Some interesting comments from manager Dusty Baker regarding young 1B Joey Votto:

But early comments from Baker suggest the guard could change this year.

“What’s Hatteberg? Thirty-eight?” Baker said. “Votto’s the future here. I talked to Hatteberg about Votto. He thinks he’s going to be a heck of a player. He’s not conceding his position. … I think he understands to be part of the club that Votto might have to be a major part of it. It might be Votto’s time.”

It’s no secret that one of the major concerns over the hiring of Baker as Reds manager was that the Reds have a pretty good crop of youngsters, and Baker has a demonstrated aversion to playing young guys. That said, the above comments are encouraging. I love Scott Hatteberg, and he has become one of my favorite Reds, but it’s time for Votto to move into the starting lineup.

As for Baker, we’ll see how he manages once the season starts, but you have to admit that he’s mostly been saying all the right things since he was hired (well, except for that gibberish about Cory Patterson being a good option as a leadoff hitter). I disagreed with the hiring, but I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. We’ll wait and see….

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11 Responses

  1. Aaron B.

    Well today according to Lancaster Baker complimented both Majewski and Mercker two guys I DO NOT WANT in that bullpen come hell or high water. Mercker is 2 yrs removed from a so-so season where his numbers belied the fact he allowed a ton of inherited runners to score — not what you want from a lefty specialist. And Majewski… ah, need I even go there? The guy is a bum who will tease you in meaningless moments only to implode when the game is on the line. He’s killed us 2 yrs in a row and to allow it to happen a third time is totally unacceptable. I don’t know why he is still around except I think Krivsky wants to save face on that trade so he is hoping for a rebound which ain’t gonna happen.

  2. Aaron B.

    Weird it shows ZERO comments even though I left a comment. Well anyhow now I see in the latests Reds Notes that Majewski is a new man. They tried to pull this crap on us last spring also saying Majewski is finally healthy and bringing girl scout cookies to the clubhouse, etc. You know we are in trouble when they have a propaganda operation for the second year in a row designed to make us forget how god-awful Majewski is.

  3. daedalus

    hallelujah. i’ve been worrying myself into a frenzy because of what other people say about dusty rather than just being excited.

  4. GregD

    Which youngsters did Baker suppress? He has this reputation, but I’m having trouble coming up with names of guys who flourished elsewhere or in Chicago after he left? (looking at…do I need to go back to his San Fran years?)

    He managed Chicago from 2003-2006. 2003 was the first full season of starts from Mark Prior & Carlos Zambrano. Didn’t hold them back. Stuck with Corey Patterson, perhaps too long. Received Aramis Ramirez in 2003, stuck with him and saw him have a breakout season in 2004. Went with 23 year old rookie Ronny Cedeno over ’05 favorite Neifi Perez in 2006. Then 24-yr-old Matt Murton got a ton more playing time (508 PA’s) under Baker in 2006 than under Pinella (261 PA’s) in 2007. In 2005, Rich Hill had a 9.13 ERA in 23 innings, and Baker still gave him a half season worth of starts in 2006.

    Same names I saw with little playing time. Choi, Kelton, Dubois, Theriot, Coats. Meh. Those names aren’t comparable to players like Bruce or Votto. If he prefers Hopper to Dickerson that’s one thing. Hopper to Bruce is quite another.

  5. Chris

    “Meh” if you want, but Hee Seop Choi was probably a more heralded prospect than Joey Votto is. He got screwed around left and right for the likes of Eric Karros.

    Second, Aramis Ramirez had a couple thousand ABs by the time he made it to Chicago – he was hardly a “young player.”

    Third, you mention 2006, somehow implicitly giving Baker credit for finally realizing Neifi Perez was worthless . . . after 900 plate appearances with a sub .290 OBP.

    Other than that, I feel like I’ve had this discussion 4000 times since November, and while I’ll concede that Baker may not be entirely to blame for what went on in Chicago or SF, I’ll pass on arguing this one again.

  6. GregD

    I’m not arguing anything, yet. I’m looking for information. If this discussion (Baker’s path of destruction laid through the pool of talented youth) has been had in the past, link please? I’d like to go back and read it.

    I’m not looking for information on young arms destroyed or his views on OBP. I’m looking for other examples young prospects who didn’t get to play in favor of veterans, like the Choi/Karros example.

    I recall Choi being a big name, but the 28-yr-old been through 5 organizations in the past 5 years without any noticeable breakthrough.

    I’m not giving Baker credit re: Perez’s worth. I’m saying that he didn’t keep him in the lineup at SS over a 22-yr old prospect.

  7. Tampa Red

    Greg, you wont find any actual information on Baker stunting the careers of ACTUAL talented players. I’ve tried, there isn’t any.

    The best you will find is a bunch of “what could have beens” about guys like Choi and Murton, who haven’t been “suppressed” by Baker in quite some time, yet ain’t exactly thriving. In other words, they’re Brandon Larson.

  8. Brian

    I know this is slightly off topic but with the signing of Fogg and from what I am reading is that Volquez is pitching well in camp along with Cueto, does anyone know how Homer is pitching?

  9. GregD

    Baker gave Murton 140+ games in ’06. It’s Pinella who won’t play him.

  10. Fred

    Baker has had success in the past and has the experience to manage the young talent the Reds have to offer. It is crucial that he does not throw a young rookie like Votto in before he is ready. Young players need confidence and guidance from veterans to help along the way.

    I have also noticed they brought in some non-roster invites to spring training so there would be no lack of competition. Votto has the challenge of competing with former Yankee teammates Andy Phillips and Craig Wilson. Phillips was an unsung hero for the Yankees last year. He provided a stable bat while Jason Giambi and Doug Mentkavich battled injuries. He posted a .292 average with 25 RBIs in limited action. After struggling with the Braves Wilson is looking to bounce back with a solid spring campaign.

    The veteran intangible is there with Adam Dunn and Ken Griffey Jr. remaining in the clubhouse. The pitching staff is decorated with young talent and veterans that have the potential to be successful. After posting a disappointing 9-15 record, Bronson Arroyo, is looking to bounce back. A barrage of young talent is competing for rotation spots headlined by 22 year old Homer Bailey.

    The rebuilding of an organization is a long process. Yes, I do believe it starts with a manager and a solid farm system. These two factors are visible with the hiring of Baker and the emergence of young talent such as Votto and Homer Bailey. The Reds are making positive strides and could be a sleeper in the NL Central