Just sayinÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ on this one. There is no reason to believe that Baker actually is in trouble. He makes this list largely because he is in the final year of his contract.
On the other hand, the Reds expect to contend after adding a potential ace, right-hander Mat Latos, and two late-inning relievers, left-hander Sean Marshall and righty Ryan Madson.
Baker frequently draws criticism for his handling of pitching and occasionally is sensitive to questions about the RedsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ lineup, which lacks a legitimate leadoff hitter.
Still, how much can go wrong here?
The Cardinals should be weaker without Tony La Russa, Albert Pujols and possibly right-hander Chris Carpenter, who is out indefinitely with shoulder/neck weakness. The Brewers should be weaker without first baseman Prince Fielder.
Baker coaxed an NL Central title out of the Reds in 2010, and this might be his most talented group yet in Cincinnati. An in-season change is doubtful unless the Reds sleepwalk in the first half. But Baker, entering his fifth year with the Reds, could face an uphill battle for a new contract if the teamÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s season ends in disappointment.
I think that Reds management is looking to replace Baker. If they are struggling early on (say…Memorial Day, 4th of July at the latest), I wouldn’t be surprised to see them make a change. I don’t think they will let this team dig itself into a deep hole.
Baker wasn’t hired by Jocketty (though I do believe Walt extended him) and they pushed Rick Sweet out and moved David Bell in at Louisville for some reason. Also, don’t forget that Jim Riggleman is managing the inaugural season for the Reds AA franchise in Pensacola, if they didn’t think David Bell was ready.
No matter what, I think this team is going to have to win and win big for Dusty Baker to be back in 2013.