There has been a lot of talk lately about Cincinnati Reds talking to other managers and speculation of why the Reds made certain moves with their managers for their AAA and AA affiliates. Jim Riggleman and David Bell are at the top of that gossip list. Is Dusty Baker’s job in trouble midseason if the Reds are not doing well? Or are the Reds just making future plans for when Dusty steps down? Riggleman was offered a job to manage their Double-A affiliate in Pensacola and he’s likely to accept.
I for one would rather see Corky Miller manage than Riggleman but maybe a different manager is what the Reds need to get these youngsters motivated again. I really do not have any problems with Dusty Baker, I think he did pretty damn good considering what he had to work with when he first started. If this is just a rumor to maybe get Dusty motivated to try harder it might work, then again it might not, putting the team in even more turmoil. I have heard many times that the players really like Baker as the manager right now so talks like this might get players not interested in playing for the Reds.
If the Reds do decide to pull the plug on Dusty Baker, I hope they will give the job to Chris Speier before they offer it to Jim Riggleman or David Bell. I think Speier would do a good job if it is midseason, that way the Reds can look around next offseason for the perfect person if they are not happy with how Speier did.
What if we all woke up tomorrow and found out that Cincinnati Reds General Manager Walt Jocketty went off his meds and started cutting the payroll. Players like Scott Rolen, Bronson Arroyo, Brandon Phillips, and maybe even Joey Votto traded for cheap young prospects or worse, cheap older players looking for one last good season. Of course the “We have no money” excuse would not be used anymore but what kind of team would they have? Jay Bruce and Johnny Cueto would be the stars and players like Juan Francisco, Yonder Alonso, Dave Sappelt, Todd Frazier, Zack Cozart and Aroldis Chapman would get a lot more playing time. And with one season of not paying big money to players would they then have enough to go shopping next offseason or would they have to? Is there a strange possibility that these young players would get it done? With many years as a fan I have noticed that teams with the right blend of older and younger players usually do the best so could the Reds find cheaper veterans than Bronson Arroyo and Scott Rolen? Would any of the younger players produce like Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips?
We all know this will never happen but what would the team look like if it did? And would Walt Jocketty still have a job the next day? I for one would like to see something happen this offseason but dumping salaries will not help the team win the World Series in 2012. I really believe a healthy Scott Rolen and Bronson Arroyo is a must this season in order for this team to succeed along with the younger players getting the playing time they deserve.
The team will also need Dusty Baker to be at the top of his game, which means don’t let players like Drew Stubbs bat 1st if he is striking out like crazy. I hope this season with Sappelt on the roster Dusty will be able to help Stubbs get playing the way he should but I also think trading Stubbs would be good for both sides. Being in Great American Ball Park has given Stubbs the notion he is a home run hitter so he is swinging for the fences every time. I know for a fact that if he is traded he will most likely turn into another Ryan Freel if he is not careful. These guys get paid good money to play ball and even in the offseason they should be working hard to get into shape for next season. Drew Stubbs doesn’t look like he has that drive to be better. I blame guys like Adam Dunn and Ken Griffey Jr. for this. They poisoned some of these younger guys with the idea that you don’t have to try hard to keep your job. I thought that when the Reds got rid of those two players that attitude would go away but I can still see it in some players and it really gets me upset. What these young guys don’t understand is, Adam Dunn and Ken Griffey Jr. were not always like that. They had to work their butts off to get the salary they were getting. If Drew Stubbs wants a big pay-day ever in his career he is going to have to do something big next season.
Another thing Dusty Baker will have to work on is not pushing the young guys till they break. The Reds really don’t need any injuries in 2012. Pushing starters that extra inning just to give the bullpen a rest is ok but do they really want guys like Johnny Cueto or Aroldis Chapman out with injury for two months or more. And hopefully he does not push the young catchers too much either. They really don’t need to be shopping for catchers midseason because two or three of them are out with injuries. Giving guys like Scott Rolen, Joey Votto and Jay Bruce rest is very important too. Can you imagine if those three players went out at the same time with injuries? The Reds would be in big trouble.
Dusty Baker needs to stop chewing so hard on those toothpicks and start paying more attention to the game and his players. Any other managers would have picked up on Stubbs a long time ago and did something to correct it and just maybe the Reds would have done better in the standings. Of course we can’t blame last year just on Dusty Baker there are others who need to be pointed at too. Walt Jocketty could have made some deals to help the team push forward at the trade deadline and of course some of the players could have done a little more to get better. I can even point that finger at myself, I as a fan could have tried harder to cheer louder and maybe they would have won the whole thing. But, what is done is done. Now we must move on and hopefully Walt Jocketty keeps taking his medication and doesn’t trade too much away for the players they need. The Reds also need Santa Claus to give Dusty Baker a bad batch of toothpicks this Christmas so then he will pay more attention in 2012 and some players need to call up Yonder Alonso and ask if they can train with him this offseason.
*** Have fun at Redsfest this year guys. ***