Baker on being three games from .500:
"Itís good for the organization adn the town, we havenít had a winning season in seven years. That was my goal when I came here, to have a winning season. If you have a winning season, you can go from there. First you get to .500 and then you want to create some space between you and .500. Like my son told me last night, I didnít even know this because Iím just trying to win every day, but he said, ĎYouíre seven out of the wild card, dad.í I was like, Ďthanks son.í
"Thatís what you have to have in this game. I donít care until weíre mathematically eliminated, I donít care what anyone says.
"Thatís why Iím glad baseball is in a very good financial state. Because what happened with Colorado last year, theyíd have been dumping slaaries. There fore it gives you a chance for the miraculous comeback.
"Thereís not a lot of buying and selling going on."
I followed up if he felt it was too early to be a seller at this point
"Yeah. You always want to improve, but you donít want to delete, either. One of the problems we have here is keeping the team attitude and team-first down the stretch. It helps to be playing good baseball and being in a position where you might do something. I told the guys, you win and it stops the organization from doing wholesale anything. If youíre winning, it puts pressure on the organization to make a decision -- especially when you have 13 free agents, which is a lot. Itís the most Iíve ever had. Everybodyís more concerned about their future and playing time, which determines their future. Thatís the biggest problem I have.
"Youíve got to be a quality-type free agent for someone to rent you. Are you going to give up top prospects for someone who might not even sign, unless youíre like Milwaukee and so close. Thatís what theyíre doing with C.C. unless they can entice him to sign.
Baker was asked if this team was particularly affected by players thinking about their future
"Itís nothing about the club, itís human nature that youíre concerned about your future and your familyís future.
"If you play, everything will come. If you put playing in the game ahead of playing and contracts, the money will come. If you put the money in front of playing, it can come, but not as easy as it can. I tell my guys to keep your priorities straight, because when the game starts, the opposition doesnít care how much you make, I donít care how much you make. Thatís your business.
"Around the trade deadline is tough, because guys are worried. Thatís natural tough, itís hard getting traded in the middle of the season -- what are you going to do with your family, your housing, that kind of stuff.
"The trade deadline doesnít mean anything anyway, it always seems after the trade deadline, someone always gets traded anyway. I canít figure out how some of these guys get through waivers.
"Most fo the time youíre a buyer when you have a pretty good chance of doing something.
"They tried to break our Dodger team up for a long time, they tried to break up the Yankees for a long time. Itís hard to break up a team thatís winning."
Also, I asked Baker about Griffey in the No. 3 spot, since that's the reason many of you have said they can't win a game...
"Itís something over time heís earned. I know people say play him here or put him there, but heís like Dunn, their averages are low, but their on-base percentage is high. Their on-base percentage is better than some of the guys that are hitting for high averages. I know they get paid to hit, but it also helps to get on base and put the pitcher in the stretch. Most starters donít like being in the stretch.
"I still wish their averages were higher, you want everything, but you look around baseball and the league, you donít see a lot of everythings. Iím seeing a lot of low averages and some with high production. A lot of strikeouts."
Griffeyís OBP is .348 -- thatís tied for fourth among the players in the Redsí starting lineup on Sunday -- behind Dunn (.386), Jeff Keppinger (.356) and Edwin Encarnacion (.351). Joey Votto, like Griffey has a .348 OBP. Jay Bruce (.335), Brandon Phillips (.320) and Paul Bako (.299) have lower OBPs than Griffey.