Daniel Murphy to the No. 4 spot. Murphy leads Washington with 45 hits and is batting .395, but having a left-handed bat follow the left-handed Harper could cause issues late in games, according to Baker.

“What happens if I switch it up against this team, and they have three left-handed relievers in the bullpen, and they can bring in their lefties to take care of my two guys that are hot in the fifth, seventh and ninth, and only use three guys out of their bullpen?” Baker said, per Janes.

The Nationals came into Monday at 19-12 and trailing the New York Mets by a half-game in the National League East. It’s too early for Baker to consider a lineup change since the one he has currently resulted in wins, and Harper won’t be walked six times every game.

If it becomes a constant issue, then Baker should consider moving Murphy up just to ensure instant offense near the top of the lineup. Zimmerman’s struggles at the plate have been well-documented the last two years, and he’s not a capable run producer at this stage in his career anymore. 


Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com.

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How Important Is an MLB Manager, Really?

Managers matter, except when they don’t.

Everyone in baseball can tell a story of a manager who turned around a team, from Sparky Anderson and later Jim Leyland with the Detroit Tigers to Buck Showalter with the Baltimore Orioles and Joe Maddon with first the Tampa Bay Rays and then the Chicago Cubs.

And, perhaps, Dusty Baker with the Washington Nationals.

The Nationals fell in 2015 at least in part because Matt Williams was their manager. They rose this April at least in part because Baker is their manager now.

As MLB Network’s Jon Heyman tweeted recently:

Managers matter, except when they don’t.

For every story of a team that won because it found the right manager, there’s a story of a team that won in spite of its manager. Every player who has been around long enough has been on a team where someone said, “Let’s keep the manager out of this.”

In other words, let’s play well enough so that the manager can’t mess it up.

A few years back, when a group of scouts were sitting around discussing the worst managers they’d ever seen, one veteran scout (and former big league manager) trumped them all. Who was the worst he’d ever seen?

“I can’t say,” he shouted. “Because he won a World Series.”

He never did say, but the others in the room believed he was talking about Bob Brenly, who won the 2001 World Series with the Arizona Diamondbacks and thankfully left for the television booth a few years later.

But even if teams can win with bad managers, it’s a lot easier to win with a great one. The great ones do make a difference, although even the great ones fail if they don’t have talent on the field.

The Nationals have talent, and they were (eventually) smart enough to understand a manager like Baker could help that talent thrive.

How many wins will Baker be worth? It’s a great question, one asked all the time but still really has no good answer.

A manager has no real numbers on his record other than wins and losses. But how many of those wins should be credited to him?

What is it worth to make the right move more often than the wrong one? More than that, what is it worth to create a clubhouse atmosphere that allows talented players to thrive rather than one that stymies any talent that exists?

“You can’t quantify it,” Miami Marlins reliever Craig Breslow, who has played 11 years for 10 different managers, said. “You just have to appreciate it. You have to appreciate that he plays some role.”

Breslow‘s current manager is Don Mattingly, brought to Miami by owner Jeffrey Loria because he was convinced Mattingly could make a difference. The Marlins lost 10 of their first 15 games but are now 13-12.

Even when they were losing, Mattingly was getting credit for the better feeling in the clubhouse.

“It’s a wonderful vibe,” Loria, who so far is declining any more comment on his manager and team, said.

Mattingly has preached accountability to his players and stability and consistency to them and everyone else. The Marlins will need every bit of that and more now as they deal with second baseman Dee Gordon’s 80-game suspension for the use of performance-enhancing drugs.

Mattingly walked into the Marlins clubhouse with the credibility that comes with a playing career that fell just shy of a Hall of Fame level and a managing career that included three consecutive division titles with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

In Miami, he replaced Dan Jennings, who was liked by the players but not necessarily respected for his managing skills. Jennings replaced Mike Redmond, who replaced Ozzie Guillen, who replaced Edwin Rodriguez, who replaced Fredi Gonzalez, who…well, you get the idea why stability and consistency mattered to Mattingly when he took over.

With Baker and Mattingly taking over teams that have underachieved before, the 2016 National League East race exists as almost a lab experiment for the “How much do managers matter?” question.

The Nationals added second baseman Daniel Murphy last winter, and the Marlins added Opening Day starter Wei-Yin Chen, but it’s no reach to say that with both teams, the most significant switch was in the manager’s office.

Mattingly won in Los Angeles. Baker won in San Francisco, Chicago and Cincinnati.

“I believe in Dusty Baker,” Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips said. “All he’s going to do is make that team better. We loved him. I wish he was still here.”

Baker lost his job in Cincinnati after three quick postseason exits in four years. With the Reds in full rebuilding mode now, he might not be the best fit there, anyway.

He’s a perfect fit with the Nationals, who have the kind of star players Baker thrived with in San Francisco (Barry Bonds), Chicago (Sammy Sosa) and Cincinnati (Ken Griffey Jr., Joey Votto).

Already, the Nationals are seeing it.

“Dusty Baker squeezes out the most talent from each and every individual we give him,” general manager Mike Rizzo told Hal Bodley of MLB.com. “His use of the bench and the way he handles the veteran players, giving them days off when they need them, is a marvel to watch.

“Dusty Baker has been a breath of fresh air.”

Baker is an old-school baseball man, and Rizzo is a GM with a heavy scouting background. But even front offices with strong analytics bents have come around to the idea that the manager matters.

They’re not just “middle managers,” as New York Mets GM Sandy Alderson was quoted calling them in Michael Lewis’ Moneyball. And while there are teams whose front offices take over some of the manager’s traditional duties (making out the lineup, for example), that’s not the case now with every analytics-heavy team.

“The manager runs the team,” Houston Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said. “If the GM is spending time worrying about the lineup, he’s not worrying about the things he needs to.”

Luhnow hired A.J. Hinch to manage the Astros last year, and the result was the team’s first postseason berth in a decade. While Hinch obviously shouldn’t get all the credit for it, Luhnow is happy to give him some.

“A manager sets the tone in the clubhouse from day one,” he said. “That makes a difference.”

Even Alderson has changed, or at least has given a different explanation of what he said two decades ago.

“Middle managers are important,” he told Steve Kettmann for a story in the New Yorker. As Kettmann wrote: “The field manager’s role, [Alderson] added, remains pivotal in an era of exploding data. … The contemporary manager has to process reams of information and back up decisions with an informed thought process he can explain both to his players and his bosses.”

Alderson could be describing Showalter or Maddon or Bruce Bochy, all of whom get votes when baseball people debate the best managers in the game today. One American League executive said Showalter and Maddon are so good that opposing teams feel a need to prepare to face them as well as their talented players.

Still, Showalter‘s Orioles finished 81-81 last year, a distant third in the American League East. Maddon‘s Tampa Bay Rays went 77-85 in his final year there. Bochy‘s San Francisco Giants finished 10 games under .500 in 2013, the year in between their last two World Series titles.

Baker isn’t a sure thing to win this year with the Nationals. Mattingly isn’t certain to win with the Marlins, either, and his task got a whole lot harder with the Gordon suspension.

But Mattingly wouldn’t be in Miami and Baker wouldn’t be in Washington if those teams didn’t believe a manager could make a real difference. Few in baseball would argue against the idea that he can.

Yes, managers matter. And guys like Mattingly and Baker are already making a difference early in 2016.


Danny Knobler covers Major League Baseball as a national columnist for Bleacher Report.

Follow Danny on Twitter and talk baseball.

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Potential Brandon Phillips-Dusty Baker Reunion Would Be Big Benefit for Both

Brandon Phillips might soon be headed to the Washington Nationals. That’s good news for Phillips, good news for manager Dusty Baker and quite possibly good news for the Nats themselves.

The deal isn’t done yet. But on Tuesday, Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reported the Nationals “are discussing” a trade with the Cincinnati Reds that would send the veteran second baseman to the nation’s capital.

Baker, of course, was Phillips’ skipper for six years with the Reds, and the two were close by all accounts. Now, Baker has a chance to add an ally and trusted lineup cog as he takes the reins of a team in need of a serious course correction.

As for Phillips, a trade to Washington (or anywhere) would get him out of a strained situation in Cincinnati. Phillips is a fan favorite and three-time All-Star, but his relationship with the media and teammates has been rocky.

In 2013, Phillips launched into an expletive-filled tirade against a reporter in Baker’s office. That same year, an unnamed clubhouse source questioned Phillips’ loyalty to the team, per Hal McCoy of the Dayton Daily News.

“You can’t tell by Brandon’s face whether we won or lost,” the source told McCoy, “but you can tell if he went 0-for-4 or 2-for-4 no matter if we won or lost.”

That raises the legitimate question of whether Phillips would jell with the Nationals. They got a bitter taste of clubhouse acrimony last season, which culminated in the ugly dugout scuffle between closer Jonathan Papelbon and MVP outfielder Bryce Harper.

Do they really need another player with a reputation as a malcontent?

Well, that’s where Baker comes in. Criticize him all you want for his noted aversion to analytics. Chastise him as a “clog-up-the-bases” luddite. And by all means shake your head at the tone-deaf comments he made to reporters about domestic violence in the wake of the Aroldis Chapman incident.

The one thing essentially no one denies about Baker is that he’s an excellent players’ manager. He babysat Barry Bonds and Jeff Kent in San Francisco and handled Sammy Sosa in Chicago. Surely he can juggle the egos in the Nats’ locker room.

Having Phillips in his corner might make that task a little easier. And assuming Phillips isn’t a distraction off the field, he should be an asset on it. 

Yes, he turns 35 in June. But he’s coming off a solid season that saw him play 148 games while posting a .294/.328/.395 slash line with 12 home runs and 70 RBI. And while he may not live up to his four-time Gold Glove pedigree, he was still good for five defensive runs saved in 2015, per FanGraphs

With Ian Desmond likely to walk via free agency, Yunel Escobar traded to the Los Angeles Angels and questions about the readiness of touted prospect Trea Turner, the Nationals need stability in the middle infield.

Phillips doesn’t fill the shortstop void left by Desmond, obviously, but he could provide a veteran ballast if Turner gets the Opening Day nod or allow Danny Espinosa to slide over to short as a placeholder. 

The Nationals, as Bleacher Report’s Zachary D. Rymer argued, are in unambiguous win-now mode with Stephen Strasburg hitting free agency next winter and Harper almost surely following him in 2018. Unless Washington is willing to open the vault, both players could leave. 

So the focus needs to be on constructing a winner now and atoning for last season’s epic collapse. It won’t be easy with the defending National League champion New York Mets now positioned as the class of the NL East.

As an added bonus, however, Phillips owns strong career numbers against the Mets, including an .863 OPS. 

Phillips is owed $13 million next season and $14 million in 2017. He also has a full no-trade clause but could ask for an extension or pay increase in return for waiving it, as Rosenthal noted. At the same time, Rosenthal added, “The Nationals should be in a flexible position financially—they recently offered free-agent outfielder Jason Heyward $200 million over an undisclosed number of years.”

Phillips isn’t Heyward, not even close. But with top free-agent options like Ben Zobrist off the board, he looks like a fit at second for the Nats. He’s definitely a fit with Baker.

And as the old saying doesn’t quite goIf the trade fits, make it.


All statistics and contract information current as of Dec. 15 and courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted. 

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Dusty Baker to Nationals: Latest Contract Details, Comments and Reaction

After missing the MLB playoffs in 2015 and parting ways with manager Matt Williams, the Washington Nationals named three-time National League Manager of the Year Dusty Baker as their skipper on Tuesday.

The Nats made the announcement on their official Twitter account. On Wednesday, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported Baker’s contract is for two years, $4 million guaranteed with incentives that could be worth up to an extra $3 million. 

According to Amanda Comak of Curly W Live, Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo believes the 66-year-old Baker is the ideal hire to lead the franchise to its first World Series:

I am so pleased to welcome Dusty Baker to the Nationals family. In getting to know Dusty and identifying what we wanted in the next on-field leader of our team, we are excited to have him on board.

Dusty’s experience, as a winning player, coach and manager, is vast and varied. We are excited to bring him to Washington and put his steady demeanor, knowledge and many years in the game to work in our favor. I think I speak for the entire organization when I say I am very much looking forward to working with him.

Baker took to Twitter to express his excitement at the chance:

On Thursday, Baker explained why he decided to take the position in Washington.

“My son gave me a whole list of Nationals shirts and jerseys he wanted,” Baker told reporters. “It was my wife and my son that really helped me make up my mind to accept and take this job. I knew I had their total blessing, and they knew I had a burning desire.”

Baker also said the Nationals are his “fourth and final team,” adding Washington has “the best talent” of any of his stops.

The Nationals were previously in negotiations with former San Diego Padres manager Bud Black, but according to Nightengale, talks broke down when the team made a lowball offer of $1.6 million for one year.

There will be some questions regarding whether Baker is the right fit since he is an old-school manager who doesn’t rely solely on analytics or statistics, per Grant Paulsen of 106.7 The Fan:

However, Baker boasts 20 years of experience on his resume and a 1,671-1,504 record (.526 career winning percentage) along with seven trips to the postseason.

He managed the San Francisco Giants from 1993 to 2002 and won the 2002 National League pennant. He then took over the Chicago Cubs from 2003 to 2006 and led the franchise to the 2003 National League Championship Series, coming within one game of the World Series.

Baker last managed the Cincinnati Reds from 2008 to 2013 and took the team to the playoffs in 2010 for the first time since 1995. The Reds fired Baker despite winning 187 games in his final two years in Cincinnati, and the team has struggled since.

That said, Baker has not made it out of the first round of the playoffs since the 2003 campaign and doesn’t have a championship during this analytics-driven age.

Bomani Jones of ESPN.com acknowledged Baker isn’t the perfect manager, but it is hard to ignore the former player’s career accomplishments:

The Nationals are in win-now mode with plenty of experience in the locker room and some of the best talent in the league, and Baker is a veteran leader.

If he can establish long-term stability and consistent playoff appearances in Washington, it will be an improvement from what fans have seen in recent years.

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Dusty Baker: Your Cincinnati Reds World Series Window Is Closing

Dusty Baker‘s sweet tooth for giving guys chance after chance to prove themselves capable of a role which are not well suited has driven a many Reds‘ fan mad. There are times where conspiracy theories pop into our heads. “How is owner, Bob Castellini paying these doozy contracts?”

Bingo! He is in cahoots with Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, and West Virginia psych wards.

Patience is a luxury for teams in a neutral or rebuilding plan—not for a team that falls into the “Win Now!” category. And especially not for a ball club who has been in that mode going on three consecutive season. If something’s not working, one normally tries to fix it.

When your number two hitter, shortstop Zack Cozart, has an on-base percentage .031 points lower than the 2009 Reds’ lead-off man Willy Taveras, it’s time to tinker the lineup and hope to find an attractive alternative.

Say you have a slop pitcher in the pen who is hittable as a punching bag—like Logan Ondrusek. A sane team would take advantage of their minor league system and look for a more viable option.

Baker, year after year, has shown faith in lackluster players for remarkably extended periods of time. During his tenure as Reds’ skipper only once has he pulled a quick trigger; last season inserting Aroldis Chapman in as closer in place of Sean Marshall.

Cozart is an excellent glove at short. In no way is this advocating his removal from the starting lineup. But where do you see great fielders with low lumber numbers bat? Before the pitcher in the eight-hole—assuming you have no worse sticks.

Solution: Move Xavier Paul into the two slot against righties. Against lefties lead-off with Derrick Robinson and bat Shin-Soo Choo second. The results may or may not be better, but it’s at least worth a squint.

Will the ever-stubborn Reds’ manager try this? Not likely. Reds’ fans may see the Robinson/Choo experiment, but Baker’s bizarre phobia of placing lefties back-to-back in the line-up would surely prevent Paul batting after Choo.

As far as Ondrusek is concerned, ship him to Louisville and give Chad Reineke or Justin Freeman a ticket to the Queen City. Or just take a flyer and point and click. Anyone has a better chance than Ondrusek.

It was exciting to see Ondrusek start the year in AA Pensacola. That thrill died when it was greeted with the news that the only reason he was down there was to work with a pitching coach who had helped harness his control during his journey to Cincinnati.

If a pitcher needs help from a minor league coach after three unspectacular seasons in the majors, he most likely is not ready to don a big league uniform.

Noah Webster defines insanity as, “great folly; extreme senselessness.” Many people define it as, “Doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result.” Both cases fit Dusty Baker like a well worn Rawlings.

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Preview, Predictions for 2013’s First Cardinals-Reds Rivalry Clash

Once the Cardinals finish up their West Coast swing through Arizona and San Francisco, they’ll find themselves smack-dab in the middle of a duel against their fiercest competition for the NL Central crown, the Cincinnati Reds.

Over the last few seasons, this has developed into a bitter rivalry.  David Schoenfield of ESPN said in 2011 the Cardinals and Reds has become the best rivalry in baseball.  

There have been some tense and exciting moments over the last few seasons between these two teams. From Brandon Philips igniting the fire with his inflammatory remarks over Twitter a few years back to the infamous brawl that ended backup catcher Jason LaRue’s career, this rivalry has taken on a life of its own.

Now fast-forwarding to 2013, the NL Central race will most likely come down to the Reds and the Cardinals.  

The Cardinals have not started off the 2013 campaign the way they had hoped.  Ace Adam Wainwright did not pitch well on Opening Night in Arizona and the Cardinals fell, 6-2, to the Diamondbacks.  

After playing well in game two of the series and taking down the D-Backs 6-1, the bullpen killed the Cardinals in game three, blowing four leads before losing in 16 innings, 10-9.

On Friday, the Cardinals’ left their bats in Arizona and were blanked by the Giants, 1-0.

The Reds, on the other hand, have started out the season well. They have posted a 3-1 record and taken two-of-three from the offensive juggernaut known as the Los Angeles Angels, to go along with thrashing the Nationals in their series opener, 15-0.

Last season the Cardinals held a slight advantage against the Reds with an 8-7 record. This season, the Cardinals will need to improve upon that record if they want to win the NL Central. They will need to create separation from the Reds by winning the head-to-head competition.



Game 1 Pitching Matchup


The first game of the series features Jaime Garcia against Mat Latos.  Garcia pitched very well against the Diamondbacks in his first start this season.  As he starts the home opener for the Cardinals, fans should know that Garcia has a 8-2 record in his career against the Reds in 11 career starts.

Latos will have to face his demons in Busch Stadium.  He is 1-3 there with a 13.50 ERA  Hopefully for Cardinal fans, that trend will keep up.  


Game 2 Pitching Matchup


In Game 2 of the series, the Cardinals will send Lance Lynn out to face Bronson Arroyo.  Lynn hasn’t seemed to overcome his postseason demons from last season.  He only lasted four innings in his season debut and gave up four runs, walking three and serving up a home run.  

Arroyo has made 31 career starts against the Cardinals and posted an 8-13 record with a 4.56 ERA. In 2012, he was 1-1 with a 4.15 ERA when pitching against the Cardinals.  



Game 3 Pitching Matchup


Jake Westbrook will lead the Cardinals into the final game of the first 2013 series against the Reds. He’ll be opposed by Homer Bailey.

Westbrook owns a 3-2 record agains the Reds in his career in nine starts.

Bailey hasn’t pitched very well against the Cardinals in his career.  He has a 3-7 record with a 5.00 ERA in 13 career starts.  That said, Bailey shut down the Nationals’ lineup in a 15-0 shellacking on Friday night.  He allowed two hits and no runs in six innings of work.


Game 1: With the Reds hitting the ball like they have a vendetta against it, it will be tough for Garcia to keep them in check.  

However, he is quite capable of doing so and with the Cardinals’ success against Mat Latos, game one should go to the Cardinals.

Game 2: I don’t have much faith that Lance Lynn will get out of the fourth inning against the Reds’ prolific offense.  He hasn’t had much luck in 2013 between spring training and his first start of the season.  

If the Cardinals’ offense doesn’t show up against Bronson Arroyo, it could be a long day for the Cardinals and their bullpen.  Game two goes to the Reds.

Game 3: If Jake Westbrook can get his sinker to do what it is capable of and the Cardinals can get to Homer Bailey early, it could be a good day for the Redbirds.  

With the way Todd Frazier (.471 batting average, three home runs at time of writing) and the Reds’ bats have come out of the gate, it will be a tough assignment for Westbrook. 

This one will be a tossup.  Whichever club strikes early will probably get the win.  Neither Westbrook nor Bailey are prone to make it past the sixth inning, so it will come down to the bullpens.  Both clubs are expecting their bullpens to be a strength this season, and this will be an early test.  

With the history that has been built over the last few seasons between these clubs and the lack of love for one another, it should be a great series to watch.  

Hopefully there will be some fireworks to set the tone for the rest of the season when these two clubs hook up down the road.

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Ranking Every Move by the Cincinnati Reds During Busy Offseason

The Cincinnati Reds are looking to win the National League Central and make a deep playoff run in 2013, so it’s time to evaluate the team’s offseason moves.

For the second straight offseason, the team stayed put at the winter meetings. Just like last year, the Reds made some major moves after the meetings wrapped up.

Aroldis Chapman will try to move from closer to the rotation, but that move won’t be evaluated because of his impact as closer. However, it could end up being the biggest decision of the offseason.

Cincinnati had three glaring needs entering the offseason: leadoff man, center fielder/left fielder and adding to the bench. A reliever was also part of the list, but the team had bigger needs to fill.

It’s unclear if third baseman Scott Rolen will return or retire, but it would be a good addition if he accepted a bench role. He’s a clubhouse leader and is still a great defender. Having him mentor Frazier can only help the team. It would rank among the best moves of the offseason if he returns.

Most of the roster stays intact, so the Reds are in great position to make a playoff run in 2013. The offseason moves should only enhance the team’s chances next season.

So what was the most important move of the offseason?

Feel free to make an argument for any moves that should be swapped. 

*Stats are from ESPN.com

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Cincinnati Reds Manager Dusty Baker Reveals He Suffered a Stroke Last Week

Cincinnati Reds manager Dusty Baker said on Tuesday that he suffered a “mini-stroke” on Friday, according to Mark Sheldon of MLB.com.

As Sheldon reports, Baker was admitted into a Chicago hospital last Wednesday and diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat. He suffered the stroke as he was being released from the hospital on Friday.

Reds bench coach Chris Speier is expected to manage the club through the Pittsburgh Pirates series on the weekend. Baker hopes to be ready for the Reds’ closing series to the regular season against the St. Louis Cardinals from Oct. 1-3.

The 92-61 Reds have already clinched the NL Central this season under Baker’s guidance after going 19-11 in August. It marked the second time the Reds have won the division since Baker took over in 2008.

As a three-time NL Manager of the Year, Baker has certainly earned his stripes. He won the award three times with the San Francisco Giants (1993, 1997, 2000).

Baker was also a two-time All-Star as a player, winning the World Series in 1981 with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Reds certainly are hoping for an expedient recovery for Baker so they can get ready for the playoffs this season. As one of only three teams to have eclipsed 90 wins so far in 2012, Cincinnati is definitely not a club to take lightly. 

Contrary to past years, the team’s pitching (3.40 team ERA) has helped it soar this season, as starting pitchers Johnny Cueto, Mat Latos and Bronson Arroyo have been particularly solid. Closer Aroldis Chapman has saved 35 games for the Reds.

If Baker can fully recover by the time the postseason hits, don’t be surprised if the Reds do some damage and go on a run with that pitching staff.


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6 Reasons Dusty Baker Should Win NL Manager of the Year

Despite the ups and downs during his time as manager in Cincinnati, Dusty Baker deserves to win the 2012 National League Manager of the Year.

After narrowly missing out on the award when he led the Reds to the NL Central title in 2010, Baker should receive some recognition for his work with the team this season. 

He is in the last year of his contract, but John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports owner Bob Castellini wants Baker to stick around for years to come. The manager deserves an extension because the team is closing in on its second division title in three seasons. 

Baker is a player’s manager, which is great for the clubhouse. The team always looks loose and does not press too much. His managing style is a big reason for the team’s success.

Like him or not, there is no denying how much the players like him. Respect for a manager goes a long way in the majors, and Baker has him team playing great baseball since the All-Star break.

The Reds currently own an 11-game lead on the St. Louis Cardinals. When the team finally clinches, fans should realize the adversity the team has overcome this season. Baker should be rewarded after the season by being named the NL Manager of the Year.

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Cincinnati Reds: The Hot Corner Must Be Todd Frazier’s to Lose

Unless you gave up on the Reds after their 4-8 start, you are well aware that this team has hit a stride.

Not only have we seen the usual heroes like Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips and Jay Bruce, we’re also starting to also see a bit of a youth movement.

Devin Mesoraco has found a little pop in his bat and young guys in the pen like JJ Hoover are joining in on the fun, but the one name who stands out over all these young men is third baseman Todd Frazier.

Frazier, who has earned the nickname “The Toddfather,” is on a roll and fits in very well with this Reds team. With the injuries to Scott Rolen and Miguel Cairo, Frazier has gotten his opportunity and has run with it for miles.

The issue at hand is when or if Rolen returns to Cincinnati, how does Reds manager Dusty Baker use these two? Better question: will he continue to be Dusty and favor his veterans?

What I was referring to is it’s no secret Baker loves his veterans on the field. Sometimes it works out—example: Ryan Hanigan getting more starts than Devin Mesoraco—and then we see some tough ones, like the Ryan Ludwick and Chris Heisey scenario.

According to baseballreference.com, Rolen has had 101 plate appearances where he is 16-for-92 (.174 AVG) with two home runs, 11 RBI, seven BB and a .238 on-base percentage.

Frazier, on the other hand, coming into Tuesday’s game had 81 plate appearances where he is 20-for-76 (.263) with five home runs, 11 RBI, five BB and a .297 on-base percentage—oh, and so far through five innings in tonight’s game is 2-for-2 with a double, triple, two RBI and a run scored.

We’ve all wondered before if Baker believes in playing the hot hand or just prefers to have the guys who have been there before.

Baker at one point recently said that he felt Rolen was looking good coming off the bench…hmmm.

I’m not intending on bashing either Baker or Rolen here by any means, but we can’t deny that Frazier is a big part of this team’s recent success. He may not have the glove that Rolen has, but he is a fairly decent fielder also.

I think it’s time the Reds continue to play their future, and Frazier is in fact the future at the hot corner. What are your thoughts?

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