SI's Jon Heyman has some juicy gossip, though it is definitely not unexpected
"Sources suggest there has been some difference of opinion over playing time between Reds GM Walt Jocketty and manager Dusty Baker, who has a year to go on his contract. The Reds are over .500 for the first time since early July, but it is curious how much playing time veterans Miguel Cairo and Freddie Lewis are getting in a lost season. Rival execs say they also would have traded Ramon Hernandez before the July 31 trade deadline and employed Devin Mesoraco as catcher. Hernandez was claimed on waivers by a competitor and pulled back by the Reds. He would have helped the Giants, among others." (He also lists his postseason award candidates and doesn't even have Joey Votto on his MVP list. Schmuck.)
Redleg Nation does an excellent job fleshing out the details of Heyman's confirmed quarrel
Seriously, click through and read the whole thing. Steve cites the Fred Lewis and Edgar Renteria situations as evidence that the differences of opinion between Jocketty and Baker go much deeper and much further back in history than just the Yonder Alonso situation. Here's the takeaway:
"I think a majority of us were extremely disappointed with the relative inaction of the Reds last off-season, and our skepticism has been proven right by the team’s performance this year, falling short of their 2010 season. Walt Jocketty’s moves were small bore, at best. You can debate the merits of Lewis, Gomes, Renteria and Janish all you want. But when even the meager steps taken by the GM are deliberately sabotaged by the manager, you have a recipe ripe for failure. Seriously, is continued success possible with such a dysfunctional relationship between the GM and manager?"
If indeed the Jocketty/Baker relationship is on a one-way train to Splitsville
Daedalus makes no bones about which side she'll take. "Usually, managers don't make a huge difference in what a team does, but when you have a borderline team, like the Reds, who are missing some parts, a manager can make or break a team. And Dusty broke this team."
The Fayplacement asks Dusty how he comes up with his line ups
and he contemplatively replied, "Well, I just, uh... I kinda think about stuff that I see, or dream them." Fayplacement then remarked at how cool it is that he dreams them, and Dusty continued, "Nothing works all the time, I don’t care how you do it. This game is basically about matchups and the odds."
I can appreciate that Dusty spends a lot of time on his line ups. He's definitely not just filling them out on a whim. But perhaps that is his biggest problem. I think he's overthinking it. Take the example from the article, the time when he penciled in Fred Lewis to play LF against Jason Hammel and the Rockies. Lewis was 7-9 in his career against Hammel, which is certainly impressive. But should that be the most important thing to take into account when figuring this stuff out? Sure, Lewis has seven hits against Hammel, but isn't it more important that players like Heisey, Alonso, and Sappelt get some reps in the bigs?
Blog Red Machine takes exception to the idea that the Reds made no moves this past off-season
The DDN piece that ken linked in yesterday's Reposter is the focus of his ire, as he cites the big money extensions to Jay Bruce, Johnny Cueto, Joey Votto, and Bronson Arroyo. While the Reds didn't go out and get a Zack Greinke or a Shaun Marcum, they did lock up their nucleus for the foreseeable future. I think this is a fair point, and one which easily forget or dismiss. But the point still stands that LF and SS were issues in the off-season and continue to be so.
Perhaps the Reds biggest need though, a front-of-the-rotation pitcher, is one that I thought would not be a problem this season. Let's not forget that coming into the season, the Reds had a staff that went nine-deep with what could reasonably be judged as at least league-average pitchers. But starting pitching is, like my insightful banter here, a funny thing. Bronson Arroyo fell apart, Travis Wood and Edinson Volquez were demoted, Homer Bailey has dealt with injuries and inconsistency, Sam LeCure went to the bullpen, and Matt Maloney has been injured and in Louisville. Only two of the Reds nine-deep rotation have emerged as anything resembling solid starters, and that's just not enough. Nobody - not even Walt - could have reasonably anticipated that.
Ryan Hanigan - iron man again
After catching all weekend including the 14-inning game on Sunday, Hanigan was in the starting lineup again last night. Ramon Hernandez has a bad bruise on his right arm and looks to be another few days from being ready again. I know this is totally expected and not at all surprising, but why not put Monie on the DL if you know he'll be out nearly a week? Devin Mesoraco will be up when rosters expand in a few days anyway, so why not bring him up a few days early and avoid the dangers of playing with only one catcher? I would really love to know if such a loathing for using the DL is an industry standard or if it's really only something the Reds do. Either way, it's dumb.
Hardball Talk's Power Rankings have the Reds at #13
and with a .500 record, it's no surprise that they are square in the middle of the pack.
Jeff Sullivan enlightens us on another aspect of Adam Dunn's legendarily futile season
While he leads the league in strike out rate and worst batting average, he also leads the league in foul ball rate. Basically, when Dunner makes contact (which is rare enough as it is, right?) he fouls the pitch off 62.2% of the time. I don't know what that really means, but at the very least it's just one more bizarre dimension of a truly surreal season from the big fella.