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Thread: Will Baker Impede Progress?

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  1. #1
    Ripsnort wheels's Avatar
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    Will Baker Impede Progress?

    Hats off to Wayne for a great off season.

    That being said, and all that it implies....Still I wonder.

    What's Dusty going to do with these kids on his hands? Will he depend on them too much, ride 'em too hard until they're gassed when the season's down to the wire, or injured?

    I thank the Baseball gods for Harang and Arroyo. Maybe they will ease his mind a bit with their 200 innings each. Maybe Wayne will get another arm for the pen, further easing the load on the young and bedraggled. Maybe Belisle will wind up on the brighter side of the luck spectrom, allowing him to pitch deeper into ballgames.

    I think the real tonic for this potential pitfall will be to pick up a second tier innings eater. Veterans are better able to handle a challenging workload, while keeping Dusty's mind at bay a bit.

    Is there any other way to protect the youngsters from Dusty?

    An upper management mandate, perhaps?

    I'd love to see Wayne draw a line in the sand on this one.
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    Playoffs Cyclone792's Avatar
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    Re: Will Baker Impede Progress?

    Unfortunately, I haven't seen too much publically stated about the front office tightening the noose around the manager's neck regarding pitch counts and workload. Narron seemingly had free reign with the starters, and I'm guessing Dusty may have free reign too. And if that happens, it'll irritate the heck out of me.

    I think some of the best hope in preserving the rotation is actually in Weathers, Coffey, and Burton. Weathers needs to still have something in the tank and not implode, Coffey needs to bounce back close to his 2006 form, and Burton needs to carryover his 2007 success into 2008. If those guys can form an effective trio in front of Cordero, it should hopefully make it easier to get a starter out of there before blowing his arm up.
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    Member corkedbat's Avatar
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    Re: Will Baker Impede Progress?

    I don't think the FO is unaware of the concerns about Dusty and arms. It wouldn't surprise me if they haven't already discussed pitch count (for the younger arms at least) with Baker.

    I just hope that at least one or two of the young guns are going deep enough in games on a comsistent basis to make the pitch count relavent (although with Homer the 100-pitch threshold was being neared about the 4th inning or so).

  4. #4
    Unsolicited Opinions traderumor's Avatar
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    Re: Will Baker Impede Progress?

    This issue was raised in the interview. He was said to have satisfied those who hired him with his answer. If they have to "draw lines in the sand" for a $10M manager, then they just wasted a bunch of money.

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    Tired of talk. Win! Joseph's Avatar
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    Re: Will Baker Impede Progress?

    I'm not worried about Dusty at all. I'm worried about wins.

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    Re: Will Baker Impede Progress?

    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph View Post
    I'm not worried about Dusty at all. I'm worried about wins.
    Well said.

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    He has the Evil Eye! flyer85's Avatar
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    Re: Will Baker Impede Progress?

    Only if he holds back Bruce so he can play Freel/Hopper
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    Ripsnort wheels's Avatar
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    Re: Will Baker Impede Progress?

    Quote Originally Posted by flyer85 View Post
    Only if he holds back Bruce so he can play Freel/Hopper
    That's also an issue I was hoping someone would raise.

    The '08 season will tell us everything we need to know about Dusty Baker.
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    Kmac5 KoryMac5's Avatar
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    Re: Will Baker Impede Progress?

    Quote Originally Posted by flyer85 View Post
    Only if he holds back Bruce so he can play Freel/Hopper
    I think that would be up to how Bruce performs in the spring.
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    Re: Will Baker Impede Progress?

    I think it will be interesting how Baker handles the young pitchers, but how about Votto's April struggles? I don't know the last time the guy had a good April.

    Will another Votto April slow start cost the team valuable bats he would give in the summer?

    Dusty will love the Hoppers,Hatt's and Weather(who could decline at anytime) while the better young talent just sits, despite the potential for a breakout and more Reds wins than the fluff would.

    That said, if Volquez,Bailey and Cueto pitch well, he will have no problem riding them hard IMO. That is just in his nature. If it means a guy like Cueto has 12 months less of peak effectiveness years down the road, so be it if it brings a title.

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    Re: Will Baker Impede Progress?

    Quote Originally Posted by Aronchis View Post
    I think it will be interesting how Baker handles the young pitchers, but how about Votto's April struggles? I don't know the last time the guy had a good April.

    Will another Votto April slow start cost the team valuable bats he would give in the summer?

    Dusty will love the Hoppers,Hatt's and Weather(who could decline at anytime) while the better young talent just sits, despite the potential for a breakout and more Reds wins than the fluff would.

    That said, if Volquez,Bailey and Cueto pitch well, he will have no problem riding them hard IMO. That is just in his nature. If it means a guy like Cueto has 12 months less of peak effectiveness years down the road, so be it if it brings a title.
    Again, so we're clear, Hopper, who has 1 1/2 seasons to his credit is now a grizzled vet that Dusty will use to hold back Jay Bruce?
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    Redsmetz redsmetz's Avatar
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    Re: Will Baker Impede Progress?

    Quote Originally Posted by Aronchis View Post
    I think it will be interesting how Baker handles the young pitchers, but how about Votto's April struggles? I don't know the last time the guy had a good April.

    Will another Votto April slow start cost the team valuable bats he would give in the summer?

    Dusty will love the Hoppers,Hatt's and Weather(who could decline at anytime) while the better young talent just sits, despite the potential for a breakout and more Reds wins than the fluff would.

    That said, if Volquez,Bailey and Cueto pitch well, he will have no problem riding them hard IMO. That is just in his nature. If it means a guy like Cueto has 12 months less of peak effectiveness years down the road, so be it if it brings a title.
    This gets bandied about all of the time, but I'd be very interested in hearing specifics with the Giants and Cubs times he sat youngsters and played less veterans. I think it's a bit of a myth, to be honest. At SF, he had a number of players who started young with him. Other times, he didn't have any young players. I think the same is mostly true for the Cubs.

    So lets hear the specifics of who he sat and what what vets he played instead.
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    No half measures, Walter RedEye's Avatar
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    Re: Will Baker Impede Progress?

    Quote Originally Posted by redsmetz View Post
    This gets bandied about all of the time, but I'd be very interested in hearing specifics with the Giants and Cubs times he sat youngsters and played less veterans. I think it's a bit of a myth, to be honest. At SF, he had a number of players who started young with him. Other times, he didn't have any young players. I think the same is mostly true for the Cubs.

    So lets hear the specifics of who he sat and what what vets he played instead.
    Here's a guy who does a pretty decent job of analyzing this question during Baker's time in SF. FWIW, redsmetz, his analysis so far seems to agree with your hunch.

    http://shawns.blogspot.com/2007/10/d...oungsters.html

    Sunday, October 14, 2007

    On a blog response, I believe on Trent Rosecrans' soon-to-be short-lived blog (lament, lament), I saw someone raise the point, "Did the Giants or Cubs really have any good prospects that Dusty Baker didn't play?" That's a valid point. Was there really some hotshot that Dusty was keeping out of the lineup? Luckily, now that baseball-reference.com has minor league stats, we can investigate this question.

    Baker first became manager of the Giants in 1993. He took over a team that had lost 90 games for Roger Craig the year before, and won 103 games, one game short of the West division title. The biggest change in the big-league team's lineup was adding Barry Bonds as a free agent, and as he replaced Mike Felder that was a pretty big step up that didn't have much to do with Baker. Otherwise, Baker stayed with the same lineup, including 23-year old Royce Clayton at shortstop and 25-year old Darren Lewis in center field, both easily categorized as defensive specialists and speed guys. Baker also got 20-win seasons out of holdover starters Bill Swift and John Burkett. Burkett was lucky with run support, and also had some arm troubles the next year, though he would come through them. For Swift, that was far more than he had ever pitched before, and he was never the same pitcher afterward. But, Swift was 31, and there's no way to know what his arm had left anyway. Baker also focused on 24-year old Rod Beck as the closer, and got a big year.

    The Giants' high minor league teams in 1993 showed no hot prospects. The best player for AAA Phoenix was probably OF Steve Hosey, but he was not burning up the PCL or anything. The most interesting pitcher was probably 21-year old Salomon Torres, 14-8 with a 3.16 ERA split between AA and AAA. Torres also got eight major league starts, going 3-5. Torres never was really able to establish himself as a major league pitcher until going to the bullpen in his early 30s with Pittsburgh. AA Shreveport didn't really have anyone of note.

    In 1994, the Giants dropped below .500. Will Clark left as a free agent, and was replaced by Todd Benzinger. 2B Robby Thompson had injury troubles, and was replaced by John Patterson. Dave Martinez started edging out Willie McGee. The pitching struggled, as Burkett faded, Swift got hurt, and Torres struggled, although youngster William Van Landingham was 8-2. Van Landingham had followed up a good 1993 in Class A ball with a strong start in AA in 1994, and got promoted quickly to fill the rotation holes.

    Phoenix's best player was probably 1B J.R. Phillips, who hit 27 homers and batted .300, but the Giants stayed with the .265-hitting Benzinger. Catcher Brent Cookson hit .324 in 62 games for Shreveport, but didn't get a big league call.

    The 1995 Giants were below .500 again. Mark Carreon took over 1B, Robby Thompson was back at 2B, and Glenallen Hill took over RF. J.R. Phillips got 231 AB, but hit .195. The pitching struggled again, and the bullpen fell apart. Phoenix' best player was OF Mark Leonard, but he was 30. Better prospects were Marvin Benard, a 25-year old OF who hit .301, and Rich Aurilia, 23, who hit .279 at Phoenix after batting .327 at Shreveport. Bill Mueller, 24-year old third baseman, hit .309 for Shreveport and .297 for Phoenix, though with no power. The pitching was pretty barren. Shreveport had a strong season, and besides Mueller and Aurilia in the first half boasted Jacob Cruz, a 22-year old OF who hit .297 with 13 HR. 2B Jay Canizaro, 21, batted .293. Some pitchers had success, but none stood out.

    The Giants lost 94 games in 1996, but Aurilia got worked in as starting shortstop, and Mueller started getting playing time as well, edging in for Matt Williams at third. Shawon Dunston also came on board, mostly this year as a shortstop. Marvin Benard took over the CF job. Steve Scarsone, at 30 not young but a minor league veteran, got a shot at the 2B job. Finding pitching was still a challenge, but some young arms were getting a shot.

    At this point we can fairly say that any young player who deserved a chance to play was getting it. Rich Aurilia was getting playing time, Bill Mueller was getting some chances, young pitchers were pitching. Two promising arms appeared in AA: Keith Foulke and Bobby Howry, at this point both starters. In our next segment, we will take up the success of 1997 with a division championship and see if things change in SF management.

    posted by Shawn at 10:37 PM
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  14. #14
    Mon chou Choo vaticanplum's Avatar
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    Re: Will Baker Impede Progress?

    Quote Originally Posted by redsmetz View Post
    This gets bandied about all of the time, but I'd be very interested in hearing specifics with the Giants and Cubs times he sat youngsters and played less veterans. I think it's a bit of a myth, to be honest. At SF, he had a number of players who started young with him. Other times, he didn't have any young players. I think the same is mostly true for the Cubs.

    So lets hear the specifics of who he sat and what what vets he played instead.
    I wish I had specifics regarding players' names, but I saw a ton of Cubs games while Dusty was managing there and the favoritism toward vets, at least in Chicago, was not a myth. It's the reason I hate Dusty Baker. He had a talented group of youngsters in 2005-06 -- many of whom (Marmol, Murton, Hill, Marshall, Cedeno) went on to make large contributions to the division-winning team in 07 -- but the team lost what, 90+ (100?) games under Baker in 2006. On at least three occasions I saw Baker say during press conferences that there was little he could do with this team given their inexperience. When Derrek Lee went out with a bad wrist injury Baker all but threw a tantrum, and I remain convinced that the season was lost right there because Baker gave his young team the message that things were hopeless for them and there was no use in really trying. I think Lee broke his wrist in May, by the way.

    I had no biases against Dusty Baker until I saw him manage in Chicago. Perhaps he had a bad year, perhaps he wanted out of Chicago and was consciously or subconsciously making things bad for himself, but he basically put all of his faith and his pitches into Zambrano while absolving himself of any responsibility of the difficulties of managing a young team. It's hard for me to cite all the specific examples of his playing vets over youngsters (though I know many anti-Baker Cubs fans who could probably pull together a list, including names, stats and dates, in about three seconds if needed), but the attitude was undeniable.
    There is no such thing as a pitching prospect.

  15. #15
    He has the Evil Eye! flyer85's Avatar
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    Re: Will Baker Impede Progress?

    Quote Originally Posted by KoryMac5 View Post
    I think that would be up to how Bruce performs in the spring.
    I hope not
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