It’s not that we don’t have patience. Every day has gone by with a whirlwind of baseball transactions while the Reds have remained idle. The winter meetings came and went while hardly no moves were made. We understood. Mat Latos was delivered the week after the winter meetings in 2011. Shin Soo-Choo came to town via 3-way trade the very same week after in 2012. So as baseball’s biggest off-season get together was coming to a close, we weren’t fretting. That next week which had filled a roster weakness the last 2 years was coming after one weekend to get all those details and fine print out of the way. It was only a matter of time. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and then Friday.
We heard names from Matt Wieters to Chris Sale, David Price to Matt Kemp. Charlie Sheen tweeted Jose Bautista to have fun in Cincinnati. We even heard Bronson Arroyo might be coming back. Wait, what?! Was this setting up another trade? Makes sense… Re-sign good ole’ innings eater Bronson Arroyo and part with Bailey who’s a free-agent after 2014 or maybe even capitalize on Mike Leake’s nice season. Something big was coming. Right handed power was on its way. A hitter must be coming to the rescue, right?
One big narrative that has been coming out of the front office is, “We like our team”. That’s the same thing that was said after Ludwick went down last opening day. No help was brought in. July 31st, 2013 trade deadline was approaching. This team needed a number 2 hitter after Cozart’s 64 games and Izturis’ 9 games of futility. That day came and left us with nothing. But wait, hope. There was a non-waiver trade deadline. August 31st, 2013 was the day right? Ludwick struggling so far on his return, Marlon Byrd put on waivers… At least put in a block so Pittsburgh who desperately needed an outfielder wouldn’t be able to acquire him, right?
Nope. “We like our team”.
So here’s the deal. Dusty Baker was the problem. He batted Cozart in the number 2 hole for 64 times and Izturis there 9 more times. Baker hit Brandon Phillips in the cleanup spot all year long instead of Phillips at number 2 and Bruce in the 4 hole. Dusty left Homer Bailey in too long to try and help him get a win. Dusty didn’t use Chapman correctly. Didn’t use him for 9 straight games at one point. But is it all his fault or was he just using the roster built for him?
Dusty Baker might have been only part of the problem.
When do we start wondering if the pieces given to Dusty Baker were inadequate? When do we start questioning the $40 Million invested in Broxton, Ludwick, and Hannahan? That money could’ve been used to invest in that one right handed hitter whom this team has needed even before it needed the lead-off hitter in Choo last year. With a 2013 payroll of $107 Million, it’s not how much money is being spent. It’s how the money is being allocated. As we roll into the new year, maybe this will all be blown over with the acquisition of Matt Kemp, Jose Bautista, or even Chase Headley. But if not. If it’s still, “We like our team”. The one responsible is the one whom everyone in baseball is calling “Asleep at the wheel”.