2008 Reds / Reds - General

Invasion of the “Dusty Guys”

Per Rosecrans (and first seen at Red Reporter), the Reds have signed Corey Patterson and Jerry Hairston, Jr. to minor league deals. Unsurprisingly, both played for Dusty Baker with the Cubs. Unsurprisingly, both stunk.

Hairston, 32 in May, put up a Castrolicious line in Dallas last year (.189, .249, .289 in 184 PAs), while Patterson, 27, did only slightly better in Baltimore (.269, .304, .386 in 503 PAs). Between the two of them, they have 2 partial seasons (of 18) with an OPS+ over 100.
Rosecrans interviewed Krivsky. Here are the parts that don’t make you want to pull out your hair:

We wouldn’t have signed them if we didn’t think they could help us, whether they can make the team or not, that remains to be seen. We’ll see what kind of shape they’re in. Both said they’ve stayed in shape over the off-season, but they haven’t seen live pitching for a while and will need a couple of days before they get into games.

No promises or guarantees have been made to either guy.

I honestly don’t see the point, given the other guys they have in camp. How are they going to sort through Bruce, Freel, Hopper, Dickerson (guess not), Patterson, and Hairston (and get Dunn and Jr ready). And I admit to always looking for hidden (nefarious) implications whenever Dusty Baker is involved. But if it will make Baker feel better about starting Jay Bruce if he “beats out” a veteran for the CF job, then I guess I can live with it.

Fay has a reasoned take on Patterson:

a no-risk, high-reward deal. The guy’s only 28, he can run and he has pop.

But he’s got to get his on-base percentage up — way up — to be effective. The Reds say he made strides last year.

His on-base percentage was .333 after the All-Star Break. That’s not Rickey Henderson. But it’s vast improvement over his career mark .298.

The light goes on for guys at different ages. I remember thinking trading for Brandon Phillips was a silly move. They had Tony Womack, Rich Aurilia and Ryan Freel to play second after all. That worked out pretty well.

26 thoughts on “Invasion of the “Dusty Guys”

  1. Actually now he isn’t a better option. At least Hopper has a history of getting on base.

    But the point remains that Jay Bruce should be the CF for this team until her proves he can’t do the job. It may be Castellini time if his front office doesn’t have the balls to tell Baker enough is enough!

  2. Between these “Dusty signings” and his comments about Bruce’s durability, it seems clear that Jay will start the season in Louisville.

    Again, Baker shows why he is exactly the wrong manager for this team.

  3. “Glut of outfielders”, huh? I thought Jerry Gil was making such progress all over the field, infield and outfield. Keppinger can play outfield as well. I get the feeling that the injury talk around Bruce was all for the point of bringing in these guys. I am not as down on Patterson as some, but with Bruce, Hopper, Freel and whatever other bench guys we have we should be good in CF. Yuck.

  4. I don’t mind the Patterson deal–minor league invite, he could potentially work as a 4th outfielder/CF platoon (nice knowing you Farney). We got him for peanuts, so he was undervalued. His K/BB ratio is trending better and he’s only 28–maybe he IS starting to get it. Problem is, he hits better vs. lefties, so a platoon wouldn’t make sense. At worst we have a huge speed threat/pinch hitter w/ pop on the bench. What I do mind and don’t trust is Dusty’s ability to play the right people. As you know, he’s in love with veterans, so the rotation and bullpen roster decisions will probably piss me off royally. Honestly, if I lived down there, I’d buy season tickets to Louisville (AAA club) before I’d buy them in Cincy. We’re sitting on 4 of the top 50 prospects in baseball, they’re all on the cusp, and he’s gonna cockblock ’em. Hairston is a joke……and a juicer.

  5. Dusty quote from Fay’s blog:
    Does this mean Jay Bruce isn’t going to make the club: “No, didn’t say that. I don’t leave open ended sentences. I say what’s on my mind. No, no, not at all. Bruce is a tremendous talent. This guy’s going to be a star for a long time – long time. You don’t know if the time is right now or not. But if I didn’t think he had a chance to make this club I sure wouldn’t be playing him as much as I have. He’s got more at-bats than anyone on the team.”

  6. I lurk more than I post, but this signing makes me sick to my stomach. Does this mean Hairston is filling in for Gonzalez instead of Kepp? Does this mean Patterson and Hairston at the top of the order?

    In ’05 (the last season both Patterson and Hairston were on a Baker run team) they were the most common leadoff men in that lineup (according to Baseballreference.com). Patterson was given 451 ABs with an OBP of .254(!) and a SLG of .348. Hairston got 380 ABs with a slightly more respectable OBP of .336 and a SLG of .368. The Cubs won 79 games that year. Patterson was by far the worst regular (OPS+ of 54). Hairston had an OPS+ of 82, but at least he beat out Neifi Perez. Note that this would have made them the worst regulars on our team last year (Hairston was a bit better than Ross offensively, but defensively it isn’t even close).

    Looking at that reminded me of the Baseballmusings.com lineup analysis tool. I did a quick and dirty comparison using last year’s numbers to compare two lineups:

    Lineup 1: Patterson, Hairston, Phillips, Griffey, Dunn, Votto, Encarnacion, Ross, Pitcher

    Lineup 2: Hopper, Keppinger, Phillips, Griffey, Dunn, Votto, Encarnacion, Ross, Pitcher

    The same lineups, swapping Patterson and Hairston with Hopper and Kepp. The Hopper and Kepp lineup was almost a FULL RUN better (4.311 versus 5.091). I know this shocks none of you, but it just goes to support what a poor decision playing these two would be.

    I sure hope Chris was right and that these two were brought in to make Baker “feel better” about our young guns beating out these more experienced guys.

    I wonder if Hairston is still on the juice. We haven’t had controversy in Cincy in awhile.

  7. Of course we need another left handed outfielder. I agree with you Sultan, I don’t mind Patterson as a fourth OF. That gives you great speed off the bench and a defensive replacement, but as you alluded to, I’m afraid Dusty will see him as the starter, and Bruce in AAA so he can play regularly. The advantage Farney has over Patterson is his ability to play infield and he’s a righty, which we need off the bench. Could the man-love for Hopper be an effort to make him more attractive for some kind of deal, or does everyone think we are done with that until after the season starts?

  8. Look at the lineup for todays Indians game. Substitute Ross for Bako, and probably Hopper for Freel, and I’m betting that is our opening day lineup.

  9. You said it, Preach. I think all this may be a prelude to some other deal. After all, Krivsky is the quintessential tinkerer, always scooping up bargain players and rolling the dice for another “goldmine” discovery. I wonder if we will get back into Blanton talks (though I think Fay nixed this possibility on his blog, a few days ago). At any rate, it seems likely that Hopper or Freel could be dealt soon, and that Bailey and the young studs will either be put into the bullpen or AAA for more “seasoning.” I for one think Bailey and Bruce should both be MLB starters and have little left to learn at AAA.

  10. Maybe we will have Hairston, Patterson, and Perez on the field in time for the Cubs series. Hurry up and get Dempster back and it would be like a reunion tour. How nostalgic.

  11. Sheesh. No need to panic, guys.

    They signed two veterans to easily swallowed contracts a day after the manager complained he didn’t have enough healthy players to take the field. You don’t want your regulars playing all the time at this point, while they’re still getting into playing shape. If one of these guys earns a ML spot, that’s great. If they don’t, we can stash them in the minors or let them walk.

    While I don’t agree at all with Baker’s decision to bat Patterson first, his reliance on the one-time top prospect through his age 23-25 seasons shows he’s patient with young players.

  12. I will be very suprised if Patterson does not make the trip North.

    I still think the roster is in for some change because of a trade or two.

  13. I’m not sure I understand these signings. Being minor league contracts, my guess is these 2 have to make the team out of spring training or they’ll be released.

  14. What’s John Allen got to say about handing out all these minor league contracts? That stuff adds up!!!


  15. Pingback: the Baker Boys « B Misc.

  16. I could be wrong, but I don’t think minor league contracts are guaranteed like those major league contracts making this pretty low risk. Can anyone confirm? As I said, I could be wrong, but that’s what I thought.

  17. kenny lofton would have been better than corey patterson. he is an average bench player at best, and we have better bench players already. I like keppinger and gil and freel can play anywhere, but not full time. hopper and bruce are sufficient in center field and older guys with average numbers are not going to help this team get better, there just going to take up space and keep the younger guys in louisville

  18. Not sure Lofton is the real alternative. He will definitely command a major league multi-million dollar deal, unlike Patterson. Also, Lofton may be less willing to sign on w/o a guaranteed job.

  19. It’s been reported that Lofton demanded a ML contract, which is more expensive and at least partially guaranteed. I haven’t seen the numbers for Patterson’s deal, but SI.com reported this:

    “If added to the 40-man roster, Hairston would get a contract paying him $500,000 in the majors and $62,500 in the minors. He could earn $100,000 in performance bonuses: 25,000 each for 75 and 85 games, and $50,000 for 95 games.”

    If he can’t win a spot, he’s cheap to stash in the minors or cut loose. Patterson’s contract could actually be for less money than that, because he has fewer years of service time.

  20. Hey, Patterson and Hairston won’t clog the bases!

    Wow, things are really taking shaping up under Dusty. Once Gonzalez’ knee is better a month from now you are very likely to see the following lineup starting for the Reds:

    Name Lifetime OBP
    Patterson .298
    Gonzalez ..295
    Griffey .374
    Phillips .306
    Dunn .381
    Encarnacion .348
    Hatteberg .363
    Ross .300

    Everyone will want to know why the Reds offense was worse and Dunn will be blamed for only driving in 80 runs while hitting 45 HRs. Can’t wait.

  21. Thought the same thing, Tom. Although if memory serves, I believe that Baker had a pretty high walk rate several seasons. He was a bit of a base clogger himself.

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