All Things Bubba

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

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Crunch Time

The first game of the season was today (rain delayed to start at about 5 am Eastern Time). Though there are still more spring training games left to play, teams are rapidly trimming their rosters, preparing for the March 30 deadline when the active roster must be cut to 25 players.

Bleacher Report named Paul Janish as the biggest surprise of the Rockies' spring:

Signed to a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training, veteran infielder Paul Janish has always been highly regarded for his versatility and above-average defense at multiple positions. A career .214 hitter over parts of six major league seasons, though, nobody expects much from him at the plate.

Except he's been one of the Colorado Rockies' most consistent offensive contributors this spring, hitting .455 with a 1.061 OPS over 33 at-bats, reaching base safely in 12 of the 16 games in which he's appeared.

While the Rockies would have to create a roster spot for him to break camp with the club, which could give the nod for the utility role to the underwhelming Josh Rutledge, Janish is making a strong case for Colorado to figure out a way to keep him with the big club.

I think Janish has a good chance of making the Rockies' roster, and if he doesn't, he reportedly has an opt-out clause that allows him to look for a big league job elsewhere. I wonder if the Reds might be interested in his services. They have been decimated by injuries.

And it got worse yesterday. Skip Schumaker dislocated his left shoulder diving for a ball. It reminded me of Janish's shoulder dislocation in 2012, though Schumaker will not need surgery. He will start the season on the DL; he hopes to be back in a month or so.

The Reds have only one shortstop on the 40-man roster: the starter, Zack Cozart. They said they wanted a switch-hitting backup shortstop, so many assumed Ramon Santiago would make the team. But he hasn't been added to the roster yet, and he might not be. He's not really a shortstop, he's not a spring chicken, and his bat seems to have gotten awfully slow. Reds beat writer John Fay suggested that Kristopher Negron may get the roster spot instead.

There have been rumors that the Reds are trying to get Didi Gregorius back - the shortstop they traded for Shin-Soo Choo. With Chris Owings' emergence, the D-backs may be willing to trade Didi.

But I think the idea of using Didi as a backup SS/AAA insurance is crazy. He's already a better hitter than Zack Cozart. While UZR doesn't like his defense as much, one year is too small a sample size for UZR to be reliable. To my eye, his defense looks great. He should be starting, and will be priced accordingly.

If Janish doesn't make the Rockies roster, he'd be a good fit in Cincinnati. He left on good terms, from all accounts. He's not a switch-hitter, but neither is Negron. He'd be better than Negron on both offense and defense, IMO.

Of course, it's all moot if Janish makes the Rockies roster, which is quite possible. He's starting today at shortstop, in a split-squad game.

(Colorado bench coach Tom Runnells fills out the lineup card with pretty calligraphy every day. Usually he uses purple ink. Today, for some reason, it's blue.)


posted by BubbaFan, 4:03 PM


Cool note about the lineup card. Janish's college coach, Wayne Graham, is also known for his preparation of lineup cards.
commented by Anonymous RM, March 22, 2014 4:34 PM  
That's really cool. He said he has drafting skills, because baseball didn't pay enough to live on back then.

It really is a lost art. Drafting by hand has been replaced by CADD software. Nothing like that old hand-lettering, though.
commented by Blogger BubbaFan, March 23, 2014 2:25 PM  

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