Dusty on Speier; options date
Chris Speier's resume as an infield coach was the overriding factor in Dusty Baker hiring him.
"That was a lot of it," Baker said. "I trust him. He was my third base coach. He's a very knowledgeable baseball man. But a lot of it was I needed an infield guy. Most of the plays are on the infield."
The Reds officially named Speier bench/infielder coach and Juan Lopez was named bullpen coach.
Speier and Baker have known each other since they broke into the National League in early 1970s. Baker hired Speier to be part of his staff with the Chicago Cubs.
"I thought he was an excellent infield guy," Baker said. "He's the second best infield instructor I've seen. We were both tutored under Bob Lillis, who I always felt was the best."
Baker saw a marked improvement of Cubs third baseman Aramis Ramirez and Ryan Theriot under Speier.
Speier also will serve as the bench coach, a position Baker relies quite a bit.
"I rely on him to see things I may overlook during the game: Is this guy guarding the line? Is this guy out of position? I'll run things by him. I'm going to do what I think is right, but the bench coach is a sounding board. What I like about Chris is he's not going to be a yes man. I don't really like yes men around me too much. I have trouble agreeing with myself sometimes. I want some who's going to give me an honest answer. A guys opinion here and there can help."
Also: The due date on the players with options -- Adam Dunn, Scott Hatteberg, Eddie Guardado, Javier Valentin -- is Nov. 4.
Baker was FedExed a package on Reds personnel. He's studying it.
"Most of that is Wayne's call," he said.
Baker guesses he's spoken to 40 players since getting the job, including Mark Prior and Kerry Wood. Baker says he wasn't recruiting. He was asked about Prior's house (he lives in Southern California). The thing with Wood was email congratulations exchange.