Because how can you not love a baseball player named "Bubba"?
Even if he can just hit at replacement level, his defense makes him an above-average player. ‘Course, this assumes his defense is really THAT good, and it assumes that he can hit at replacement level. Neither of those events are slam-dunks, but it would be neat to see if it could happen. And with the team not likely to compete this season, it’s as good a time as any to experiment like that.
Janish’s glove really looks like it could be that special. Like one of the best in the league. There aren't many +15 shortstops out there, and I’d like to see that receive its due opportunity. He doesn't have to be a good hitter, or even an average hitter, but if he’s just not a terrible hitter, he could be a good player.
I'm ok with the Cabrera signing, but it proves one thing we’ve always known about this team: the management is never going to take a risk. Cabrera is a known-quantity. He’ll play 150 games this year and give you 1-1.5 WAR. That’s a fine deal at $3 million but there’s a possibility that Janish could be a 3 WAR player. It’s not a strong possibility, but it’d be fun to find out.
Let’s say Janish is a +15 defender. Give him +8 for a position adjustment, +20 for a replacement adjustment, and -15 with the bat. that’s a +28 player, or 2.8 WAR. Given a full year’s playing time, I don't think any of these assumptions are all that unreasonable. The batting runs are probably the most generous on my part, but even if he’s -23 with the bat that makes him a 2 WAR player. Getting an average player as your starting SS is nothing to sneeze at.
Labels: Paul Janish
Orlando Cabrera will be the Reds' shortstop. Or so tweets Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports.
He says it's a one-year deal for $3 million, with an option for another year for another $3 million. Cabrera wasn't willing to move to 2B, as the Rockies wanted him to.
IMVHO...that's just nuts. Three million for a player who is marginally better than Janish at best, and possibly worse?
Janish will probably become the invisible man again. Cabrera is very durable, and rarely misses a game. Which means Janish is likely to be spending a lot of time on the bench.
On the bright side, he may get some more chances to improve his ERA.
Labels: Paul Janish
Reds beat writer John Fay is reporting that the Reds are confident they'll land Orlando Cabrera.
A Reds source says the club is very confident that Orlando Cabrera will accept the club’s offer. The Denver Post reported that Orlando Cabrera is “leaning toward” signing with the Reds. That likely means he’s told the Rockies they’re out [of] it. A third team may be involved.
I don’t expect an announcement tonight from the Reds on Cabrera or Jonny Gomes. The Reds will will likely wait until Monday to announce a deal.
Right-hander Tony Barnette hasn't yet thrown a pitch for the Tokyo Yakult Swallows, but chances are he'll look good doing it.
Barnette's looks have been a topic of discussion for the Japanese media, who are busy trying to decide whether he looks like Tom Cruise, Keanu Reeves or a combination of the two.
...Barnette isn't the first player to arrive in Japan and be deemed to have movie star looks. Former Hiroshima Carp infielder Andy Phillips arrived to the same fanfare last season.
Phillips, who signed with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles this offseason, was said by the Japanese media to resemble Cruise and Brad Pitt among others.
Reds beat writer John Fay has a couple of videos from Reds Caravan.
(Reds Caravan is an off-season thing the Reds do. They send various players, staff, and announcers around the very large Reds territory to meet with fans. They also do Redsfest in December, where fans pay to get in to see the players, buy Reds game-used stuff, etc. Too bad the Yankees don't do anything like that, but there would probably be a riot if they did.)
Anyway, in the first video, Brandon Phillips talks about giving Janish a chance, and Janish is interviewed in the second one. He says he's more confident than he's ever been going into spring training, because he's practicing more mindfully. (Which is good. According to research, deliberate practice - not just any old practice - is the path to greatness.)
Unfortunately, it look like the Reds are serious about Orlando Cabrera. Ugh. Please, please, no.
In other hot stove news, Jose Veras signed a minor league deal with the Marlins, and the Jays are reportedly interested in Johnny Damon. Ironic if he ends up in Toronto. The Yankees usually rested him in Toronto, because they felt the turf was bad for his oft-injured legs. Though I suppose he could DH.
Labels: Paul Janish
A lot of trade rumors today. I hope they're not true, because for the most part, I don't like them.
Baseball Prospectus has an interview with Terry Reynolds, the Cincinnati Reds' Director of Player Development. He had this to say about Paul Janish:
DL: Three of the more highly-regarded young shortstops in the organization are Zach Cozart, Paul Janish, and Chris Valaika. You probably aren’t willing to say which one it is, but does the organization view any one of the three as the most likely to become the Reds’ long-term shortstop?
TR: Um … I would say that the answer to that is yes. But it is a luxury to have all three, and the nice thing is that behind them we have Kris Negron, Miguel Rojas, [Billy] Hamilton and [Mariekson] Gregorius. We’ve got some depth at that position, and this is the first time since I’ve been here that I’ve been able to say that. So it’s a nice position to be in, and Paul Janish is a major-league shortstop. Until I hear different, he’s the guy. That’s the assumption I’m going under, and I would say that it’s his job to lose.
Janish and Maicer Izturis put up somewhat similar slash lines in the minors. Izturis went on to be a respectable hitter. There’s hope for Janish with the bat. His glove could well be more of a difference maker than Cabrera’s bat.
Labels: Paul Janish
Following in the footsteps of Bubba Crosby and Andy Phillips, Miguel Cairo has signed a minor league deal with the Cincinnati Reds.
Reds fans aren't too enthused, but I think this could be a good move for them. I was just thinking that they really need a backup infielder. In particular, a guy who can play SS. It looks like Paul Janish is going to be their starting SS, but that leaves no one on the roster who can back him up. Adam Rosales and Drew Sutton might all right for a game or two, but if Janish went on the DL or something (knock on wood), it would be ugly.
I haven't seen much of Miggy since he and the Yanks parted ways, but I remember him as having an excellent glove at SS. He could play the other infield positions, too, and was even the Yankees' emergency catcher. The Reds could use someone like that...if his skills haven't eroded too much. I think he has a chance to make the roster; I'd rather have him than Adam Rosales.
And of course, the really big news today: Randy Winn signed with the Yankees. Which means the Yanks will probably pass on Johnny Damon. Meanwhile, Xavier Nady has signed with the Cubs.
Mike Silva thinks the failure to come to terms with either Damon or Nady is a reflection of the Yankees' poor relationship with their agent: Scott Boras.
I have to say, Randy Winn seems like an odd choice. They already have a boatload of lefties, and Winn isn't good against southpaws. I can't help thinking that they may yet sign another outfielder.
Interesting article here, about how outfielders catch fly balls.
Do outfielders chase down fly balls by watching the trajectory and calculating where the ball will fall? No. They tested this by having college baseball and softball players chase down virtual reality fly balls in a lab. They programmed the ball to move in physically impossible ways, to see if it threw off the fielders. It didn't. Outfielders don't use the trajectory of a ball to predict its path; rather, they just keep their eyes on the ball.
The researchers discovered that players watch the ball and position themselves so that it appears the ball is neither speeding up nor slowing down, he said. If the ball appears to be speeding up, the player should move back, and if it's slowing down, the player should move forward, said Warren, chair of Brown's Department of Cognitive and Linguistic Sciences.
Sports Illustrated has an article about Ricky Stone. He's the guy who was playing in Taiwan when he was diagnosed with a brain tumor, and so was without US health insurance. The baseball family rallied around him (including the Yankees).
The article sorta hints that his brain tumor might be due to ’roiding, but he denies ever juicing, even though he was listed in the Mitchell Report.
He’s doing okay, but I guess he’s not going to be back playing baseball. He’s on government disability now.
He stays with Lance Berkman’s in-laws when he’s in Houston for treatment.
An update on the Rice alumni baseball game, thanks to Alan, who saw my previous blurb and e-mailed me with some more info.
The game is free, and there should be plenty of seating. So you can just walk up, if you decide to attend at the last minute. Bubba won't be there, but Paul Janish will be. (No word on if he's going to pitch. ;-)
In the comments of the previous post, someone posted a link to the above photo of Andy Phillips in his Hiroshima Carp uniform. I decided it had to be saved for posterity!
Check out the zori. In Japan, you don't wear shoes in the house, and I guess in Japanese baseball, you don't wear shoes in the clubhouse. I wondered at first if they make baseball socks tabi-style in Japan (with the big toe separate), but it looks like he's wearing normal socks - the zori isn't fully on his foot.
And I came across this article about Andy, from last July:
Brad Pitt? Cruiser? Just Andy being Andy
Ever since Andy Phillips signed with the Hiroshima Carp in late June, the Japanese media has been a group divided. Seems they just can't figure out who he looks more like--Tom Cruise or Brad Pitt.
Phillips has heard it all before, but this has been taking it to a new level.
"Not to this extent," Phillips said at Tokyo Dome late last week, when asked if he had been compared to movie stars in the past. "I've had people here and there make comments, but never to this extent, so it's kind of funny."
While that debate rages among local scribes, Phillips, 32, a former New York Yankee, has gotten off to quick start in Japan, which is not atypical of him.
The versatile Phillips, who plays both infield and outfield, homered in his first game with the Carp, a 4-3 loss to the Yomiuri Giants in Gifu last Tuesday, and also smacked a three-run shot Sunday in Yokohama. Through his first six games in Japan, Phillips already has eight RBIs to his credit and is hitting a shade under .300.
In his first major-league at-bat--first pitch, in fact--with the Yankees against the Red Sox on Sept. 14, 2004, Phillips homered over the Green Monster at Boston's Fenway Park. Talk about your "Welcome-to-the-big-leagues" moment.
"That's what I shoot for, but it doesn't always work out that way," said Phillips, when asked about getting off to a quick start.
2004 was also the year Phillips was named the top player in the Yankees' minor-league system with a batting average of .321, 101 RBIs and 30 home runs. The future looked bright for the good-looking kid from Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
When Phillips finally got a chance to crack the Yanks' formidable lineup in 2006, playing first base when Jason Giambi moved into the designated-hitter role, he started off well--as usual--leading the club with a .333 batting average into July before tailing off and finishing the year at .240 in 246 at-bats.
When called up to the big club in June of the following year, he also began well, but he took a pitch on the wrist on Sept. 2 that fractured a bone and required season-ending surgery.
Prior to the 2008 season, Phillips signed a minor-league free-agent deal with Cincinnati. He spent that season and the early part of 2009 bouncing around the Reds, Mets, Pirates and White Sox systems, mostly in the minor leagues, before striking a deal with Hiroshima toward the end of June.
Carp manager Marty Brown likes what he has seen of Phillips so far, which is pretty much what he expected. Brown feels that a veteran presence like Phillips will help his club relax at the dish a little more, which will lead to a more "consistent offense."
"He doesn't look at it like he's in Japan hitting--he's just looking at it like there's a baseball coming at him and he doesn't care who's holding it before they let go of it," Brown said after Phillips' four RBIs sparked the Carp to a 6-4 win over the BayStars on Sunday. "That's why he's so successful--he's cocky and very sure of himself when he hits. I'm sure he'll have to make some adjustments as we go on but Andy's going to be Andy."
Phillips signed a one-year deal with the Carp worth a base salary of 40 million yen, with an option for a second year. It's still early but so far, so good, he says.
"It's a blast, I'm really enjoying this," he said after taking his hacks in the batting cage. "I'm enjoying the energy, the baseball, the country, everything."(IHT/Asahi: July 7, 2009)
Labels: Andy Phillips
According to various sources, Andy Phillips has agreed to terms with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles. The team, based in Sendai, Japan, is the one that Marty Brown, manager of the Hiroshima Carp last year, is now managing. Also on this team are former Yankees Todd Linden and Darrell Rasner.
Andy will reportedly make 50 million yen (about $500,000), and wear #5.
Last year, he got $400,000 for half a season, so this appears to be a pay cut. Aaron Guiel is getting almost twice as much with the Tokyo Yakult Swallows. I thought Andy had hit well last year, but I guess numbers that look good here might not over there.
Anyway, best of luck to Andy with his new team.
Labels: Andy Phillips
I thought Doug Mientkiewicz had decided to call it a career, but he's back this year. He's signed a minor league deal with Dodgers. The Trolley-Dodgers also signed former Yankees Angel Berroa, Josh Towers, and Nick Green. Ken Rosenthal reports:
Green is coming off back surgery but is behind schedule in his recovery. When he's healthy, he'll be the primary backup for Rafael Furcal.
Boy, Mondays are rough when there's no Monday Night Football awaiting after work. Football season is winding down, which I always find a bit depressing. Perhaps because it happens in the depths of winter, the dreariest time of year.
The NFL playoff games so far have been pretty dull, except for the Arizona-Green Bay game. That was insane. The kind of game that makes you think, "This is why I love football!"
Dallas is probably the cream of the NFC now. I was worried about how they'd do against the Pack; they've already lost to them once this season. Now, they won't have to face them again.
And Andy Phillips must be happy; Alabama is the undisputed national champion. You have to wonder what would have happened if Colt McCoy hadn't been injured, though. I'm hardly a Longhorn fan, but it was hard not to feel for McCoy. Poor kid. Playing for a national championship was his dream, what he'd worked for his whole life. He thought he might lose, but he never expected to be on the sidelines with an injury after only five plays. Sports. It'll break your heart every time.
Could it be? Could longtime bachelor Derek Jeter finally be tying the knot? That is what's being reported.
The New York Post reports Sunday that the star shortstop and girlfriend Minka Kelly will be married Nov. 5 on Long Island. Acting on a tip, a reporter posing as a bride-to-be spotted an entry reading "JETER wedding" on the calendar for the Oheka Castle in Huntington, N.Y. Sales manager Rick Bellando insisted that a celebrity wouldn't be listed under his real name when the reporter pointed it out.
Shelley Duncan signed a minor league deal with the Indians.
With Matt LaPorta working his way back from offseason hip and toe surgeries, the Indians hope to have some insurance in the corner outfield and at first base. Duncan could potentially provide it. Andy Marte and Jordan Brown will also be in the mix to try to win a job.
"We see [Duncan] as a guy that has a good track record of hitting left-handed pitching and being productive," general manager Mark Shapiro said. "He has defensive versatility that fits well within our needs. He's certainly a guy that could come in and compete for that job."
A whole bunch of articles in the New York Times, about how the recession is affecting Americans, in particularly in Florida, which was one of the "ground zeros" of the housing bubble.
There are a lot of people who now have no other income except food stamps. They range from people who used to make six figures, to the perennially homeless. And this guy:
A strapping man who once made a living throwing fastballs, William Trapani, 53, left his dreams on the minor league mound and his front teeth in prison, where he spent nine years for selling cocaine. Now he sleeps at a rescue mission, repairs bicycles for small change, and counts $200 in food stamps as his only secure support.
“I’ve been out looking for work every day — there’s absolutely nothing,” he said.
Quietly but noticeably over the past year, Americans have rejiggered their lives to elevate experiences over things. Because of the Great Recession, a recent New York Times/CBS News poll has found, nearly half of Americans said they were spending less time buying nonessentials, and more than half are spending less money in stores and online.
But Americans are not just getting by with less. They are also doing more.
Some are working longer hours, but a larger proportion, the poll shows, are spending additional time with family and friends, gardening, cooking, reading, watching television and engaging in other hobbies.
The Department of Labor’s time-use surveys show a similar trend: compared with 2005, Americans spent less time in 2008 buying goods and services and more time cooking or taking part in “organizational, civic and religious activities.”
Labels: The Greater Depression
I've written before about how the media, especially sports journalism, is being affected by changing technology (the Internet) and the economy. It seems clear that newspapers as we know them will not survive.
The latest example...the Washington Times has announced they are laying off 40% of their staff, including the entire sports department and all their staff photographers.
And a lot of newspapers are beginning the new year with plans to charge for their content. (Of course, they've tried before, mostly unsuccessfully.)
A lot of people point to bloggers as the answer to what will take the place of newspapers, but most bloggers are dependent on the mainstream media to provide grist for their mills.
Here's one possible solution: C. Trent Rosecrans is asking for donations to cover the costs of going out to Arizona to cover spring training. Trent is not a garden-variety blogger, of course. He used to be the Reds beat writer for the now-defunct Cincinnati Post. So his tactic is probably not one the average blogger can take. Still, it's an interesting idea.
The reception at Big League Stew was skeptical at best. Most people don't seem to think Trent will succeed. But I think he will. So far, he's 42% toward his goal, with 64 contributors. (That works out to about $25 each.)
The new face of sports coverage, maybe?
Well, the "blue moon" was a bust around here. You couldn't see a thing, because the sky was so overcast.
It was snowing gently, though, and very pretty, even without the moon. Earlier today, the snowfall was heavy and made the roads treacherous, but tonight, it was just enough to make everything look like a Christmas card.
My mom sent me mochi (sticky rice cakes) to make ozoni. Ozoni is a soup traditionally eaten first thing New Year's morning. Like many foods in Hawaii, it was borrowed from the Japanese. It wasn't really a custom in our house, but I like it, so she sent me some mochi.
Nowadays, a lot of people buy prepared mochi (often dried blocks that you can just boil or microwave). But in the old days, people used to cook special rice, pound it by hand, and shape it into cakes. It was a lot of work, so families, communities, or church groups would get together a few days before New Year's and make a huge batch. By New Year's day, the rice cakes would be hard and drying out; boiling them in soup made them soft and edible again. So I suspect ozoni was just a way to use up stale mochi. It's supposed to be good luck to eat it first thing New Year's morning. I figure the way things are going, I can use all the luck I can get. ;-)
Happy New Year!