FanDuel - WFBC

October 04, 2013

Reds Fire Manager Dusty Baker: The Cincinnati Reds have fired manager Dusty Baker, despite three playoff appearances and two NL Central titles over the past four seasons. Baker's Reds went 90-72 in 2013, losing the wild card game to the Pittsburgh Pirates. Potential successors include Reds pitching coach Bryan Price, former major league manager Jim Riggleman and Chicago Cubs third base coach David Bell.

posted by rcade to baseball at 01:32 PM - 9 comments

Just came to post this story. I love Dusty, and he certainly led my beloved Reds out of a dark stretch in their history, but I agree that it was time to move in a different direction. The team was just too loaded with talent to fall as short as it did the last two seasons. I think some of the failure was the team's fundamental approach to baseball--Joey Votto takes a ton of walks and has an amazing OBP, but is that really what you want from your #3 hitter? The team set all-time highs in strikeouts almost every year that Dusty was manager. I know that there is a bit of a fundamental shift in hitting philosophy in the MLB these days, but would it kill guys to take a pitch or two instead of stepping up and swinging at the first ball they see? And the Reds were as streaky a team as any I can remember. They'd score 10 runs three games in a row, and then get shutout or plate one for the next three. No explanation why they were so feast-or-famine.

I don't know how much of any of that might be attributed to Dusty, or what new blood might bring to the table, but it was time to try something new. Best of luck to Dusty wherever he lands.

posted by tahoemoj at 01:41 PM on October 04

I think some of the failure was the team's fundamental approach to baseball--Joey Votto takes a ton of walks and has an amazing OBP, but is that really what you want from your #3 hitter?

Tell me you aren't being influenced by the ridiculously stupid Cincy media hit job on Votto?

He led the team in OBP, SLG, and (obviously) OPS.
He led the league in OBP and was in the top 5 for OPS, OPS+, and offensive WAR.

In summary, fuck yes that is what you want from your #3 hitter.

His "fundamental approach to baseball" is exactly what you want if you are trying to win games.

His lack of RBI pretty much stems from the fact that batting in front of him for most of the year were the following four players:

Random pitcher: .169 OBP (combined for the team)
Choo - .423 OBP (sweet)
Cozart - .284 OBP (horrific) or Frazier - .314 OBP (ugly)

Phillps (the darling of the Reds media) had Choo AND Votto in front of him. Maybe that's how he ended up with 30 more RBI than Votto (despite a 40 points lower AVG and 100 points lower SLG)...

posted by grum@work at 02:27 PM on October 04

There was an article posted to MetaFilter a couple weeks ago about overuse of bunting, with Baker as the prime example of doing it badly.

posted by LionIndex at 03:21 PM on October 04

Joey Votto is what I would want in my #3 hitter. Dusty Baker is what I would want in a manager of my least-favorite team (especially if they have a couple of young pitching prospects).

would it kill guys to take a pitch or two instead of stepping up and swinging at the first ball they see

Is the problem strikeouts or not seeing enough pitches? It can't really be both. Choo and Votto were #2 and #3 in the NL in pitches per at-bat this year.

posted by yerfatma at 04:40 PM on October 04

Tell me you aren't being influenced by the ridiculously stupid Cincy media hit job on Votto?

Nah, I live in Nevada and am completely unaware of the Cincinnati media. Any opinions, misguided though they may be, are my own. I guess I'm just used to more "spectacular" numbers from Votto, rather than his just being an effective ball player. I'm definitely not ignoring the fact that the Reds have one of the best at what he does.

Is the problem strikeouts or not seeing enough pitches? It can't really be both.

Please to explain? I know Votto and Choo subscribe to the approach that the more pitches you see, the better. They're both very comfortable hitting with 2-strike counts. But it seems like the rest of the team, Phillips included, always goes up hacking. Watching them strike out on balls in the dirt against Liriano on Tuesday might be why I have that feeling.

posted by tahoemoj at 04:54 PM on October 04

wwwwwwoooooooosh!
Jigger Stats!

Cincinnati Reds finish exactly league average in pitches/plate appearance (3.80).
The Reds did finish with the highest percentage in the NL for first-pitch-swinging (33%).
They were also tied for first in the NL for highest percentage of strikeouts ending with a swing (79%).

posted by grum@work at 05:29 PM on October 04

Jigger StatZ, thank you.

posted by Etrigan at 07:49 PM on October 04

They were also tied for first in the NL for highest percentage of strikeouts ending with a swing (79%).

Then at least they went down swinging. :)

posted by Mothball at 05:18 AM on October 06

Joe Posnanski's take in Getting Dusty in here is that he is the guy to make your bad team a contender. You just want somebody else to take you to the finish line once Dusty has done that.

posted by offsides at 04:08 PM on October 07

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