Frequent commenter Steve noted the following in last night’s game thread:
Chris Welsh: Ã¢â‚¬Å“The Reds are just a better team now. Scott Rolen is better at third base. Drew Stubbs is better in center field. Paul Janish is better at shortstop.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Welsh is absolutely correct. And it’s yet another data point in the ever-increasing “Why Dusty Baker Should Be Fired” column.
I was not (and am not) in favor of the Scott Rolen trade, but there’s little question that the Reds are better right now with Rolen in the lineup than they were with Edwin Encarnacion. The other two players mentioned are more interesting, however.
Drew Stubbs and Paul Janish have been light-years better than their predecessors, Willy Taveras and Alex Gonzalez. It has been a sheer joy to watch Stubbs and Janish field their positions at an elite level after watching Taveras and Gonzo all year long.
Make no mistake, however: Dusty Baker deserves absolutely no credit for putting Stubbs and Janish in the lineup. None. Dusty has done everything in his power to keep crappy players in the lineup at CF and SS all year long.
If the Reds hadn’t traded Gonzalez and Jerry Hairston, and if Taveras hadn’t gotten hurt, Janish would still be on the bench and Stubbs would be in AAA. Dusty Baker has had no interest whatsoever in playing either player until they were forced upon him as an option of last resort. Janish has been the forgotten man on this roster, and we all know how Dusty did contortions to protect Taveras, defend him from criticism, and keep him in the leadoff spot.
When you hear people talking about how good it is that the Reds are giving some young guys a shot, you can agree with that sentiment. Just don’t give Dusty any of the credit. If anything, thank GM Walt Jocketty for trading dead weight like Gonzo and Hairston (although Uncle Walt still deserves the blame for the Taveras fiasco).
This is yet another example of how Dusty Baker is standing in the way of this team’s progression.