Good stuff from Dusty and C. Trent:
* I know everyone loves to criticize Dusty Baker, to pick out any inconsistency in any quote, pick at any decision made and jump to the same old conclusions.
My thing is, if you sit back and listen to him, most of the time he makes a lot of sense. And I can also see why guys love to play for him. Orlando Cabrera said it's one of the big reasons he chose to play for the Reds, with Dusty you know where you stand and you know what you're going to be doing.
Today we were talking about Johnny Cueto.
"I hope he keeps taking steps, I can't judge how far those steps are," Baker said. "There are a lot of guys around the league that got here early, everyone's not (Tim) Lincecum. You look at guys Matt Cain in San Francisco, these guys are still learning. They're still only 23 years old and they've got two years in the big leagues already."
Cueto has shown those flashes of being a dominant starter, but has also struggled at times.
"We're helping to get this finished product and we all want this finished product, but sometimes you've got to let the product finish," Baker said. "It's like that story about the little kid that plants a seed and the plants started growing and he pulled on it to help it grow and killed it. Sometimes you've got to let it grow - just water it sometimes."
I then noted it was the same with Homer Bailey.
"We're all in a hurry for these guys and that's the hard part of coaching sometimes is not to overcoach sometimes," Baker said. "I was talking to Tony Phillips about that this morning, that's what Bill Walsh would tell me all time."
Baker said he could see Cueto maturing on the mound, in part because he had fewer of those really bad innings last year than he did the year before.
"You're seeing these guys mature, him and Homer and as long as you're taking positive steps and then bang, once they get it, they'll keep it for a while," Baker said. "You look at Greg Maddux's first years in the big leagues, Smoltz and Glavine, look at a whole bunch of them. I'd like to compare (Cueto's) years to those guys, Randy Johnson, Curt Schilling. Nolan Ryan. I think people forget. What would we do (today) if we had Steve Carlton and he lost 20 games? I bet nobody remembers he lost 20 games. When I first came up, Nolan Ryan was in long relief, he couldn't make the starting rotation."
I'm sure someone will pull a number somewhere, but a single exception doesn't change the rule. Young guys play young sometimes, and sometimes you have to let them grow and learn. There was a game late last year where Homer Bailey had pitched well through four or five innings, then got into some trouble with walks and everyone wanted him pulled. Well, Baker let him stay in and get shelled. A couple of starts later, Bailey got in the same situation and got out of it. Homer gave Baker a lot of credit and said it was because he was left out there the time before and he learned from it.
I know Dusty-bashing is Cincinnati's favorite pastime (just another example of how sometimes Cincinnati tries too hard to follow Chicago's lead) and the man certainly has some different ideas about baseball than some of us, but it doesn't mean he doesn't know what he's doing. It doesn't mean he knows more about baseball than I do and it doesn't mean there aren't positives to what he's doing here. Is the guy perfect? No. But he does have a lot of experience and has won a ton of games. I don't think that's a mistake.
(Now, rant on to me why I'm wrong.)