Dusto talks catchin'
"It will be similar to last year," Baker said. "They were very successful. Both call good games. Both throw and catch well. And we got a lot of production out of the catcher’s spot. I don’t think we’d get as much out of the position if one of them played a whole lot more."
I really like the overall value we get from this pair. They will only be paid about $3.5 mil total next season, which is about the going rate for 1 WAR on the free agent market. Last year they combined for 4.8 WAR. I don't think it's realistic to expect them to match that next season, especially from Hernandez. He had something of a career year in his mid-30s, which is probably more fluke than fail safe. I think Baker deserves beaucoup kudos for his handling of these guys last season, and it doesn't sound like he's planning on changing it. They should hold down the fort just fine until Devin Mesoraco is ready.
This graph so succinctly describes how the Reds won the NL Central last year
that I'm feeling all dreamy-eyed just looking at. It's easy to say the right thing and call it "a real team effort" and "everyone did their job" and crap like that, but I don't think any other team can legitimately say it and mean it as much as the Reds can. They led the league by having the fewest negative-WAR players and the lowest total negative WAR. What that means is that while they didn't have a lineup of superstars like the Yankees, they didn't have a single black hole in the lineup either. Just about every player held his own, if he didn't just all out kick ass (here's lookin' at you, Joey). THAT is a real team effort.
Expanded playoffs are looking more and more like an inevitability than a mere possibility
I think it would be subtraction by addition. The problem with the playoffs as currently constructed is not that there are not enough teams and series, but that there are not enough games. Baseball's regular season is so long because it's the only way to really separate the men from the boys. Bad teams can't hide over 162 games and sneak their way in. This isn't the NFL. This is why 5 and 7-game series are not sufficient. Any team can get hot over a 5-game stretch and beat a better team. This is why I'd prefer to see 9 or 11 game series (at least) rather than more wild cards. But enough from me, what do you think? Is expanding the playoffs a good idea? If so, how would you expand?
RLN ponders how valuable Homer Bailey is
I have to admit, I'm not sure what to think of him myself. When I'm drawing up projected rotations and rosters at work on the back of my TPS reports, he's always the last pitcher I remember to pencil in. Perhaps he's just never made a strong impression on me one way or another. I've never harbored the venom for him some Reds fans have these past few years, but I guess I've never really bought the hype either. I really do want him to succeed as a Red, but I have to squint to see it happening.
I suppose that speaks to the bevy of young talent this team has, that such a promising young player can so easily go unnoticed. Guys like Jay Bruce and Joey Votto and Aroldis Chapman and Johnny Cueto and Travis Wood and Mike Leake and Drew Stubbs command all of my attention, and Homer is just so easily ignored. But that doesn't mean he doesn't deserve it. What do you think? Is he gonna anchor this rotation for the Reds next back-to-back World Series wins? Is he gonna be the closer for those championship teams? Or should he be shipped off while he still has some value so he can crash out for some other sucker of a team?
The Reds have announced their schedule for Spring Training
and SURPRISE!! they play the Indians a whole buttload of times. Also of note, the Dbacks and Rockies are moving their camps to the Phoenix area, so now all Cactus League teams play in the greater Phoenix metro area. Most folks saw the move to the desert as a few thousand miles in the wrong direction, but it sure does make for easier travel once you get there.
Kris Negron is a finalist for the Dernell Stenson Award Sportsmanship Award
We all remember Dernell Stenson as the guy who made a nice impression on us as a late-season call-up back in 2003. He played well, which was really refreshing for a fan base in the midst of a horrible prospect drought. At 25 he stretched the definition of "prospect", but it didn't matter. Then, while in Arizona playing in the AFL, he was murdered. Quite brutally. So the AFL created the Sportsmanship Award in his honor. The Reds have never had a player win the award, so Negron would be the first.
Red Reposter NEWS FROM HELL
Local sports writer and Juilliard-trained gomerologist Paul Daugherty and yours truly are in complete and total agreement on something. Check it:
This one from my very good friend at ESPN, Keith Law, via a Mobster: From Keith Law’s Twitter: RT @xxx: Is it also safe to assume that Dusty Baker did not make your NL MoY ballot? Correct. Can’t slag arms and make my ballot.
Right, Keith. That would be the same Baker who shut down Mike Leake, yeah? Who watched pitch counts on Travis Wood and Edinson Volquez? What are we talking about here, my man? Wood and Prior? Are we still talking about Wood and Prior? Was the vote for 2010 MOY? Just checking. Look, if you want to vote for Black, fine. Great choice. But if you leave Baker entirely off your ballot for some dated (and to me, specious) reason, that’s just lazy. Of course, Law is the same guy who thinks parity is greater in MLB than the NFL. So there is that."
The "Dusty Baker ruins young pitchers" argument is just about as baseless as the "President Obama wasn't born in America" argument. It's a stretch to make the case that he ruined Kerry Wood and Mark Prior, but even if you want to pin all that on him, his track record with all the Reds' young guys is above reproach. Aaron Harang in San Diego was a bad decision, and I won't try to defend him for that one, but I understand that when your horse is running well it's hard to pull on the reins. Dusty's been good with our young pitchers. And P-Doc and I are now obligated to disagree on everything for at least a full year.