2012 Reds / Dusty's Lineup Shenanigans / Reds - General

Dusty Baker and falling in love

Reds manager Dusty Baker’s testy answer to a question yesterday about playing time for Todd Frazier and Scott Rolen has been reported by John Fay and Mark Sheldon. At the end of his remarks, Baker said this:

“Since I’ve been here there have been six or seven guys everybody fell in love with,” Baker said. “The next month you don’t hear their name. The next year or whatever. I’m just trying to win ballgames.”

After giving that some thought, I came to a couple conclusions. First, Dusty Baker must hate Cincinnati Reds fans, because you never hear him say a single nice thing about us. That’s a little unusual because we indirectly pay his above-league-average salary.

But, more important, what about the substance of what Baker said? Is his characterization of those situations accurate? Did we fall in love with certain players who quickly faded away?

Here are the examples I could think of where public opinion seemed to differ from Baker’s lineup choices. There might be others you could include on this list. Maybe Devin Mesoraco for Ramon Hernandez at the end of last year. Pretty much anyone over Jim Edmonds in 2010.

  • Chris Dickerson over Corey Patterson (2008)
  • Joey Votto over Scott Hatteberg (2008)
  • Dickerson and Drew Stubbs over Willy Taveras (2009)
  • Paul Janish over Orlando Cabrera (2010)
  • Janish or Zack Cozart over Edgar Renteria (2011)
  • Chris Heisey over Jonny Gomes (2011)
  • Todd Frazier over Scott Rolen (2012)

So looking at the list, it’s not that the fans were “in love with” certain players. We just wanted someone else out there. I was never in love with Chris Dickerson. But I sure wanted him in CF instead of Willy Taveras every stinking night that summer.

The second thing that really stands out is that, in retrospect, the person in love was Dusty Baker. How else do you explain that once they were removed from the protection of his line-up, Patterson, Hatteberg, Taveras, Cabrera, and Renteria…their professional careers were basically over? I doubt a year from now that Rolen will be playing. None of the rest, beside Gomes, are playing now.

It was the players that Baker favored who could be aptly described as: “The next month you don’t hear their name. The next year or whatever.”

52 thoughts on “Dusty Baker and falling in love

  1. Perhaps not the best place to post this but since there is not an official halfway mark article up yet I figure here is as good a place as any. I’ve been lurking for a while now, life-long Reds fan and given my age (31) few of those years have not been filled with some combination of heartbreak, angst, dashed joy and sullen regrets. A few of those years though have tinged all the others as something praise-worthy. The games I’ve been to, win or lose. The moments in front of the tv or later a computer; who could have pictured that back in my youth? The conversations with friends, co-workers or just random folks you happen across with a jersey or a ball cap on. All those things have contributed to my love of this game.

    It is a simple game where boys and men (I would be remiss if I did not also add women in here now, lest my sisters somehow catch wind and berate me) struggle to compete, to show off and to pass the wonderful days of summer. We all get caught up in it. It’s a game full of passion and tradition that pulls you in and holds you close. It has been a while though since I can remember myself being held quite so close as this one. There is something about this team that borders on fabled. Things have been shaping up this year like a finely crafted story told to a circle of youths, each eager to hear of the next triumph or setback. We have heroes. We have villains. We have rivals and we have a chase that may go right down to the very last week of the season. There have been twists and turns that have shaken us and delighted us. There have been forces at work, trying to prevent us from seeing achieved what we all know this team is quite capable of grasping. I love it. I love the ups and downs this year and I love that through it all the team has done some great things.

    There are certainly things I wish had gone differently. What fan cannot say the same thing though about his team in almost any year? There are things I wish would change from here on out too. Again, that is a wish I have had every single year since I’ve been old enough to do more than merely watch the game at the most basic level. That said, I think part of what draws us in is the suspense. The decisions that are completely out of our control and therefor bring about frustration, amazement and almost every other emotion you can name.

    This team has been wonderful to watch so far this year. I cannot wait to see the next half of the story and I look forward to doing so here among others who are just as close to the team and the game we so admire. My first post, probably not my last but regardless I’ll be watching the games and reading the articles and grinning or shaking my head at the game thread comments during commercial breaks.

  2. Excellent post.

    I think one of the reasons that I get so tired of Dusty is that in the media he always seems so smug about fans opinions, and for the most part, he has no right to be, since the fans seem to be better talent evaluators than he is. Granted he has to work with their egos and we don’t, but that doesn’t mean he has to belittle fans opinions. He comes off as defensive and insecure.

    I think that the ones that he’s probably thinking of the most are Janish over Cabrera, with Janish subsequently tanking, and Heisey over Gomes, with Heisey subsequently tanking this year.

    On those he may have a point, that the fans were calling for guys who weren’t actually that good.

    But I also think that the fans had a point, which is this: when you start the year without an established player at a position, it should be a merit-based thing, and flexible the whole year.

    When fans were screaming for Heisey last year, he was killing the ball, and Gomes wasn’t hitting. If Dusty had put Heisey in more, and he had also stopped hitting, the fans would have stopped calling for him, and Dusty’s probablem would have been solved. But he just seems so stubborn.

  3. Also, I was going to post this somewhere, and this seems like a decent spot.

    According to fangraphs, the top 4 rookies in the league according to WAR are;

    Mike Trout (4.8, 290 PA)
    Z. Cozart (1.8, 353 PA)
    Bryce Harper (1.7, 277 PA)
    T. Frazier (1.6, 200 PA)

    A few things about that stood out. First, geez Mike Trout is good. He’s basically hitting a little worse than Votto as a rookie playing CF.

    Second, it’s great that the Reds should have two guys in the ROY discussion, though it seems like the hype around Harper will trump all unless he falls apart.

    Third, Despite Cozart’s struggles at the plate, he’s really having a heck of a year. He’s on pace for nearly 40 doubles and 20 HR, while playing excellent defense at SS. He needs to stop leading off though.

    Finally, and this gets to the actual post, it’s clear that Todd Frazier would be second in WAR except he has the lowest number of PA of the group. He’s a lefitimate ROY candidate, and hopefully the Reds management catches on in the second half and starts giving him 5/6 starts a week somewhere.

  4. I tend to agree with him that Reds fans can be fickle easily fall in love with certain players. I’d define “certain players” as anyone who “hustles” and “plays the game right,” i.e. anyone who remotely conjures memories of Pete Rose. With players like Rosales, Freel, Janish, Gomes and Heisey it is not just clammoring for them to play over another mediocre player. It reaches viewing them as a player who is far more talented than he actually is.

    • I tend to agree with him that Reds fans can be fickle easily fall in love with certain players. I’d define “certain players” as anyone who “hustles” and “plays the game right,” i.e. anyone who remotely conjures memories of Pete Rose. With players like Rosales, Freel, Janish, Gomes and Heisey it is not just clammoring for them to play over another mediocre player. It reaches viewing them as a player who is far more talented than he actually is.

      I don’t think you’re giving nearly enough credit to Reds fans. I would still argue that in each of the cases cited above, Reds fans wanted the player who seemed better at the time to play.

      Dust’s main argument seems to be that fans think these guys are good, but they’re really not good, and only he knows that because we’re all outsiders and don’t know what we’re talking about.

      And in some cases he may be right. People wanted Janish over Cabrera because he was hitting better and playing good D. Maybe Dusty saw that he had just gotten lucky though, and didn’t trust that he could keep it up. Then the next year he’s given the job, for the most part, and he can’t hit at all, and Dusty feels like he’s proven right.

      But the problems are 1) he’s wrong more often than he’s right (5 out of 7 of the above I’d say) 2) and that there’s really no reason to hang on nearly as long as he does to his favorites, because they’re never guys who are that good.

      Given those two things, I think he could stand to be more respectful of Reds fans’ opinions, and maybe even listen to them every once in a while.

  5. Marlene Dietrich, singing at a cabaret: “Falling in love again, never wanted to, what was I to do, can’t help it.”

  6. I don’t think Dusty hates Reds fans. I do often wonder if the opposite is true. Maybe he’s a little defensive considering most Reds fans seem to think he sucks. I don’t think he’s a great strategist by any means and he can be overly loyal to players who are struggling. I do know this, the Reds always seem to play hard for him and that’s no small thing.

    • I don’t think Dusty hates Reds fans. I do often wonder if the opposite is true. Maybe he’s a little defensive considering most Reds fans seem to think he sucks. I don’t think he’s a great strategist by any means and he can be overly loyal to players who are struggling. I do know this, the Reds always seem to play hard for him and that’s no small thing.

      Just curious, do you watch other teams much?

      With the MLB.tv package I see a fair number of other teams, and having lived in a number of cities I’ve seen a lot of different managers.

      What I can say is that I can’t really remember too many teams not playing hard. If fact, the Reds are often criticized on this very board for not being into the game enough, and I think that’s generally hogwash. I think baseball players all want to win and they try hard every day.

      There can be specific circumstances, like last year’s Red Sox, the atmosphere on a team gets so toxic that it really hurts the team. But that seems like a low bar to hold up to a manager. For the most part, I think that Dusty gets too much credit for getting guys to play hard.

      I also do think that Dusty has one of the worst attitudes with reporters of any manager I’ve seen. It’s because he gets questioned on his bad decisions, and he doesn’t like it, which I get. But it doesn’t make him look any better.

  7. In the interest of complete fairness, I would not have included Janish/Cozart over Renteria in 2011. Dusty stuck with Janish as the starting SS longer than people expected, but he just wasn’t hitting. Janish was then replaced by Cozart, who was the clear every day guy until he got hurt. After that it was mostly Renteria, but it’s not even that clear cut because Janish was getting starts and Janish also got hurt.

    Actually, Cozart over Renteria is clearly false, unless the argument is that Cozart should have been promoted to the Reds sooner.

  8. In Dusty’s defense, most of the situations above had a guy who wasn’t that good playing ahead of a guy who wasn’t that good. However, the guy the fans wanted wasn’t any worse, I’ll say that. We’ll call those a tie.

    In criticism of Dusty, in two of these situations he’s really screwed up: Votto/Hatteberg and Frazier/Rolen.

    In another criticism of Dusty, all the guys on this list that he refused to take out, with the exception of Janish last year, were vets.

    • In criticism of Dusty, in two of these situations he’s really screwed up: Votto/Hatteberg and Frazier/Rolen.</P

      In 2008, Joey Votto played 151 games with 589 plate appearances, and started 138 at first base. Scott Hatteberg had 61 plate appearances and started 8 games at first base, coming off a 2007 year in which he had a .868 OPS. Votto, in other words, started 17 of 18 games at first base, and had almost 10 times more PAs than did Hatteberg.

      The Hatteberg/Votto situation is like Granny’s front yard–a lot bigger in memory than in fact.

      • Stupid facts always getting in the way.

        In 2008, Joey Votto played 151 games with 589 plate appearances, and started 138 at first base.Scott Hatteberg had 61 plate appearances and started 8 games at first base, coming off a 2007 year in which he had a .868 OPS.Votto, in other words, started 17 of 18 games at first base, and had almost 10 times more PAs than did Hatteberg.

        The Hatteberg/Votto situation is like Granny’s front yard–a lot bigger in memory than in fact.

      • In 2008, Joey Votto played 151 games with 589 plate appearances, and started 138 at first base.Scott Hatteberg had 61 plate appearances and started 8 games at first base, coming off a 2007 year in which he had a .868 OPS.Votto, in other words, started 17 of 18 games at first base, and had almost 10 times more PAs than did Hatteberg.

        The Hatteberg/Votto situation is like Granny’s front yard–a lot bigger in memory than in fact.

        I was thinking of 2007 and I don’t know if Steve was either. He was not called up until September because of the Hatterberg/Conine platoon. He came up for a month and promptly delievered 7 doubles, 4 dingers, and 17 RBI. In 24 games he nearly reached the same numbers of production that took Conine 80 games. He should have been playing waaaay before September.

        All that said, Dusty was at ESPN, I think. 😀

      • In 2008, Joey Votto played 151 games with 589 plate appearances, and started 138 at first base. Scott Hatteberg had 61 plate appearances and started 8 games at first base, coming off a 2007 year in which he had a .868 OPS. Votto, in other words, started 17 of 18 games at first base, and had almost 10 times more PAs than did Hatteberg.The Hatteberg/Votto situation is like Granny’s front yard–a lot bigger in memory than in fact.

        @Big Ed: That’s how I remembered it too. Dusty actually put Votto in ahead of Hatty (who I also liked). He has demonstrated a veteran bias perhaps but he did not in that case. Votto was made the starter pretty quickly.

        • And Hatty was coming off of what was probably his best big league season!

          @Big Ed: That’s how I remembered it too. Dusty actually put Votto in ahead of Hatty (who I also liked). He has demonstrated a veteran bias perhaps but he did not in that case. Votto was made the starter pretty quickly.

        • @Big Ed: That’s how I remembered it too. Dusty actually put Votto in ahead of Hatty (who I also liked). He has demonstrated a veteran bias perhaps but he did not in that case. Votto was made the starter pretty quickly.

          Guys there is some revisionism here because no one is accounting for th a fact the Reds cut him from the team in June!

          I remember too that he was coming off one of his best seasons ever. He was supposed to platoon with Votto who looked unblelievably good in September the year before. Hatterburg never showed anything (.493 OPS) and that was that. Whether Dusty loved him or not the point is moot. The front office stepped in and he was DFA before June. Patterson remained😦 Let’s not forget both Hatterburg and Votto were lefty first baseman and so Valentine was seen as the natural compliment. Plus Bruce was knocking down the door for a promo so it was one of Hatty/Javy/Corey (we know who Dusty didn’t vote against!)

          So arguing about how much more Votto played in 2008 is a little disingenuous.

  9. the big question is given how many games Frazier has won for him, why isn’t Dusty in love with Frazier?

    • the big question is given how many games Frazier has won for him, why isn’t Dusty in love with Frazier?

      BINGO!!!

  10. Nobody has mentioned that Dusty’s boss signed Patterson, Cabrera, Renteria, et al for sizable amounts of money.

    We really don’t know if Dusty was so in love with these players or maybe just wanted to keep his job by following the direction indicated by his boss in signing the guys. For all we know he may have even been told to ride it out with the veteran beyond where he might have wanted to.

    Also I think Hatteburg/ Votto was a little different animal than the others. Hattie had been in Cincy a year and had a good season. On the other hand everybody knew it was a matter of time till the scales inevitably tipped in Votto’s favor. Actually that situation has a lot in common with what is transpiring right now with Rolen and Frazier.

  11. I think you have to include heisey vs ludwick, and that tilt goes in dustys favor. Ludwick has been a better player this season.

  12. @wally mo: I agree. The line of “Baker does good things in the clubhouse and players like to play for him” doesn’t do anything for me. That is, I hear this comment all the time, for most managers. Doesn’t mean Baker’s bad, and maybe he’s above average in the clubhouse department. But we have no earthly idea about it.

  13. To be fair, neither Janish nor Dickerson is playing in MLB this year, either, and that accounts for 4 of the 7 situations listed. I can’t name “six or seven” players that fans fell in love with only to realize that they aren’t any better than the alternative, and I’d be curious to hear Dusty try, but there is no denying that that is what happened with Janish. Dusty’s characterization of the fickle fan base is not completely off base.

    I agree with OhioJim’s characterization of the Votto/Hatteburg situation above. There are some parallels with the current Rolen situation, except that Rolen’s performance has decayed much farther than Hatteburg’s did with the Reds. The current situation is really hard because Rolen gets (and deserves) so much respect.

  14. You forgot Paul Bako over Hanigan, Ross & Valentin. Under good old Dusty’s watch, at age 36, Bako had career highs in games played and plate appereances yet hit a sizzling .217! One year later, he was out of baseball. That’s our Dusty. Baker backs players past their prime to a fault. See Rolen.

  15. Bravo Steve, bravo!

    Your research is second to none. Dusty must love you.😀

    I really can’t say if the Reds are “all in” but it know beyond a shadow of a doubt nearly all, if not all, of Redleg Nation is and I salute you guys.

    To me, this is very talented team we are witnessing and when we think it is mishandled, we get PO’d. If that is being a poor fan, then I’m guilty.

    1) I like and respect Scott Rolen but it is time to retire. I do not believe he is in it for the money but he probably honestly believes he can still contribute. I disagree with this but that doesn’t mean I don’t like him. I hold Baker accountable for this travesty and pray it ends this week.
    2) I think Drew Stubbs has value but only in the 8th hole because in the “normal” line-up he is the 8th most productive player. I don’t dislike Drew and believe he gives it his best. This is on Baker.
    3) I think Chapman ought to be eased into the rotation so he is ready by September. Cueto-Chapman-Latos could make a “very” formidable trio in the post-season. If they continue to use Chapman in the manner until now, they should test the waters for a trade. Bottom line: he is potentially more valuable as a trade piece than he is in his current role. Sad but true. The upside to Chapman is virtually limitless but he is being wasted.
    4) They desperately need a left-handed bench off the bench.
    5) If Bailey & Stubbs would get us Denard Span, I would make the trade in a New York-minute. That’s if they would ease Chapman into the rotation. Love what I’m seeing of Bailey but a true lead-ff hitter is what this team needs the most, IMO.
    6) The Reds’ record in the first-half of the season has been “okay” but it has been accomplished with a near injury-free roster. Hard to imagine that will be the case from here on out.

    Bottom line this team could be special enough to take the whole enchilada but the status quo will not get it done. Hope Walt & Dusty are taking inventory and will not let this opportunity slip away. Next year and beyond look promising but you would be a fool to count on it.

  16. I’ve supported Baker’s evaluation of most of the situations above. Even though I think he favors the vets, and there’s maybe some chance he’s playing the wrong guy, when the two guys in question are pretty close in stats, I have no issue whatsoever with the baseball people, primarily including Baker, going by what they see. If Baker decides to play Heisey over Stubbs, for example, a decision I wouldn’t prefer, I’m still fine with it. You have to trust the manager to make these sorts of moves, in other words, decisions when the stats are not clear. Someone just made a great point, that when many here wanted Ludwick dumped, Baker stuck with him, and he’s been proven right. Even when Ludwick was bad, he was in the same class as Heisey and Stubbs, so I’ve no problem with Baker’s choices there.

    However, when the OPS+ difference is nearly 100 points, I don’t want my manager saying about what he sees, about matchups, about all that. When the numbers make it clear beyond any doubt who the better player is, you need to go with the numbers.

    Obviously it’s not clear where the dividing line is, but Votto/Hat and Rolen/Frazier are on one side, and Heisey/Stubbs is on the other.

  17. One thing about the Gomes/Heisey thing…It kinda went beyond that. After Gomes finally had his bobblehead night — which I think played a major role in him hanging around as long as he did — and was then released, it would have made sense then to see what Heisey could do a regular basis……No, Dusty kept going back to Fred Lewis. Intersperse some Heisey games in there, and eventually bring in Sappelt for a cup of coffee, and even two or three games of Alonso in left field. Sound familiar?

    With all that juggling (Heisey got most of the playing time in September), the season ended and we (fans, or me, at least) still didn’t know much about all of those guys. … Baker jumped on Kelch during a pregame show when Sappelt was brought up, and the next game it was still Lewis in left, and Dusty said, “Everybody always wants the next guy to play.” Well, yeah, Dusty, after seeing Gomes and Lewis, I very much DID want to see the next guy, be it Heisey or Alonso or whoever. It was clearly time to look ahead, and he uses the mantra of trying to win games to keep going back to Lewis?

  18. I was big on give Heisey a shot, but the two times he got extended playing time, two years ago when Bruce went down for a couple weeks heading down the stretch and when Stubbs was out, he didn’t do so hot especially in some situational places.

    That said, unless the lineup cards are pre-printed with Stubbs name why the heck he gets the benefit of the doubt and gets as much playing time he does.

    Heisey looked like crap against the Twins, but hey he is hitting ‘some’ better than Stubbs over the past couple weeks who got all the at bats.

    Ludwick I give a pass for playing , the guy has played ok for the past few weeks after starting ice cold.

    Even the much maligned Wilson Valdez really has done Ok at the plate since June 2 (11-36) .306 with really a small handful of nice starts.

    Rolen is a whole other thing and I ‘kinda’ get why that may be more difficult, but Stubbs doesn’t have that kind of pedigree.

  19. this isn’t new amongst fans…every team has this phenomena…anyone remember when people wanted Ryan Freel in the lineup everyday or Wily Mo? Hell I grew up in Atlanta and I remember when Vick was drafted there was controversy because fans would call into radio shows and demand that Doug Johnson start over him…fans are fans thats why they aren’t in the front office because they can’t make tough decisions and they don’t understand how or why most things are done with rosters

  20. Rolen can’t be retired unvoluntarily. This is a problem every team with a past the prime veteran faces. Treat him poorly and no veteran wants to sign with you – it can really hurt you looking for free agents later on. Rolen CAN still help if they are smart. Have a serious conversation asking him to coach Frazier at third. Lord knows Todd still needs help with footwork. Then tell him ho important he can be as a pinch hitter. Ask him to take on the role seriously. Veterans make better pinch hitters and a rested Rolen might still enough in the tank to be dangerous in those occasional spots. Then tell him the Reds really, really want him and his class act as a coach when the season ends. Thank him for his leadership. Tell him with these roles he can really help this team win and go deep in the playoffs. Then implement the plan. Rolen IS a class act and he’ll go with it – may smart at first but when he looks at the numbers and considers things he’ll know that at least the Reds are being upfront and honest and if he’ll do his best in his new role even if he decides to go somewhere else to play more after the season ends.

    Stubbs is a good centerfielder but he belongs in the 7 or 8 hole. Much less pressure there too so he might relax and hit better. Either way he hurts less and the Reds keep his defense in play.

    Using Chapman as a starter at this point in the season is disastrous. You don’t go from closer to starter in mid-season and expect good results, especially from a 24 year old with limited experience. I hate the way Chappy’s been handled but it is what it is at this point. Reds have a slam dunk closer. Live with it. Let him start next season from the get go, though or they should fire someone over it!

    Bring up Navarro to free up a pinch hitter as one of the catchers which also gives you a left-hander since Navarro switch hits. And when Hanny catches it gives you Mesoraco’s power too.

    You don’t need to trade Bailey to get Span. Stubbs and one of Corcino or Cingrani and another prospect would likely do it. And if they want both walk away. Span isn’t that good! If Minnesota doesn’t bite then try for Dexter Fowler or Chris Denorfia, same type of package. Stubbs speed for huge Petco might interest San Diego and Denorfia has a .368 OBP leading off and plays CF, plus he’s cheap.

    HRod can be brought up in August and tried at third. If he hits Todd can play left. If he doesn’t nothing lost. But look at this kid’s track record. He hits everywhere and he hits really, really well – the kind of hitter that doesn’t say “lucky”. Plate discipline, good eye, selective. Everything translates. I think he’ll hit and hit well. Plus he’s a switch hitter. An excellent guy to take a flier on.

    If a starter goes down very under rated Pedro Villareal is in AAA. Looks to be a decent 5th starter. He’s unspectacularly solid and as such hasn’t gotten much attention but he’s been very, very consistent. Bodes good for the second half along with JJ Hoover for that depth. And an UNDERworked bullpen means the Reds can actually give some innings to the pen just to rest their starters when the dog days hit. An advantage only Pittsburgh can sniff.

    Sure fans fall in love and Cincinnatians tend to fall for under dog hard working hustling type of players like Ryan Freel and of course the Hit King of old. My own favorite is Hanigan, as untalented naturally as any player but he busts his tail to get the most of it. That’s why Stubbs frustrates me so much – he seems to refuse to do things his talents would make so natural for him -like bunting for hits, choking up with 2 strikes etc. Frazier is another guy with a never say die attitude who expects to win and always hustles. Love that kid as well as Cozart Both of them have the right attitudes ad baseball is half mental as they say. Gotta have that confidence and belief in yourself and the attitude you’ll never quit. Dusty’s wrong though – this city doesn’t have “flavor the month” players. We’re very loyal to our favorites. Takes a long time to change our loyalties – more than just a tough streak. Show us quitter or give up and we’ll turn but usually once you’re “in” we love ya forever – or at least while you’re a Red.

  21. Excellent article. It’s important to reinforce what really happened rather than the revisionist history Dusty likes to peddle. It may buffalo the average fan/broadcaster/owner, but……..

  22. @Mwv: Great comments. I did not think there was anyone left under 40 who could feel that way about the game ! Very well said

  23. So Dusty Baker’s latest offense as manager of the Cincinnati Reds is not praising the fan element that continuously takes to websites such as this one to criticize seemingly his every move? Makes perfect sense to me.

  24. @CharlotteNCRedsFan: Liked your point #5. Regardless of the specific player(s) coming or going it acknowledges that real help isn’t going to come for a couple of fair to middling prospects we may or may not of heard of. I think too many folks are never quite ready to swallow that pill.

    I think it is too late this year to turn Chapman around plus it would create holes in the middle of a pennant race. I think this off season they do have to take a serious look at whether they want to invest the time and risk to develop him further or whether to sell while the market should still be reasonably high on him. He can void his contract for arbitration under certain conditions but it does not forfeit the full six years of team control. Not sure exactly what his service time is but scales are coming close to tipping there as far as his value.

  25. 1990, Charlton, Norm:

    Didn’t start his first game until July 15th.
    Pitched a complete game shutout on August 10th.
    Finished the year with 154 IP.

    Why can’t Chapman start this year?
    An additional 70 innings from Chapman adds some wins.

    • 1990, Charlton, Norm:

      Didn’t start his first game until July 15th.
      Pitched a complete game shutout on August 10th.
      Finished the year with 154 IP.

      Why can’t Chapman start this year?
      An additional 70 innings from Chapman adds some wins.


      @Myles: Agree 100%. Chapman may be “necessary” down the stretch and in the play-offs if the Reds have a legitimate chance at a WS title. Is there enough “there there” in the rotation to do so right now? I might be wrong but it seems to me that in most cases the team with the more dominant starting pitchers win the Championships.

      No guarantee that Chapman would be one of those pitchers but there is a fair chance he would. Leake & Bailey, both are developing very nicely so it may not be necessary but I’m suggesting “go all in”. Get a Span-type player and move Chappy to starter and go for it. Just one fan’s opinion.

  26. @CaptainTonyKW: Do you mean like pro-PER Chris Heisey and the anti-PER Drew Stubbs? Can you imagine what Rose would have done with Stubb’s ability. What a genuine waste of talent.

  27. @laus Deo: Keep you eyes on the double Cs the 2nd half of the season – we may have two more SP developing very nicely at the AA level. Actually, it’s too bad that we have Arroyo signed for another year because one the the Cs could fit in very nicely next year (and then we could use 2013 salary elsewhere – like LF or CF).

  28. @redlegjake: You have got to be kidding – even the SD announcers on their broadcasts this past w/e were saying that Heisey is the same EXACT (type) of player Denorfia is (and I agree with them – that is why I listen to the opponent team’s announcers because they are usually not BIASED about other team’s players). And don’t even think about touching one of the 2 Cs SP at Pensacola – they are certainly a lot better than the credit you’re giving them. Danny Corcino is just 21 years old and pitching well at AA (he won again tonight).

  29. @Myles: Hey Myles, really like the old timers as they know (and often remember) what they are talking about.

  30. Dusty is calling Frazier the flavor of the month. Frazier, like Votto is the only guy on Steve’s list that is a legitimate prospect drafted very high.

    Unlike Dickerson or even Heisey, this organization has invested a lot in Frazier and while it’s taken longer than expected – his projection was always starter/utility role at the MLB level.

    Dusty is equivocating — BIGTIME and I don’t like it because the inference is a week of rest should allow Rolen to continue to be the starter out of the gate before Dusty re-evaluates (or Rolen forces him to re-evaluate).

  31. Well, Dusty and I do share two things in common (prostate cancer survivor and music lover), and I can’t “hate” him, but I’ve never been a fan. Having been a Little League administrator/coach for many years and knowing the dangers of baseballs flying around fields and dugouts, I was amazed to see him letting his three year old son have the run of the dugout AND the field when he was managing the Giants in the WS, thank God Darren didn’t get hurt. A lot of people over look that incident, but at the time it really made me think, would I ever want a guy with that little common sense running my ballclub? The answer was NO. If you can’t trust him with something as important as his own kid’s safety, you really can’t trust his judgment with anything else.

  32. Mark Sheldon recently posted on his Blog that he’s tired of receiving such negative posts from such negative fans. John Fay has made lots of Twitter posts about receiving too many negative messages. Now, after all these years, Dusty Baker is expressing his frustration with the fans of a reasonably successful team. He knows that any more he makes is criticized or questioned, and I don’t blame him. He could try to justify his decisions by criticizing the players… but he tries to avoid criticizing players.

    I think Todd Frazier needs to be in the lineup almost every day but I don’t see what the benefit is in saying ‘he is our third baseman, it’s his job for the rest of this year, we’ve given up on Scott Rolen’. If he plays a few games a week in LF, fine, I don’t see the trouble. Many fans seem determined for Dusty to come out and criticize Scott Rolen but I don’t know who or what it helps. Dusty won’t make Rolen, Rolen’s team mates, or the front office happy with such a statement – it won’t motivate anyone to work harder for him – all he can do is control the playing time.

    I forgot about Chris Dickerson, although I believe Chris Heisey has been his replacement. I’ve been hoping Heisey would get traded, not because I want such a player off the team but because I hear too much about him from fans who overvalue him.

  33. Dusty doesn’t tend to give up on his players. This season Ludwick, Valdez, Simon, Latos, and Leake have all come around after fans gave up on them and wanted them off the team. The team’s decision with Chapman has worked out very well, whether or not the move was popular with fans. Nobody every seems interested in Dusty’s explanation or justifications for his decisions… then fans get angry at him for not listening to them? Weird.

    Which guy is a better fit for the team’s needs? What works in the team’s best interests? Choose the player who you feel best fits or the one who makes fans smile? I think Dusty is right that those are his decisions to make – he’s the manager, a sports team isn’t an electoral process.

  34. @redsfanman: Trying to ‘fit Frazier’ into the rotation for PT will continue to suppress his PT. When he bounces around as a utilityman, he sits more often.

    He needs to be named a starter to improve at that position and guarantee everyday PT. Moreover, I would guess Dusty continues to bat him no higher than 7 (imagine the Reds runs scored if he were 2nd) because he is not a starter. He needs to be higher in the lineup and if that means naming him a starter then that needs to happen too.

    • @redsfanman: Trying to ‘fit Frazier’ into the rotation for PT will continue to suppress his PT.When he bounces around as a utilityman, he sits more often.

      He needs to be named a starter to improve at that position and guarantee everyday PT.Moreover, I would guess Dusty continues to bat him no higher than 7 (imagine the Reds runs scored if he were 2nd) because he is not a starter.He needs to be higher in the lineup and if that means naming him a starter then that needs to happen too.

      At the moment it looks like Todd Frazier is a starter for next season at LF or 3b – the other position will probably have to be filled from outside of the organization. I don’t think giving up on him as an OF makes much sense. Right now Frazier sees that he’s a regular player who keeps getting lots of playing time… knowing that he’ll keep getting playing time if he performs well. Fine with me.

      Wilson Valdez and Chris Heisey have hit high in the lineup despite not being starters, I don’t think being officially named the 3b would change Frazier’s lineup spot. Maybe he’s cut out for the 4th, 5th, or 6th hitter but I definitely don’t thing 2nd is a good fit.

  35. @Myles: Charlton was 27 (a little older) and that was 22 years ago (22 really? Crap I’m getting old!) when teams didn’t seem as concerned about wear and tear on young arms. That said, Charlton did pitch pretty well as a starter that year and seemed healthy the next 3 years.

  36. @redsfanman: I am trying to figure out why Frazier hasn’t sniffed anything higher than 7 before now.

    Working theory – Dusty believes those who play CF and SS have the ‘it’ factor to bat 1-2. That is why Valdez and Heisey both get turns as subs. It is also why Renteria got the chance and why Stubbs and Cozart hit exclusively at 1 and 2 this year.

    Frazier’s comps demand that he bat 5 or higher. There is no one else in the league with his productivity consistently batting so low in a lineup. Why?

    • @redsfanman: I am trying to figure out why Frazier hasn’t sniffed anything higher than 7 before now.

      Working theory – Dusty believes those who play CF and SS have the ‘it’ factor to bat 1-2.That is why Valdez and Heisey both get turns as subs.It is also why Renteria got the chance and why Stubbs and Cozart hit exclusively at 1 and 2 this year.

      Frazier’s comps demand that he bat 5 or higher.There is no one else in the league with his productivity consistently batting so low in a lineup.Why?

      Frazier is a rookie who’s been working his way up. He’s hit 6th and 7th (depending on whether or not Ludwick plays) in his last several starts. What does that mean? It means they want him hitting behind Jay Bruce, their biggest homerun hitter, a role in which he has excelled. Maybe that means an eventual promotion to 4th to hit before Votto – in no way does it indicate that he’s a candidate to move to the top of the lineup.

      Hanigan is hitting fine below Frazier in the order.

      Dusty seems to believe that speedy runners who can score from first base on a double should be at the top of the lineup and speedy players tend to play CF or SS – if they’re not speedy they get moved to other positions. Frazier is not a particularly speedy player, that’s why he plays on the corners.

      Dusty does seem to believe that SOMEBODY needs to play at every position, even SS and CF. And when those guys are unavailable to play some night somebody else has to play instead. If he doesn’t want to redesign the whole lineup and everybody’s role every other night – fine. Edgar Renteria’s experience as a shortstop really helped him in 2011 after Janish and Cozart were out of the picture – it’s surprising what opportunities limited or no options will provide.

  37. @redsfanman: I don’t want to belabor the point but I feel it’s being missed. Frazier as a 6/7 hole hitter is still too low.

    Frazier, with 5 triples on the season, shows more than enough speed on the base paths. His power would be better used in the 4 hole but players with a .345 OBP and an ability to run the bases in a ‘speedy’ fashion need to be candidates for batting in front of baseball’s best player and instead of guys with 2-3 steals and a sub .300 OBP.

    There is simply no debate here. Frazier at 6-7 and both Stubbs/Cozart at 1-2 squelches run scoring for this team and there needs to be a ‘lineup shakeup’ in the second half.

    Dusty’s history and comments indicate that probably won’t happen.

  38. Pingback: Aroldis Chapman: A latter-day Norm Charlton? | Redleg Nation

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