MLB Manager Rumors: Is 2012 the Last Year in Cincinnati for Dusty Baker?

Cliff EasthamSenior Writer IIJanuary 15, 2012

PITTSBURGH - JULY 19: Manager Dusty Baker #12 of the Cincinnati Reds watches batting practice prior to the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates on July 19, 2011 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

Dusty Baker has been with the Cincinnati Reds for four years and is in the last year of his contract.

Of those four years, only one has been a winning season. That was 2010 when the Reds won the Central Division and were thrown a no-hitter by Phillies' Roy Halladay.

Overall, Baker's record with the Reds is four games under .500 at 322-326. Coincidentally, that is the exact record he had with the Chicago Cubs before moving to ESPN.

In 18 years, he has won four divisional titles and one National League pennant.

So, I would like to present you with a big question. Do the Reds have to win not only the Central Division flag, but the National League pennant as well, for Baker to keep his job?

Don't answer just yet. Let's talk for a moment, you and I.

Baker has always supposedly been a players' manager. It is difficult to find a definition for that moniker in Webster's Dictionary.

Since becoming a manager in 1993 with the San Francisco Giants, Baker has shown a proclivity to favor the veteran players over the youngsters—seemingly without regard to the output at times.

This definitely has been the case in Cincinnati.

There is nothing wrong with showing veterans respect. However, that respect should be measured with a dash of statistics. During last year's left-field quandary, he continued to play veterans Jonny Gomes and Fred Lewis over the power-hitting youngster Chris Heisey.

I also noticed the tendency Baker has to not play the "hot hand." For example, if a player had four hits in one game, logic would dictate starting him the next game, yes? That is not Baker's practice.

 

According to beat writer John Fay, it may not matter whether he wins it all or not. When asked the same question I posed to you earlier, Fay said Baker had to win "without question."

Even if he does, I don’t think it’s a lock he’s back. The Reds didn’t make David Bell the manager at Louisville because they wanted Rick Sweet to work with catchers.

A reader can interpret that statement two ways. First, he could think that the Reds wanted Bell to get his feet wet at AAA Louisville before coming to the Reds.

Alternatively, it could be construed as saying that the Reds moved successful Louisville manager Rick Sweet for a season to work with catchers prior to coming to Cincinnati. Who knows?

I do know that the success of Rick Sweet should not go unnoticed. He is the franchise leader at Louisville in career wins with 466.

At any rate, I am sure Baker can hear the footsteps behind him. If that's not be incentive enough, nothing is.

Fans have been hyper critical of Baker in the last few seasons. His constant chewing on toothpicks becomes easy fodder for sports writers to load up on.

One thing is for sure, he has the pitching staff that should be superb. He has a good to very good offensive club and probably one of the best defenses in the major leagues.

Win it all—or it has been nice knowing you, Dusty.

What are your thoughts?

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