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RedsManRick
03-10-2008, 08:01 PM
A piece? He was one of three most important executives in the organization (GM and owner being the other two) and the one with the greatest responsibility for the on-field performance. That you've tried to conflate him with the concessions staff speaks volumes for how far off you are on the actual job responsibilities of a major league manager.

Simply put, if Dusty Baker wasn't a capable manager, the Giants don't go on that run. Period, no exceptions.

Great, one of the biggest 3 influences. That .040 above .500 equates to 5.5 extra wins. How many of those belong to Dusty? How many of those 5.5 +.500 wins does Barry get? How many belong to Brian Sabean? How many to Marvin Bernard? How many to Jeff Kent?

The entire point of referencing concessions staff is to highlight our collective inability to actually put any reasonable estimate together suggesting the impact of his influence. And given the small amount above average (just 5.5 wins per year), distributed across all of the relevant people in the organization who contribute to that outcome, it's entirely possible Dusty had a negative contribution that was masked by other people. Not saying that it was negative; I'm saying that the data are such that the W/L record doesn't tell us anything. We have to look elsewhere.

jojo
03-10-2008, 08:14 PM
It's this business of trying to use the how much gray area as justification for equating the manager with the peanut vendor that I've got no use for.

Well, that hasn't been my position.

Concerning the roster and with the exception of spring training (where the manager has the greatest latitude), managers are generally data points (their opinions are inputs into the decision) not the decision makers. Often managers are largely "stuck" with the hands they're dealt. Even with spring training, there are boundaries that confine him more to the margins than with absolute power.

This isn't to say GMs won't try to accommodate their managers but rather managers ultimately have limited power in this regard.

jojo
03-10-2008, 08:28 PM
Great, one of the biggest 3 influences. That .040 above .500 equates to 5.5 extra wins. How many of those belong to Dusty? How many of those 5.5 +.500 wins does Barry get? How many belong to Brian Sabean? How many to Marvin Bernard? How many to Jeff Kent?

The entire point of referencing concessions staff is to highlight our collective inability to actually put any reasonable estimate together suggesting the impact of his influence. And given the small amount above average (just 5.5 wins per year), distributed across all of the relevant people in the organization who contribute to that outcome, it's entirely possible Dusty had a negative contribution that was masked by other people. Not saying that it was negative; I'm saying that the data are such that the W/L record doesn't tell us anything. We have to look elsewhere.

I think the Giants could've had 3 different managers over that period (none of them named Dusty) and given Sabean and the core of Snow, Kent, Aurilia, Mueller, Bonds and the staffs the Giants had, the organization would've finished above .500 from 1996-2002.

MWM
03-10-2008, 08:38 PM
Marty&jeff@wlw.com

:bowrofl::bowrofl::bowrofl:

OMG, I haven't laughed out loud so hard in a long time. One of the most classic posts in the forum's history.

RFS62
03-10-2008, 08:42 PM
:bowrofl::bowrofl::bowrofl:

OMG, I haven't laughed out loud so hard in a long time. One of the most classic posts in the forum's history.

The man knows his boobs.

M2
03-10-2008, 08:56 PM
Well, that hasn't been my position.

Concerning the roster and with the exception of spring training (where the manager has the greatest latitude), managers are generally data points (their opinions are inputs into the decision) not the decision makers. Often managers are largely "stuck" with the hands they're dealt. Even with spring training, there are boundaries that confine him more to the margins than with absolute power.

This isn't to say GMs won't try to accommodate their managers but rather managers ultimately have limited power in this regard.

I think you overestimate the role of the GM a bit and underestimate the role of the manager. Most good organizations attack this stuff from as a team (and this is where I think the A's have been dysfunctional). For instance, I expect Terry Francona is making the primary call on who plays CF for him this year and what the back of the rotation looks like. That doesn't mean the rest of the front office doesn't have a ton of input, but I'd expect if Francona makes the case that he absolutely must have one guy instead of another that he gets the guy he wants.

In this data-driven age, managers need to make the case beyond, "Well, because that's what I want," but they do a lot more than play the hand they're dealt. What I'm driving at is that I figure most GMs work to give the manager what he says he needs, which is a decided step beyond accommodation.

M2
03-10-2008, 09:49 PM
Great, one of the biggest 3 influences. That .040 above .500 equates to 5.5 extra wins. How many of those belong to Dusty? How many of those 5.5 +.500 wins does Barry get? How many belong to Brian Sabean? How many to Marvin Bernard? How many to Jeff Kent?

What a perfectly futile little box you've created. Was it written in stone the Giants were going to be a .500 club all those years? He was integral in pulling that franchise together, that he worked well with Quinn and Sabean only speaks well for him. That's what a good manager is supposed to do.

He was there putting together a team that went on a real good extended run. What percentage of above .500 credit should he get? That is so far from anything that should be a concern.

Can he help assemble and then lead a quality ballclub? Yes, despite your attempts to make that disappear.


The entire point of referencing concessions staff is to highlight our collective inability to actually put any reasonable estimate together suggesting the impact of his influence.

Or to highlight you complete lack of understanding as to what a manager does.


Not saying that it was negative; I'm saying that the data are such that the W/L record doesn't tell us anything. We have to look elsewhere.

Yeah, if only you could extrapolate something from years of consistent success. Of course, logically speaking the first thing you ought to do when assessing a manager's ability is ignore the work he's done.

RedsManRick
03-10-2008, 09:54 PM
Yeah, if only you could extrapolate something from years of consistent success. Of course, logically speaking the first thing you ought to do when assessing a manager's ability is ignore the work he's done.

Futile would describe this conversation. If you want to look at the collective efforts of dozens, if not hundreds of people, and give that credit to Dusty, be my guest. Give us Corey Patterson leading off on opening day and let's go win this thing. We just need to be more aggressive, stop clogging up the bases, and stop complaining about meaningless things like pitchers throwing tired. Dusty's a winner and that's all that matters. If he does something that doesn't make sense, if he says things that are flat out incorrect, if he makes decisions that directly cause the Reds to score fewer or allow more runs, let's ignore it, look at his career won/loss record, and remind ourselves that we should feel honored we're in the presence of greatness.

RFS62
03-10-2008, 10:03 PM
If Dusty does something that doesn't make sense, if he says things that are flat out incorrect, if he makes decisions that directly cause the Reds to score fewer or allow more runs, let's ignore it, look at his career won/loss record, and remind ourselves that we should feel honored we're in the presence of greatness.



I'll go out on a limb and make the most obvious prediction in the history of RedsZone.

Dusty Baker will be the most controversial figure ever discussed on RedsZone. He will set new standards for RedsZone lightning rods for many years to come.

He will be ravaged daily for any number of transgressions, real and imagined.

And threads like this will dominate the board.

jojo
03-10-2008, 10:05 PM
I'll go out on a limb and make the most obvious prediction in the history of RedsZone.

Dusty Baker will be the most controversial figure ever discussed on RedsZone. He will set new standards for RedsZone lightning rods for many years to come.

He will be ravaged daily for any number of transgressions, real and imagined.

And threads like this will dominate the board.

Is that from Isaiah or Revelations? :D

KronoRed
03-10-2008, 10:08 PM
I'll go out on a limb and make the most obvious prediction in the history of RedsZone.

Dusty Baker will be the most controversial figure ever discussed on RedsZone. He will set new standards for RedsZone lightning rods for many years to come.

He will be ravaged daily for any number of transgressions, real and imagined.

And threads like this will dominate the board.

It's gonna be a long 3 years

M2
03-10-2008, 10:10 PM
If you want to look at the collective efforts of dozens, if not hundreds of people, and give that credit to Dusty, be my guest.

I give credit for the success of the operation to the people who were running the show. Dusty Baker was one of those people.

M2
03-10-2008, 10:13 PM
I'll go out on a limb and make the most obvious prediction in the history of RedsZone.

Dusty Baker will be the most controversial figure ever discussed on RedsZone. He will set new standards for RedsZone lightning rods for many years to come.

He will be ravaged daily for any number of transgressions, real and imagined.

And threads like this will dominate the board.

Great post. What amazes me is I'm in no way constitutionally disposed to agree with many of Baker's tactics. Adam Dunn hitting 5th makes my brain burn. Yet refusing to give the man his due for the actual success he's had strikes me as spite for its own sake.

Dusty Baker may not be the answer, but he's not a complete incompetent either.

RANDY IN INDY
03-10-2008, 10:15 PM
Great post. What amazes me is I'm in no way constitutionally disposed to agree with many of Baker's tactics. Adam Dunn hitting 5th makes my brain burn. Yet refusing to give the man his due for the actual success he's had strikes me as spite for its own sake.

Dusty Baker may not be the answer, but he's not a complete incompetent either.

The voice of reason speaks again. I applaud you, my friend!:beerme:

RedsManRick
03-10-2008, 10:16 PM
Dusty Baker may not be the answer, but he's not a complete incompetent either.

And now we're creating strawmen... wonderful. He's not a complete incompetent, just a partial. I would like for us to aim higher.

RANDY IN INDY
03-10-2008, 10:21 PM
Hilarious.

M2
03-10-2008, 10:28 PM
And now we're creating strawmen... wonderful. He's not a complete incompetent, just a partial. I would like for us to aim higher.

That's classic.

OldRightHander
03-10-2008, 10:46 PM
Well, this thread has been a very entertaining read. Last year several of us, myself included, hoped the Reds would go out and bring someone in, instead of continuing the trend of hiring the interim guy who would eventually be fired so they could hire another interim guy. So they finally do just that, get someone from the outside who has had some experience and a smattering of success. Then the guy they bring in has a bit too much of the old school in him to make most of us happy. We'd like someone with more of a clue about lineup construction and more respect for OBP. I tend to agree there, but the more I look around, baseball is full of a whole lot of guys with that old school mentality. There are a few who think outside the box, but plenty more who still come at everything from that old school mentality. It seems to me that if you want someone with MLB experience who comes at things with the mindset that most of us one here would prefer, you'd be choosing from a pretty short list. I just don't know how many of those guys are available. I'm not completely happy with what we got, but I'm not ready to go jump off the next bridge either. I just want to see a successful product on the field, whether it comes in spite of Dusty or because of him.

gonelong
03-10-2008, 11:17 PM
I'll go out on a limb and make the most obvious prediction in the history of RedsZone.

Dusty Baker will be the most controversial figure ever discussed on RedsZone. He will set new standards for RedsZone lightning rods for many years to come.

He will be ravaged daily for any number of transgressions, real and imagined.

And threads like this will dominate the board.

Agreed.

The manager almost always gets heat unless he wins the WS, and the Reds aren't gonna be winning the WS this year.

To top that off the guy has a reputation (earned or not) for ruining young arms when the organization happens to have a few of them for the first time in a few decades.

He also has a reputation (earned or not) for playing vets over young guys while we have a young guy tyring to break through (Bruce).

He also has a reputation (earned or not) for hitting OBP challenged players in the leadoff spot.

Any of these individually would probably cause all sorts of consternation. Any two of them in concert would warm up the pitchforks. All of these together? Adam Dunn will be a forgotten man on these boards.

GL

Cooper
03-10-2008, 11:25 PM
Good posts everybody....entertaining and educational.

M2 -i really don't feel like the A's are that dysfunctional. I think they make a lot of decisions by committee and there's some history of that kind of approach working (the Dodgers did it for 30 years...along with the Red Sox). It may be you were inferring that 1 man has too much organizational control, but it appears to me that Beane has been good at involving a fair amount of resources at his disposal....and therein lies the problem(dysfuction)....maybe he shouldn't have that kind of control? Maybe the power should be spread out through the organization?

I think Beane could leave and the A's could continue their organizational success. I have a fealing you may think otherwise.

M2
03-10-2008, 11:33 PM
Good posts everybody....entertaining and educational.

M2 -i really don't feel like the A's are that dysfunctional. I think they make a lot of decisions by committee and there's some history of that kind of approach working (the Dodgers did it for 30 years...along with the Red Sox). It may be you were inferring that 1 man has too much organizational control, but it appears to me that Beane has been good at involving a fair amount of resources at his disposal....and therein lies the problem(dysfuction)....maybe he shouldn't have that kind of control? Maybe the power should be spread out through the organization?

I think Beane could leave and the A's could continue their organizational success. I have a fealing you may think otherwise.

The only thing I don't like about the A's committee approach is the manager has been left off the committee. To me, that's the dysfunction. Art Howe and Ken Macha were figureheads. Maybe it's different with Bob Geren.

sonny
03-10-2008, 11:41 PM
Leave Dusty Alone!

I'm actually quite excited to see the direction Dusty takes the Reds this year. Like him or not, RZ has been a lot more entertaining with him on board. Here's to a fun season here at RZ :beerme:

pedro
03-10-2008, 11:43 PM
The only thing I don't like about the A's committee approach is the manager has been left off the committee. To me, that's the dysfunction. Art Howe and Ken Macha were figureheads. Maybe it's different with Bob Geren.

I have to agree with M2 on this one. I think it sends a bad message to the players.

westofyou
03-11-2008, 12:06 AM
What a perfectly futile little box you've created. Was it written in stone the Giants were going to be a .500 club all those years?

I was there... the man was doing something.... I don't know what ... but it worked better than the 10 years prior... and I was there too.

Of course tis was before the internet so I spent a LOT of time watching Giants baseball.

Sure Craig and Robby had their moments and yes... there was more money towards the end of the 90's.... but like I said he was there and a lot of what happened was not about just Barry and Kent.

Jpup
03-11-2008, 08:37 AM
3 things.
1. agree w/ your comments

2. It drives me crazy to see people taking credit for Harang trades....when there was little or nothing to show that he was anything other than back of the rotation fodder. He was a 'flyer' that no one ever predicted to turn into a top of the rotation horse.

3. The Beane comments are akin to Josh Hamilton going on to win several MVP's.... and the media giving all the praise to Krivsky for acquiring him as a Rule V.

I wasn't up to speed on Harang until after he was traded for. I did see him pitch a couple of times I think, but it didn't leave an impression. Then I saw him pitch in Houston against Roger Clemens. I knew from that day, he would be a #1 or #2 pitcher. That is the day it clicked for him IMO.

Raisor
03-11-2008, 10:04 AM
I want to thank WOY for posting that blog from Joe Posnanski. That made my day.

westofyou
03-11-2008, 10:46 AM
I want to thank WOY for posting that blog from Joe Posnanski. That made my day.

No problem, Joe cracks me up.

Joe posted this in the comments section of his blog.


Reader:




Am I wrong in thinking this is meant as a rebuttal to Paul Daugherty’s column in the Cincinnati Enquirer today?

http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080309/COL03/803090373/1071/rss08


Joe:


John R - I just read that article. Thats hack journalism at its greatest.


Me::bowrofl:

westofyou
03-11-2008, 10:57 AM
Of Course Joe touches on it again today.

http://joeposnanski.com/JoeBlog/2008/03/10/stats-i-like/


Seeing all those numbers in a row like this gives you a good sense of how much that batting average means. Don’t get me wrong, it’s good to hit .300. But it’s not necessarily great.

Say, you have a player hit .264/.386/.554. With that on-base percentage and slugging maybe you shouldn’t worry about his low average too much. He’s walking and hitting with a lot of power. That’s Adam Dunn.*

You have a player hit .300/.322/.387. Now, that’s an empty .300. And because he DOES hit .300, you can guess that some some manager who should know better is leading him off even though the guy can’t get on base. You bet. That’s Ralph Garr.

You have someone hitting .314/.381/.394. Well, you hope that someone with that low a slugging percentage can run and play a premium position. If he can’t run, and he is your designated hitter, that’s trouble. And that’s Jose Vidro. Now wonder some people want the Mariners to sign Barry Bonds.

*I know there some people who felt like my last blog post on stats was pointed toward a friend of mine, Paul Daugherty, and I just want to say it was not, or at least it was not consciously pointed his way. I did read his column about Dusty Baker, which had a couple of swipes at Bill James, and I’m sure I locked that away in my mind. But the post itself was started a couple of days before, and when I wrote the Bill James Pozterisk, I was actually thinking about someone else who had just sent me an essay he had done where he ripped Bill James for taking the fun out of baseball. Maybe reading both that and Doc’s column on the same weekend was too much — I’m not saying Doc had nothing to do with it. I’m also not going to say I liked Doc’s column because I did not, and I suspect Dusty Baker will be a fiasco in Cincinnati, and Bill James will probably keep on doing all right in Boston. But I respect Doc a lot, I’ve long admired his work, and I’m entirely grateful to him — he was one of two or three key people who helped me get my breakthrough job in Cincinnati.

Also, while we’re here, I would ask for everyone to please tone down some of the name-calling and personal attacks in the comments section. I know I have joked about being angry at comments directed at me before, but to be serious for a second, I don’t mind those … rip me all you like for this FREE STINKING BLOG THAT I’M GIVING YOU FOR FREE AND DID I MENTION IT HAPPENS TO BE FREE? (See, I’m joking again). But lay off each other. Give peace a chance. I’ve had friends have to cut off the comments on their blogs because the name calling just got ugly, and I would rather not do that. OK, enough of that. Back to the countdown.

bucksfan2
03-11-2008, 11:09 AM
I think what some people underestimate the psychological aspect when it applies to managing people. If you ask any great leader they will tell you that keeping your people happy and motivated is over half the battle. Using another sport as an example the Lakers had one of the most dominant big men the sport has ever seen in his prime in Shaq and also had the rising star in Kobe yet were unable to win a championship until Phil Jackson showed up.

Every player on a team needs to be treated differently in order to get maxium production. A guy like Encarnacion needs to be treated differently than Jr. Some guys need to be pushed to be motivated while others need to be massaged. Throughout his entier career Greg Maddux has thrown to his own personal catcher. He never liked to throw to Lopez when he was with the Braves. This obviously didn't put the best offensive team on the field but it put the most important player on that day at ease. Dusty's strengths can't be measured by computers or stats but if you listen to the players who have played for him they have nothing but good things to say.

M2
03-11-2008, 11:22 AM
Dusty's strengths can't be measured by computers or stats but if you listen to the players who have played for him they have nothing but good things to say.

I disagree and I think that's where those who would praise Baker for his successes miss the boat.

He's not some shaman who works wholly in the realm of mysticism. He's a baseball manager and his teams play games which leave a massive trail of data in their wake.

You absolutely can look at Baker's record and identify the strengths of the teams he's managed. You can look at what happened to Jeff Kent's career when he ran into Baker. You can see a slew of borderline bats all stepping up and making big contributions. You can see how Baker employs a power bullpen and how he's milked fringe starters.

You'll also see some flaws, he's far from a perfect vessel, but I think it does Baker a disservice to treat him as a purely faith-based proposition. If you couldn't demonstrate any concrete strengths, then it would be fairly damning.

westofyou
03-11-2008, 11:36 AM
http://chicagosports.chicagotribune.com/sports/columnists/cs-080309-white-sox-rick-morrissey,1,2033099,print.column

Sox may have (computer) chip on their shoulder
Rick Morrissey



March 10, 2008


If computers ran the world, Steven Seagal probably would have won a few Oscars by now, assuming they judged him on the $2 billion his movies have earned. If computers had a way of measuring acting ability, he'd be running a martial-arts school in a strip mall.

But they don't run the world, yet, which means we can still type in our credit card numbers online without worrying that all our money is being sucked into a fund earmarked for global dominance by a dastardly computer.

Computers have no use for heart, or least they can't quantify it. They can't analyze what's inside an athlete, for example. They can't tell you who has the heart of a lion or the backbone of an earthworm.

Computers can't tell you that White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko is upset with how he played last season. All they can tell you is that he hit .259 in 2007, that he just turned 32 and, therefore, he must be on the downside of his career because that's what the model says is supposed to happen to him.

If you saw the piece about Baseball Prospectus' 2008 predictions in Sunday's Tribune, then you know the publication's computer has the Sox going 77-85 and finishing third in the AL Central, and the Cubs going 91-71 and winning the NL Central.

I know as much about computers as I do about astronomy, but I believe the computer term for Baseball Prospectus' Sox prediction is "fatal error." I have the Sox winning 85 games and giving Cleveland a run for its money for second place in the division. I know, I know: The Indians are loaded with talent, and if it weren't for Detroit spending gobs of money, they'd be the favorites in the AL Central.

But, again, what about heart?

Hal (or Smitty or Shecky or whatever the computer's name is) and I pretty much agree about the Cubs, which, given my track record on predictions, should make Hal/Smitty/Shecky do a lot of soul-searching, which is impossible because it doesn't have a soul, just an evil chip that makes it want to mate with Marie Osmond and produce robots that sing show tunes.

The Cubs will win 92 games. They will win the NL Central. They will win the NL pennant. They will get trounced by whichever American League team has the inclination to do a little trouncing, the way a bear commences to eat after it gets done playing with its food.

The cold, hard facts might back up Baseball Prospectus' opinion that the Mets will beat the Cubs in the NL Championship Series. New York acquired Johan Santana from the Twins, shifting the balance of power eastward in the weak-by-comparison National League.

But ...

Do feelings count? Or hunches? Where is there room in computers for the inexplicable? Does the fact that it's the Cubs' 100th season since their last World Series title mean anything in the computations? Does it mean anything that the Cubs could be driven by the challenge of a century of dryness or, conversely, that they could cave in under the pressure of it and finish 10 games below .500?

I believe the Sox are embarrassed by what happened last season and, not to belabor the point, there is nothing in a computer's innards that can measure the effects of that. But it is one of the great motivators in the human makeup.

Baseball Prospectus was dead on last season, when it predicted the Sox, whom it saw as aging quickly, would win only 72 games. That's exactly what happened.

That the Sox dropped from 90 victories in 2006 to 72 games last season was one of the shocks of the baseball season. But not to Baseball Prospectus, and the people who run it deserve their props. They chalk up a lot of what happened on the South Side last season to the inevitability of time catching up with older athletes. I chalk it up to a number of players having down years at the same time.

Isn't there room for a number of Sox to have good years at the same time? Say, in 2008? If Jim Thome stays healthy, he could have an excellent season. It's a big "if," of course, but not like wondering if, say, the rain can hold off in Seattle for a month or two.

The Cubs don't have a good enough rotation to do the impossible and win the World Series, but perhaps Carlos Zambrano's feistiness becomes contagious and the staff starts pitching like the '69 Mets did. Can a computer comprehend feistiness? I don't think so.

This is the time of year for predictions, so it's not surprising there would be a few bad tidings, especially for the Sox.

The problem with computers is that you can argue with them until you're blue in the face, and they don't even blink in response. There's no satisfaction in it. You can, however, achieve a higher level of contentment by hitting them with a baseball bat.

Because destroying the machine always negates the data that it creates.

RedsManRick
03-11-2008, 12:02 PM
That's a very fair point bucksfan and I will admit that perhaps I've only given that part of Dusty's skill set lipservice. However, good managing comes at the intersection of motivation and strategy. A failure of either undermines the success of the team. That's my fear with Dusty. You can have a very happy, very cohesive team, but if they aren't given the right opportunities to succeed, then what have you accomplished?

Dusty's reaction to the "stathead lineup" and Junior's place in it was telling. Pardon my paraphrasing, but it was something to the effect of "Junior batting 7th (pretty sure he wasn't 7th, btw), that'll go over well". He wasn't commenting on how that lineup would effect run scoring -- but how it would make the people in the lineup feel.

I understand that's a bit of nitpick, but I think it is a fairly good microcosm of how Dusty operates. I don't discount that an unhappy person in the right spot in the lineup isn't a good thing either. But a happy, motivated Corey Patterson still will add less value at the leadoff spot than a slightly uncomfortable Joey Votto.

While I admit you need both, I just don't think Dusty appreciates the relative importance of chemistry vs. strategy -- or more accurately, he doesn't understand the strategy so well, so he places more importance on his personal strength. It's a balancing act, and I certainly don't claim that I could do it. However, I fear that Dusty simply focuses way too much on his strength, managing people, and that while it might be great at first, it ultimately will be undermined by strategic failures.

blumj
03-11-2008, 12:30 PM
You can look at what happened to Jeff Kent's career when he ran into Baker. You can see a slew of borderline bats all stepping up and making big contributions.
You have got to be kidding me. I cannot be the only person to read that and see the massive elephant right there in the center of the room.

jojo
03-11-2008, 12:36 PM
I posted this at the time of Dusty's hiring:


I think there really are three aspects in a manager's job description:

1. lineup/manage the staff;
2. manage the clubhouse;
3. manage the media;

Dusty's major flaws are related to the first responsibility IMHO. He excels at the second responsibility. Basically as a tactician he'll cost the team runs but in general most managers aren't all that and a bag of chips in this regard so it remains to be seen how much this really hurts. He's probably good for + runs regarding his ability to manage the clubhouse because guys tend to play for him. Probably the sum of the effects of responsibilities one and two roughly even out or count as a slight positive.

To me, it's responsibility three that I am actually excited about because it will be refreshing to have a manager that manages the media well for a change.

And I posted this more recently (pretty much says the same thing but says it differently):


Here's my take on the manager's job description (listed in order of importance but there is skill set overlap between each):

1. determine who plays (field the players that gives the team the best opportunity to win)

2. place players in the best situation to maximize their ability

3. maintain a clubhouse environment conducive to winning (i.e. manage the personalities)

4. interface between the club and the media (i.e. be the face/spokesman at the point of "sale")

There probably aren't any managers that can consistently make a team out perform it's true talent level and generally IMHO, a manager doesn't dramatically impact wins (usually a manager's strengths will be canceled by his weaknesses and vice versa). Good teams can win despite their manager. Bad teams will lose despite their manager. Occasionally good teams will lose because of issues related to a manger's job description-i.e. the team becomes dysfunctional or the manager's philosophies are just diametrically opposing the optimal way to handle a particular roster (and really isn't that one on the GM?). I'd argue that, assuming he's not woefully incompetent at #1 above, at best a manager may impact a team +5 wins/losses and it's probably not a repeatable skill but a catch-lightning-in-a-bottle or luck/unluck phenomenon when the impact is that big.

Managing people is an important aspect of the manager's job.

There is no such thing as the perfect manager.

That said, I don't get why leveraging data (stats) is seen as exclusionary to people skills. Given the increasing utilization of sabermetrics by major league FO's, in my mind, the ideal manager would be adept at melding both approaches. It can be done. Guys like Wedge and Acta seem to be doing just that. It seems to me that sabermetrics can inform strategy (decisions about who plays and how best to place players in ideal situations). I'd argue that managers who shun the sabermetrics approach will be increasingly at a disadvantage. In the very least, they'll find it harder to fit into organizations that are melding scouting and sabermetrics to create a unified, cohesive system of decision making that encompasses every step of the journey from player development to roster building at the majors.

M2
03-11-2008, 12:41 PM
You have got to be kidding me. I cannot be the only person to read that and see the massive elephant right there in the center of the room.

Are you saying that certain Bay area teams seem to have had easier access to PEDs?

You're right, that might be the dirty secret to Dusty's managerial success, but I will note that Baker also did well by some bats in Chicago.

BuckeyeRedleg
03-11-2008, 12:45 PM
I posted this at the time of Dusty's hiring:



And I posted this more recently (pretty much says the same thing but says it differently):



Managing people is an important aspect of the manager's job.

There is no such thing as the perfect manager.

That said, I don't get why leveraging data (stats) is seen as exclusionary to people skills. Given the increasing utilization of sabermetrics by major league FO's, in my mind, the ideal manager would be adept at melding both approaches. It can be done. Guys like Wedge and Acta seem to be doing just that. It seems to me that sabermetrics can inform strategy (decisions about who plays and how best to place players in ideal situations). I'd argue that managers who shun the sabermetrics approach will be increasingly at a disadvantage. In the very least, they'll find it harder to fit into organizations that are melding scouting and sabermetrics to create a unified, cohesive system of decision making that encompasses every step of the journey from player development to roster building at the majors.

I totally agree with this. I trust the manager that incorporates both the traditional scout side and non-traditional stats side. Dusty doesn't seem to accept anything to do with the non-traditional side. That's not to say he'll fail, but I'd rather my manager (and front office) be a mix of both. Again, I'll reiterate, I don't think this means Dusty will fail, but I don't think he can be a complete manager until he accepts both. Can a team win with just an old-school manager? Sure. But the more balanced a manager the better chance I give him to succeed with what he has.

bucksfan2
03-11-2008, 12:49 PM
That's a very fair point bucksfan and I will admit that perhaps I've only given that part of Dusty's skill set lipservice. However, good managing comes at the intersection of motivation and strategy. A failure of either undermines the success of the team. That's my fear with Dusty. You can have a very happy, very cohesive team, but if they aren't given the right opportunities to succeed, then what have you accomplished?

Dusty's reaction to the "stathead lineup" and Junior's place in it was telling. Pardon my paraphrasing, but it was something to the effect of "Junior batting 7th (pretty sure he wasn't 7th, btw), that'll go over well". He wasn't commenting on how that lineup would effect run scoring -- but how it would make the people in the lineup feel.

I understand that's a bit of nitpick, but I think it is a fairly good microcosm of how Dusty operates. I don't discount that an unhappy person in the right spot in the lineup isn't a good thing either. But a happy, motivated Corey Patterson still will add less value at the leadoff spot than a slightly uncomfortable Joey Votto.

While I admit you need both, I just don't think Dusty appreciates the relative importance of chemistry vs. strategy -- or more accurately, he doesn't understand the strategy so well, so he places more importance on his personal strength. It's a balancing act, and I certainly don't claim that I could do it. However, I fear that Dusty simply focuses way too much on his strength, managing people, and that while it might be great at first, it ultimately will be undermined by strategic failures.

RMR do you feel that Baker's failures will be shown during game management or in lineup setup?

Also here is where I differ with your Votto Patterson example. Votto probably is the better leadoff hitter between the two. However lets assume that Votto isn't comfortable in that role and is more comfortable hitting lower in the lineup. What happens if hitting lower in the lineup enables Votto to become a more productive hitter? He is able to use his power and drive the ball better when he is in a run producing roll rather than a get on base roll. Votto as a 5-6 hole hitter may outproduce Votto as a leadoff guy. Votto may look like the leadoff hitter for the Reds but in he may be more productive down in the lineup.

Baker's job is to maximize the production as a whole in the lineup. You can argue that a guy with a high OBP belongs at the top of the lineup but what happens if in placing that hitter there it sacrifices productoin?

M2
03-11-2008, 01:11 PM
1. determine who plays (field the players that gives the team the best opportunity to win)

That's a massive line item. It's like the one question in "Back to School" with 27 parts.

What's the right balance of offense/defense?

How do you manage around the deficiencies of the team?

Who are the foundational players on the team?

What needs to be added?

What players could perform better than you might expect outside their optimal role?

What tactics will work best given the current talent mix?

That's just a thumbnail of it. We could list stuff all day.

IMO, what gets missed with Baker is that he has some strengths in this area to go with his wacky lineup proclivities (and that some of his lineup proclivities have been the result of trying to manage other on-field issues).

blumj
03-11-2008, 01:12 PM
Are you saying that certain Bay area teams seem to have had easier access to PEDs?

You're right, that might be the dirty secret to Dusty's managerial success, but I will note that Baker also did well by some bats in Chicago.
Well, who really knows? It seems that some players on the Bay Area teams might have been taking advantage of the access they had pretty early on compared to some other teams. Certainly, by the time Dusty got to Chicago, who didn't have easy access, and who knows who was taking advantage of it and who wasn't? But it does add just another wrinkle into trying to figure out how much credit to give anyone for a team's success, doesn't it? I wouldn't want to forget to give Balco or the other drug dealers their fair share of credit, too. Man, the steroid era is a pain in the butt, isn't it?

BuckeyeRedleg
03-11-2008, 01:16 PM
That's a massive line item. It's like the one question in "Back to School" with 27 parts.

What's the right balance of offense/defense?

How do you manage around the deficiencies of the team?

Who are the foundational players on the team?

What needs to added?

What players could perform better than you might expect outside their optimal role?

What tactics will work best given the current talent mix?

That's just a thumbnail of it. We could list stuff all day.

IMO, what gets missed with Baker is that he has some strengths in this area to go with his wacky lineup proclivities (and that some of his lineup proclivities have been the result of trying to manage other on-field issues).

Pete Mackanin seemed to have this area covered in the short time he was with the club.

And for a fraction of the cost.

jojo
03-11-2008, 01:22 PM
That's a massive line item. It's like the one question in "Back to School" with 27 parts.

What's the right balance of offense/defense?

How do you manage around the deficiencies of the team?

Who are the foundational players on the team?

What needs to added?

What players could perform better than you might expect outside their optimal role?

What tactics will work best given the current talent mix?

That's just a thumbnail of it. We could list stuff all day.

IMO, what gets missed with Baker is that he has some strengths in this area to go with his wacky lineup proclivities (and that some of his lineup proclivities have been the result of trying to manage other on-field issues).

First, I think a lot of these issues are fertile ground to leverage sabermetrics (and why I argue that purposefully ignoring data will likely place a manager at a disadvantage).

Second, I tried to indicate that these skills aren't discrete with this comment:


Here's my take on the manager's job description (listed in order of importance but there is skill set overlap between each)

I agree with your point that managing is a complex job and each person brings a unique aggregate of strengths and weaknesses to it....

BTW, my two all-time favorite managers are Lou Piniella and Earl Weaver for what it's worth.

RedsManRick
03-11-2008, 01:28 PM
RMR do you feel that Baker's failures will be shown during game management or in lineup setup?

Yes. It will show up both in the lineup itself and in how he uses that lineup. It will show up in Hopper Patterson getting on (likely at a sub .340 clip) and then the #2 guy bunting him over in the first inning. It will show up in Brandon Phillips batting 3rd or 4th versus righties and hitting in to a double play with Junior on base ahead of him. I think he has a track record of utilizing both people and in-game decisions in sub-optimal ways.



Also here is where I differ with your Votto Patterson example. Votto probably is the better leadoff hitter between the two. However lets assume that Votto isn't comfortable in that role and is more comfortable hitting lower in the lineup. What happens if hitting lower in the lineup enables Votto to become a more productive hitter? He is able to use his power and drive the ball better when he is in a run producing roll rather than a get on base roll. Votto as a 5-6 hole hitter may outproduce Votto as a leadoff guy. Votto may look like the leadoff hitter for the Reds but in he may be more productive down in the lineup.

Baker's job is to maximize the production as a whole in the lineup. You can argue that a guy with a high OBP belongs at the top of the lineup but what happens if in placing that hitter there it sacrifices productoin?

I agree, the point is to get the maximum performance from your lineup as a whole. The Votto/Patterson example is an interesting one that can definitely be debated. The question it comes back to is how much comfort, for lack of a better word, impacts performance. And if it does, does it really affect guys in the we assume it does. (ie. Patterson likes to leadoff and performs better, Votto doesn't like to leadoff and performs worse). I'm not sure we really have a good sense of that. However, what I do have a sense of is that our most productive players should get the most at bats. Is 20-30 points of OPS worth giving Votto 40-50 fewer at bats and Patterson 50-60 more?

Of course, back to the first point, it belies the real point which is that Bruce should be playing, not Patterson.

M2
03-11-2008, 01:34 PM
First, I think a lot of these issues are fertile ground to leverage sabermetrics (and why I argue that purposefully ignoring data will likely place a manager at a disadvantage).

Totally agreed. It's a hard enough job that a manager shouldn't refuse what help he can get.

BuckeyeRedleg
03-11-2008, 01:34 PM
RMR, I agree with 99% of what you put out there, but I am not opposed to Patterson playing CF. I loved the Geronimo comparison someone mentioned and think that the only person holding Jay Bruce back right now is Griffey, as Bruce is a RF all the way.

I look at RF as Griffey/Bruce, as Griffey could possibly miss at least 50 games in his 39th year. Until Griffey gets injured, Bruce can get constant AB's in Louisville.

I'm giddy with the thought of Patterson, Phillips, and (a healthy) Gonzo up the middle for this club in 2008. Now, about a catcher.

RedsManRick
03-11-2008, 02:22 PM
IMO, what gets missed with Baker is that he has some strengths in this area to go with his wacky lineup proclivities (and that some of his lineup proclivities have been the result of trying to manage other on-field issues).

Interesting point M2 that I willing to concede to a degree. I can't help but be concerned however that Dusty has his priorities misaligned. He's willing to sacrifice what would appear to be production if this were a sim league in order to keep people happy and motivated. Obviously his calculus is that, ultmiately, he gets more production from his players and wins more games by doing those things than by creating the perfect sabermetrically approved batting order.

Obviously I can't prove my perspective any more than you can prove yours, but I would argue that Jojo's massive line item and sabermetrically approved strategy (e.g. only playing for 1 run when 1 run wins you the game) dwarfs the effect of a happy clubhouse. That the right people playing and playing in ways that maximize value wins more games, which in turn creates chemistry.

It's really a chicken or the egg situation. I think the causation arrow does go both ways. Dusty, in general, starts with the chicken and the sabermetrically inclined start with the egg. What I find frustrating is that while some things Dusty does from a strategic sense (lineup construction perhaps) probably are real ways to deal with chemistry/morale problems, a lot of them aren't. Some of them are just Dusty having a different, and I would argue incorrect, view of how runs are produced or the effect of pitcher exertion -- for example. And if he could simply change his approach to some of those purely strategic issues, I think he'd be a much better managers for it.

RedsManRick
03-11-2008, 02:27 PM
RMR, I agree with 99% of what you put out there, but I am not opposed to Patterson playing CF. I loved the Geronimo comparison someone mentioned and think that the only person holding Jay Bruce back right now is Griffey, as Bruce is a RF all the way.

I look at RF as Griffey/Bruce, as Griffey could possibly miss at least 50 games in his 39th year. Until Griffey gets injured, Bruce can get constant AB's in Louisville.

I'm giddy with the thought of Patterson, Phillips, and (a healthy) Gonzo up the middle for this club in 2008. Now, about a catcher.

I actually agree with this. Long term, Bruce is Junior's replacement and that leaves a pretty big gap in CF, especially if Dunn is in LF beyond 2008. Assuming Bruce is in RF, I think Patterson is the best CF option in the organization. But assuming Griffey is in RF and assuming we're trying to win every game we can in 2008, I think Bruce in CF gives us the best chance to do that. But if Baker will not commit to playing Bruce everyday in CF regardless, then by all means make sure he gets them in Lousiville.

I just really hope Patterson doesn't lead off. A .750 OPS who adds runs on the bases while playing a top notch CF is a good thing. I just don't want to see us give back some of that value by giving him at bats that should be going to our .850+ OPS youngsters (Bruce, Votto, EE).

flyer85
03-11-2008, 02:30 PM
I just really hope Patterson doesn't lead off. even Baltimore wasn't dumb enough to do that. Although they did bat him 2nd around 20% of the time. :eek:

RedsManRick
03-11-2008, 02:53 PM
I totally agree with this. I trust the manager that incorporates both the traditional scout side and non-traditional stats side. Dusty doesn't seem to accept anything to do with the non-traditional side. That's not to say he'll fail, but I'd rather my manager (and front office) be a mix of both. Again, I'll reiterate, I don't think this means Dusty will fail, but I don't think he can be a complete manager until he accepts both. Can a team win with just an old-school manager? Sure. But the more balanced a manager the better chance I give him to succeed with what he has.

I agree with this too. What is interesting, and perhaps all the more frustrating, is that it would seem easier to get a guy to appreciate and incorporate the lessons of sabermetric analysis than to teach him how to be a good leader of men. If you had to start with one or the other, we got the hard part taken care of. If only we could get him to embrace the other...

Terry Francona is a case study in a guy who used to be very old-school and has now incorporated the sabermetric side of things. My #1 problem with Dusty (and I will fully admit that my perception could be 100% wrong) is not that he's not considered the sabermetric viewpoint and rejected it from an intellectual standpoint, but rather is rejecting it out of hand from a position of fear and/or lack or understanding.

Francona took the approach that he'd consider anything to make himself a better manager and took the time and energy to sit down and learn about sabermetrics -- and an organization that make doing so a pre-requisite of his being hired.

M2
03-11-2008, 03:18 PM
Interesting point M2 that I willing to concede to a degree. I can't help but be concerned however that Dusty has his priorities misaligned. He's willing to sacrifice what would appear to be production if this were a sim league in order to keep people happy and motivated. Obviously his calculus is that, ultmiately, he gets more production from his players and wins more games by doing those things than by creating the perfect sabermetrically approved batting order.

Obviously I can't prove my perspective any more than you can prove yours, but I would argue that Jojo's massive line item and sabermetrically approved strategy (e.g. only playing for 1 run when 1 run wins you the game) dwarfs the effect of a happy clubhouse. That the right people playing and playing in ways that maximize value wins more games, which in turn creates chemistry.

It's really a chicken or the egg situation. I think the causation arrow does go both ways. Dusty, in general, starts with the chicken and the sabermetrically inclined start with the egg. What I find frustrating is that while some things Dusty does from a strategic sense (lineup construction perhaps) probably are real ways to deal with chemistry/morale problems, a lot of them aren't. Some of them are just Dusty having a different, and I would argue incorrect, view of how runs are produced or the effect of pitcher exertion -- for example. And if he could simply change his approach to some of those purely strategic issues, I think he'd be a much better managers for it.

I agree with most of that. Though I think some of his decisions haven't been as strategically awful as they've been portrayed. For instance, he wants defense in CF, that comes with a price. If you've got a glovesy CF, a standard SS and a standard catcher, you can only hit two of those guys in the 7-8 slots (this would be less of an issue in the AL with a DH). So who do you elevate to a more important lineup slot? Baker's answer has been that the CF offers some speed of foot and maybe that can generate some runs in the leadoff spot.

While I don't agree with that line of thinking, it is a baseball decision made on the notion that your lineup can't afford to wither after the #5 hitter. Plus, if you look at teams with poor production from that #6 slot, you'll find a lot of frustrating offenses, teams that suffered from too many innings that started with promise only to die when the lower lineup went out with a whimper.

Mind you, I don't think that necessarily justifies taking a mulligan on your leadoff hitter, who'll get 70 extra PAs over the course of a season. Yet I can see where the rationale is for thinking that a speedy leadoff hitter is the best use case for a bad bat. The obvious answer is to get a CF, SS or C who can thrive in a more critical offensive role, but that's easier said than done in a lot of cases (though for the Reds it might be as simple as playing the Bruce, provided the defensive hit taken doesn't cause too much pain).

So I think it's sometimes less a case of a manager having no clue and more a case of him trying to figure out how to deploy his limited resources.