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Krusty
01-01-2009, 11:04 PM
Don't know if this was posted but here goes.....

Baker has better idea of Reds' roster
Skipper, Cincy's young nucleus have year under their belts
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com

CINCINNATI -- General manager Walt Jocketty and manager Dusty Baker will try to do for the Reds in 2009 what a lengthy list of predecessors hasn't been able to accomplish in nearly a decade.
That is to post a winning record.

The Reds haven't truly contended in the National League Central since they lost a one-game playoff for a postseason spot in 1999 to the Mets. Cincinnati hasn't finished above .500 since 2000 --- that's eight straight losing seasons.

Baker's first campaign for the Reds finished 74-88, and the season marked the end of the line of two long careers in Cincinnati for Ken Griffey Jr. and Adam Dunn. The team now revolves around a young nucleus, including position players Joey Votto, Jay Bruce and Brandon Phillips and pitchers Edinson Volquez and Johnny Cueto.

All of the younger players produced some dynamic moments last season. Volquez won 17 games and was the Reds' lone All-Star. Phillips won an NL Gold Glove Award. Votto hit 24 homers and finished second in NL Rookie of the Year voting. Bruce had a debut month that few rookies could match, and Cueto often demonstrated electric stuff for a 22-year-old.

This could also be a pivotal year for some veterans. Bronson Arroyo finally achieved his goal of 15 wins after a slow start, and he wants to have a more consistent season. Aaron Harang wants to forget 2008 after he posted a 6-17 record and returned to the form of the 16-game winner he was in 2006 and '07.

At this time last year, most of the Reds roster -- especially the younger players -- was just names on a sheet of paper for Baker. With less than two months to go before pitchers and catchers report on Feb. 14, the skipper will have a better idea of what hand he's been dealt.

"Yeah, without a doubt," Baker said. "Last year at this time, I knew very little about the team, other than what I had read. I trust more what I see than what I read, as far as judgment is concerned. You know Griffey and Dunn. I didn't know much about the other guys. I know a whole lot more about the organization. I know a whole lot more about the mind-set and the philosophy of the organization."

Jocketty has filled holes by acquiring a catcher in Ramon Hernandez through a trade with the Orioles. The GM fortified a successful bullpen by retaining free-agent right-handers David Weathers and Mike Lincoln and signing veteran lefty Arthur Rhodes.

However, the work isn't done yet to assemble a team that will be ready for the final year of Spring Training in Sarasota, Fla. After signing free-agent center fielder Willy Taveras to be their new leadoff hitter, they are still looking to sign a right-handed power hitter that can fit between the lefty-hitting Votto and Bruce. Jocketty also wants to add an extra shortstop and some additional bench help.

More moves are likely to come in January -- and even February -- as unsigned free agents start scrambling to secure jobs. In part because of the nation's financial crisis, this offseason's market was slow to take shape until the recent Winter Meetings.

Once the Reds' offseason maneuvers are complete, it will be up to the players to bring winning back to Cincinnati.

Grading on a curve: On a scale of one to 10, the Reds get a 6 because their activity remains incomplete. They got the catcher they wanted, kept their bullpen largely intact and found a new lefty specialist. They also added a speedy leadoff guy in Taveras. How high the score gets depends on who they get to fill the missing right-handed hole in the lineup and outfield.

Arrivals: C Hernandez, LHP Rhodes and CF Taveras.

Departures: IF/OF Ryan Freel, LHP Jeremy Affeldt, IF/OF Jolbert Cabrera, IF Andy Phillips, catchers Javier Valentin and Paul Bako, OF Corey Patterson, RHPs Matt Belisle, Gary Majewski and Josh Fogg and LHP Kent Mercker.

The road ahead: The Hot Stove season will likely be smoking with more activity. The Reds had talks about acquiring outfielder Jermaine Dye in a trade from the White Sox before Dye's $11.5 million salary became a stopping point. The Reds are also looking at free agents, including Rocco Baldelli, and possibly Pat Burrell, and trying to re-sign utility player Jerry Hairston Jr.

Season in Preview
A lot can change by Opening Day, but as 2008 becomes 2009, this is who is projected to take the field for the Reds:
CF Willy Taveras
SS Alex Gonzalez
1B Joey Votto
LF TBA
RF Jay Bruce
2B Brandon Phillips
3B Edwin Encarnacion
C Ramon Hernandez
SP Edinson Volquez
SP Aaron Harang
SP Bronson Arroyo
SP Johnny Cueto
SP Micah Owings
CL Francisco Cordero
Schedules: Spring | Regular season
Tickets: Spring | Regular season


Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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George Anderson
01-01-2009, 11:10 PM
Cincinnati hasn't finished above .500 since 2000 --- that's eight straight losing seasons.


What is the longest span of sub .500 seasons has this franchise had?

redsfaninbsg
01-01-2009, 11:16 PM
Boy, I sure picked a bad time to be alive.......

BCubb2003
01-01-2009, 11:17 PM
11, from 1945 through 1955.

KronoRed
01-01-2009, 11:22 PM
11, from 1945 through 1955.

It's good to have goals.

corkedbat
01-02-2009, 12:45 AM
Hernandez - 7 - would have preferred a younger guy, but Hernandez/Hanigan is an upgrade and didn't cost a lot
Rhodes - 6 - again, I would have preferred a younger option, but a replacement was needed for Affeldt and he's coming off a strong season
Lincoln - 5 - not spectacular, but I was fine with the signing - I hope he's even better his second year back
Weathers - 3 - I can understand them taking a shot at the draft picks, but it backfired. I'm afraid the law of averages (and his penchant for allowing too many baserunners) catches up to him
Taveras - 1 - putrid signing. Hope he gets back to bunting for hits more often, might make up for the bloopers that won't drop here like they did at Coors. Guess I had to give him 1 :thumbdown Makes me miss Freel

Average Acquisition Score (so far) - 4.4

Topcat
01-02-2009, 02:24 AM
This over and over crap talk on resigning Hairston as if he is a vital cog for the coming season is absolutely sickening.

Ron Madden
01-02-2009, 02:31 AM
This over and over crap talk on resigning Hairston as if he is a vital cog for the coming season is absolutely sickening.


I agree.

Topcat
01-02-2009, 04:49 AM
Any idea Baker has scares me to the point I want to go load up on Depends. Dusty Baker is a detriment not a positive to this team.

hebroncougar
01-02-2009, 07:37 AM
I believe during the last preseason, all Baker did was sing praises for the players he was going to manage. When they went in the crapper, of course it was the players and Wayne Krivsky's fault. When the Reds are sitting at 40-50 at the All Star break, I wonder who's fault it will be this year, according to the all knowing Baker.

RedEye
01-02-2009, 08:10 AM
It's good that the big name manager the Reds hired a year ago is now starting to have an idea of the team's roster. Sheesh.

Ltlabner
01-02-2009, 08:17 AM
So....The Dusty really can't be blamed for last year. All that time in spring training, 162 games, years of his experience coming into play.....and he still didn't really know what was going on.

Solid.

RedsManRick
01-02-2009, 09:03 AM
Good to see Sheldon has the CF/SS at the top of the lineup like he's supposed to.

Hoosier Red
01-02-2009, 10:17 AM
Weathers - 3 - I can understand them taking a shot at the draft picks, but it backfired. I'm afraid the law of averages (and his penchant for allowing too many baserunners) catches up to him

You could be right, but let's not act like its written in stone that it will happen. The guys been living dangerously for three years and has had an ERA+ of 132,130, and 139.

WebScorpion
01-02-2009, 12:04 PM
What I find funny is that everyone is so focused on the value of our acquisitions, they fail to see the real improvement in this club staring them in the face:


Departures: IF/OF Ryan Freel, LHP Jeremy Affeldt, IF/OF Jolbert Cabrera, IF Andy Phillips, catchers Javier Valentin and Paul Bako, OF Corey Patterson, RHPs Matt Belisle, Gary Majewski and Josh Fogg and LHP Kent Mercker.


That is one of the longest list of boat anchors I've ever seen on a Major League roster! The only player who even remotely has any value is Affeldt. We've replaced him with Rhodes who is a better LOOGY, but not a full inning reliever like Affeldt. As long as he's used correctly, the bullpen should be the same or better. Majewski, Belisle, Fogg, and/or Mercker will not pitch any innings!! WOOHOO! Freel will not get thrown out on the basepaths!! Woohoo!! Valentin, Bako, Phillips, Cabrera, and/or Patterson will not be piling up the plate appearances and outs. WooHoo!!

We all want to fill our holes with the next Josh Hamilton and/or the next Edinson Volquez, but what we don't realize is a group of average replacements will be a MAJOR improvement over those players. Just get us some real average Major Leaguers and we'll go to war with the young horses we've already got, Walt! :thumbup:

Caveat Emperor
01-02-2009, 12:48 PM
Good to see Sheldon has the CF/SS at the top of the lineup like he's supposed to.

Yeah, but I'd like to have whatever he's smoking if he thinks Alex Gonzalez will do anything other than draw a game check this year from the Reds.

I'd be shocked if he sees more than 200 PAs.

westofyou
01-02-2009, 01:51 PM
What is the longest span of sub .500 seasons has this franchise had?

That time they transitioned from a pitching/defense team to a slugging team to fix what ailed them. Now they are going the other way.

BCubb2003
01-02-2009, 08:57 PM
That time they transitioned from a pitching/defense team to a slugging team to fix what ailed them. Now they are going the other way.

There was a 24-year stretch when Cleveland never finished above fourth, but they managed to finish above .500 every few years.

GAC
01-03-2009, 04:19 AM
I believe during the last preseason, all Baker did was sing praises for the players he was going to manage. When they went in the crapper, of course it was the players and Wayne Krivsky's fault. When the Reds are sitting at 40-50 at the All Star break, I wonder who's fault it will be this year, according to the all knowing Baker.

That is what is going to be interesting to see as he continually juggles that leadoff spot between Wee Willie, Dickerson, Hopper, and maybe Hairston (if we resign him) trying to find a solution. It will probably sound something like this....

"Hey look! I just make out the lineup card when I get to the park. It's their job as professional ballplayers to do what they are being paid for."

Spitball
01-03-2009, 07:39 AM
What I find funny is that everyone is so focused on the value of our acquisitions, they fail to see the real improvement in this club staring them in the face:


That is one of the longest list of boat anchors I've ever seen on a Major League roster! The only player who even remotely has any value is Affeldt. We've replaced him with Rhodes who is a better LOOGY, but not a full inning reliever like Affeldt. As long as he's used correctly, the bullpen should be the same or better. Majewski, Belisle, Fogg, and/or Mercker will not pitch any innings!! WOOHOO! Freel will not get thrown out on the basepaths!! Woohoo!! Valentin, Bako, Phillips, Cabrera, and/or Patterson will not be piling up the plate appearances and outs. WooHoo!!

We all want to fill our holes with the next Josh Hamilton and/or the next Edinson Volquez, but what we don't realize is a group of average replacements will be a MAJOR improvement over those players. Just get us some real average Major Leaguers and we'll go to war with the young horses we've already got, Walt! :thumbup:

Well said, Webby! :thumbup:

Highlifeman21
01-03-2009, 01:14 PM
What I find funny is that everyone is so focused on the value of our acquisitions, they fail to see the real improvement in this club staring them in the face:



That is one of the longest list of boat anchors I've ever seen on a Major League roster! The only player who even remotely has any value is Affeldt. We've replaced him with Rhodes who is a better LOOGY, but not a full inning reliever like Affeldt. As long as he's used correctly, the bullpen should be the same or better. Majewski, Belisle, Fogg, and/or Mercker will not pitch any innings!! WOOHOO! Freel will not get thrown out on the basepaths!! Woohoo!! Valentin, Bako, Phillips, Cabrera, and/or Patterson will not be piling up the plate appearances and outs. WooHoo!!

We all want to fill our holes with the next Josh Hamilton and/or the next Edinson Volquez, but what we don't realize is a group of average replacements will be a MAJOR improvement over those players. Just get us some real average Major Leaguers and we'll go to war with the young horses we've already got, Walt! :thumbup:

The problem is adding Willy Taveras to the roster, and wanting to bring Jerry Hairston, Jr. back to the roster isn't adding "real average Major Leaguers" to the roster.

Sure, we got rid of some crap, but we're now adding crap back to the roster. Seems counterproductive to me.

Reds1
01-03-2009, 02:18 PM
Hernandez - 7 - would have preferred a younger guy, but Hernandez/Hanigan is an upgrade and didn't cost a lot
Rhodes - 6 - again, I would have preferred a younger option, but a replacement was needed for Affeldt and he's coming off a strong season
Lincoln - 5 - not spectacular, but I was fine with the signing - I hope he's even better his second year back
Weathers - 3 - I can understand them taking a shot at the draft picks, but it backfired. I'm afraid the law of averages (and his penchant for allowing too many baserunners) catches up to him
Taveras - 1 - putrid signing. Hope he gets back to bunting for hits more often, might make up for the bloopers that won't drop here like they did at Coors. Guess I had to give him 1 :thumbdown Makes me miss Freel

Average Acquisition Score (so far) - 4.4

Wow! A 1 for Taveras is a bit rough. 1 is just for the Corey Pattersons of the world. Speed and defense gives him a higher then 1 IMO. Last year was a tough year, but a regression to the mean for him makes him intereesting. 2.5 million next season is pretty cheap. Cheapter then Patterson. It works if they get a nice hitting LF.

corkedbat
01-03-2009, 02:31 PM
Wow! A 1 for Taveras is a bit rough. 1 is just for the Corey Pattersons of the world. Speed and defense gives him a higher then 1 IMO. Last year was a tough year, but a regression to the mean for him makes him intereesting. 2.5 million next season is pretty cheap. Cheapter then Patterson. It works if they get a nice hitting LF.

Exactly!

The 1 factors in the club not "learning" from the Corey Patterson experience and instead, turning around and repeating it for twice as long at twice the price. They also lose any points Taveras might earn for speed and defense for committing to him as their leadoff hitter.

jojo
01-03-2009, 02:48 PM
Baker may have a better idea of the Reds roster but will be own it?

RANDY IN INDY
01-03-2009, 03:46 PM
I think the whole article is a "fluff" article for Mark Sheldon on a slow day. Much ado about nothing. Common sense tells me that Baker will have much more familiarity with the 2009 Reds. What he does with it is up to him. He should have better command of a more familiar ship. Hopefully he can squeeze as much blood out of the "crew" as possible. Most of the time, a manager's success is dependent on the parts he has to work with. A bad crew is always a recipe for failure. One or more top notch crew members would make a huge impact on what the captain can do. What the crew consists of is yet to be seen. As a fan, I'm not ready yet for an "all out" mutiny. I think everyone needs to give things a little more time to take shape.

GAC
01-04-2009, 03:49 AM
Baker may have a better idea of the Reds roster but will be own it?


I was always raised to believe that once you break it you own it.

I'd like to know just how much influence and input (if any) that Baker may have on this FO when it comes to trades/acquisitions?

Or does Dusty believe that his mere presence (aurora) will draw talent to Cincy? ;)

wheels
01-04-2009, 09:46 AM
I was always raised to believe that once you break it you own it.

I'd like to know just how much influence and input (if any) that Baker may have on this FO when it comes to trades/acquisitions?

Or does Dusty believe that his mere presence (aurora) will draw talent to Cincy? ;)


I think Dusty has Castellini's ear, to be sure. Just look at the guys brought in since he got here.

redsmetz
01-04-2009, 09:58 AM
I think the whole article is a "fluff" article for Mark Sheldon on a slow day. Much ado about nothing. Common sense tells me that Baker will have much more familiarity with the 2009 Reds. What he does with it is up to him. He should have better command of a more familiar ship. Hopefully he can squeeze as much blood out of the "crew" as possible. Most of the time, a manager's success is dependent on the parts he has to work with. A bad crew is always a recipe for failure. One or more top notch crew members would make a huge impact on what the captain can do. What the crew consists of is yet to be seen. As a fan, I'm not ready yet for an "all out" mutiny. I think everyone needs to give things a little more time to take shape.

You've said it better than I could have hoped to.

GAC
01-04-2009, 08:38 PM
I think Dusty has Castellini's ear, to be sure. Just look at the guys brought in since he got here.

Do I have to? ;)