Although he’d been quoted just this weekend as saying he wanted a “long-term” deal, Dusty Baker has signed a two-year extension, which means Baker will be managing the Reds through the 2014 season. The Reds will be having a press conference at 3:00, officially announcing the deal, though the source is the Reds official twitter feed, so it’s no rumor. Other than that, there’s no information on his salary or any other contract details.
Obviously, my opinion is the only important one, and I don’t mind this. I think Dusty’s strengths and weaknesses both shone through this season. The club did a great job recovering from Joey Votto’s absence to go on a winning streak that would’ve been impressive even with the team’s MVP. Many players had a strong season, and it’s clear that the leaders and stars of this team adore Baker.
Of course, Reds fans also saw recently that the in-game management stylings of Dusty Baker leave a lot (in my opinion) to be desired. Although much of it comes from the benefit of hindsight, there are a lot of genuine gripes out there about the management of the three losses to the Giants.
The plain truth out there, is just that there aren’t a lot of other options. Most of the managers who lost their jobs this season ring serious alarm bells for me, and I’m not sure a brand new manager with no MLB experience is what the Reds need going forward. Yes, it worked out for the Cardinals with Matheny, but it doesn’t seem probable that a gamble like that would work again. The Reds do have a couple able gentlemen in the system now, but I can’t really say I’d prefer Speier, Bell, or Riggleman in the manager’s role next year. The more I watch the playoffs, too, it seems like every manager makes frustrating moves sometime. Maybe if Terry Francona was still unattached, I might be slightly more wistful, but he’s not, and I’m not interested in Bobby Valentine or Jim Tracy.
I do hope there are ample provisions for Dusty’s health included. For both Dusty’s sake and the team’s sake, the Reds need to be well-prepared with contingency management plans. It was one thing when it was the end of the season with the division in the bag, but if Dusty needs to take some time off in June for his health, the team needs to know what to do.
In any case, I think it’s an excellent decision to have this over with sooner rather than later. Reds fans know what we’re going to be dealing with now, for better or worse.