In a comment below, Bill pointed to this article at Fox Sports by Ken Rosenthal, entitled “Baker has to conserve Reds’ young arms.” It’s a good piece, and certainly worth a read. Some excerpts:
Dusty Baker will be paid approximately $3.5 million per season during his three-year contract with the Reds, major league sources say.
Some might suggest the contract should include pitch counts for the Reds’ top pitching prospect, right-hander Homer Bailey.
Upon hearing the Reds were about to hire Baker, one rival scout joked, “Playing in that ballpark, they might need a 14-man staff.”
That ballpark is hitter-friendly Great American Ballpark. The scout was referring to Baker’s questionable bullpen management during his tenures with the Giants and Cubs.
Baker has drawn criticism for overworking starters, hence the possible concern over Bailey. The Reds, though, evidently were satisfied with his explanations for the physical breakdowns of Cubs righties Kerry Wood and Mark Prior — and yes, they did ask, according to sources….
Still, progressive clubs rarely entrust the care of young pitching solely to their managers, and the Reds might want to institute “Homer rules” just to be sure….
Griffey, too, is entering the final year of his contract, and youngsters such as first baseman Joey Votto and outfielder Jay Bruce are ready to emerge. Baker always has preferred veteran clubs, but surely he grasps what he is getting into.
If there is a single biggest concern I have over the hiring of Dusty Baker as Reds manager, this is it. With Homer Bailey and Johnny Cueto on the horizon, the Reds need to do everything in their power to decrease the chances of injury. Baker’s history on that point is not good at all.
I’m encouraged that the Reds are aware of Baker’s history, and I can only hope that they’ll have him on a short leash where Bailey and Cueto (and Maloney, et al) are concerned. Also, I hope they’ve made it clear to him that the youngsters must play.
I’m still very disappointed in the hiring. Baker’s history indicates that he is exactly the opposite of the type of manager the Reds should have been seeking to hire. Unfortunately, we’re stuck with him now, so we just have to hope for the best.