Yes, I know, this is the *second* Reds-Brewers series of the year. But better late than never. To acquaint us with the Cincinnatians from a bleeding-Reds-red perspective, our guest is Amanda, a.k.a. Red Hot Mama. RHM may be the only baseball blog with a category called For the Ladies.
Anyway, here's what Amanda had to say.
The toothpick has landed. What are your early impressions of Dusty Baker?
My distaste for Dusty Baker has two dimensions.
First, there's the fact that the Reds promised a full-fledged manager search and then proceeded to hire the first guy with major league experience who walked through the door, even though they'd just witnessed first hand the travesty that was his tenure at Chicago. This isn't exactly Dusty's fault, unless his charm and charisma are literally impossible to resist. In which case, well, that's just different then.
Second, there's the fact that he over-loves the veterans, thinks OBP is overrated, and fails to set his team up to win. He sends Edwin Encarnacion up to bunt. He leads off with Corey Patterson. He fails to ever get ejected from games. It's just not right.
On the positive side, I did see him wearing a cowl during spring training games, which is a bold fashion move. You've got to admire that.
Somehow, the Brewers came away from Johnny Cueto's second start with a win, but that doesn't mean we in Brewers Nation weren't impressed. He's almost freakishly good for a rookie, especially one who hasn't gotten the press of a Hughes or a Gallardo. Is there anything that could stop this guy?
Can't talk about it. Don't want to jinx it.
Speaking of prospects, Joey Votto is getting a shot, while Jay Bruce is stuck in Triple-A. Does that concern you? Do you see Bruce making an impact this year, or will Dusty stick with his veterans?
Votto is almost 25 while Bruce just turned 21. Bruce also started last season in A ball and only ended the season with the AAA Bats because injuries had decimated their outfield. That being said, he still hit at every level, and I imagine we'll see him sooner than later. Especially with Edwin Encarnacion struggling to start the season (and being everyone's favorite whipping boy for the team), a 25-man roster spot may be available before September, but I wouldn't be particularly dismayed not to see him until then.
The bullpen was not exactly a strong point for the Reds last year, and you've at least partially addressed that problem by signing Francisco Cordero. (Thanks! We didn't *really* want to promise him fifty million bucks.) Do you the current group is good enough to be the bullpen of a contending team?
Probably not. Jeremy Affeldt and Jared Burton have been OK. and Cordero's been pretty good. Mike Lincoln's numbers have been OK, but in my imagination he's always getting smacked around. I must have seen him get tagged a lot at some pivotal moment in my brain growth so it's really stuck with me.
Todd Coffey is the team Trekkie, devoted Jell-o lover , and the man who introduced Cincinnati to the banana and mayonnaise sandwich. You want him to do well, but he just doesn't.
Kent Mercker is a smart, funny guy, and it's sort of amazing that he came back into baseball at age 40 after taking last year off. Even though he's well rested, though, in his LOOGY role his not so much an impact player. And it seems like David Weathers has been surprising people with his quality at his age for three years. I'm not sure how long it can last.
As the fan of a division rival, I was sorry to see Adam Dunn's option picked up; as a fan of rational thinking, I was relieved. Do the Reds have a chance of keeping him around? Do they even want to? If the team sputters in the early going, is there a chance he could be flipped at the deadline?
Trade rumors about Adam Dunn swirl constantly. When the team makes any comment about it at all, it's to talk about how important he is to the Reds organization and how they plan to have him around for the long-term. I think that the Reds would make a deal for him if the right incentive were offered, but I doubt that anyone would be willing to part with as much as it would take to get Dunner.
As for Dunn's willingness to stay in Cincinnati if it were up to him, I bet he is. Unless, of course, that organization who owns his heart were to come around with an offer. That organization being "any football team."