Submitted without comment:

Dusty Baker knows that a lot of people in fan land would like to see Laynce Nix in left field.

“But the fans don’t make out the lineup,” Baker said. “Nix is going to play. Fans didn’t even know who Nix was when we got him. You’re not going to play him over Jay Bruce or Willy Taveras. That leaves left field. Who’s got more talent than Chris Dickerson? Last year, Dickerson was the fair-haired boy. People wanted me to play him every day against right- and left-handers.”

It’s a small sample but Nix has outplayed Dickerson so far. Nix is hitting .333 with a home run and three RBI in 30 at-bats. He’s 4-for-his-last-7 and has scored a run in his last five appearances. Dickerson is hitting .204 with a home home run and five RBI in 49 at-bats. Nix has no errors, Dickerson has three.

Baker tends to stick with players longer than fans would like. He won’t take a position away based on a small sample.

“I ain’t no front-runner,” he said.

Here’s a comment, though.

52 Responses

  1. Marty the Cynic

    “I ain’t no front-runner” HAHAHAHA

    More like, “I don’t do everything in my power to help my team win”

  2. Brett

    This is the first Dusty Baker story in the last 50 that hasn’t perturbed me. Fine to stay with Dickerson for now.

  3. Bill Lack

    Brett, I’m curious why….say “small sample size”? OK, let’s look at their minor league numbers:

    Dickerson: 6 seasons .260/.363/.415
    Nix: 9 seasons .280/.346/.481

    And that’s counting Dickerson’s ’08, which was not in alignment with the rest of his minor league career.

  4. Glenn

    Dickerson is not going to jumpstart this offense. Nix might.

  5. GregD

    So, Dusty is being too patient? But aren’t we all glad that Baker played Votto last year and didn’t bench him (or send him to AAA) for an extended period of time because of his slow spring?

    I think the compelling thing here is Laynce Nix. Someone who could be a mini-Hamilton. I think that’s what propels a lot of folks who are in favor of benching Dickerson.

    Is that a legit comparison and can Dickerson actually bounce back to somewhere in between what he’s done now and what we saw last year?

  6. GregD

    Who gets the callup if Gonzalez goes on the DL, like John Fay is predicting will happen…

    The only AAA batters on the 40-man roster are catcher Tatum and cathcer/utility infielder Castillo. Castillo is batting .208 on the season and .133 in his last 10 games.

    Unfortunately, Valaikia has not had a great start either.

  7. Andy

    Votto is not a good comparison. He might have had a slow spring, but once the season started he obviously the best choice to play first. I’ll give Dusty some credit for playing the younger guy, but Votto made his decision pretty easy.

    The problem with letting Dickerson find his stroke is that the rest of the offense is struggling as well. Left field is the one position where nobody really has claim to, so why not play the hot bat?

  8. Dan

    I think the silliest part of the whole comment is talking about Willy Taveras in the same breath as Jay Bruce, like he’s a no-brainer everyday starter in the outfield.

    Taveras (2009) – .262/.333/.333, 72 OPS+

    Taveras (career) – .282/.331/.337, 72 OPS+

    In the words of Dennis Green, “He is who we THOUGHT he was!” (To be fair, I do like Willy’s defense.)

    All in all, I’m starting to think I’d like to see a Dickerson/Taveras platoon in CF and a Nix/Gomes platoon in LF.

  9. Jimmy James

    What I love is that Dusty is saying that he isn’t going to take Dickerson’s spot away based on a small sample size.

    YET…the only reason Dickerson has a “spot” is BECAUSE OF A SMALL SAMPLE SIZE, i.e., last September. If Dickerson had fallen flat on his face last September, we wouldn’t be here right now.

    And nothing Dickerson has ever achieved should lead anyone to believe he’ll be anything more than a good 4th/5th outfielder. I don’t know why he is automatically assumed to be the best option in LF.

    Frankly, for most of his minor league career, he sucked.

  10. David

    The one thing which always gets overlooked (I will again play devil’s advocate) does anyone think that Nix has the numbers he does because Dusty is using his pinch hitters correctly during favorable matchups? Everyone is saying play Nix everyday, but really, I think he is perfectly suited for the role he has.

  11. David

    In the past three games, since Dickerson reverted back to a more upright batting stance, he is 3-11, with 2BB, 2 K and 1 R. He has a line of (.273/.385/.273). That is the smallest of sample sizes sure. Prior to that he was 9-44, with 7 BB, 11, K and 4 R. He had a line of (.205/.321/.341).

    The change in stance may mean nothing given it’s three games compared to 17, but IF and that’s a big IF the batting stance is what changed his production, and he maintains .273/.385 he is really going to help in the two hole.

  12. Sultan of Swaff

    I don’t see them calling up an infielder since we have Hairston and Janish. With the starters pitching well, there’s not much need for relief help, and the outfield is crowded. This will be interesting.
    Outside of Rosales, the steadiest bat in the minors so far has been Frazier. A cup of coffee might be in order.

  13. John

    “Left field is the one position where nobody really has claim to, so why not play the hot bat?”

    Well said. Let’s not forget that they’ve given LF to a platoon of a journeyman utility player and a guy with a mediocre minor league career. That’s a big enough sample size for me. We know what Dickerson and Hairston can do. We do not know if Nix can resurrect his career. Play the hot hand. Competition for the position will root out who belongs there, not running the same guys out there every night no matter what they do.

  14. Mr. Redlegs

    “Left field is the one position where nobody really has claim to, so why not play the hot bat?”

    Exactly.

    And now they have a fairly serious issue with Gonzalez out. The entire left side now consists of Rosales, Janish/Hairston and Dickerson/Hairston/Nix.

    Yeah, that’s a beauty of a AAA lineup.

  15. GregD

    1 year and 1 month ago there was talk of whether Votto would come North with the club, let alone be the starting first baseman. Baker fielded questions almost daily about Votto/Hatteberg and he rigthfully stuck with Votto even though Votto wasn’t hitting and Hatteberg was. And Hatteberg had spent the previous two years playing first for Cincinnati, hitting 300 with a 390 OBP. So it wasn’t like Hatte played his way out of the starter’s spot.

    I understand Votto is not Dickerson. My point is that Baker sticks with his players longer than a lot of past Reds managers would have. Boone would have had a different lineup every day. I don’t know that you see Votto in Cincinnati in April last year under other managers.

    His patient has paid off with Hernandez.

    His patience will pay off with Encarnacion (another example – fans are going crazy about benching Edwin and calling up Rosales to be the everyday 3rd baseman. Many don’t want Edwin to have his old position back.)

    Hopefully his patience will pay off with Phillips.

    In Dickerson’s case, we have a player that a lot of fans didn’t want to be the starter in the first place, and most everyone would agree that Hairston has no business out there. So I think a lot of the discord is not based on small sample size of Dickerson’s 2009, but a louder voice of dissapproval from those who disapproved in the first place, seeing that they were probably right and hoping that Baker realizes & makes a change sooner rather than later.

  16. Mark T

    It’s not a matter of “benching” someone – it’s simply going with a hot hand. Baker doesn’t do that. We saw that last year with Patterson. He gets it in his mind that someone is going to start producing, ignores the evidence, and sticks by his beliefs. Stubborn is good, but there’s a limit beyond which stubbornness becomes stupidity.

  17. Chad Dotson

    The one thing which always gets overlooked (I will again play devil’s advocate) does anyone think that Nix has the numbers he does because Dusty is using his pinch hitters correctly during favorable matchups? Everyone is saying play Nix everyday, but really, I think he is perfectly suited for the role he has.

    David, I am absolutely willing to agree with this. I think Nix is a great fit as a 4th outfielder.

    Unfortunately, the Reds don’t have a THIRD outfielder. On the Reds, Nix is the best option to start in LF (well, actually, Edwin Encarnacion is the best option, but that’s neither here nor there).

    If the Reds were to get a real left fielder, Nix would be best used in his current role. Chris Dickerson ain’t that left fielder.

  18. Chad Dotson

    And now they have a fairly serious issue with Gonzalez out. The entire left side now consists of Rosales, Janish/Hairston and Dickerson/Hairston/Nix.

    I just threw up in my mouth a little bit.

  19. preach

    I thought the whole purpose of using Nix/Gomes/Dickerson, etc was to see if we could catch lightning in a bottle for a few months? Doesn’t that define going with the hot bat?

    If we are seriously looking at 2010 as being our year, I would think that a healthy Nix who was a top prospect might be the better option for a bench spot than a guy who struggled for most of his long minor league career. I’m not so much looking at this year, because I don’t believe the Reds were, otherwise a corner outfield bat would have been signed. The question should be not who is better suited right now, but who will fit into the plans better next season?

  20. GRF

    Thing is, I generally agree with the substance of what Dusty is saying about not being too quick to make judgments a month into the season, or at least think he has defensible point, even if he is ultimately wrong on this call. But the way he goes about saying it, the shots at the fans and the demonstrably stupid arguments he makes takes away any inclination to give him the benefit of the doubt.

  21. Chad Dotson

    Great point, GRF. We’re always preaching “small sample size” and that’s kinda what Dusty is saying here. He’s right about that; he’s just wrong on the details of this particular situation.

  22. Chris

    GregD, I’m going to have to disagree with you on some of this.

    Baker fielded questions almost daily about Votto/Hatteberg and he rigthfully stuck with Votto even though Votto wasn’t hitting and Hatteberg was.

    Hatte and Votto each started 5 of the first 10 games last season. By that point, neither one of them was doing anything. Hatte: 596 OPS; Votto 471. Hatte, of course, was 38 and in the last year of his contract, and it turns out, his career. Votto was 25, the #2 prospect on the club, and coming off 89 PA of 900+ ball.

    Dusty, to his credit, handed the position over to Votto at that point. Aided, not doubt, by the fact that Votto hit .328 .369 .623 992 for the rest of April.

    Off the bench over the same time, Hatte did this: .067 .222 .133 356 (18 PA)

    So I don’t know that Dusty ever actually played Votto when he wasn’t hitting but Hatte was.

    My point is that Baker sticks with his players longer than a lot of past Reds managers would have. … His patient has paid off with Hernandez. His patience will pay off with Encarnacion . . . Hopefully his patience will pay off with Phillips.

    His patience with Patterson and Bako also cost this team A TON of ballgames. If you want to make comparisons, I think Dickerson is more like Patterson than Votto. And Dusty’s nonsensical justification sounds pretty familiar.

    Again, I really like Chris Dickerson. I dislike what Dusty Baker is doing to him, and this team.

  23. RiverCity Redleg

    I threw up in my mouth a little, too.

  24. Brendan T

    I wonder if Jocketty cries at night wondering how he went from LaRussa as his manager, down to Baker?

  25. Jimmy James

    Regarding “I ain’t no front-runner” ….

    has anyone collected all these Dusty-isms? We really need to put all of them together.

  26. EKyRedsFan

    Dusty is stubborn and bull headed. He can’t take criticism and he really can’t take fan criticism. He almost comes off as “elitist” when he addresses fan criticism. He thinks, I’m a former ballplayer, I know how things are done and all fans who don’t understand what I’m doing are idiots. I’m waiting for him to say, “I BATTED BEHIND HENRY AARON!!! I DRIVE A DODGE STRATUS!!!!”

  27. Bill Lack

    “I ain’t no front runner…” should be one of the possibilities for the back of the t-shirt…

    I don’t see Frazier getting a jump from AA…if an OF comes up, IMO, it’ll be Stubbs. .276/.364/.362 on the season (.382/.412/.467 in last 5 games). And he can play great defense…

  28. Matt WI

    Bill… I had the same thought about the front-runner quote. If there’s a free t-shirt up for grabs, I hereby note that I posted it first in the t-shirt naming thread this morning!

  29. GregD

    If we are seriously looking at 2010 as being our year

    I don’t think the front office is thinking this way.

    Dusty, to his credit, handed the position over to Votto at that point.

    Yes, even though Votto had hit worse than Hatteberg over the 1st ten games and throughout spring training. And Hatte had just had two good seasons with the Reds. How many managers make that move?

    What sort of things would we be talking about one year ago if Votto had had a poor April?

    I would agree that his “stubbornness” has also cost the team wins. And that it will probably cost the team more wins when he eventually sticks with Gonzalez and Taveras longer than he should.

    Thing is, I generally agree with the substance of what Dusty is saying about not being too quick to make judgments a month into the season

    I agree with this

    , or at least think he has defensible point, even if he is ultimately wrong on this call.

    I don’t think Dickerson has another full month. If his stance change doesn’t bear a fruitful May, then I’d expect Nix will be getting a lot more playing time by the end of the month.

  30. pinson343

    Yes, Mr. Redlegs, why not play the hot bat in LF ? That’s what good managers do in a situation like this. And Dusty calls it “front running.”

  31. Mark in CC

    Stubbs isn’t ready, plus you start his arbitration date bringing him up too soon, not even on 40 man yet.

    To be offended about a Bruce/Taveras comparison at this point is silly. Bruce hit .254 last year and is right about there now. Hopefully he will be the stud we think he will be but right now he compares favorably with Austin Kearns which isn’t a superstar and compares favorably with Taveras.

    Dickerson should be given the same leeway BP and EE get I guess my problem with it is, a week ago DB said he was going to sit down Chris for a few games to get his head together. What did that last part of one game. We yell at the front office about sticking with a plan, Dustu why don’y you stick with a plan?

  32. GregD

    Stubbs isn’t ready, plus you start his arbitration date bringing him up too soon, not even on 40 man yet.

    If Stubbs on the 25-man roster potentially makes this team better, then I don’t care about arbitration clocks 3 years down the road. That sort of thing came into play with owners past. I want the best 25-man roster this organization has.

    To be offended about a Bruce/Taveras comparison at this point is silly. Bruce hit .254 last year and is right about there now…and compares favorably with Taveras.

    ❓ I don’t see how you can compare the two at all and think that Taveras compares favorably with Bruce.

    Their AVG is about the same (WT slightly better), OBP about the same (JB slightly better), SLG in huge favor of JB by about .200 points.

  33. RiverCity Redleg

    I think Wilkin Casillo has the best chance to create Havoc, so he should get the call-up. 😀

  34. Mike

    Rusty can only ignore fanland for so long with this weak offense.

  35. jason

    “Who’s got more talent than Chris Dickerson?”

    That should also be included on the back of this ever crowded back of t-shirt race.

  36. John

    Redleg Nation: Ain’t no front-runner since 2005…

  37. GregD

    JHJ is in the lineup, batting 2nd and playing SS today.

    Willy Taveras CF
    Jerry Hairston Jr. SS
    Joey Votto 1B
    Brandon Phillips 2B
    Jay Bruce RF
    Adam Rosales 3B
    Chris Dickerson LF
    Ramon Hernandez C
    Edinson Volquez P

    Does Hairston have better range than Rosales?

  38. Matt WI

    More Dusty getting “deep” from the same McCoy article mentioned above:

    “If we’d just reverse our home record from 4-7 to 7-4, we’d be in first place. But we’re not, so we have to go home and work on it.” —

    There are a lot things I think we’d like to reverse about this team Dusty.

  39. GRF

    Did you see this quote from the McCoy article:

    “If we’d just reverse our home record from 4-7 to 7-4, we’d be in first place.”

    Too specific to be a t-shirt quote, but wow…

  40. Y-City Jim

    How come the talented Chris Dickerson got moved from the two spot to the seven spot in the order?

  41. Matt WI

    Blast from the past… I just happened to click on some of the “random posts” and followed a thread about the Volquez/Hamilton trade. I found this quote and thought it was appropriate for this thread regarding the outfield situation. This is what “John of Muncie” had to say last July 15th

    “Position players grow on trees. In 30+ years of following the Reds, I’ve never seen them have a shortage of power-hitting outfielders. They’re always short on pitching.”

    I’m not throwing the poster under the bus, just pointing out what a difference a year makes. The fact we have to debate Lance Nix, Darnell McDonald, Dickerson, etc…

  42. JerBear

    Hmm, I was hoping Phillips would move down to the 7th spot in the lineup. There’s about 4 guys I’d like to see hit 7th in our lineup. Not sure how we are going to manage that. Basically our lineup consists of a great number 3 hitter, 1 number 5 hitter (Bruce), and 6 seven and eight hole hitters….lot of numbers there.

  43. Brian

    well Hairston and Dickerson are both in the line-up so reds will probably get shut out tonight cause Dusty is being Dusty.

  44. David

    I have no problem with Hairston over Janish. Sure Janish would have to go into a 2 for 36 slump to match Hairston’s production on the year. However, Hairston has the more favorable matchups the next two games, especially on Wednesday. Hairston has a great history against Manny Parra (1.600 slugging in last 5 AB) and in his last three starts Parra’s fastball is getting lit to a tune of .417 avg. against. Meanwhile, Janish is slugging just .273 against hard throwing righties.

  45. David

    Greg – I think Rosales has a better arm than Hairston.

  46. John

    Matt WI: I’m that dude and I remember saying that. And yes, what a difference a year makes. Of course, at the time they had Hamilton, Dunn, and Griffey and Bruce in the pipeline. Dump the first three and replace them with Dickerson, Taveras, and Bruce, and well, you sort of get what you get.

    Wish things were different. Then again, there wasn’t a shortage of power hitters in this offseason. Walt just didn’t move.