03/11/2008

Dusty on Homer

Rosecrans has a very nice quote from Dusty Baker today.  Speaking about Young Master Bailey:

It’s not easy being Homer.  It’s not. I’ve seen it 1,000 times, it’s not easy being that Mr. Everything, Can’t-Miss kid. No matter what you do… I learned a long time ago, the most dangerous word for a young kid is potential. If they don’t do great, then no matter what they do, they don’t reach that potential. Some guys take longer to get it than other guys, for whatever the reason.

What is Homer, 21? This dude’s barely drinking age, you know what I’m saying? There are kids in college that haven’t even signed a contract yet that are still pitching and Homer already has this experience already. That’s the thing, let’s not forget, this dude is three years ahead of whoever is going to be in this year’s draft.

He may not be where you want him to be or where we want him to be or where he wants to be right now, but he’s still ahead of the program. Three or four years from now, you might have another thought process, but right now…

I’m big on what a guy does compared to his graduating class. And you know, he’s like a freshman playing against seniors. Some freshmen come in and play like seniors, and others have to wait until they’re seniors.

This is why they hired the guy.  Dusty makes a lot of dumb statements, but he’s damn good at handling people.   Here, he’s taking steps to ease Mr. Homer into the reality that he’ll likely be starting the season in Louisville.  Good managing. 

Join the conversation! 18 Comments

  1. Homer wasn’t very good last night, that’s a fact. But he’s also suffering from how good Cueto and Volquez have looked. He’s young..maybe he’s not as ready as we thought and hoped. Maybe he’s been surpassed by these two other guys, but that doesn’t mean just because he doesn’t “get it” now that he won’t.

  2. Baker’s quote is also directed at fans. If Cueto starts the year in the majors and Bailey gets sent down, I think the general viewing audience is going to prematurely call Bailey a bust. Baker’s comments are directed at those fans as well as Bailey.

  3. I thought they hired the guy because there’s no way he would start a 21 year old at any position if he had a 37-year-old available.

    If he could trade for Brad Ausmus, David Ross might find himself in Louisville as well.

  4. Great post, Chris. One could argue that this sort of skill is worth more than any strategic bumblings that he might make over the course of a season. There is at least one study that would back that up…

    It’s also worth remembering that there are still a few weeks left to spring training. A plus start or two by Homer, and he’s right back in it. -j

  5. Right now the only SP we can rule out is Maloney. That said, Homer hasn’t impressed in the majors, and judging from that, maybe he needs more time at AAA.

  6. Anyone else notice that Dusty came into this thing saying stuff like “I don’t know much about these guys” an awful lot and now he seems to have a great deal of insight (some of it better than others) about his players? Either
    1. He’s a quick study and decent evaluator of talent or…

    2. He was blowing a lot of smoke and wanted everyone to feel they were starting out with a clean slate.

    If it’s number one, hopefully he will understand before the end of Spring Training what he has in the outfield already without having to jam Patterson, Freel, or Hopper out there often just to have a “prototypical” leadoff hitter at the expense of Bruce. In the same vein, he will realize how to use his young arms and get a handle on his bench players. If so, we definately can compete in this division and with the potential offense we can generate, especially from the left side of the plate, we could take a short series or two with adequate pitching.

  7. Bailey simply has to learn how to trust his stuff. With his stuff as long as he doesn’t groove it down the middle he is going to be effective.

  8. Off topic, but is it too early to start looking at the 08 draft class??? I am pretty pumped about the 7th pick this year.

    Currently my vote is for the best available LHP starter in college. Looking like Matusz, if he drops that far.

  9. I won’t defend Baker’s dumbest statements except to say that they were almost always reported by writers who likely agree with the kernel of dumbness in them. He is a very smart guy, and very media aware (to the point of pointless prickliness).

    Yes, smart people can be hard-headed or la-la-la deaf or just plain wrong. But some criticism of Baker is misguided or worse.

    I laughed, too, at his “clogging up the bases” nonsense, and I recoiled at the incoherence of his apparent intent to make Dunn strike out swinging more and walk less. But I don’t believe those distilled and singular quotes, standing alone, accurately capture the guy’s baseball philosophy, strategy, or smarts (if they accurately captured his words at all).

    And even if he were to stand 100% behind the dumbest interpretation of these dumb quotes, which he wouldn’t (he was the last manager to actually manage Barry Bonds, a middle of the order hitter who, some may have heard, walked a lot), the guy has built merit in baseball that is not entirely reducible to “good with people” (although that is probably true).

    I was a Dusty basher in SF, but not an unreasoning one. I liked and like him. I think he is a good manager with a lot of flaws, some suitable for satirizing. But he’s not a caricature and shouldn’t be turned into the next Fire Joe Morgan effigy.

    Not to tear you away from Redsville, but look left and gaze upon the dreary spectacle that is San Francisco baseball. Keep focused on that (spectacular but expensive) coastal town and look back in time.

    Who do you think should have been let go back when the wheels started coming off? The GM or the manager?

  10. Both?

    As for the misquoted/out-of-context/he-didn’t-mean-it explanation, I’m not buying. Why not? Two reasons: (1) He’s said that “clogging” nonsense at least two different times, years apart. (2) Neifis speak louder than any words. The guy actually believes that stuff.

    Can he be a good manager anyway? Maybe. But there’s no explaining away the crazy.

  11. And do you really think that even if he wanted to (and he probably did) get Bonds to swing more, that he had any pull whatsoever with the best player in the game?

    With Bonds, I’m sure it went in one ear and out the other. He knew what he was doing; he didn’t need Dusty’s help.

    Hopefully the same goes with Dunn.

  12. I think the “clogging the bases” thing is blown out of proportion and think that perhaps Dusty just phrased it wrong. The biggest thing to pull from his comments is that he wants the 3-6 hitters to put the ball in play. They are the best hitters and by working a walk and not being aggressive, you’re making it easier on the opposition who is willing to walk a guy like Dunn to get to an easier out like Alex Gonzo or David Ross.

    He doesn’t care if a hitter takes a walk as long as he’s not going to the plate with “BB” as his primary objective.

  13. Two things are possible when someone says something dumb: They mean what they say, or they mean something else. To me, the first conclusion is a lot more likely in this case. I’ve never heard Baker make the “they pitch around Dunn to get to other guys” argument. He makes the “bases are clogged” argument. In any event, outs are bad and I want my team’s hitters to avoid making them.

  14. I don’t know the context of his comments in Chicago. While with the Reds, wasn’t his comment the result of talking about Joey Votto and getting called out looking at strike three?

    As it relates to Dunn, there was some recent analysis about Dunn taking too many strikes, wasn’t there?

  15. “Outs are bad”. I think generally that’s a good philosophy. And if you are determined to bat Dunn in the fifth hole, doesn’t it make more sense that he will receive more intentional/unintentional walks there with the bottom of the order coming up behind him? Mind you, I don’t think that batting him number five is necessarily a bad thing like some do, but it is the reality that the lower in the order a guy like him hits the greater his chances are for walks.

  16. I generally subscribe to the “outs are bad” philosophy as well, but maybe, just maybe, Dusty knows a little bit about what he’s doing and we shouldn’t be so quick to call him dumb.

    As I said, I believe in the theory that walks = good/ outs = bad. However, this is a slippery slope. What some of you are saying by painting this broad stroke is almost (and I’m just playing devil’s advocate) that a walk is the best possible scenario. If you don’t put the ball in play, there is no chance of making an out. So would you argue that you should go to bat every time trying to work a walk?

    If you go strictly by the “outs are bad” theory, that’s what you are telling me. That the best possible scenario is to get a walk, because any ball put in play increases your chance of making an out. Do you really believe that a walk every time up is the best scenario? No, of course you don’t.

    I guess I’m trying to give Dusty the benefit of the doubt and argue his side a little bit. Baseball isn’t as simple as always saying outs are bad; maybe that’s why I like it so much.

    I’ll now step down from my soapbox.

  17. None of this addresses the base-clogging nonsense.

    Again, you can attribute a rational meaning to the guy’s statements if you stretch and twist, but if you take them on anything close to face value, and consider the context and his track record, they’re indefensible.

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Category

2008 Reds, Reds - General