PHOENIX -- For Major League managers, especially those embroiled in pennant races, summer Draft choices are definitely deferred issues. They simply don't have time or opportunity to deal with the kids in the now. Dusty Baker thus had a unique experience last week. His suspension resulting from Tuesday's little disagreement with the Cardinals gave him the time, and he turned it into the opportunity to hang out with Yasmani Grandal, the No. 1 pick who beat Monday's midnight ET deadline to sign a Major League contract with the Reds. During his meet-and-greet visit to Cincinnati, Grandal took in a pair of games in Great American Ball Park in the suite company of Baker.
"He seemed strong physically. A well-mannered, well-schooled young man," said Baker, giving his impression of the 21-year-old catcher. "But I had trouble getting him to talk." Baker tried. What do you ask while watching a game unfold alongside a catcher? "I tried to get into his thought process," Baker said. "I quizzed him about his knowledge. Like I would ask him, 'What would you throw in this situation?'" Grandal signed a Major League contract and was immediately placed on the Reds' 40-man roster, then assigned to the organization's Rookie league team. The University of Miami product seems on the fast track to the Majors, but whether Baker will get to manage him is less certain. Baker is in the final weeks of his three-year contract with the Reds, and recently received the club's offer of an extension. But he is delaying a response, saying that his total focus is on leading the Reds across the wire to their first postseason appearance since 1995. However, the Baker camp also realizes that his latest rebuilding job with the Reds puts him in a very strong position for an offseason that is anticipated to feature a record turnover among managers, with as many as 10 vacancies expected.