Because how can you not love a baseball player named "Bubba"?
This is not an April Fool's joke. The Reds have traded their purported third baseman of the future to the Braves for a minor league pitcher.
Francisco was a player I considered a lock to make the roster, simply because he's out of options. But he ended up in the doghouse this spring, because he showed up overweight and injured. There was a suspicion that he was slacking off because he's out of options and knew he had a lock on a roster spot.
Not sure what this means for players on the bubble, like Paul Janish. It does free up a roster spot, but none of the players vying for a job really fits the hole left by Francisco. As the heir apparent to third base, this might benefit Todd Frazier. Indeed, most fans seem to be reading it this way. Frazier plays third base. I'm not sure the Reds see him as the third baseman of the future (they've had him playing a lot of outfield recently), but he might get a chance to back up Rolen this year. He does have decent pop for an infielder. However...he is a right-handed batter. Presumably, the Reds will want a lefty bat. They now have none on the bench, and only Votto and Bruce in the starting lineup. Two lefty hitters doesn't seem like enough.
Willie Harris is a lefty. He's not exactly a power hitter, but he's very versatile, playing infield as well as outfield, including CF.
Wilson Valdez will probably get one of the two remaining roster spots, because he's out of options and plays SS. However, it's possible the Reds will go with Janish instead. Didi Gregorius has played well enough in spring training that he might be seen as a viable backup, meaning they don't need as much depth at SS as they thought.
Could Janish fill the backup third baseman job vacated by Francisco? Defensively, he could. He's still not very experienced at third, but his skills, particularly his strong arm, seem well-suited to third. But he's not left-handed, and not a power bat.
There's still four days until opening day. I suspect the Reds have more moves planned.
Labels: Paul Janish
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