Baker’s firing comes as a surprise, but maybe the Reds needed a new voice

October 6, 2013

Immediately following the Reds’ Wild Card Game loss to the Pirates, general manager Walt Jocketty gave every indication that manager Dusty Baker would be back for the 2014 season. Three days later, Baker was out of a job.

As a Reds fan, I’ve got mixed feelings about the news. Baker has never been a favorite of the new school stats crowd, which I tend to lean toward. But he won at least 90 games and made the playoffs three times in the last four years. That should count for something. And the players always seemed to respect him and respond to him (at least until the last couple of weeks of the season). That was evident in their reactions Friday, particularly from Jay Bruce:

“I understand that it’s a business and when teams don’t accomplish what’s expected of them there are changes, but any way you slice it, Dusty was an integral part of turning the organization around,” Bruce wrote in an email. “The Cincinnati Reds became relevant again with Dusty at the helm, and that’s something people should never forget. From a personal standpoint, I’m thankful to have had Dusty there with me from the time I was 21 years old. He taught me so many valuable things about the game of baseball, things that have helped me become the player I am today, and I’m very appreciative of that. Aside from the on field aspect, he took an interest in myself and the other players on a personal level that far exceeded that requirements of a manager.”

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Let Joey Votto be Joey Votto

September 28, 2013

With the MLB regular season coming to an end this weekend, SI.com’s Joe Lemire picked an unsung hero for each of the 30 teams. His choice for the Cincinnati Reds was Joey Votto.

You read that correctly – Joey Votto. The 2010 NL MVP. A four-time All-Star. A player who starts a 10-year, $225 million contract extension next season.

As a Reds fan and an unabashed Votto supporter, I’m not exactly impartial on this subject, but he shouldn’t be an unsung hero. His name should be coming up in MVP discussions. (Admittedly, he shouldn’t win it this year, but he’s easily a top 10 candidate.) Yet it’s hard to disagree with Lemire’s classification given the narrative that’s developed around Votto this year.

There’s been an actual discussion in Cincinnati over whether he or Brandon Phillips should be the team‘s MVP. Here’s how their season stats stacked up through Thursday:

AVG OBP SLG OPS R HR RBI WAR
Votto .304 .434 .492 .926 100 24 73 6.2
Phillips .260 .310 .397 .707 79 18 102 1.5

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Opening the season in style

April 1, 2011

Ramon Hernandez has one member of the IoT crew dreaming of a 162-0 season for the Reds. (Cincinnati Enquirer)

As a Reds fan, I was already excited about watching the 2010 NL Central champions try to repeat. Opening Day did not disappoint.