The Futility Infielder

A Baseball Journal by Jay Jaffe I'm a baseball fan living in New York City. In between long tirades about the New York Yankees and the national pastime in general, I'm a graphic designer.

Monday, October 05, 2009


The Red Menace

A "Kiss 'Em Goodbye" piece on the Reds to which I contributed ran at Baseball Prospectus and ESPN Insider on Saturday. Building upon something I noted for the year's sabermetric highs and lows, these numbers jumped out at me:
Key stat: .245 AVG/.301 OBP/.354 SLG

That's the combined showing of all Reds batting in the top two lineup spots, constituting 24 percent of the team's total plate appearances and proving that [Reds manager Dusty] Baker's ideas about what make an offense work are completely out of touch with reality. During a ghastly stretch in which the team lost 45 out of 68 games, [Willy] Taveras batted an appalling .216/.230/.243, and the lineup's production shriveled to 3.6 runs per game. Once Taveras mercifully went on the disabled list with a quad strain in mid-August, Baker reacted by locking rookie Drew Stubbs (.260/.313/.438 overall) in the leadoff hole and weak-hitting shortstop Paul Janish (.215/.297/.308 overall) in the second slot. Despite this rather appalling second act of managerial malfeasance, the Reds have gone 26-15 since Taveras went down, though that performance has more to do with a pitching staff that's held opponents to 3.8 runs per game via strong finishes from [Bronson] Arroyo, [Homer] Bailey, and [Johnny] Cueto.

The Bottom Line: With [Joey] Votto, [Brandon] Phillips, [Jay] Bruce, Stubbs, Cueto, Bailey, and a rehabbed [Edinson] Volquez, the Reds can still claim a promising young nucleus. Alas, Baker's work this year shows that he may be the biggest obstacle to the team's success, and with one more year on his deal, he's not going anywhere. Trading either Arroyo or [Aaron] Harang is certainly an option; the two players have about $28 million remaining on their deals via 2010 contracts and 2011 buyouts, so moving one of them might create an opportunity for a midlevel signing. Still, it's difficult to envision this team breaking out of the middle of the pack without keen vision and bold steps.
Suffice it to say that Baker's ineptitude as a manager relative to his reputation really leaves me baffled. Forget his well-earned reputation as an old-school hardass of an arm mangler (Mark Prior, Kerry Wood, now Volquez), where the hell does he think runs come from, the stork?

More to come on playoff-relevant topics later today.


Comments: Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home


June 2001   July 2001   August 2001   September 2001   October 2001   November 2001   December 2001   January 2002   February 2002   March 2002   April 2002   May 2002   June 2002   July 2002   August 2002   September 2002   October 2002   November 2002   December 2002   January 2003   February 2003   March 2003   April 2003   May 2003   June 2003   July 2003   August 2003   September 2003   October 2003   November 2003   December 2003   January 2004   February 2004   March 2004   April 2004   May 2004   June 2004   July 2004   August 2004   September 2004   October 2004   November 2004   December 2004   January 2005   February 2005   March 2005   April 2005   May 2005   June 2005   July 2005   August 2005   September 2005   October 2005   November 2005   December 2005   January 2006   February 2006   March 2006   April 2006   May 2006   June 2006   July 2006   August 2006   September 2006   October 2006   November 2006   December 2006   January 2007   February 2007   March 2007   April 2007   May 2007   June 2007   July 2007   August 2007   September 2007   October 2007   November 2007   December 2007   January 2008   February 2008   March 2008   April 2008   May 2008   June 2008   July 2008   August 2008   September 2008   October 2008   November 2008   December 2008   January 2009   February 2009   March 2009   April 2009   May 2009   June 2009   July 2009   August 2009   September 2009   October 2009   November 2009   December 2009   January 2010   February 2010   March 2010   April 2010   May 2010  

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Subscribe to Posts [Atom]