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Dusty Baker: Your Cincinnati Reds World Series Window Is Closing

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - OCTOBER 07:  Cincinnati Reds Manager Dusty Baker looks on in the ninth inning of Game Two of the National League Division Series against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park on October 7, 2012 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
Illya HarrellAnalyst IIOctober 24, 2016

Dusty Baker's sweet tooth for giving guys chance after chance to prove themselves capable of a role which they are not well suited has driven a many Reds' fan mad. There are times where conspiracy theories pop into our heads. "How is owner, Bob Castellini paying these doozy contracts?"

Bingo! He is in cahoots with Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, and West Virginia psych wards.

Patience is a luxury for teams in a neutral or rebuilding plan—not for a team that falls into the "Win Now!" category. And especially not for a ball club who has been in that mode going on its third consecutive season.

If something's not working, one normally tries to fix it.

When your number two hitter, shortstop Zack Cozart, has an on-base percentage .031 points lower than the 2009 Reds' lead-off man Willy Taveras, it's time to tinker the lineup and hope to find an attractive alternative.

Say you have a slop pitcher in the pen who is hittable as a punching bag—like Logan Ondrusek. A sane team would take advantage of their minor league system and look for a more viable option.

Baker, year after year, has shown faith in lackluster players for remarkably extended periods of time. During his tenure as Reds' skipper only once has he pulled a quick trigger; last season inserting Aroldis Chapman in as closer in place of Sean Marshall.

Cozart is an excellent glove at short. In no way is this advocating his removal from the starting lineup. But where do you see great fielders with low lumber numbers bat? Before the pitcher in the eight-hole—assuming you have no worse sticks.

 

Solution: Move Xavier Paul into the two slot against righties. Against lefties lead-off with Derrick Robinson and bat Shin-Soo Choo second. The results may or may not be better, but it's at least worth a squint.

Will the ever-stubborn Reds' manager try this? Not likely. Reds' fans may see the Robinson/Choo experiment, but Baker's bizarre phobia of placing lefties back-to-back in the line-up would surely prevent Paul batting after Choo.

As far as Ondrusek is concerned, ship him to Louisville and give Chad Reineke or Justin Freeman a ticket to the Queen City. Or just take a flyer and point and click. Anyone has a better chance than Ondrusek.

It was exciting to see Ondrusek start the year in AA Pensacola. That thrill died when it was greeted with the news that the only reason he was down there was to work with a pitching coach who had helped harness his control during his journey to Cincinnati.

If a pitcher needs help from a minor league coach after three unspectacular seasons in the majors, he most likely is not ready to don a big league uniform.

Noah Webster defines insanity as, "great folly; extreme senselessness." Many people define it as, "Doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result." Both cases fit Dusty Baker like a well worn Rawlings.

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