2012 Reds

Todd Frazier Replaced with Less Versatile Version of Todd Frazier

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.

95 thoughts on “Todd Frazier Replaced with Less Versatile Version of Todd Frazier

  1. @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: “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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

    • 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.

  5. @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.

  6. @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.

  7. @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: 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.

      • 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.😀

      • 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.

  8. @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.

  9. @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)?

  10. 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.

  11. @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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.😯

    • @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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. @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.

  18. @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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

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

  22. 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.

    • 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.

  23. @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…

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