Dusty Baker still mulling contract extension offer from Reds

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It appears that manager Dusty Baker may be driving a hard bargain in his contract negotiations with the Reds. 

Baker is in the final year of a three-year contract that carries a $3.5 million annual salary.  He was offered what is believed to be a multi-year extension in mid-August but is taking his time accepting.  Probably because his Reds are just a couple days away from locking up their first playoff berth since 1995 and Baker can capitalize on that success.

“We’re talking,” Baker said before Sunday’s game in Cincinnati. “Negotiations don’t
just happen overnight sometimes, especially when you’re in a pennant
race.”

As noted by John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer, the Reds went 74-88 in Baker’s first year, 78-84 in Baker’s second year, and are now 84-65 — seven games above the Cardinals in the National League Central.

Cardinals move Luke Weaver to the bullpen

Luke Weaver
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Cardinals right-hander Luke Weaver has been reassigned to the bullpen, manager Mike Shildt announced Sunday. Fellow righty Daniel Poncedeleon will take his spot in the rotation for the time being, though it’s still unclear whether Weaver’s demotion is a permanent one or not.

Still, it’s not the most surprising of moves, especially as the club advances toward a potential playoff berth in October. Weaver, 24, has struggled to find his groove this season after putting up a 6-11 record in 24 starts and a 4.67 ERA, 3.2 BB/9 and 8.0 SO/9 over 125 1/3 innings in 2018. During two of his last three outings in August, he was pulled before the fifth inning, citing mechanical issues with his delivery that may be impacting his fastball location and delivery and having an adverse effect on his results — and those of the team — as well.

Poncedeleon, on the other hand, appears primed to take on more responsibility following an impressive run with the Cardinals this summer. He maintained a sub-3.00 ERA through his first six appearances, issuing four runs, nine walks, and 10 strikeouts over 17 2/3 innings. While he hasn’t handled more than one start in the big leagues, his track record in the minors speaks to his ability to get consistent results on the mound: he went 9-3 in 17 starts at Triple-A Memphis with a 2.15 ERA, 4.7 BB/9 and 10.1 SO/9 across 92 innings. He’s scheduled to cover for Weaver on Tuesday against the Pirates and will presumably continue to pitch out of the rotation for the remaining six weeks of the season.