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Dayton Daily News
Dragons manager looking for wins
By Marc Katz, Staff Writer
DAYTON — Dragons manager Todd Benzinger knows the parent Reds are all about developing players for the big leagues, but he thinks the organization can do even more.
“Developing players and winning games don’t have to be separate things,” the second-year manager said Wednesday, Feb. 24, at Fifth Third Field.
Benzinger took a glance at patches of snow on the playing field and said he was looking forward to the season, “as long as it doesn’t look that way in April.”
He also doesn’t want his team to look as it did last year, when it went 59-80 and missed the Midwest League playoffs for the fourth time in 10 seasons.
“When you’re a competitor, a big part of your success is going to be your win-loss record,” Benzinger said. “Fans come not just for everything that’s here, but they want to see good baseball, winning baseball. I just feel as (last season) progressed, we were a better team.”
As usual, injuries, call-ups and other factors led to the Dragons’ failures, especially the 1-11 start as the Reds failed to stock the team with enough talent out of spring training.
Benzinger said that shouldn’t have mattered.
“We had the personnel here to squeeze out six to eight more victories,” Benzinger said. “I guess we’ve got to realize what we’re here for (development), but it’s so important for these guys to think of themselves as complete baseball players.
“That includes, I’m a good base-runner. I do my job in the field. I’m a good teammate. All those things come naturally when you have a kid that wants to win in the worst way.
“You’ve seen those kids. There’s one or two on every team. You get eight-10 guys like that, they’ll bring everybody with them. All of the sudden, you’re winning those six-eight games.”
Benzinger begins looking for those kinds of players next week, when he leaves for spring training in Goodyear, Ariz.
He said he won’t be as quiet as he was last year when managers and coaches at other levels of the organization lobbied for certain players.
This year, Benzinger said he’s going to look — and ask for — players he can develop and will win some games.