The Cincinnati Reds finished a disappointing 74-88 last year, Dusty Baker’s first at the helm. It also marked the first time in Baker’s managerial career that his first season with a team resulted in a losing record.
With 1236 total wins for Dusty Baker, he sits tied with Joe Cronin for 33rd all time in wins by a manager. There are five active managers with more wins, name them. Bonus points if you get the three of those managers with better winning percentages.
The Reds appear to have improved, by bringing in Ramon Hernandez, Arthur Rhodes and Willy Tavares. On a team that’s pretty stocked with young talent, wily veterans like these may be the solid force this team needs to reverse its 8 season losing streak (longest since 1945-1955).
Players like Jay Bruce, Aaron Harang, Edinson Volquez, Johnny Cueto, Joey Votto and Edwin Encarnacion are expected to help turn this franchise around. Watching highlight reels explains why the Reds think these guys are capable. Each one has distinct positives that should help get fans in the seats in Cincinnati this year.
The lineup still has problems; the Reds scored just 704 runs last year, only 7 teams scored less (including the Dodgers who made the NLCS). Of course players like Alex Gonzalez and Willy Tavares aren’t known for their offense, and relying so heavily on young players like Bruce and Votto can easily end up with a rough season.
Dusty Baker 1236 – 1129 (.523)
Jim Leyland 1326 – 1357 (.494)
Lou Piniella 1697 – 1561 (.521)
Joe Torre 2129 – 1833 (.537)
Bobby Cox 2322 – 1852 (.556)
Tony LaRussa 2459 – 2145 (.534)
Baker only has 6 losing seasons in his career (counting the strike shortened season in 1994 55-60 with SF). He’s a proven manager who generally gets the best of his players. With the Reds youth movement taking center stage, Baker now can focus on creating leaders out of these players.
The Reds become one of the most improved teams in 2009, but with the poor economy, ownership isn’t willing to take on extra contracts at mid-season to stay in the hunt.
Third Place NL Central 82-80.
Baker and Bruce – http://cincycoolness.com/coopperson.aspx