A couple of days ago, we mentioned a couple of projections that had the Reds on the outskirts of wild card contention. Well, over at ESPN, Rob Neyer muses about whether the Reds can compete. I thought he summed things up pretty nicely:

There’s plenty of talent there for a reasonably productive outfield, but it’s impossible to know if Baker’s smart enough to put the puzzle together early enough to make a difference. …

These projections are just snapshots, based on solid statistical assumptions and questionable assumptions about personnel decisions. I do believe that the Reds have the talent on their roster for a solid season. Whether the luck and the management line up behind the talent … well, that’s your proverbial “known unknown.”

Indeed. Who trusts Dusty to utilize the talent effectively? Anyone?

20 Responses

  1. Luke Price

    I think it is a 40/60 chance the Reds are going to make the playoffs.

  2. MikeC

    I would love to see the Reds have a winning season, come in 2nd and contend for the wild card.
    The left side of the infield is improved vs. last year with Cabrera/Janish/Rolen. But I don’t see how the pitching is better with Volquez out. Maybe having anyone in center other than Willy is going to improve the team by 5-10 wins. Or the young talent contributes mightily. Here is a link to the moves Milwaukee has made in the off season to upgrade their pitching. Hard to believe the Reds pass both the Cubs and the Brewers in the standings.
    http://www.jsonline.com/sports/83078182.html

  3. Chip

    I think we’ll have a good idea opening day. If the top of the batting order is 8 Taveras, 6 Cabrera, you can count on having October free to focus on football again.

  4. Give em' a Chance

    Lets give Dusty at least this season before we call for his head. He pulled some surprisingly competitive teams out of a semi-unknown Cardinals squad a few years back. Maybe he could do the same this year here. Maybe…

  5. Drew Nelson

    So the Giants made it to the World series in spite of him? The cubs made the playoffs in spite of him?

  6. Drew Nelson

    The Reds can contend if everyone stays healthy, unlike some other teams, the Reds don’t have the reserves who can step in and lead like other teams have.

  7. preach

    “…but it’s impossible to know if Baker’s smart enough to put the puzzle together early enough to make a difference.”

    No, it’s not impossible to know the answer to that question. It’s really, really not…..

  8. Matt WI

    it’s impossible to know if Baker’s smart enough to put the puzzle together early enough to make a difference Neyer is officially one of my favorite writers just for putting that sentence together. He just puts what we all know right out there— without having to worry about the next press conference like the beat writers.

  9. TC

    @Matt WI: You nailed it. Mark, C Trent, and John probably all feel the same way. All in all, I like Dusty. But sometimes…. he says and does things one wouldn’t expect. Sometimes ideas from brainstorming sessions should stay private.

  10. Mark in CC

    A competitive/winning/playoff mix season will be determined by the three #1 Draft Picks on the roster and the three vets Cabrera, Rolen and Hernandez need to play 125 games each. Bruce must come close to his potential (.285/30/90). Stubbs must have a solid year (.270/10/65/ 375OBP). And Homer Bailey must also live up to his press will Volquez of 2008 numbers.

    If those things happen and Volquez can give them a lift by August 15 then it will make Dusty’s role irrelevant, because he won’t be able to screw things up.

  11. Jason in Toronto

    Dusty might be the first manager fired. April firings happen, don’t they? Has anyone ever been let go in spring training?

  12. earl

    I think we COULD have finished over .500 last year with just better use of the lineup, using our best players at all times and using the bullpen here and there with a bit more wisdom (aka don’t get greedy with your starter and then bring in ‘he who shan’t be named’ with Albert Pujols coming up with the bases loaded and 1 out).

    I think the perception of Dusty Baker’s prowess as a manager, while greatly diminished now, was built on the fact that he had Jeff Kent and Barry Bonds in their prime juiced up and ready for action. You don’t have to be a genius to score runs with those two guys in the middle of the lineup.

    If injuries don’t befall us and the pitching is there again, we should be decent at .500 level or a few games over. If the pitching is there and Jay Bruce and Votto turn into all star caliber players, at least one of the young outfielders leading off does his job and Rolen has a late career resurgence (which happens) I could believe we could win the division. That is a whole lot of ifs, so we will see.

  13. Travis G.

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/dont-let-cincy-surprise-you

    “On the position player side of things, the Reds stack up well with just about any team in the National League. And while the pitching staff lacks an ace, the quartet of Aaron Harang, Bronson Arroyo, Johnny Cueto, and Homer Bailey are far from disastrous. As a group, they’re roughly league average. Micah Owings is coming off a bad season, but of course, makes up for some of his problems on the mound by hitting well, and few teams have a reliable #5 starter anyway.

    “I guess I’m just surprised at the level of, well, surprise surrounding talk of the Reds as contenders. They have some good hitters, some good fielders, and some good enough pitchers. They were nearly a .500 team a year ago while wasting at-bats on the likes of Willy Taveras, and he’s thankfully been excised from the roster.

    “The Reds have the makings of a pretty good team in 2010. We shouldn’t be all that surprised to find them right in the thick of things come September.”