Ryan Ludwick is the newest member of the Reds and I have some seriously mixed feelings about it.

On the one hand, the Reds needed outfield depth. On the other hand, this negatively affects the construction of the bench.

As I read the tea leaves, the following players are locks to make the team: Hanigan, Cairo, Francisco, Ludwick, and Janish (until they sign another SS). That’s the whole bench, and it’s not as good as one with Frazier in place of Ludwick. Frazier and Ludwick both figure to be about a league-average hitter, but Frazier has the better chance of being above average and plays more positions. Still, you need five guys who can play outfield, even if one of them is in triple-A. Injuries happen. Ludwick is not the problem.

The problem is that the Reds insist on carrying three infielders. Cairo and Francisco have almost exactly the same uses. Cairo is lock because he has a major league contract and is all veteran-y. Francisco will be there because he’s the only lefty off the bench (and, I believe, is out of options). Janish is there because Dusty wants a true shortstop as a backup.

I generally try not to live in a fantasy-land where the Reds are concerned. I know Frazier is going to end up in the minors. The Reds have never believed in him, after all. But if I were the Reds, I would do one of three things:

1. Send Janish down and let Frazier backup short. He’s played there before and can spell for a game or two.

2. Give Cairo his walking papers and Frazier his job.

3. Decide the team is fine with a six-man bullpen and carry a six-man bench.

I know none of these things is likely to happen, but I can’t help feeling the Reds are a better team when Frazier is the first back-up option for left, right, third, and first. He’s a good player with a lot of uses. I wish the Reds would give him a chance.

Jason has been a fan of the Reds since he was born. He really had no choice in the matter. He has been writing at Redleg Nation for a few years, and also writes and edits at The Hardball Times. His debut novel, When the Sparrow Sings, is available now and concerns baseball, among other things. You can find more information at jasonlinden.com.

About The Author

Jason has been a fan of the Reds since he was born. He really had no choice in the matter. He has been writing at Redleg Nation for a few years, and also writes and edits at The Hardball Times. His debut novel, When the Sparrow Sings, is available now and concerns baseball, among other things. You can find more information at jasonlinden.com.

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95 Responses

  1. preach

    Actually, I think it will be Heisey on the bench with Ludwick pencilled into the starting lineup the majority of the time. At least it makes for a stronger bench…

  2. concepcion13

    Hi Nation – long-time reader, first time (I think) comment here: I just can’t see them living with 4 outfielders on the roster. If you send down Frazier (and unfortunately they probably will), that leaves Francisco as the 5th outfielder (or God forbid, Cairo). So far it seems like Walt has finally done a decent job of Dusty-proofing the roster, so hopefully they’ll either send Cairo on his way, or send Soft J to the minors as insurance & let Frazier be a Super Sub.

    I hope.

  3. hermanbates

    Exactly what i was saying in the ryan ludwick thread, nice piece Jason. I, obviously, agree 100%.

  4. al

    you know, i actually wouldn’t be that surprised to see #2 happen, cairo getting released. i don’t expect it to happen, but i wouldn’t be THAT surprised if it happend.

    Here’s why: Cairo signed a weird deal last year, in that he signed for below what he could have gotten, but finally got his multiyear deal. He was a 1 WAR bench player in 2010, and probably could have gotten $2mil/1year somewhere.

    But he wanted a multiyear deal, his first, and so he ended up getting $2mil/2years. Another way to look at it is that he got a 1 year $2mil deal with a free option for a second year.

    Cairo put up 1.9WAR last year, which is pretty good for a guy in limited time. Which means he’s probably going to stay. But, the Reds could also feel like they got more than their $2mil worth out of him, and go with the better player, who probably will be Frazier.

    I could see this being one of the few things that gets decided in spring training.

  5. al

    I’ll add, I think that the biggest problem with the Reds offense is that it’s too right-handed, which is also true of the bench.

    My only real problem with the Ludwick signing is that it would have been nice to get a left-handed 4th outfielder for the bench.

    Swapping out Cairo for Frazier probably doesn’t add that much, but another lefty off the bench could be a big deal. A guy like Nix would have been a good fit. He got $2.5mil/2years.

    • pinson343

      Al: I’ll add, I think that the biggest problem with the Reds offense is that it’s too right-handed, which is also true of the bench.

      My only real problem with the Ludwick signing is that it would have been nice to get a left-handed 4th outfielder for the bench.

      … another lefty off the bench could be a big deal. A guy like Nix would have been a good fit. He got $2.5mil/2years.

      I’m with you. A potent lefty bat off the bench is a big deal, close games often come down to trying to score off a RHed closer or setup man. Javy Valentin was great in that role. Alonso provided that late last season. Nix would have been a good fit in that respect. The complicating issue with the 4th OFer is Heisey not hitting lefties well (so far) in his major league career.

  6. hindsnr

    I usually agree with most of what is said here, but in this instance I feel the suggestion is out of line. I will begin by saying that I’m going to go very Billy Beane and Moneyball on this post but here we go. First below I will present to you my opening day line up, rotation bullpen and reserves.

    1. Phillips 2b
    2.Ludwick LF
    3.Votto 1b
    4.Bruce RF
    5.Rolen 3B
    6.Stubbs CF
    7.Cozart SS
    8. Mesaraco C
    9. Pitcher

    Rotation:
    1. Cueto
    2. Latos
    3. Leake
    4. Arroyo
    5. Bailey

    Bullpen
    1. Lecure RH
    2. Bray LH
    3. Arredondo
    4. Massett
    5. Marshall
    6. Madson

    Bench
    1. Heisey
    2. Cairo
    3. Francisco
    4. Fraiser
    5. Hanigan

    25th Man:
    if a P : best spring of ondrusek, smith, chapman (if not a AAA starter).
    If Position Player: Janish, Valaika or signed FA whoever has best spring.

    Now to explain my thoughts:
    Ludwick over Heisey:
    Ludwick for his career has an OBP of 71 points higher than his BA, this has continued even as he has struggled last year it was 73. Heisey for his career (all be it short) is plus 55 for his career.
    thats an average of 16 points in OBP or about 10 additional men on base in front of votto on average.
    Also considering that Ludwick would be hitting in front of the best hitter in the league its reasonable to assume we would he somewhere close his career line of .261 for a OBP of around or just above .330.
    He is a reasonably similar player in terms of defense and having a longer career potentially more stable and more adept to the riggers of 162.

    Cairo on the bench vs. cut:
    Cairo lasst year was the top pinch hitter in baseball with at least 25 AB’s hitting 379 with a .441 OBP in 29 AB’s. also he is cheap and if for some reason he has a bad spring or gets hurt/fails to produce during the season he can be cut. Also with Hernandez off the roster he is the only guy that can spell Votto that has experience on the roster (i would give Mesaraco or Hanigan some AB’s at 1st in ST because I think they are your best bests for the 5-10 games Votto will probably miss if you look at his historical numbers).

    25th Man:
    This spot for me is really a toss up, depends on what happens in spring training, how the players look and more importantly in regards to starting the season how much the SP get stretched out and are ready to go 7 inn+ from week 1. Regardless the name I put there that I dont see being there is probably Chapman I think he will be starting in Louisville and would honestly barring injury be surprised if he sees much time at all in the ML because he needs stretched out for starting and will be in an innings limit. If anything he may be a August or Sept call up for the bull pen when he has limited innings left because he could be electric in the pen in the postseason.

    Lineup:
    I think my placement of Phillips, Votto, Bruce, and rolen is pretty standard what all are in line with (except dusty who may hit rolen 4 and bruce 5 to seperate lefties but I would not).
    Ludwick in the two hole will grab some attention but I beg someone else to tell me who they put there of the lineup i suggested. Cozart and Mesaraco do not have enough major league time to be put in the 2 whole and be expected to produce, way to limited numbers to know what they are capable of at the ML level (this could change by mid season with a bigger sample size but they need to show me first). The other option in the two hole is to flip ludwick and Stubbs, looking at the numbers they are very very similar hitters stubbs has a career BA of about 10 points lower and an OBP of about 5 points lower, he gets on more via the walk that Ludwick but has a lower career BA and strikes out at a higher rate. The higher strikeout total is what does it for me because putting the ball in play gives the reds a better chance to advance runners in front of Votto. Stubbs is much quicker than Ludwick but votto isnt exactly a burner so I dont see Ludwick creating a log jam when he is on base. Either way I think those are your two best options for that spot in the lineup and then put the other six with Cozart and Mesaraco 7-8 in whatever order is working.

    If you read through all this I commend you for doing so and sorry for going entirely Billy Beane. This is just my two cents and would love to hear some more debate on what I have said and what others have said as well.

    Go Reds!

  7. LWBlogger

    @al: I don’t see Cairo getting released but that is an interesting way to look at his contract. His WAR of 1.9 and how he’s stepped in and played well when called upon make it very, very hard to let him go. He’s actually a better player than I thought he was when the Reds picked him up.

    It’s a tough situation for Frazier who does appear to be the odd man out. Keep in mind though that we still have nearly a month before pitchers and catchers report and there are still moves that may be made.

    Also for the record, in general I don’t like having young guys on the bench because I believe there is no subsitute for playing time, and it’s better to get playing time in the minors, than ride the pine at the MLB level. That may not be true in Frazier’s case however. He sort of projects as a super-sub/bench-player anyway and he really isn’t all that young anymore. I don’t really know how much minor league playing time helps him.

    The only thing I can think of is that the Reds front-office doesn’t think Frazier is a serviceable OF. Although I fail to see him be a whole lot worse than Ludwick.

  8. BubbaFan

    I think the Reds will sign another SS. Maybe Theriot, who, theoretically at least, can play OF, too.

    Cozart is an unproven rookie, and I don’t think Walt will be comfortable with Janish as his only backup. Even if he was, they are awfully thin at SS. If Cozart is injured again, then what? Janish and Kris Negron? Or rush Didi to the big leagues, when he’s barely cracked AA?

  9. pinson343

    Todd Frazier has not been replaced. The Reds need 5 guys who can play OF. Todd is one of those 5.

  10. pinson343

    @pinson343: I see the problem, I just counted 26 guys on the 25 man roster. Should have read your article before commenting.

    I don’t think the Reds can carry both Janish and Cairo as utility IFers, given that Fancisco is also on the roster as a reserve IFer.

    My guess is that Janish gets sent down.

  11. pinson343

    PS For sure, the Reds can’t be carrying Frazier, Janish and Cairo as utility guys.

    I think Janish gets sent down.

  12. BubbaFan

    @pinson343:

    I think Janish and Frazier will both be sent down. Walt will get a veteran SS to back up Cozart. If he doesn’t, I think Jason’s right: they’ll keep Janish, because he’s a real SS. No way will they go with the likes of Cairo or Frazier as their only backup shortstops.

  13. hindsnr

    I dont know why everyone would be surprised if they went with Cairo and Frazier to back up SS, in theory that would give you Janish, Valiaka and a host of others in the minors, if Cozart gets hurt or needs to be sent down you bring one of those guys up. Cozart will be the everyday SS for this team you only need an emergency guy to cover 1-2 days until you can get someone up from AAA if the need is there or to cover 1 game a month to give the guy a rest, Cairo and Frazier can do that for you. Cairo did it last year, i think they will work Frazier there alot in the spring to have him ready. Both wont be great but as a 2 day stop gap that also allows your overall bench to be better with them on the roster could work out nicely. Even if the reds do sign another SS i would be surprised if its more than an minor league deal with an invite to ST and if he doesnt play better than Cairo and Frazier he will be in AAA.

    • BubbaFan

      I dont know why everyone would be surprised if they went with Cairo and Frazier to back up SS, in theory that would give you Janish, Valiaka and a host of others in the minors, if Cozart gets hurt or needs to be sent down you bring one of those guys up.

      Because Cozart won’t play every day, every play. He’ll get scheduled rest days off, he’ll get sick sometimes, he might be pinch hit for at times, he might be injured but not enough to go on the DL. (You know how the Reds do things. They don’t like to DL players unless they are likely to be out two weeks or more.)

      Dusty has never started Frazier or Cairo at SS. Valaika got two starts at SS; Cairo and Frazier got none, even when the Reds weren’t playing for anything any more. I think it’s pretty clear that he doesn’t think they can handle the position.

      And I don’t think we can really blame Dusty for this. I think any team would want a real SS as a backup, just as they’d want a real backup for CF and C.

  14. AlphaZero

    I think Janish has to go to AAA if Cozart is the starter. The Reds simply can’t afford to carry his bat on the bench, especially when he’s not going to be needed as a late inning defensive replacement. Frazier is serviceable at SS and would be fine starting there once every couple of weeks to give Cozart a breather. In short, I’m fine with the Ludwick signing as long as Janish isn’t ahead of Frazier on the depth chart.

    Also, if the Reds are actually planning on signing a veteran infielder, who gets dropped from the 40 man now that it’s full? I really hope they just go with the roster as it’s currently constructed instead of sign a Theriot type player.

    • pinson343

      AlphaZero: I think Janish has to go to AAA if Cozart is the starter.The Reds simply can’t afford to carry his bat on the bench, especially when he’s not going to be needed as a late inning defensive replacement.Frazier is serviceable at SS and would be fine starting there once every couple of weeks to give Cozart a breather.In short, I’m fine with the Ludwick signing as long as Janish isn’t ahead of Frazier on the depth chart.

      I’m with you 100%. The question is whether the Reds are.

  15. BubbaFan

    I think they will sign a veteran SS to backup Cozart. Negron or Valaika could be dropped from the 40-man. Probably Negron.

    I don’t think they’d let Frazier play SS, even a couple of times a month. It’s been four years since he got a start at SS. He was in A-ball at the time.

  16. BubbaFan

    Hmm. Am I miscounting? With the players the Reds have traded and all, it looks like they’ll have a spare roster spot even after signing Ludwick. The roster is at 38 now, without Ludwick.

  17. pinson343

    Considering the in-house options: As has been pointed out above, Janish on the bench doesn’t work as the bench would not have enough pop.
    Also, you don’t need a late inning defensive replacement for Cozart.
    Advantage, Frazier.

    But you need a backup SS. Dusty did play Frazier twice as a late inning SS, the question comes down to whether the Reds think Frazier can play SS.
    If they do, he’s the man. If not, I agree with Bubba, they’re going to pick up a veteran SS.

    They might try Frazier at SS in ST and see what happens.

  18. Jason Linden

    @BubbaFan: No, I think that’s right. The Reds have traded a bunch of players off the 40 man this winter. Off the top of my head there’s Alonso, Wood, Volquez, Sappelt, and Grandal.

  19. BubbaFan

    Dusty did use Frazier at SS in a couple of games, but it was after Renteria and Janish were already burned, and when the Reds weren’t playing for anything any more. I don’t think I’d want to see Frazier at SS in a close game that counted.

    And I think even if Janish was a power hitter, they’d want some depth at SS. We needed three shortstops to get through the season last year. If we’re really going all-in this year, we can’t risk having to start Kris Negron at SS.

  20. AlphaZero

    Hmm.Am I miscounting?With the players the Reds have traded and all, it looks like they’ll have a spare roster spot even after signing Ludwick.The roster is at 38 now, without Ludwick.

    I’m fairly certain it’s at 40 with the Ludwick signing. Madson has not been officially signed, so he may not be listed yet on the official roster.

    The Reds’ roster was at 40 before they waived Horst and traded Wood, Sappelt, Alonso, Grandal, and Volquez. That’s 6 players cleared taking the forty man to 34.

    The Reds added Brackman, Judy, Latos, Marshall, Madson, and Ludwick bringing the roster back to 40. I believe it’s currently full unless I missed something.

  21. dn4192

    Can anyone here see the Reds and Dusty going into the season without a Veteran SS? I can’t.

  22. BubbaFan

    @AlphaZero:

    That’s right. Forgot about Madson.

    And no, I really can’t see the Reds and Dusty going into the season without a veteran SS.

    I see Bray got $1.4 million and avoided arb. Any word on the others? Today’s the deadline, right?

  23. al

    it will be interesting to see what Janish got. It seems hard to argue that Cairo has to be on the roster because he’s making $1mil if Janish is making that. I’m guessing $700k.

    Still could be a lot to pay a minor leaguer.

  24. BubbaFan

    @al:

    I don’t think Cairo has to be on the roster because he’s making $1 million. The Reds have eaten more than that on bad signings. I think Cairo will be on the roster because he’s been very good in his Reds career. He was always known for his glove and his baserunning, but with the Reds, he’s been a decent hitter, too. Fangraphs says he was worth $8.4 million last year, so he’s a bargain. Plus, that veteran leadership in the clubhouse thing.

    Anyway, MLBTR predicted Janish would get $800,000.

    It is a lot for a minor leaguer, but they’re giving Dioner Navarro that, plus incentives.

    And Adam Rosales got $600,000 to avoid arb. He hit .098 / .162 / .197 last year.

    Sheldon says Arredondo asked for $875,000; the Reds offered $725,000.

    Masset wants $2.9 million; Reds offered $2.1 million.

    Seems like they’re pretty close.

  25. BubbaFan

    Bailey got $2,425,000.

    Erardi says Jocketty wants to get a veteran SS to back up Cozart, but if they can’t find one, he’s happy with Janish.

    I still think they’re going to sign Theriot or O-Cab or someone like that.

  26. RedLeg75

    Frazier can be on the bench. He can play SS if necessary for a day. Janish can then come up from Louisville and play some solid D if Cozart gets hurt. Theriot, Cabrera, Renteria,… do not provide enough offense to make up for their terrible defense, and would be a waste of space. If Janish gets hurt, and we have to go with Negron, couldn’t be that bad, because those veterany guys are a black hole anyways. We know that they can’t hit much. Or play defense anymore.

  27. RedLeg75

    Thanks for the Erardi link, Bubba, its a good one. I read it as Jocketty saying, “we could add a veterany SS for Dusty to misplay, but we’ll stick with what we have for now.” If it does get desperate and Negron is no good, then I’m sure a Cabrera or Renteria type will be available.

  28. BubbaFan

    @RedLeg75:

    I like Janish, and would love to see him stick as the backup SS…but I think he’ll start in Louisville, and the Reds will sign The Riot or someone like him.

    I read Jocketty’s saying they’re fine with what they have as a negotiating ploy. Don’t want to seem desperate.

  29. RedLeg75

    @BubbaFan: They sign Theriot, I will throw up. Somewhere. Possibly in my mouth, then on the floor. Then I will watch Opening Day and root for the Reds.

  30. Dave Lowenthal

    @RedLeg75: If you’ll throw up for Theriot, what will you do when they sign “proven winner” (TM) Orlando Cabrera?

  31. RedLeg75

    @Dave Lowenthal: I’ll throw first base into right field, and again for good measure. If they sign proven commodity reliable Edgar Renteria? I don’t know. That’s just too much.

  32. pinson343

    I read a few places that OCab is out of the picture for the Reds. So is Renteria, due to his lack of versatility.

  33. pinson343

    The Reds were close to signing Arrendondo to a 2 year contract, don’t know what happened there.
    I don’t see why WJ would want to sign him for 2 years, unless he’s gambling on a strong 2012 from him.

    Both Masset and Arredondo will be signed before a hearing, I think. The Reds don’t like to go thru that, understandably.

    • TC

      The Reds were close to signing Arrendondo to a 2 year contract, don’t know what happened there.
      I don’t see why WJ would want to sign him for 2 years, unless he’s gambling on a strong 2012 from him.

      Both Masset and Arredondo will be signed before a hearing, I think. The Reds don’t like to go thru that, understandably.

      I’d take that gamble.

  34. BubbaFan

    I think they could still sign Arredondo to a two-year deal. Didn’t that happen with Harang? They filed for arbitration, offering a really low salary, but in the end signed him to a nice multiyear deal before the hearing.

  35. pinson343

    @BubbaFan: Yes they could. They can sign any kind of deal with him before the hearing.

  36. Matt WI

    Man, this really is a mess isn’t it? Janish is like some girlfriend the Reds don’t really want, but they are too afraid to break-up and let someone else have him. If he goes to AAA (which, by the way, it just feels amazing that he even has an option left), he eats up playing time for Valaika, who’s getting older by the minute.

    If he’s on the roster, he blocks Frazier. His best place really is as a back-up SS, but the Reds bench can’t carry that right now, as people have said. Honestly, if the Reds don’t want him, which is fine, trade him for a minor leaguer or two. Preferably an OF.

    End of the day, I’d rather him block Valaika and keep him in AAA purgatory until needed. Given the options, you’d have to like Frazier’s versatility.

    • BubbaFan

      If he goes to AAA (which, by the way, it just feels amazing that he even has an option left), he eats up playing time for Valaika, who’s getting older by the minute.

      He really didn’t have any trouble sticking on the roster until they tried to make him a starter. If Cozart weren’t so much like another Janish, I think Janish would be guaranteed a roster spot this year, too.

      He won’t be blocking Valaika in Louisville. Valaika is a second baseman. He’ll be blocking Kris Negron. And really, who cares about Negron or Valaika. Janish is better than either of them.

      When Didi is promoted to AAA, that’s when playing time at SS might be an issue. But I suspect it will work out. They might actually want Janish to play other positions. If he’s going to be a utility guy, he really should get some playing time at other infield positions, and maybe the outfield, too. He’s only ever played SS in the minors.

  37. TC

    My only issue with fretting about all of this anyway is that you forgot that teams almost never end Spring Training with a fully intact roster. Someone will be on the 15 Day DL by the end of ST so Frazier will come north (east) with the team.

    Regardless, this sounds eerily like the situation that got Kepp sent to the Astros.

  38. TC

    I’d love to have OC! Cozart would be a huge improve the bench. Oh, wait.

  39. TC

    Don’t you hate it when your brilliant attempt at humor is sabotaged by bad grammar?

  40. TC

    Try that again…..

    I’d love to have OC! Cozart would be a huge improvement to the bench. Oh, wait.

  41. al

    @BubbaFan: I don’t understand why they tendered Janish a contract. He’s exactly the type of guy teams should non-tender and then try to bring back at a reasonable deal. Now they’re paying a minor leaguer like a major leaguer.

    Obviously not a big deal, but I never understood it.

    • BubbaFan

      @BubbaFan: I don’t understand why they tendered Janish a contract.He’s exactly the type of guy teams should non-tender and then try to bring back at a reasonable deal. Now they’re paying a minor leaguer like a major leaguer.

      I think you are underestimating Janish’s value. He’d have a lock on a roster spot for a lot of other teams (and did for the Reds for three years).

      If they nontendered him, they would probably lose him. (The Cardinals were reportedly interested.) He’d become a free agent, able to sign with any team he wanted, and he’d probably prefer a team where he’d have a better chance of making the roster.

      Seriously, look at the available shortstops. Janish is among the best. And he has options. That’s a very valuable thing for a team hoping to contend. The Reds can call him up and send him down as needed all season.

      The Reds are very thin at SS. Aside from Janish and Cozart, there’s no one MLB ready. Valaika is not a SS, Negron is bad on offense and defense, and Didi just cracked AA. Janish is a cheap insurance policy, even at $850k. (They are paying Dioner Navarro about that, and they have a lot more depth at catcher than at SS.)

  42. per14

    Going off of hindsdr’s Billy Beane post: I’d really like to see the Reds use an 11 man pitching staff, rather than 12. And as crazy as this sounds, I use Arroyo as the swing guy: mop-up, long relief, etc. He wouldn’t like it, but it would be the best use of him.

    SP: Cueto, Latos, Leake, Chapman, Bailey
    RP: Arroyo, Bray, Arredondo, Masset, Marshall, Madson

    Bench: Hanigan, Frazier, Francisco, Ludwick, Cairo, Janish/random SS pick-up

    • vegastypo

      Going off of hindsdr’s Billy Beane post: I’d really like to see the Reds use an 11 man pitching staff, rather than 12. And as crazy as this sounds, I use Arroyo as the swing guy: mop-up, long relief, etc. He wouldn’t like it, but it would be the best use of him.

      SP: Cueto, Latos, Leake, Chapman, Bailey
      RP: Arroyo, Bray, Arredondo, Masset, Marshall, Madson

      Bench: Hanigan, Frazier, Francisco, Ludwick, Cairo, Janish/random SS pick-up

      I’d like to see that, too, but it will never happen. After last year, Dusty is going to want to see the starters prove they can go consistently into the 7th inning. With Bailey constantly running up high pitch counts, and Chapman inconsistent in finding the strike zone, Dusty could easily end up using three pitchers to get from the 5th through the 7th innings, until you can turn the game over to Mar/Mad for the 8th and 9th. And after a few days of that, guys are off limits, so you need an extra arm to keep a few guys available every game.

      If Chapman is at AAA to start the season and Arroyo is in the rotation, there is a better chance of Arroyo getting into the 6th or 7th inning fairly regularly, but if he’s still “Bombs’ Away Bronson,” he won’t last long in the rotation……..And that’s not even allowing for the the rare times (we hope) when Mats, Cueto and Leake might struggle and need early relief. Or when the Reds fall behind early and need to pinch hit for the pitcher early in the game and get the pen in motion.

      And even if they were able to have an additional bench player, it’d be nice to have one that either switch-hits or hits from the left side.

    • Dan

      Going off of hindsdr’s Billy Beane post: I’d really like to see the Reds use an 11 man pitching staff, rather than 12. And as crazy as this sounds, I use Arroyo as the swing guy: mop-up, long relief, etc. He wouldn’t like it, but it would be the best use of him.

      SP: Cueto, Latos, Leake, Chapman, Bailey
      RP: Arroyo, Bray, Arredondo, Masset, Marshall, Madson

      Bench: Hanigan, Frazier, Francisco, Ludwick, Cairo, Janish/random SS pick-up

      I think this is a fantastic idea.

      I’ve thought for a while that it would be great to have a true LONG reliever who could pitch 3 innings at a time, and could rack up 120-ish innings in RELIEF. This would allow for an 11-man pitching staff, I think. Bronson is so rubber-armed, he might be a good candidate for this, actually. Interesting idea.

      An extra hitter on the bench would also be very nice.

  43. al

    @per14: So basically you’re demoting Sam LeCure so that you can have Frazier, Cairo, and Fransico all backing up the same positions? I’m not sure I see the value in that. Cairo and Frazier are redundant, and with the way Dusty uses the bullpen, I think LeCure will be of more value.

    • TC

      So basically you’re demoting Sam LeCure so that you can have Frazier, Cairo, and Fransico all backing up the same positions?

      That’s a good point. I’m not arguing with you, or at least don’t mean to, but I do see a subtle difference in some of their secondary benefits. Cairo is clutch and brings a veteran presence, especially if they go to the playoffs. Frazier’s ability to play the corner outfield positions is something I’ve never heard attributed to Cairo. Other than those two minor things I totally agree.

  44. redhaze20

    If Walt is strictly looking for a veteran to back up Cozart then Omar Vizquel is your answer. If anyone can show a young player how to play a position its Vizquel.

  45. per14

    I am simply assuming that Cairo is going nowhere and trying to make the best of that fact. Plus, I don’t think they are redundant. Frazier can play OF, and I don’t think Cairo truly can.

    I’m not demoting LeCure so much as simply pointing out that the Reds can survive with 11 pitchers.

  46. al

    @BubbaFan: first off, i like janish, and i’m not saying they should have let him go. but to me, either he’s the backup shortstop and you pay him in arb, or you don’t think he can hack it and then he’s a minor leaguer that you non-tender and try to sign to a lesser deal.

    if someone else takes him, then they just took the guy you didn’t think was good enough to play in the big leagues, and who cares?

    what i don’t get is paying him in arb, and saying you’re going to get another backup shortstop. to me it’s one or the other.

    alsoi don’t get the navarro signing AT ALL, so it’s not really a helpful comp to me.

    • BubbaFan

      @BubbaFan: first off, i like janish, and i’m not saying they should have let him go.but to me, either he’s the backup shortstop and you pay him in arb, or you don’t think he can hack it and then he’s a minor leaguer that you non-tender and try to sign to a lesser deal.

      What if it’s something in between? Say, you think he’s a fine backup SS, but since Cozart is unproven, you want a proven starter as a backup.

      if someone else takes him, then they just took the guy you didn’t think was good enough to play in the big leagues, and who cares?

      I think we would all care, if we had to watch Kris Negron start at SS in GABP.

      what i don’t get is paying him in arb, and saying you’re going to get another backup shortstop.to me it’s one or the other.

      Not to me. I get the Navarro signing. At some positions, you need depth. Catcher, SS, CFer. AAA is where teams stash the insurance players who don’t fit on the 25-man roster. A contending team has to do this.

  47. al

    @BubbaFan: “a contending team has to do this.”

    why do people always have to say this? i’ve lived in several world series cities in recent years, and i can tell you, honestly, that this is not the case.

    i’m not saying a contending team CAN’T do things like this, but please show me the evidence that you have that shows that every contending team is paying $850k to a non-prospect minor league shortstop and catcher.

    why would chris negron be starting in GABP if we signed a veteran backup for cozart, which is the only scenario where janish even possibly gets taken if we non-tendered him? you mean, if both of them go down at the same time? yeah, well, most teams would be pretty screwed at lots of positions if their starter and backup both went down.

    • BubbaFan

      @BubbaFan: “a contending team has to do this.”

      why do people always have to say this?

      Umm…because it’s true? 😉

      If the team has depth at a position, then they don’t need insurance players, but I think any good GM will try to be at least three deep up the middle (C, SS, CF). The Reds don’t need a CFer, because they have Stubbs, Heisey, and Phipps. But they are stocked up at C, and I expect they will add some depth at SS.

      why would chris negron be starting in GABP if we signed a veteran backup for cozart, which is the only scenario where janish even possibly gets taken if we non-tendered him?you mean, if both of them go down at the same time?yeah, well, most teams would be pretty screwed at lots of positions if their starter and backup both went down.

      Well, part of the problem is that any veteran SS we signed would probably not be able to play every day. That’s why Janish started 1 out of 3 games even when Renteria was available and had become the starter.

      It’s Walt’s job to plan for such eventualities. Sometimes, you do lose two players. If they’re both out all year, you might be doomed, but often it’s just a week or two. As we saw last year…one game can be the difference between not making the postseason and winning the WS.

      And $850k really isn’t that much money by baseball standards. We paid Jonny Gomes almost that much to play LF in Louisville. I think it’s pretty standard for an insurance player.

  48. Steve Mancuso

    Signing Janish at less than a million is cheaper than signing one of the veteran SS that Baker will just overuse.

    The Reds paid Orlando Cabrera $2 million in 2010 and Edgar Renteria $2 million in 2011. I prefer Janish at less than half the price to fill the same role.

    If the Reds hadn’t tendered Janish, he would have signed with another team leaving the Reds to chase a more expensive, crusty veteran.

    Although the Reds may yet still pay for a veteran SS…

    If Janish ends up at Louisville, I like the depth it provides. The fact that he has options makes him all the more valuable.

  49. LWBlogger

    If I’m not mistaken the contract given to Navarro was a minor league deal and the $800K isn’t guaranteed money. There is a chance that I’m mistaken but I’m pretty sure he doesn’t get the full value of the contract unless he makes the Major League roster.

  50. CP

    Again, the problem with Janish on the MLB roster is he provides nothing that isn’t provided by Cozart. It’s not like Cozart needs a defensive replacement and there is, sadly, a huge dropoff between Cozart and Janish offensively.

    We all know DB loves to double switch. Yet, guess who is the most likely to get double switched in the daily lineup? It’s a choice between Cozart, Mesoraco, or Heisey/Ludwick. Since the Reds won’t carry 3 catchers, it’s really down to Cozart or Heisey/Ludwick. We better get used to seeing Janish batting in the 8th or 9th inning.

    Janish is a fine backup SS but he doesn’t really fit into this team. Then again, he can play SS/3B/2B, whereas the Reds basically will have 2 backup IFs who do nothing but play 3B and occasionally a really terrible 2B.

    • BubbaFan

      Again, the problem with Janish on the MLB roster is he provides nothing that isn’t provided by Cozart.It’s not like Cozart needs a defensive replacement and there is, sadly, a huge dropoff between Cozart and Janish offensively.

      I think the problem is that it’s not clear that there’s a huge dropoff between Cozart and Janish. Cozart has played 11 games in the big leagues. It’s a very small sample size. Paul Janish hit .318 / .375 / .318 his first 11 games in the big leagues. Their minor league OPS’s are similar, though Cozart had more power, Janish a better OBP. Cozart did have a good year last year, but it looks more like BABIP than actually figuring anything out. I’d rather see Cozart get a shot than Theriot or someone like that, but Walt also has to prepare for the possibility that Cozart will struggle as much as Janish did once they start scouting him. In particular, Cozart’s plate discipline has always been a concern.

  51. pinson343

    @CP: I agree about Janish not “fitting in” to the 25 man roster, made a similar argument to yours way above. But for whatever money he’s getting (I assume not much), he’s worth it as major-league ready organizational depth at SS.

    In 2008, AGon was supposed to be the Reds starting SS. He went down before the season even started. Then Keppinger, Jerry Hairston, and J. Cabrera all stepped in and went down. A kid named Paul Janish had to be called up.

  52. pinson343

    @BubbaFan: Oh it’s $850 K ? Definitely worth hanging on to Janish for that, even if it’s just for minor league insurance at SS.

  53. pinson343

    @BubbaFan: Right but you don’t need Janish on the major league roster (on opening day) for him to provide the Reds depth at SS if Cozart falters.

    • BubbaFan

      @BubbaFan: Right but you don’t need Janish on the major league roster (on opening day) for him to provide the Reds depth at SS if Cozart falters.

      Exactly. Janish would be a decent backup for an established SS. But he’s not the answer if Cozart crashes and burns. Walt will want a veteran – a Theriot type – to step in in that case.

      • Matt WI

        Exactly.Janish would be a decent backup for an established SS. But he’s not the answer if Cozart crashes and burns.Walt will want a veteran – a Theriot type – to step in in that case.

        If Theriot becomes our guy, we all crash and burn. 😀

      • TC

        Walt will want a veteran – a Theriot type – to step in in that case.

        I would prefer Theriot play for another NLC team. That would be his best contribution to the Reds IMO.

  54. Jason Linden

    @BubbaFan: We must be looking at different numbers. Janish has had wRC+ under 100 virtually his entire time in the minors. Often, well under 100. Cozart has almost always been over 100, often well over. Looks like a huge drop off to me.

  55. Dave Lowenthal

    @al: I think it’s interesting that on a different thread I argued that Ondrusek is a below average major league relief pitcher—and took a lot of heat—and on this thread, the rosters I’ve seen posted don’t even include Ondrusek, and no one seems concerned.

    I do think there is a chance that Ondrusek starts the season in AAA, but if he doesn’t, that would mean that either Lecure or Arredondo would have to be in AAA, right (assuming Chapman isn’t, I guess)?

  56. rfay00

    I hope we just stick with what we have. No more additions. We have enough infield depth and now we are good in the outfield. If anything, sign another SP who can give us depth there and start in spring training.

  57. TC

    @Dave Lowenthal: Not having room for Ondrusek on the 25-man roster may be a fact of life. Saying he’s not good is just not the case.

    When we were arguing for Ondrusek, Madson had not been signed and the thought was Marshall or Bray would probably close.

    That is why no one has said anything.

  58. TC

    I like Janish, but if he could have had value in free agency, why use him as a trading chip for a bench player who can play SS (a guy LIKE Keppinger)?

    –OR–

    There WILL be castoffs during the final few days of Spring Training. I’ve been floored by the talent I’ve seen let go. I’d wait to pick up a guy at that point.

  59. TC

    By the way, if you need to send a valuable guy you don’t want to loose through the waiver wire and be sure he gets through, you do it on the final days of Spring Training. Everyone is trying to clear a spot on the 40-man and few have room to add anyone. They have to allow the transaction if the waiver is claimed because the spot is still needed and time is limited.

  60. TC

    Here is another issue that is going to need to be dealt with, once Madson is official, there will be 5 relievers on the 40-man that will not be on the 25-man.

    In addition, 2 guys on the 40-man are currently listed as lower than AA on the depth chart. 😯

    • RiverCity Redleg

      @TC: I was referencing,

      Here is another issue that is going to need to be dealt with, once Madson is official, there will be 5 relievers on the 40-man that will not be on the 25-man.

      I only count 4 non-40man relievers.

  61. BubbaFan

    They might still trade Janish. But I think he’s probably more valuable to the Reds as insurance than as a trade chip. If they didn’t have him, they’d have to go out and buy a player like him. And having value in free agency isn’t the same as having trade value. The Cardinals were reportedly interested in Janish if the Reds nontendered him; that doesn’t mean they’d trade anything for him. Similarly, no need to trade for a player like Keppinger. He was nontendered, and could be signed as a free agent.

    I really don’t understand some of the decisions the Reds made when they added players before the Rule 5 draft. Pedro Villareal? Really?

    And why Didi? He was only 18 when he signed, and should not have been eligible until next December. If they wanted to use him in Cincinnati, they could always add him later.

    There are going to be some interesting roster decisions made. Though of course, some of that might be resolved via trade. Arredondo is out of options, and I don’t see him clearing waivers. He’s not going to Louisville. Bray, Bailey, Masset and Carlos Fisher are also out of options. Ludicrous as it seems that LeCure or Ondrusek won’t make the roster…they have options.

    I don’t see the Reds going with only 11 pitchers. The pen was exhausted last year, and while the rotation has been upgraded, I don’t think it’s enough that the Reds can go with just 11 pitchers. At least, not for long.

  62. TC

    The Reds can get by with 11 pitchers until April 14th (the 9th game of the season). I used to believe it when they said, “These things have a way of working themselves out,” but again, I point to the nonsensical trade of Jeff Keppinger simply to clear up a roster spot to show they do not.

    I’m not certain I’d want Jeff Keppinger per say, just someone like him. He was at one time serviceable (not starter quality but okay) at all infield positions and had a > .350 OBP.

  63. per14

    I’d love the 07 version of JKepp! But, yeah, not going to happen.

  64. LWBlogger

    @Matt WI: “If Theriot becomes our guy, we all crash and burn” … So very, very true. He was brutal at SS last year for the Cards. That’s why they got Furcal at the deadline.

  65. RiverCity Redleg

    I would take Keppinger over Theriot every day of the week.

  66. RiverCity Redleg

    @TC: Are you counting Chapman as a reliever? He will be a starter. The only scenerio I see him as a reliever would be if our entire rotation is healthy in September and he goes to the pen for the stretch run for pitching depth.

  67. TC

    The reason the Reds can get by with 11 pitchers is because they only need 4 starters. The fifth starter won’t be needed until the 9th game.

  68. pinson343

    My expectation, like that of others here, is that Chapman begins the season as a starter at Louisville. An interesting possibility is that he is lights out in ST and beats out Homer for a spot in the starting rotation. Then Homer becomes the long man, and there is a squeeze in the bullpen.

    If Homer and Chapman are both pitching well, and going at least 6 almost every start, at some point Arroyo should absolutely be moved to the pen. He was going to be in the Red Sox pen before they traded him, and he accepted that. One of the hilites of his career was pitching well in long relief against the Yankees in an ALCS. But Dusty won’t go that route.

    Then again, whoever the starting 5 are on Opening Day, it probably won’t take long for one of them to go down with an injury anyway.

  69. pinson343

    @TC: Right, in recent years the Reds have gone with 14 position players on the roster on Opening Day.

  70. secondguessingfanbase

    In 2008, Keppinger was rated the worst defensive SS in all of baseball, and had an OBP of .310. He doesn’t solve any of the Reds’ problems, that’s why they sent him to Houston.

    • RiverCity Redleg

      In 2008, Keppinger was rated the worst defensive SS in all of baseball, and had an OBP of .310. He doesn’t solve any of the Reds’ problems, that’s why they sent him to Houston.

      I agree that he doesn’t solve anything. I would rather have Janish as a backup over any of the veteran ss available. But, if the organization is insisting on a veteran ss (like they have the last 5 years), I would take Keppinger over Theriot without hesitation.

  71. CP

    @RiverCity Redleg: Problem is that Keppinger didn’t play any SS last year, and played only sparingly there in 2009/2010 (25 games). I assume that’s for a reason…might as well just go with Todd Frazier there and save some $$$.

    I’m a little worried that Theriot is basically equal (maybe even worse?) than Keppinger on defense and the Astros/Giants were just more tuned in to how poor Keppinger’s defense really is. The Reds don’t exactly have a great history in recognizing declining skill sets in this area…