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.

23 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. Y-City Jim

    I am just waiting to see what Baker is going to do when Taveras comes back. Does anyone doubt that he is going to reinsert him into CF and the leadoff spot?

    If this team were to open next season with this lineup with the signing of, at least, a LH power bat to platoon with Gomes, they could make some noise in the NL Central. This is the best defensive team they have put on the field all season.

  5. John

    My guess is Walt is waiting to see what Dusty does when Taveras comes back. Front runner or not, Stubbs is putting up better numbers all over the diamond at a fraction of the cost. Dusty will try to play him, but I bet Walt eats or trades the contract before spring training. This is the same GM who got rid of AGon and Hairston, addition by subtraction.

    Also let’s not forget the Reds are kicking ass with a rotation held together with duct tape and chewing gum wrappers. Justin Lehr comes out of nowhere, Homer shows signs of getting it together, Arroyo has been lights out (fortunately), and then there’s Kip Wells. There are real reasons to be optimistic about this team. Dusty Baker is not one of them.

  6. John

    Reading back over that, it looks like I’m saying Kip Wells has done something. Not so much. Maybe today?

  7. pinson343

    Taveras’ being on the DL was in part a decision by WJ. WT did crash into the OF wall hard, but as I recall, after a day or two off, he played for several days afterwards. And nothing was said about his aggravating the injury.

    I don’t believe the injury is mythical, but on the other hand, if it were up to Dusty, Taveras might be out there “playing” thru it.

    It’s true that WJ wanted to keep Stubbs at AAA, but when he felt Stubbs was ready, he had him called up and put Taveras on the DL. At the very least, WJ realized Taveras was playing hurt, yet Dusty was running him out there every day, and it was time to put an end to that nonsense.

  8. pinson343

    I do believe that Rolen has had a very positive impact.

    But I like EE, his not blossoming with the Reds was a disappointment. The coaches and management always praised his hard work, I don’t see how he could have hurt the clubhouse atmosphere.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. Kurt Frost

    Don’t even joke about that. The Reds are winning even thought their manager does what he can to keep them from winning.

  12. 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.

  13. Dan

    I think Encarnacion was quiet, and hard on himself when he didn’t do well (which he didn’t this year). That was my impression from afar.

    Rolen is an upgrade, I am sure (though I think we overpaid to an embarrassing degree in the trade)… I’m confident we’re better at 3B now than we were a couple months ago.

    But it does irk me to hear Edwin criticized so harshly as if he was a clubhouse cancer or something. I really don’t think he was that.

    Imagine being a quiet person, going to a different country where you don’t know the language well, and doing your job pretty poorly in front of thousands of people nightly. I don’t think I’d be bubbling over with positive emotions either.

  14. 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?

  15. Dan

    Anyway… this thread is about Dusty, and I’m so frustrated with him I’m tired of talking about it. Is there another manager in the game who’s more set in his ways and behind the times?

    And he’s one of the higher paid managers in the game, if I’m not mistaken!

    What does he do that is better than a bargain-basement manager? Serious question! What are we getting here for our extra investment?

    Dusty is symptomatic of our problem as an organization. We have limited resources, but seem to be just TERRIBLE at deciding where to “splurge.”

    We splurged on Dusty so we wouldn’t need to have Mackanin (or whoever). For what advantage?

    We splurged on Taveras so we wouldn’t have to have Dickerson in CF. Why?

    I could point to Cordero too, who I think we paid WAY too much for, but at least he has been good.

    Anyway, the common thread is that we overpay to get someone “established” even if they’re established to be BAD! It’s mind-numbingly risk-averse, to take known badness over uncertainty. It really is tiring to root for a team that does this so often.

  16. 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.

  17. brublejr

    Dusty is an idiot, doesn’t know how to groom young players, and lives off a reputation that was only made because of one player. Had he not managed Bonds, he would never had gotten more than one job in the ML’s. There are many good managers that never get a fair chance, then there are guys who live off their name not matter how bad they are.

    Also, I was wondering the other day with that Phillips nonsense, who has more crap fall out of their mouth when they talk, Dusty or Phillips. If either one is talking, I am not paying attention because 95% of the time it is nonsense.

    Dusty is a horrible manager, and this organization will not be able to move forward as long as he is involved with them.

  18. pinson343

    (16) “Dusty just is not a good judge of his own players and their abilities.”
    Amen. That really sums it up, as it applies not only to who’s playing and who’s not, and the lineup, but also to in-game strategy.

    WJ is a pretty bright man. There’s a good chance he’d like a new manager in 2010. His swaying Castellini might be a long shot. We can hope anyway.

    BTW I was a Dusty supporter in 2008. But this year has been too much.

  19. Steve Price

    I still think it all goes back to the series in Chicago when Castellini went and talked with Cubs GM Bob Hendry and found out that Dusty will play whom he wants, best choice or not, until the choice is taken away.

  20. 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.

  21. pinson343

    If Cueto goes longer than 85-90 pitches tonite, I’ll be upset.

    It was asked above whether we’ll be a better team with Bruce back. We definitely will, unless he bats under .150 or so. Nix is out so we have Sutton (last nite) playing against tough righties. Bruce’s home runs and defense alone make him better than Sutton.

    Stubbs and Bruce playing alongside one another in the OF will be a thing of beauty.

  22. pinson343

    Steve, How do you about the Castellini/Hendry conversation ? Doesn’t this mean that Castellini has developed serious doubts about Dusty ?