I often times read a lot of sports articles that I don't agree with. But I recently came across this gem on CNNSI.com that really got me scratching my head.
Check it out here.
The point that Joe Sheehan is trying to make is the Cardinals have the advantage because they have Tony LaRussa as manager, and he is better than Dusty Baker. Okay, I will concede the fact that LaRussa is a more accomplished manager and if given the choice of the two most would more than likely choose LaRussa. However, I think the Dusty bashing articles are just pulled out of the trash bin from his days in Chicago and really are no longer relevant to his stint with the Reds.
He has penciled Cabrera into the leadoff spot in 39 games, a bit more than half the time, despite the shortstop's execrable .281 OBP.
By my count the Reds are 20-19 with Cabrerra in the leadoff spot. To me that is not killing this team. And if you watch this team you know Cabrerra can get you clutch hits. He has a .375 OBP in his first AB, and .355 OBP with RISP and 2 out.
He limited the playing time of good defender and on-base guy Chris Dickerson to open the season, instead playing OBP sinks Jonny Gomes and Laynce Nix.
Again, I am confident that Joe Sheehan is not watching the Reds only reading his Sports Illustrated Baseball preview on what "should" be happening in Cincinnati. Dickerson was supposed to be the other option in the OF, but Gomes has had a career year for the Reds. Sheehan tries to make the argument that Gomes is a defensive liability but Gomes has a 1.000 fielding percentage in LF with 0 errors and 67 put outs on 70 chances. Dickerson is hitting .255 with RISP, Nix a weak .158, but Gomes is hitting a blistering .436 with RISP. Add to that Gomes has 50 RBI so far this season. I am not knocking Dickerson, but for Sheehan to knock Dusty about starting Gomes over Dickerson is absolutely ridiculous.
Again, I agree that LaRussa is a more accomplished manager. But the whole "Dusty Baker ruins teams" story is tired. And I am tired of writers pulling out these stories without knowing what they are saying. I am confident that Sheehan reviewed stats, and I am confident that Sheehan knows and understands baseball. But I have to respectfully disagree with his assessment of this team. He clearly has not watched this team play to understand the impact that some of these guys have on the field.