From Fox Sports Ken Rosenthal:
Reds manager Dusty Baker continues to invite second-guessing with his handling of pitchers, recently using both closer Francisco Cordero and setup man Nick Masset for five consecutive days.
The Reds are out of contention. Cordero and Masset figure to play the same vital roles next season. Yet Baker, who is under contract for about $3.5 million in 2010, appears safe. Some of his coaches might not be, major-league sources say.
Pitching coach Dick Pole could be held responsible for the regressions of right-handed starter Johnny Cueto and reliever Jared Burton, but the Reds rank third in the NL in bullpen ERA, eighth overall.
Hitting coach Brook Jacoby, meanwhile, presides over an offense that ranks 14th in runs per game even though Great American Ballpark is one of the best hitters’ parks in the majors. Yet Jacoby, too, would be little more than a scapegoat Ã¢â‚¬â€ injuries and poor roster construction helped compromise the offense.
Never mind the Reds’ improved play of late. One scout offers a sobering conclusion: The Reds, headed for their ninth straight losing season, are nearly as depressing as the Pirates.
And ESPN’s Buster Olney said:
Just before I started this chat, I got off the phone with an evaluator who thinks that right now, among NL teams, the Reds might be the farthest away from contending. I’m not sure that I disagree. It’s amazing that next year, these four players are lined up to account for about 60 percent of their payroll (if they keep it in place)….Scott Rolen, Francisco Cordero, Bronson Arroyo and Aaron Harang. There is not a lot of future there, and Volquez is probably not going to pitch again until late next season or 2011.
Personally, I think unless you fire Baker, you’re just rearranging chairs….but what do you think?