The Cincinnati Reds just signed Dusty Baker to a three-year contract worth $3.5 million per year. Why do this? The mean and median manager salaries in 2007 were $1.45 million and $940,000. Yes, Dusty Baker has a lot of managerial experience, and because his broadcast position is opportunity cost is higher than some other managers. However, I don’t see why the Reds would fork out this money for a manager. Is this the main problem? Both the hitting and pitching are below league average when controlling for the ballpark. I would think the team could use is resources in a better way and just hire an unproven bench coach for less.
It is possible that Baker gets more out of his players than other managers, but I don’t think that is the main reason for this hire. I suspect that the Reds are trying to signal to fans and free agents that this team is going to make a major effort to turn the team around. A big-name manager may help keep some season-ticket holders in the fold. Plus, free agents who want to play on a competitive team may see the Reds as changing course. I would not be surprised to see the Reds make a play for some big-name free agents this offseason, including A-Rod.