Sure, they’ve dealt with some injuries, but the 2011 Reds have most certainly underachieved. Playing in what’s arguably baseball’s weakest division, Cincinnati is likely to finish with a sub-.500 record for the third time in four years under Dusty Baker. Baker is currently 319-323 at the helm of the Reds. It gives him the same .497 winning percentage he had during his four-year stint with the Cubs.
So, it’s time for Dusty to go, again. His handling of the Reds’ pitching staff has left much to be desired this year. His lineups are problematic. And he’s simply not winning. The Reds’ have outscored their opponents by 17 runs this year, yet are currently 76-80.
Baker hardly deserves all of the blame. It’s not his fault that the only Reds pitcher to make 30 starts this year was the extremely disappointing Bronson Arroyo. It probably wasn’t just his call to stick with Edinson Volquez as long as he did. Also, Scott Rolen’s injuries and ineffectiveness left the Reds minus a key bat they really had no one to replace.
However, Baker just hasn’t helped. He kept moving Drew Stubbs out of the leadoff spot because of all of Stubbs’ strikeouts, ignoring the fact that Stubbs kept scoring runs anyway (69 in 94 games, which works out to 110 runs in 150 games). He overworked setup man Logan Ondrusek, who went down with a strained forearm in August and hasn’t been the same since returning. He stuck with Jonny Gomes in left field, even though Gomes was far from the team’s best option against right-handers. He actually turned Paul Janish, whose only asset was his glove, into a utilityman so that Edgar Renteria, whose only asset was his… ummm… leadership, wouldn’t have to play anywhere other than shortstop.
Bringing back GM Walt Jocketty was the right move for the Reds. I’m not sure I’d say Jocketty has been outstanding since coming over from the Cards, but there’s certainly been more good than bad.
Baker’s positives don’t outweigh the negatives, though. The Reds have no reason not to make a change after such a disappointing campaign.