Baker and Contract Extension?

For the most part, reading the comments from a blog post are more entertaining that the post itself. Those comments say a lot about the blog’s readers.

Such is the case from a post by John Fay of Cincinnati Reds Blog on Fay was reporting that the Reds and manager Dusty Baker would discuss extending Baker’s stay in Cincinnati as the manager. Baker has his say.

“Mr. Castellini told me we’d talk about it after the trade deadline.”

Castellini declined to comment.


By reading the comments left, I don’t think the majority of Fay’s readers really want Baker to return.

To be sure, Reds owner Bob Castellini will be extremely involved in this decision. He may be the one to make this decision and not GM Walt Jocketty. I’m also sure Jocketty and his opinions could well weigh into Castellini’s final decision. The working relationship between Jocketty and Baker will be a major issue. Unless you’re Ozzie Guillen and Kenny Williams, I believe that a GM and manager that cannot work together cannot have success. They have to be on the same page in some form.

While Baker is saying there’s been progress, that cannot be totally attributable to Baker.  Yes, going from 74-88 to 78-84 is progress, but very little. For Baker’s first two seasons, that’s a 152-172. Add the 2010 record, Baker’s stint has provided a 206-216 record. For Baker to approach .500 for his three seasons, the Reds would have to go 37-27 in their 64 remaining games giving them a 91-71 record.

I look to three moves Jocketty has made since joining the organization that have made the Reds a contender this year. One was bringing in Scott Rolen. He’s not vocal. He simply leads by example. The younger players need to see that. Another was landing Orlando Cabrera. Say what you want about his .257 average, but Cabrera just plays for winners. People forget Cabrera was the shortstop on the 2004 Boston Red Sox. Um, the Red Sox won the World Series that season. 2005, 2007, 2008 and 2009 also saw Cabrera on playoff teams. Five of the last six seasons. To me though, the final piece was bringing back Jonny Gomes. The Reds needed his rah-rah and hard-nosed mentality. That is also an example the younger guys needed.

I suppose the old adage applies here. When team’s are winning, the manager gets too much credit. When they’re losing, he gets too much blame. Just ask Mets skipper Jerry Manuel about that.

No question when Baker arrived in Cincinnati, it came with a bit of a tarnished reputation. All people do is bring up two things: Mark Prior and Kerry Wood. And they continue to do so. And they always will.

Does Dusty deserve an extension? I look at it as a “wait and see” situation. If the Reds make a deep playoff run, I can honestly say he does. If the Reds make the playoffs and acquire the dreaded “happy to be here” mentality, then I would decline.