Great discussion below on my Orlando Cabrera screed. For those of you who think it’s a great idea to sign Cabrera, go read this (link was posted in the comments below, so some of you may have already clicked on it). Then read this. Finally, check out their player pages at Fangraphs (CabreraJanish); look particularly at the bottom chart and the WAR column. Then come back here and explain why in the world you want the Reds to waste the money.

Some of you keep mentioning “depth,” but that conveniently ignores the fact that we have Dusty Baker as manager. In other words, this signing would mean a crappy hitter, Cabrera, hitting second every single day. Do you really want that? At least with Janish, there’s a chance Dusty will bat him eighth.

I just don’t understand what anyone sees here. Paul Janish was better than Cabrera last year, according to pretty much every advanced metric. Janish is projected to be a more valuable player in 2010, according to these metrics. What makes you think a 35-year old shortstop is going to improve all of a sudden? At least Janish has a chance of getting better at the plate; his defense is already spectacular.

Are you willing to bet all those innings that Cabrera will be playing on the hope that Cabrera improves over last year? Really? Isn’t that what the Reds did with Willy Taveras last season?

The point isn’t that Cabrera is substantially worse than Janish; he isn’t. The point is that this entire exercise is meaningless; there’s no reason to make the move. Cabrera is very unlikely to be much better than Janish in 2010, yet Dusty will hit him second and play him every single day. That’s a huge drag on an offense that’s already undermanned, not to mention the serious downgrade in the field.

Believe me, I don’t like being in the position of defending Paul Janish. I’ve never been a big fan of the guy (although I do like watching him play defense). I don’t have any problem whatsoever with the Reds shoving Janish aside if they can find a clear upgrade at short.

Orlando Cabrera is decidedly not a clear upgrade…and there’s a very real chance that he’ll be a downgrade, costing the Reds runs. That’s a chance I don’t want the Reds to take; why waste the money on a gamble? Wait for something better to come along.

Either way, we could be finding out Cabrera’s decision any time now.