Originally Posted by RedsManRick
I'm really curious who the rudder is on this ship. It seems it has been Barry for a decade, followed by Casey and nobody else really fits the profile. The most talented guys on the team simply don't seem to be interested in being leaders.
Junior is, but in a very deferential way and he's not somebody you can build around at this point in his career. LaRue, I believe, is the official guy, but he seems more in the Aaron Boone mold and is on a 1 year contract. Dunn just doesn't seem interested in being a leader.
Now, typically I don't buy in to the whole intangibles argument -- as winning generates chemistry, not the other way around. But in terms of building a nucleus, you need to be able to sell those guys on the idea of leading the team in to the future. I just don't think we've got the type of guys who want to make that kind of commitment. I suppose the ownership change could change everything, but I'm not holding my breath.
I expect Dunn to test the FA market when he's available and unless Kearns has nailed down a permanent spot in the Reds OF, take the highest money/lowest pressure combination he can find -- perhaps Houston as they'll have the money with Biggio, Bagwell, Clemens, and possibly Pettitte off the books. As for the Reds "core", I think we're looking at Lopez, Encarnacion, Harang, and possibly Claussen. I wouldn't count on any of the outfielders being a permanent part of the Reds future.
I think you might be right about what the core will have to be. DanO may have frittered away the chance to keep Dunn.
As for leadership, I really don't worry about that. Larkin was a special case. Guys like him don't come along too often. I figure it's always a committee of players who set the tone in a clubhouse. FWIW, I never considered Casey a leadership guy. He was everyone's best buddy and a lot of fans considered him the face of the team, but that's a different animal from being the true clubhouse leader. When the team was down and out, as it often was during his years in Cincinnati, Casey's butt-slapping prowess was rendered ineffectual.
To their credit, the Reds usually play hard. If the pieces of a winning team were in place I'm relatively confident the franchise has the right clubhouse mindset to make the most of it. That's been part of my frustration in recent years. The club has pushed itself to the upper reaches of what it can achieve and the Reds management keeps going back at it like a vampire looking for a hidden vein.