All Things Bubba

Because how can you not love a baseball player named "Bubba"?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Janish ready to be Reds' everyday shortstop

But whether the Reds will let him is another story. From Mark Sheldon:

CINCINNATI -- Being viewed as the Reds' regular shortstop over the winter is something Paul Janish has lived once already. And now he's experiencing it all over again.

"Déjà vu," Janish said with a shrug.

Will the sequel turn out anything like the original? Janish certainly hopes not.

He thinks he has a better chance this year than last:

"I will handle it the same in terms of how I answer questions or what I say," Janish said. "The truth of the matter is there is a little offseason left. But it's different this time. Going into this year [2011], I made a better case for myself than the past year."

The quality of Janish's range and his glovework have never been in question. In that area, he excelled beyond Cabrera. But the need for offense won out when the Reds put together last season's team. Janish batted only .211 in 90 games in 2009, and Cabrera had a better track record.

In 82 games last season, the 28-year-old Janish batted a much more respectable .260 with five home runs, 25 RBIs, 10 doubles and a .338 on-base percentage. He also showed better skill driving the ball and hitting line drives.

I sure would like to see Janish get a shot at starting SS, not least because good free agent shortstops aren't exactly thick on the ground this year. But I would guess the Reds see it as risky.

If Janish is the starting SS, who is the backup?

Janish got most of his playing time when he started 27 consecutive games at shortstop for Cabrera, who was on the disabled list with an oblique injury from Aug. 3-Sept. 3. Janish batted .263 over the stretch, but most importantly, the Reds played some of their best baseball while going 19-8 in August and took over first place for good in the National League Central.

Before that opportunity, Janish only had 15 starts during the season. He did show some signs of fatigue that included his committing an error in three straight games in late August. But overall, he was praised for his performance.

Reds beat writer John Fay also mentioned that Janish tends to wear down and will need a backup. Zack Cozart should be serviceable. However...if it turns out Janish can't cut it as an everyday player, or if he's injured...will the Reds be willing to go with Cozart as their starting SS?

Personally, I would risk it. If Cozart doesn't work out, there's Kris Negron, who lit up the Arizona Fall League and will probably be the starting SS in Louisville this year (assuming Cozart makes the big league roster as Janish's backup).

But the Reds may want a veteran with a track record. They made the playoffs for the first time in 15 years this year, and likely want to strike while the iron is hot next year.

Perhaps the best solution would be to sign a veteran shortstop who is willing to be a backup. Not sure if there's anyone out there like that, though.


posted by BubbaFan, 10:48 PM


Add a comment