Frequent commenter Steve noted the following in last night’s game thread:

Chris Welsh: “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.”

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.

9 Responses

  1. Kurt Frost

    I agree 100% and as much as it pains me this is why I won’t be making the drive back up I-71 until Baker is gone.

  2. Glenn

    With regard to Stubbs, WJ bears a great deal of the responsibility of him not being called up earlier. Jocketty said time and time again that he wanted Stubbs to spend an entire year in AAA before any call up.

    As for Stubbs himself, isn’t it nice to see a guy in CF who looks like he actually wants to be there. WT just gave me a bad vibe from the day he put on that uniform.

  3. broadwaydave

    agreed. dusty has done nothing but hold these kids back. meanwhile, the reds continue to be a fundamentally weak team, e.g. gomes’ inability to get the runner in from third with less than one out last night. those kinds of things are chronic with this team and that’s the manager’s fault.

    as for the rolen trade, i’m on record (elsewhere) saying it was a sneakily brilliant move in that it does the following:

    1. removes dead weight and clubhouse poison (Encarnacion)
    2. installs great defense, still solid offense and a stellar clubhouse presence at third base.

    i promise you, rolen is going to teach these kids how to hit and how to win (e.g. jonny gomes production since rolen came over). as for stewart and roenicke, well, as far as i can tell stewart is still a minor league pitcher (no guarantees as far as future production) and roenicke has been shelled in nearly every outing for the jays.

  4. doktor

    Y-City Jim @4, if Dusty runs WT out there to CF at the 1st opportunity, i think i may look like the guy in your avatar.

    Regarding WJ leaving Stubbs down at AAA, no problem with that give the kid as much experience as possilbe. I rather not move them too soon but when deemed ready enough. My issue, like others have stated, was the Reds had options to at least platoon with WT in CF in Dickerson or Nix but it rarely happened.

    i knew Janish was being ignored on purpose when earlier in the season A-Gon needed a “rest” and Hairston was slotted to start at SS but then had to replace CF and Dusty put A-Gon back in over Janish. He was doomed to be last guy playing in Dusty’s eyes.

  5. Redsfanx

    I never thought Baker was the right manager for the Reds, but the owner wanted a big name and gave McKannin no consideration. We’re stuck with Baker thru next year and if the Reds compete, Castellini might extend his contract.

  6. broadwaydave

    i never thought encarnacion added much value to the team. he’s terrible defensively and inconsistent at best at the plate. and while “clubhouse poison” is admittedly not an entirely apt label, he certainly didn’t provide anywhere near the leadership that rolen will.

  7. Mark T

    I doubt that EE was “clubhouse poison”. I remember when a beat writer criticized him last year for being so dour, his team mates came to his defense, saying he was a nice guy to be around – that his on-field demeanor was not indicative of his total personality.

    Question: Will this be a better or worse themwhen Jay Bruce returns?

  8. JerBear

    It’s hard to argue these points. I can kind of understand not bringing up Stubbs earlier. His minor league numbers weren’t too impressive. He struck out a ton in the minors, and I still fear that if he starts out next as the everyday CF that his offensive numbers won’t be any better than Taveras’ numbers.

    The problem was Dusty kept putting him first in the lineup. Sure, he had few options, but they had to have had better options then Taveras and to keep batting him in the leadoff spot showed his lack of judgement.

    I agree with the Janish point too. Playing Gonzalez day after day, especially in a lost season, was just ridiculous.

    I said before that if a GM gives Dusty a good veteran team he is a decent manager. But that could probably be said for many managers.

    But the criticism of Dusty that I, my father, and many others have always seemed to believe is that he is a terrible judge of talent. Just cus you played the game doesn’t mean you can coach it, or be successful as a GM or owner. Look at Michael Jordan.

    Dusty just is not a good judge of his own players and their abilities.

  9. broadwaydave

    will dusty baker not be satisfied until he ruins every young pitcher in baseball? not only is he pushing homer past 110 pitches every start he is now on record saying that cueto could have gone longer than 85 pitches on tuesday and he expects him to go longer tonight. for the love of everything that’s good, the man must be stopped.