From the Chicago Tribune
The trade of Lawton for Class A pitcher Justin Berg opens up left field for Matt Murton, who is expected to be recalled Monday from Triple-A Iowa. Murton and shortstop Ronny Cedeno are two prospects who may earn starting jobs next season.”[Murton] held his own admirably coming up from Double A,” Hendry said. “So it’s not like we’re going to have 12 guys without big-league experience up here by Sept. 1. . . . I think if Cedeno and Murton are playing, that’s a positive, and I think our fan base would appreciate that.”
But Baker may have a different opinion on what the fan base wants.”We owe it to ourselves and to our fans to put the best team on the field and try to win,” Baker said.That suggests kids like Cedeno and Murton won’t play on a regular basis.”It’s too early for me,” Baker said. “I haven’t been in this position in years. You still owe your best to the team and to the fans and to everybody, for now.”Eventually you’re going to have to start thinking about that, but right now we plan to end up the best we can. We owe it to ourselves, to the paying customers and out of respect for the game.”
I have in the past suggested that Jim Hendry and Dusty Baker do not always appear to be the same page. Some have accused me of seeing something that isn’t there, but how can you read these quotes and reach any other conclusion? And how can Baker tell us with a straight face that playing Todd Hollandsworth, Neifi Perez and Corey Patterson is better for this team than playing Cedeno and Murton? While Ronny and Matt may not set the world on fire right away, it is likely that they could outperform any member of that trio. As for the paying customers, well, I’m still watching the games on TV, specifically to see what Cedeno and the younger guys can do. I was happy to see Ronny go 2-4 on Sunday, including a great at-bat that resulted in him driving in the go ahead run. I was very disappointed (but not surprised) to see that Ronny was back on the bench on Monday night against the Dodgers.
Dusty Baker can claim that he’s playing these veterans for the good of the team and to win games for the fan base, but the truth is, Dusty just wants to placate his beloved vets and keep them happy. After all, a players’ manager can’t have his established players turn against him, he’d have nothing left.
I was planning on finishing up by talking about how Jim Hendry would not dictate to Baker that he start benching his less productive veterans, but it appears that Hendry might finally be taking a more proactive stance. Todd Hollandsworth was traded to Atlanta for minor league prospects tonight. Thanks for proving me wrong before I even got a chance to write it, Mr. Hendry.