I think we’ve been pretty fair to Dusty Baker. After a blast of initial skepticism, we’ve been willing, if not eager to give the guy the benefit of the doubt. I’ve been surprised at how few gripes I’ve had, given the team’s lousy record. Hell, we didn’t even say a word about this.
But this Corey Patterson thing…
I kept waiting for Baker to come to his senses, or at least to offer some sort of crazy theory to justify giving 21 leadoff starts (in 39 games) to a guy with a .252 OBP. WHAT IS HE THINKING?
Somebody finally asked (via Fay):
Baker was asked if he’s thought about moving Corey Patterson down in the lineup.
“Yeah, what makes it kind of rough is you don’t want to me [sic] left-handers in a row,” Baker said. “That’s what I’m trying to stay away from. He’s going to get going. Guys usually end where there (career) average is. . . we don’t have a bunch of speed. You need speed, especially in close games.”
Patterson is hitting .196 with a .252 on-base percentage. He has five steals but he’s been caught three times.
That’s a crap answer. I’m sorry, but it’s crap.
Baker expects Patterson to basically match his career .296 OBP over the long season – yet he thinks that’s okay for the leadoff spot?
He also wants Patterson in there because Patterson is fast? Despite the fact that his SB success rate is abysmal?
And somehow Patterson’s lefty-tude makes him the right option for the leadoff spot?
What about Ryan Freel? Or even Norris Hopper? Both solve the alleged righty/lefty problem, fill the “speed in close games” void, and also happen to fill the primary goal of any hitter – not making outs all the freaking time.
Baker is knowingly — admittedly!! — choosing his leadoff hitter based on what are probably about the 7th and 8th most relevant qualifications. That’s like picking a car based on the cup holders. Dusty is being willfully obtuse on this point, and it’s pretty ridiculous. It doesn’t make him a terrible manager, but it is terrible managing.