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Thread: BP on Baker

  1. #1
    He has the Evil Eye! flyer85's Avatar
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    BP on Baker

    from Sheehan.

    I can't believe someone hasn't posted this. Did I miss it?

    The Teflon Manager

    by Joe Sheehan

    Iím trying to maintain my optimism about the Cincinnati Reds, but itís hard. I see a team that had a good offense last year, that has two rotation anchors, four of the top 40 or so prospects in baseball, and no real holes in the lineup.

    I also see a team with a manager completely and totally ill-suited to his personnel, with an outsized reputation that far exceeds his actual performance and more control over the roster than he should be allowed. Sometimes I think Iím too hard on Dusty Baker, given that he has managed successful teams, made postseasons, won a pennant, owns a career .527 winning percentage from the dugout. Maybe I make him a caricature, a toothpick-chewing, OBP-hating Luddite who doesnít trust anyone under 30.

    Then he starts talkingÖ

    ďOn [Joey] Votto: ĎHe needs to swing some more. I talked to him about that. Strikeouts arenít the only criteria. Iíd like to see him more aggressive.í

    ďíA lot of this on-base percentage is taking away from the aggressiveness of some young kids. Most of the time youíve got to put handcuffs on a young to keep him from swinging.íĒ

    (A nod to John Fay at the Cincinnati Enquirer.)

    I left the last sentence in for completeness, even though it seems to say the exact opposite of the one prior to it. The keys are Baker attempting to ruin Votto, and his persistence in regarding OBP as a negative. A few years back, the blogosphere had a field day with Bakerís talk about ďclogging the basesĒ while he was with the Cubs. Weíre right back to that point again, with Baker not getting one of the most basic things about baseball: not making outs is the best thing you can do. Baker is fixated on the end resultóthe event that leads to a runner crossing the plateóand still doesnít understand that in the big picture, keeping the line moving will put more runs on the board.

    Whatís disturbing is that he wants to change Votto. You can see a lot of Hee Seop Choi in Votto, and Choi wasnít one of Bakerís favorite players. Choi lost his job after an injury in 2003, and as you can see from the game logs, was never given regular playing time, an opportunity, after he returned. Choi and Votto were left-handed take-and-rake hitters with good power and excellent walk rates and OBPs. Itís not like Votto has struggled: he hit .327/.360/.548 in a call-up last season. He hit .294/.381/.478 at Triple-A and .289/.385/.476 in the minors, although neither of those lines matters much to Baker. He wonít recognize that Votto is the third-best hitter he has, behind Adam Dunn and Jay Bruce, until Votto gets credited for enough RBIs to show up on his radar.

    Iím not entirely sure how Dusty Baker, a man who owes his reputation as a manager in no small part to Barry Bonds, can have learned nothing from managing Bonds all those years. The Giantsí offense was capable of contending because Bonds would draw 100 walks a year and lead the league in OBP. Baker no doubt associates Bonds with homers and RBI, but it was the walks, the not making outs, that kept the line moving so that Jeff Kent and Ellis Burks and Moises Alou and others would face pitchers throwing from the stretch.

    The stathead image of Baker isnít a caricature. It isnít a mirage. It isnít hypercritical. Dusty Baker has no real idea of what makes an offense run. He thinks thereís a massive difference between MLB and Triple-A. He thinks experience is just as important as ability.

    One other important trait about Baker is that heís the Teflon manager. The local press fawns over him in a way that would be embarrassing if it wasnít just slightly worse than par for the course in the profession. Bakerís anti-intellectualistic approach to baseball dovetails nicely with the pervasive press backlash against reality-based coverage and administration of baseball teams.

    So itís a new city, a new team, a new roster, and the same naked emperor. Dusty Baker may have positive qualitiesóhe does seem to have a salutary effect on veterans, for oneóbut he is, one the whole, a negative force in the dugout. He picks the wrong players to play, teaches an offensive approach that is counterproductive, and emphasizes secondary and tertiary traits such as speed and experience over primary ones such as getting on base and power.

    Heís the wrong man for the 2008 Cincinnati Reds. No doubt when the Reds fall short of their upside that the blame will fall elsewhereóon Wayne Krivsky, on Adam Dunn, on Edwin Encarnacion or Homer Bailey. The Teflon manager will go on.

    Joe Sheehan is an author of Baseball Prospectus. You can contact Joe by clicking here or click here to see Joe's other articles.
    What are you, people? On dope? - Mr Hand

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  3. #2
    Start the Reactor! *BaseClogger*'s Avatar
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    Re: BP on Baker

    beautiful
    "On-base percentage is great if you can score runs and do something with that on-base percentage," Baker said. "Clogging up the bases isn't that great to me."

  4. #3
    Vampire Weekend @Bernie's camisadelgolf's Avatar
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    Re: BP on Baker

    I thought this thread was going to be about A.) what Brandon Phillips has to say about Dusty Baker or B.) the people in the organization who understand that the concept of 'clogging up the bases' is stupid (which is hopefully the entire organization) finally decided release their frustrations by getting some baseball bats and using Dusty Baker's head as batting practice.

  5. #4
    Five Tool Fool jojo's Avatar
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    Re: BP on Baker

    I definately agree with this statement: the three best hitters on the Reds are (not in any particular order) Bruce, Dunn and Votto.

    These two quotes probably summarize the "saber" view of Dusty as accurately as any:

    The stathead image of Baker isnít a caricature. It isnít a mirage. It isnít hypercritical. Dusty Baker has no real idea of what makes an offense run. He thinks thereís a massive difference between MLB and Triple-A. He thinks experience is just as important as ability.

    So itís a new city, a new team, a new roster, and the same naked emperor. Dusty Baker may have positive qualitiesóhe does seem to have a salutary effect on veterans, for oneóbut he is, one the whole, a negative force in the dugout. He picks the wrong players to play, teaches an offensive approach that is counterproductive, and emphasizes secondary and tertiary traits such as speed and experience over primary ones such as getting on base and power.
    "This isnít stats vs scouts - this is stats and scouts working together, building an organization that blends the best of both worlds. This is the blueprint for how a baseball organization should be run. And, whether the baseball men of the 20th century like it or not, this is where baseball is going."---Dave Cameron, U.S.S. Mariner

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    Posting in Dynarama M2's Avatar
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    Re: BP on Baker

    The stathead image of Baker isn’t a caricature. It isn’t a mirage. It isn’t hypercritical. Dusty Baker has no real idea of what makes an offense run. He thinks there’s a massive difference between MLB and Triple-A. He thinks experience is just as important as ability.
    Joe doth protest too much. Dusty Baker is stathead catnip. Even when Sheehan's right on these matters it comes across as a frantic version of "SEE? ... DUSTY BAKER! ... BAD THINGS!"

    I think the larger truth is Baker's like most folks in the baseball profession, and that most of what he says is disposable chatter designed to wile away the time.
    Baseball isn't a magic trick ... it doesn't get spoiled if you figure out how it works. - gonelong

    I'm witchcrafting everybody.

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    Member Gainesville Red's Avatar
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    Re: BP on Baker

    Well written, and terrifying.

  8. #7
    He has the Evil Eye! flyer85's Avatar
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    Re: BP on Baker

    If the Reds head north WITHOUT Bruce and Votto as everyday players they will be shooting themselves in the foot.
    Last edited by flyer85; 03-11-2008 at 03:42 PM.
    What are you, people? On dope? - Mr Hand

  9. #8
    Let's ride BRM's Avatar
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    Re: BP on Baker

    Quote Originally Posted by flyer85 View Post
    If the Reds head north with Bruce and Votto as everyday players they will be shooting themselves in the foot.
    I thought you were championing Bruce starting in CF? Is it Votto you object to?

  10. #9
    Please come again pedro's Avatar
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    Re: BP on Baker

    Quote Originally Posted by M2 View Post
    Joe doth protest too much. Dusty Baker is stathead catnip. Even when Sheehan's right on these matters it comes across as a frantic version of "SEE? ... DUSTY BAKER! ... BAD THINGS!"

    I think the larger truth is Baker's like most folks in the baseball profession, and that most of what he says is disposable chatter designed to wile away the time.
    1) We gotta play 'em one day at a time.
    2) I'm just happy to be here. Hope I can help the ballclub.
    3) I just want to give it my best shot, and the good Lord willing, things will work out.
    Get your nunchucks and the keys to your dad's car. I know where we can get a gun

  11. #10
    Stat Wanker Hodiernus RedsManRick's Avatar
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    Re: BP on Baker

    I think the 2nd quote you cited Jojo really does sum up my opinion as well.

    That might be true M2 if there weren't copious actual evidence that he acts on the principals he espouses when he talks. Sure, there's a lot of fluff in there too, but Sheehan isn't complaining that Dusty wants his guys to give 110%. Further, he's not being analyzed on the basis of his quotes. The critique is rooted in the actions Dusty has taken and decisions he has made in the past and will likely to continue to take/make in the future. The quotes merely provide yet another opportunity to complain about the actions.

    If he said those things and then went out put Neifi on the bench and batted Patterson 7th, we'd have never seen this sort of article.
    Last edited by RedsManRick; 03-11-2008 at 03:59 PM.
    Games are won on run differential -- scoring more than your opponent. Runs are runs, scored or prevented they all count the same. Worry about scoring more and allowing fewer, not which positions contribute to which side of the equation or how "consistent" you are at your current level of performance.

  12. #11
    He has the Evil Eye! flyer85's Avatar
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    Re: BP on Baker

    Quote Originally Posted by M2 View Post
    I think the larger truth is Baker's like most folks in the baseball profession
    which is really theissue ... outside of the Red Sox and a few others the rest are run by inbred management who believe in a society of secret knowledge. I am not sure the Reds would have been any different no matter who WK picked from his list.

    I have not been running down Dusty ... my only comments have been that I worry he will pick the wrong players to play, I have said nothing about the batting order as I realize it is going to be sub-optimal and it just isn't worth it to waste energy worrying about it.
    What are you, people? On dope? - Mr Hand

  13. #12
    He has the Evil Eye! flyer85's Avatar
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    Re: BP on Baker

    Quote Originally Posted by BRM View Post
    I thought you were championing Bruce starting in CF? Is it Votto you object to?
    I meant to say WITHOUT
    What are you, people? On dope? - Mr Hand

  14. #13
    Will post for food BuckeyeRedleg's Avatar
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    Re: BP on Baker

    One other important trait about Baker is that heís the Teflon manager. The local press fawns over him in a way that would be embarrassing if it wasnít just slightly worse than par for the course in the profession. Bakerís anti-intellectualistic approach to baseball dovetails nicely with the pervasive press backlash against reality-based coverage and administration of baseball teams.
    Paul Daugherty.

  15. #14
    Member Sea Ray's Avatar
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    Re: BP on Baker

    The sabermetric students of the game will have serious issues with Dusty. Apparently that is the school Sheehan is from.

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    Re: BP on Baker

    Quote Originally Posted by camisadelgolf View Post
    I thought this thread was going to be about what Brandon Phillips has to say about Dusty Baker.


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