Mark Sheldon is reporting that the Reds have signed 35-year-old shortstop Orlando to a $3M contract for 2010, that includes a $3M option for 2011 and a $1M buyout. It is not yet known if the 2011 player option is a club or a player option. This move will also require that somebody be removed from the 40 man roster. No word on this yet.

There is your opening day SS and two-hole hitter. Let’s hope that Cabrera’s -13.7 UZR/150 last season is not the first sign that he has lost a step at SS and that he can return to the league average OBP he put up in 2007-2008 rather that the poor .316 OBP he put up last season. This kind of feels like Alex Gonzalez part two, doesn’t it? Hopefully it is a club option and we will have less chance of getting stuck with him for a second year.

Does anyone think this may be the Reds opportunity to make a statement and dump Willy Taveras? I don’t think they will dump him at all, but if they do, I think it will be just before they break camp in Arizona.

Will Paul Janish make the opening day roster now? I think it will be awfully hard to keep the light hitting SS as one of the backup infielders and I expect that he will not make the opening day team. He will have a tough time beating out Rosales, Sutton, Frazier, Burke, and Cairo for one of the two backup IF spots.

UPDATE: (By Bill Lack) From today’s Enquirer by John Erardi:

On his contract:

    Cabrera will officially make $2.02 million this season — $770,000 in base salary and $1.25 million in bonus – but will make another $1 million as a buyout for 2011 if he wants to stay and the Reds don’t want him. This is what’s known as a “$4 million mutual option” for 2011. If he declines the option to stay here in 2011, his buyout is $550,000.

So, maximum it’s a $3.02M deal, minimum it’s a $2.57M deal.

    Much as the Reds love Janish’s glove – and intend to get him as much playing time as they possibly can – they believe Cabrera’s offense will offset the defensive dropoff with Janish not being at shortstop full time. But the statistical analysts say that if Cabrera’s defense wnds up dropping from last year, his addition to the Reds is at at best a wash.

    “The description applied to Cabrera, ’can hit a little,’ is the key,” said Greg Gajus, a statistical analyst. “Cabrera isn’t really a league average hitter; never has been. He has a low walk rate, and not much power. He’s the type of hitter than has to hit .300 to help much. If he hits .260, it’s a disaster.

    “There aren’t many good-fielding 35-year-old shortstops,” he added. “That projected (dropoff) in defense wipes out most of the substantial difference in offense. I’d call him a small upgrade at best.”

So, a small upgrade for $2.5M – $3M…therein lies my problem with this signing.

From the MercuryNews.com site:

    If they can’t work a trade for Taveras and he goes unclaimed on waivers, the A’s likely will release him and eat the majority of his $4 million salary for 2010. They saved $1.7 million by trading Miles.

I thought Miles was making less than Taveras? How do they save $1.7M?

134 Responses

  1. CeeKeR

    I just saw the report of the signing on ESPN. To answer your questions:
    I think it would be great if they dumped Willy T. to free up a roster spot, but at this point I’ll be shocked if they do. I don’t see how (or even why) you’d keep Janish on the opening day roster, I don’t think anyone expects him to become an everyday, wonderful shortstop…and he certainly isn’t valuable in a pinch hitting role – so to me he’s expendable at this point. I’d be inclined to try and trade him, whether now or closer to the deadline (much like Cabrera was traded last year).

    As for the signing itself, let’s hope that option is a club option. The Reds continue to confound me with their lavish signings on marginal (at best) players. Why spend $10 million on a power bat (Dunn) when you could split it up and get Taveras and now Cabrera, neither of whom I’d be comfortable counting on their abilities to hit their way out of a paper bag.

  2. Steve

    Another discouraging move by the Reds. How many more low OBP people do they have to sign (and give 400 AB) before they get it that getting on base is the key to scoring runs?

    Giving a player like this to Baker to manage is farce.

    The only hope of this working out is for Alex Gonzalez…er, Orlando Cabrera, to have a decent year.

  3. jason1972

    Janish is organizational depth, who cares where he ends up?

    I think they paid too much for Cabrera, hopefully the second year is a club option. Either way he’s a worthwhile upgrade over Janish’s little league bat.

  4. The Mad Hatter

    I see Dusty’s fingerprints all over this one.

    Dusty: “Walt, I need a SS to start the season and bat 2nd”
    Walt: “You have Janish who’s great in the field, doesn’t cost much and he doesn’t have to bat 2nd”
    Dusty: “You don’t understand, he’s not a veteran and all SS bat 2nd. CF leadoff, SS second.”
    Walt: “There’s no one out there who fits the bill”
    Dusty: “There’s Orlando Cabrera, he was good a few years ago.”
    Walt: “Fine, just shut up”

  5. John

    But a LF with power (Gomes) costs too much money…

  6. REDS1

    I think you guys are being a little harsh. Again, I don’t see how this cannot be an upgrade over Janish. Janish is sure not going to get on base frequently, let alone drive in runs.

    • jason1972

      REDS1: I think you guys are being a little harsh. Again, I don’t see how this cannot be an upgrade over Janish. Janish is sure not going to get on base frequently, let alone drive in runs.

      This is Redlegnation, where there are three constants among the Sabermetric Nerds:

      1) Irrational love for players that barely deserve ST invites.

      2) Over the top hatred and scapegoating of one player per season.

      3) Just not being able to quit Adam Dunn

      • Matt WI

        jason1972: Over the top hatred and scapegoating of one player per season.3)

        Uh, that’s a Marty rule. See: Owings, Micah.

  7. GRF

    Anythinghe adds with his bat, he is going to more than give up with his glove. And while I understand that not everyone believes that OBP is the be all and end all of offensive stats, the Reds seem to actively seek people who cannot get on base. Finally, you have to subtract from the value of the signing the value of whatever player they have to get rid of, which unless it is Taveras will not be zero. Given the buyout, we are going to be paying him some money two years from now in any event.

    I just do not see how this is anything other than a bad signing.

  8. Ellis Otte

    I continue to fail to see why everyone is committed to Cabrera being a given defensive liability at SS. Yes, he posted a career low UZR last year. But it was preceded by 4 consecutive years of average to superb defense. Can we maybe chalk up the possibility that 2009 was just a bad year for Cabrera? It was reported that he showed up out of shape to begin the season with the As. He was also traded mid-season. Both of these are contributing factors. A healthy, in-shape Cabrera is an asset at SS…not a liability.

  9. per14

    This is just horse crap. I was against the move period, but 3 million dollars? That’s ridiculous. At best, he’ll be a very minor upgrade over Janish. At worst, he’s a downgrade and costs considerably more. They should have saved that money, and if they were in contention in mid-summer, had a little to spend to make a trade. Disheartening. Just when you think maybe management is starting to get it.

  10. David Kaiser

    another great deal by reds management.we don’t have any money but will sign another veteran reject for 3 million bucks.janish is not a hitter we get that but what is so wrong with putting him or any of the younger guys they have 8th in the lineup?I wanna win to but come on just signing guys to say look we spent money and tried is just stupid.either go all out and get all veterans and compete now or play the prospects lose and be competitive for the long haul.and since they will lose anyway makes more sense to play the young guys and let them get experiance now so they can be competive for years to come.

  11. hoosierdad

    Also, what does this signing due to the AAA depth chart? Assuming Janish is sent to AAA, does he start or sit the bench? If he starts, then Valika, Cozart, or whomever will not be getting the experience they need. If he sits, what does that tell the younger players about the Reds commitment to them and their future (I know, baseball is a business, but players are people and have feelings). I wasn’t for the signing and now that it’s done and I’m even less for it. And the one question nobody had addressed: can he pitch? lol

  12. MikeLincolnSucks

    I think if they end up signing Gomes (which looks pretty good right now), Taveras is gone. I also feel like this isn’t anything like the Alex Gonzalez signing, because Gonzalez never proved that he could hit. He just proved he could play “defense”. Cabrera is a proven consistent .270+ hitter (whose OBP could be a little better). But I am going to have much more confidence with him at the plate with the game on the line than with AGonz or Janish. If they can get Gomes, they have a pretty solid lineup heading into the season.

    • Steve

      The difference is that Cabrera is 35 years old, when players typically start to slide pretty quickly. That’s why last year’s numbers could be an omen, not an anomaly.

      MikeLincolnSucks: I also feel like this isn’t anything like the Alex Gonzalez signing, because Gonzalez never proved that he could hit. He just proved he could play “defense”. Cabrera is a proven consistent .270+ hitter (whose OBP could be a little better).

  13. The Mad Hatter

    Cabrera is a .270 hitter, with low on base skills and little power. Yes Janish is a .230 hitter with low on base skills and little power but he would have been a gold glove candidate. With BP at 2nd, Rolen at 3rd and Janish at SS we were looking at perhaps the best infield defense in the league. What Cabrera brings in improved offense (and let’s not forget batting second the entire year) Janish perhaps could have brought more with his defense. 35 year old SS tend to start losing range and last year was more than likely the tip of the iceberg, in terms of his defense going downhill. I’m not trying to say that Cabrera is a horrible player but it makes little sense in terms of what was available in house and the relative cost of each player. Honestly this signing makes little sense to me.

  14. hoosierdad

    If Cabrera has 700 plate appearances for the Reds this year and has the same OBP as last year he gets on base 222 times. If PJ has the same 700 plate appearances and the same OBP as last year, he gets on base 203 times. Is 19 times more on base over the course of a season worth the $3M they signed OC for? I gotta think PJ’s much better defense would more than make up for those 19 fewer times on base. Plus, he has a history of batting better the 2nd year at a level. Just gotta believe PJ has a better upside for 2010 than OC. I guess we’ll never know now.:(

  15. Ellis Otte

    @The Mad Hatter:
    Janish is a .205 hitter, not a .230 hitter. Also, OCab hasn’t hit lower than .281 in the past 4 years.

    • Tom Diesman

      Janish is a .205 hitter, not a .230 hitter.Also, OCab hasn’t hit lower than .281 in the past 4 years.

      After Mike Schmidt’s first season you could’ve said he was a .196 hitter too and been just as correct. 🙂

      Here is a rough compilation of what the combined James/Chone/Marcel projections say you should expect from these two guys this year.

      2010 Proj. AVG OBP SLG OPS
      Cabrera .275 .324 .377 .701
      Janish .230 .308 .339 .647

      Note the only .016 difference in OBP despite the .045 difference in BA. That’s not worth $4M to me.

      • Ellis Otte

        Tom Diesman:
        After Mike Schmidt’s first season you could’ve said he was a .196 hitter too and been just as correct.
        Here is a rough compilation of what the combined James/Chone/Marcel projections say you should expect from these two guys this year.2010 Proj. AVG OBP SLG OPS
        Cabrera.275.324.377.701
        Janish.230.308.339.647Note the only .016 difference in OBP despite the .045 difference in BA.That’s not worth $4M to me.

        Hardy har har. Obviously, no one is confusing Janish with Schmidt. IMHO, projections are pretty much useless except as a rough guideline of what to expect. Are those same projections accounting for Cabrera’s move to the easier NL and hitter-friendlier ballpark? Doubt it.

  16. WORLD

    Cabrera will be in the Queen City for one year while the rebuilding continues. Big Bob wants to fill some seats and it is obvious that the organization doesn’t feel that Janish is the answer at SS.

    On a different subject, I like the idea of the Big Boy being thought of as a possible catcher. There are many good catchers in the Reds family, including the very best ever, and perhaps he has the right stuff for the position.

    • Steve

      Speaking for myself, I actually go to GABP in part to watch Paul Janish play. I can’t say the same thing is likely for OC. It’s not that I’m saying I’ll no longer go to Reds games because of this signing, I’m just saying that if the motivation for the move was based on fan perception/attendance, there is at least a faction for whom that is backwards.

      WORLD: Cabrera will be in the Queen City for one year while the rebuilding continues. Big Bob wants to fill some seats and it is obvious that the organization doesn’t feel that Janish is the answer at SS.

  17. per14

    Um, World, I’m not making the trip to the Cincy just to see Orlando Cabrera play and I don’t many other people will either.

  18. RedinFla

    @Steve:

    Count me in, Steve. I absolutely count Janish’s elite defense as one of the best reasons to take the time to watch the Reds play.
    I’d say “expendable” and “who cares?” are a little harsh.

  19. WORLD

    @per14:

    While I believe Janish may be the best defensive SS in the league, this is not the point. Big Bob wants to win a few games this year to fill up a few of the sea of empty seats at GAPB. Obviously Walt J. thinks that Cabrera is a better overall shortstop than Janish and can provide some offense to achieve this end.
    Either way, I doubt that you or anyone else buys a ticket to the game primarily to focus on the defensive play of the shortstop.

    And at the end of the day, it really doesn’t matter as the Reds are certainly going to clean house at the end of the year (if not sooner if the team stinks it up early) and the manager who replaces Dusty Baker will have his own view in this regard.

  20. RedinFla

    @WORLD:

    I don’t buy any tickets, and the discussion is about Cabrera’s signing and its ramifications.

    If Cabrera sells a few more tickets to Joe Fan and his family in your insider opinion, that’s fine.

    I was commenting on soft-J being more than a “who-cares?” player.

  21. TC

    Why do people say the NL is easier? For pitcher, but not for hitter.

    I don’t know. I’ve never felt strongly either way regarding Cabrera, but somehow I still feel a bit deflated today. I like Cabrera’s make up, that’s for sure. And if he’d been here a couple years with those same numbers I certainly wouldn’t be calling for his release. He conducts his business very much like Rolen which will be good for the Latin players. I don’t mind the length of the contract. It’s for a year, with another if they still need him. So Cabrera is not the reason for my consternation.

    I have two issues. 1.) Now what for Janish? I’m a fan of Janish and worry his time with the Reds organization is limited. 2.) If they have the 3 million for Cabrera, why didn’t they have the money for Gomes. What have we heard all winter? “We don’t have any money.” They just spent 3 million to gain 19 hits, but loose 26 runs saved. (Cabrera UZR -15, Janish UZR 11 = difference of 26). Twenty six runs is the difference of roughly 2.5 games lost (according to saber-magicians).

    If Janish had 10 more hits or walks, even HBPs combined, this would not have been necessary. You know what the difference is between hitting .230 and hitting .280? Twenty-five hits a year in 500 at bats is 50 points. Okay? There’s 6 months in a season, that’s about 25 weeks — you get one extra flare a week — just one — a gork, a ground ball with eyes, a dying quail — just one more dying quail a week and you’re in GABP! (C. Davis)

    • Kevin Mitchell is Batman

      TC: Why do people say the NL is easier? For pitcher, but not for hitter. I don’t know. I’ve never felt strongly either way regarding Cabrera, but somehow I still feel a bit deflated today. I like Cabrera’s make up, that’s for sure. And if he’d been here a couple years with those same numbers I certainly wouldn’t be calling for his release. He conducts his business very much like Rolen which will be good for the Latin players. I don’t mind the length of the contract. It’s for a year, with another if they still need him. So Cabrera is not the reason for my consternation. I have two issues. 1.) Now what for Janish? I’m a fan of Janish and worry his time with the Reds organization is limited. 2.) If they have the 3 million for Cabrera, why didn’t they have the money for Gomes. What have we heard all winter? “We don’t have any money.” They just spent 3 million to gain 19 hits, but loose 26 runs saved. (Cabrera UZR -15, Janish UZR 11 = difference of 26). Twenty six runs is the difference of roughly 2.5 games lost (according to saber-magicians). If Janish had 10 more hits or walks, even HBPs combined, this would not have been necessary. You know what the difference is between hitting .230 and hitting .280? Twenty-five hits a year in 500 at bats is 50 points. Okay? There’s 6 months in a season, that’s about 25 weeks — you get one extra flare a week — just one — a gork, a ground ball with eyes, a dying quail — just one more dying quail a week and you’re in GABP! (C. Davis)

      TC, those UZR numbers are from a tiny sample size…i.e last year, which wasn’t even a complete year for soft-J. I could just as easily cite the 2008 numbers for these 2, which would suggest that Cabrera 13.1 is significantly better than terrible defending Janish, at -12.0.

      See what I mean? I’m not convinced Cabrera is done. Every year in which he’s not been traded, he’s posted great WAR and UZR numbers. I like the signing, since Janish wasn’t and never will be a .230 hitter, much less a .275 hitter.

    • Bill Lack

      TC: Why do people say the NL is easier?For pitcher, but not for hitter.I don’t know.I’ve never felt strongly either way regarding Cabrera, but somehow I still feel a bit deflated today.I like Cabrera’s make up, that’s for sure.And if he’d been here a couple years with those same numbers I certainly wouldn’t be calling for his release.He conducts his business very much like Rolen which will be good for the Latin players.I don’t mind the length of the contract.It’s for a year, with another if they still need him.So Cabrera is not the reason for my consternation.

      My problems are two fold….1)According to something I read yesterday (Fay maybe?), his attitude is “iffy”. He rubbed others wrong in the club house, has been known to call the press box when he was given errors he didn’t like, etc. 2) His price tag. The Enquirer calls it a one year $3M deal, but we’ve also heard about a $1M buyout. Is he $4M better than Janish (or whoever ended up playing there..Frazier, Cozart, whoever). This puts two old guys on the left side of the infield..not a good idea on a team that just last year claimed it wanted to improve it’s defense.

      And he’s already (according to this AM’s Enquirer) slated for the #2 slot…

      • TC

        Bill Lack: …his attitude is “iffy”. He rubbed others wrong in the club house, has been known to call the press box when he was given errors he didn’t like, etc. …

        Interesting. Hadn’t heard that.

  22. REDS1

    World: I hope it does not come to a house cleaning, as far as the team is concerned. I am starting to believe we might be on the right path here.

  23. al

    IMO the only issue here is whether you think 4mil is too much, and that’s pretty academic. you might say, well that money could have gone to a better player, but who? it looks like they’re still going to get gomes, and no one else has been beating down his door.

    i do think 4 mil probably is “not worth” the extra win that he’ll probably bring over janish. but i don’t care that much about that, since i want the reds to win, if this was a way to add a win, then it’s good, as long as it wasn’t preventing them from adding more wins with the same money. again, i don’t know how else they could that.

    lineup guesses for opening day? i’d like to see:

    dickerson, lf
    rolen, 3b
    votto, 1b
    bruce, rf
    phillips, 2b
    stubbs, cf
    cabrera, ss
    hannigan, c

    that’s certainly better than where we started last year.

  24. pinson343

    I’m assuming that the second year option is a club option. (If not, I withdraw my support for this signing.)

    The main advantage of the signing, as I’ve seen it, is adding needed depth. If Janish is let go, that advantage disappears. I don’t think the Reds are giving up on Janish, they were unwilling to go into 2010 with him as the only definite ML caliber candidate for SS, which makes sense to me.

    Why can’t Janish beat Rosales, Sutton, Burke, and Cairo for one of the two backup IF spots ? He’s a better player than they are.

  25. al

    players value varies based on their role. janish is more valuable than any of those players because he can play starting shortstop and they can’t. but if he isn’t going to do that, then he becomes less valuable, because he can’t hit a lick, and hasn’t played the other infield positions in the big leagues.

  26. GreatRedLesgFan

    I think it´s a good signing, for one year. Remember this is a sort of transition year for the Reds. After this, most high contracts are finalized (Harang, Arroyo, Lincoln, Taveras, Cabrera, Rhodes, Hernandez) and the prospects will have to show what are they made of. So, 2011 will be the real milestone. Personally, I still don´t foresee a regular SS within the organization after Cabrera. Rosales, Sutton, Burke, Valaika, Cozart, Cairo, Janish all have a very weak bat. Unless Janish or Cozart prove to be significant better this year, there´s no one else. Frazier??? Could be.

  27. pinson343

    I think Janish can add 3rd base to his repertoire, he did get a start there last year. He’s also capable of playing 2nd. And let’s not forget his relief pitching.

    • Chad Dotson

      pinson343: I think Janish can add 3rd base to his repertoire, he did get a start there last year. He’s also capable of playing 2nd. And let’s not forget his relief pitching.

      With all the injuries to 3B and 2B (early in the year), Janish played exactly 6 innings at 3B and none at second. He hasn’t played any other position since AA three years ago.

      I see no reason to believe that Dusty Baker will prefer Janish over Rosales or Sutton as a backup infielder. In a full season last year, Dusty showed who he prefers. He wouldn’t play Janish last year AT ALL until management forced him to by trading away Gonzo and Hairston.

      Janish’s time in Cincinnati is up. That’s not really a big deal, since he’s not much of an overall player. Neither is Cabrera, frankly.

  28. pinson343

    Who’s going to get dropped off the 40 man ? Not Willy T. yet, but maybe if we sign Gomes and he makes the team … I can dream anyway.

    As for now, I don’t know, maybe they’ll put Bray on the permanently disabled list ?

    • jason1972

      I’d rather have Taveras as the 5th OF than Gomes.

      pinson343: Who’s going to get dropped off the 40 man ? Not Willy T. yet, but maybe if we sign Gomes and he makes the team … I can dream anyway.As for now, I don’t know, maybe they’ll put Bray on the permanently disabled list ?

      • Jimmy James

        jason1972: I’d rather have Taveras as the 5th OF than Gomes.

        Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!!!!!!!!!

        😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆

      • pinson343

        jason1972: I’d rather have Taveras as the 5th OF than Gomes.

        Jason, That depends on who the other 4 OFers are. If two of them are Stubbs and Dickerson, what value-add does WT have ?

  29. pinson343

    Janish’s fate on the Reds roster is up to WJ, not Dusty. And FWIW, Dusty at least spoke positively about Janish the other day. May have just been lip service, but he might also like Janish more now that he’s actually seen him play.

    • Chad Dotson

      pinson343: Janish’s fate on the Reds roster is up to WJ, not Dusty.

      Yep, and Walt had him on the roster all last season. Doesn’t mean Dusty has to actually play him. See 2009.

      Forgive me if I don’t have any faith in Dusty.

      Honestly, I don’t care if Janish is gone. I just don’t understand why you’d toss aside a guy making the minimum for a guy making millions…when the absolute best case scenario is that Cabrera is a marginal upgrade at SS.

      They both suck, though, so arguing about which is better is purely an academic exercise at this point. And I have lost interest in that argument.

  30. Tom Diesman

    I’d rather have Gomes as the LF and cleanup hitter.

  31. al

    janish should go to louisville and provide organizational depth. if cabrera gets hurt, you have a serviceable replacement. if janish had gotten hurt before this signing, we were screwed.

  32. Tom Diesman

    Hopefully Valaika bounces back big time with the bat this season and makes this a moot point.

  33. JasonL

    @jason1972: You forgot 4) Where the stats guys don’t fling personal insults in an attempt to mask how poor their arguments are.

  34. preach

    Isn’t this debate interesting? Cabrera will be fine. His defense is still solid and going from most of his home games being in Oakland last year to GABP this year will definately improve his hitting numbers.

    I like having depth and options.

    Free Willy.

    • Matt WI

      Here’s the real question: What will be the over/under on “Janish would have made that play” type comments this season if Cabrera starts? Anyway, I hope you’re right about this preach. I was in the “marginal upgrade” camp, but… seeing as it’s not even spring, I’m up for hoping for good things for the Reds.

      preach: Isn’t this debate interesting? Cabrera will be fine. His defense is still solid and going from most of his home games being in Oakland last year to GABP this year will definately improve his hitting numbers. I like having depth and options. Free Willy.

      • jason1972

        Matt WI: Here’s the real question: What will be the over/under on “Janish would have made that play” type comments this season if Cabrera starts? Anyway, I hope you’re right about this preach. I was in the “marginal upgrade” camp, but… seeing as it’s not even spring, I’m up for hoping for good things for the Reds.

        You can always balance that out with the question “could we have counted on Janish’s bat in this situation?”

        😆

  35. preach

    Oh, and I’m actually excited that management doesn’t seem content to mail in this season.

    Cabrera along with Rolen will be a positive influence in the clubhouse.

  36. Glenn

    Janish has got a great glove and a whiffle ball bat. I like the guy but offensively he’s not ready for prime time. HOWEVER the Cabrera signing scares me. That looks like a potential GONZO II.

    • GregD

      Glenn: HOWEVER the Cabrera signing scares me. That looks like a potential GONZO II.

      Except Gonzo was a 3 year contract for more money.

      Cabrera is $4M/1 yr or $6M/2 years, if they pick up his option.

      I think the comparisons of Janish to Juan Castro is fair. Casrto was not a major league starter. Janish might be a 1.x WAR player if he hits enough. Enough being 230-240avg, 630-650ops.

      Cabrera is at least a 2.x WAR player, IMO. 1.0 WAR is worth about $4 million in the free agent market. I think he’ll more than earn his keep.

  37. Mark in CC

    If Cabrera hits 8th when Hernandez catches, 7th when Hanigan is in there, he will definitly help the offense.

    What we heard when they just had Janish was that they needed a plan 2. Well I can’t see Janish not making the team because at 35 Cabrera, like Rolen will need a couple of days off a week. The Reds might have a youth movement at pitching but the left side of the infield is OLD.

  38. Glenn

    BTW, can someone please tell me what UZR is. I’m sure its Bill James stuff, but I’ve never heard of it.

  39. GregD

    UZR = Ultimate Zone Rating. It is defined on Fangraphs.com as “The number of runs above or below average a fielder is in both range runs, outfield arm runs, double play runs and error runs combined.”

    It is one of the statistics that looks at runs above or below average. UZR=0.0 implies an average defensive player.

    Then there is UZR/150, which is the UZR for 150 games.

    This link is the 2009 defensive stats of qualified shortstops.

    Folks are using it as the definitive answer for a player’s true defensive value, but from what I’ve read you need 3 years of data to have a valid sample. To equate it to batting stats, it’d be like making a determination of a player’s offense by looking at only his August and September statistics and ignoring what he did from April through July.

    Cabrera went from the 2nd best UZR in 2008 to 2nd worst in 2009. Janish had a UZR/150 of -12 in 2008 and +24 in 2009.

  40. GregD

    How early can a team use the 60-day DL?

    The biggest disappointment in this is that this likely kills the Frazier at SS experiment. Maybe it was a “try Alonso at catcher” pipedream, but it was the potential storyline I was most interested in following.

  41. TC

    Final thought, then I’m moving on. Again, I’ve never felt strongly either way. I suspect most don’t.

    The only thing I know is that Cabrera (the man, not the player) will be a possitive influence on this young team. He’s a professional, knows what a playoff team looks like and according to people who he’s played for and played with, a man of solid character. I suspect that has as much to do with why they brought him in as much as anything. I’ve been enjoying what others here have written and seeing names I don’t recognize, but I’m tired of the topic.

  42. The Mad Hatter

    Bet on opening day lineup.

    1) Wee Willy Tee CF
    2) OC SS
    3) Votto 1B
    4) BP 2B
    5) Rolen 3B
    6) Hernandez C
    7) Bruce RF
    8) Dickerson LF

    The more the players change, the more things stay the same in Dusty’s world.

    • pinson343

      The Mad Hatter: Bet on opening day lineup.1) Wee Willy Tee CF
      2) OC SS
      3) Votto 1B
      4) BP 2B
      5) Rolen 3B
      6) Hernandez C
      7) Bruce RF
      8) Dickerson LF

      Hope you’re wrong about the leadoff hitter. Otherwise it does look just about inevitable, except you’re forgetting about lefty-righty-lefty-righty, so Dusty would switch Bruce and Hernandez.
      I’m assuming this is the lineup against RH pitching.

  43. pinson343

    I have some questions for the defensive metrics experts. I’ve read that UZR by itself can be misleading, it needs to be combined with other defensive metrics. Comment ?

    Also UZR for a player changes a lot from year to year. One year isn’t a sufficient sample size ?

    For example, Derek Jeter had a lousy UZR for a few years going, now last year it’s decent. And Gonzo had a good UZR last year ? I like Gonzo, but in the beginning of the season, he could barely move.

    As of now, even the “stats geeks” (I’m one for offense) seem divided on the value of the current defensive metrics – they’re a good thing and will improve over time, but where do you think they are now ?

  44. Wire to Wire

    I really like this signing. If the reds are going to build their young talent into elite players they need some veteran players who are good clubhouse guys. Rolen is usually seen as a quite lead-by-example kind of guy, while Cabrera is a vocal leader. Both players are known for wanting to win and getting on players who they feel are slacking off. I think our problem in the past (besides lack of talent) was that our talented players seemed kind of lazy (Dunn, Kerns, Griffey and Encarnacion). My guess is that Rolen and Cabrera will make the team better now and in the future after they are gone. If Janish wants to play in the big leagues then it is his job to “bring it”. Nothing should be handed to any of these young guys. They should have to earn it.

  45. BJ Ruble

    1.) I don’t hate the signing because depth is always good.

    2.) ~ugh~ up to 6 mil for a declining player like this.

    3.) Janish will not make the team. I can see him being the back-up in L’ville if they are really commited to Cozart. Dusty will want to keep Rosales and Sutton around for them to play all over the field.

    4.) If Janish is somehow still on the roster, he will not play outside of being a defensive replacement. Cabrera has been at least a 150 game guy for his whole career.

    5.) When Janish, Rosales, or Sutton gets sent down…who will it hurt as far as development at AAA? Francisco, Frazier, Cozart, Valaika…the team seems pretty committed to those guys playing AAA ball together this year.

    6.) Is it too early for Volquez to be placed on the 60 day DL? If it is not, that will be the roster move. If it is, I think they will take a chance DFA a younger player in hopes they can retain them. Willy T will not be released until the end of spring training (if we are lucky).

    7.) If they can bring in Gomes on a minor league deal…they would not use a 40 man roster space, if he makes the team, then Gomes would take Willy T’s spot. And for whomever said they rather have Taveras than Gomes…I hope that was a joke because all Willy can do is run, that is it, not much value to me…

  46. BJ Ruble

    @Bill Lack: Bronson said he was a great influence on the latin crowd…even getting Manny to play on days he didn’t want to play in Boston.

  47. Travis G.

    I was against signing Cabrera at first, but the more I think about it the less I dislike it. The salary and the length are just about right, and this clears up an awful lot of question marks.

    As much as I was looking forward to Janish’s play in the field, we were hoping – hoping – for something like .240/.300/.320. That’s really just not very good, and we couldn’t even be sure he could do that. While I suspect Cabrera’s UZR/150 last season was more a preview of coming attractions than a statistical anomaly, given his age, I think he’ll be OK alongside Phillips and Rolen, and his offense is a fairly significant improvement.

    Hoping that Frazier could play league-average SS defense while learning to his at the ML level is awfully optimistic. Hoping Sutton or Rosales can do anything more than justify a spot on the 25-man is optimistic. Hoping Cozart or Valaika could make the leap in spring training is very optimistic. Even a declining Cabrera, which is what I believe they’re getting, is a known quantity as a slightly above average ML SS. That might impede those best-case scenarios, but it beats every one of the more likely scenarios.

  48. TC

    @Bill Lack: Was it a comment by one of the cretans who post on his blog? I don’t put a lot of stock in anything people post there. I’ve tried to recreate the sites I read which give me the sense he’s a good character guy. Fans of places he’s left are always a good place to start.

    Quote 1 Orlando Cabrera Appreciation Group, 2004: “The 3 or so months that Orlando Cabrera played for the Red Sox in the 2004 season was a time of rejoycing. His unwavering defense, clutch bat, and character contributed to the team’s magical chemistry. This group is for the adament Sox fan who misses Cabrera’s presence in Boston and will never forget 2004.”

    Quote 2: Redsox Nation 2007: “I personally think both Lugo and OC are good character/good clubhouse guys from what I can tell. I like the way they both play with energy”

    Story 1: ESPN Story regarding a fued between Reteria and Orlando in 2008. If you can hang in, I think it says a lot about his character.

    Story 2: Bleacher Report, 2009: The story meantion rumors that call his character into question while in South Chicago. Fans jump on it.

    ——- I don’t necessarily believe everything I read, there have been negative things said about my favorite player (Mr B-Real Brandon Phillips) too. It says something when people come to OCs defense when he character is called into question. Also, there are many more instances of reports of good character than bad.

  49. TC

    Just when I thought I was out, they drag me back in.

    @Travis G.: I agree with every word you just wrote. The more I think about, the more I like it.

    We went into the offseason saying the Reds need to focus on the holes in SS and LF. Then, over the winter our collective memories forgot Janish’s flaws. The left side of the IF may be aging, but between the two, there are 9 GGs, 3 WS rings, and ? number of playoff appearances. When the Reds make it to the playoffs, if they do, they by proxy will know how to handle it.

  50. Alan Horn

    @Bill Lack: I agree 100% Bill. I can just see a under performing lineup with Cabrera, Rolen, Traveras and Hernandez penciled in often. In the meantime, we have a host of youngters
    blocked at AAA. They need to be up getting their feet wet for 2011. This can’t do anything but impede their progress. As for Janish, this will probably destroy his confidence
    because he didn’t get a decent chance. He could recover if traded to another team(which at this point may be best for him and the Reds).

  51. david

    So if I have this right, the Reds can sign a low OBP 2-hole hitter at $4 million, who AT BEST is a marginal upgrade over Paul Janish, but the team cannot afford to pursue Johnny Damon, a 15-15, .365 OBP, 2-hole hitter for the same amount? I’m incredulous.

    A better question: Has the team thrown away the goodwill it earned in signing Chapman by signing Cabrera?

    • Drew Nelson

      What makes you think we could get Damon for the monies we got Orlando for?

      david: So if I have this right, the Reds can sign a low OBP 2-hole hitter at $4 million, who AT BEST is a marginal upgrade over Paul Janish, but the team cannot afford to pursue Johnny Damon, a 15-15, .365 OBP, 2-hole hitter for the same amount? I’m incredulous.A better question: Has the team thrown away the goodwill it earned in signing Chapman by signing Cabrera?

  52. Travis G.

    Oakland just signed Gabe Gross (whom I was banging the drum for last offseason), so that may be one less place for Damon to land. I still think he could wind up with the Reds, especially since they’ve spent a not inconsiderable amount to compete this season. In for a dime, in for a dollar, etc.

  53. will

    I don’t see why so many people think this is a bad deal, the reds get a better offensive option at short to help their sluggish offense, and alo them to keep a good glove on the bench who can be put in late as a defensive upgrade. This deal will give the reds a better chance at more offense, and should allow Janish, and the guys in Louisville to get better while he plays. I also think that the reds will rest him often and conyinue to start Janish every five or six games. overall I think this will work out for the reds. let’s play some October ball!

  54. Travis G.

    The Reds tried to obtain Hardy:

    “We talked to [the Brewers] several times,” Jocketty said. “We didn’t match up and they didn’t want to trade within our division, which was understandable.”

    Minnesota gave up CF Carlos Gomez for him.

  55. BJ Ruble

    I’m torn about the trade. I love getting rid of Willy T. I hate getting rid of Rosales because I like the kid, and I hate Aaron Miles. This is a good move though for the team. Now, I’d really be surprised if Janish makes the team.

  56. Glenn

    Thanks for the info Greg. These new stats are tough to get a handle on.

  57. Travis G.

    Mark Sheldon tweets: Updated Cabrera #s from AP. Gets $2.02 million in ’10. Mutual option worth $4M. $500K buyout if he declines, $1 million if club declines.

    The AP report I see here at work says, and I quote, “$3 million this year and includes a mutual option for 2011.”

  58. Travis G.

    And here we go. AP just updated their story:

    “Cabrera got a deal that pays him a $1.25 million signing bonus and $770,000 salary this year. The agreement includes a $4 million mutual option for 2011. If Cabrera declines it, he gets a $500,000 buyout. If he accepts it and the team declines, he receives a $1 million buyout.”

  59. indy Doug

    Cabrera actually led the majors in RBI last year,……among players with < 10 HR's!!! 😆

  60. GregD

    Re: UPDATE – SS’s aren’t league average hitters, on average. Cabrera has been a league average SS, offensively.

    It’s a “small upgrade” if Janish were to hit his 2010 projections, which are, IMHO, a bit optimistic. Cabrera, being more of a known commodity at the major league level, is much more likely to achieve that level of play.

    Janish’s value is purely defense. IMO, even if offense + defense = the same for two players, I’d rather have the balanced player starting.

  61. GregD

    Weekend dealing:

    $2.5-$3 for Cabrera
    $2.7 for Miles
    ~$5.5 for Cabrera and Miles

    $4 for Taveras
    $0.4 for Rosales
    ~$4.4 for Taveras and Rosales

  62. hoosierdad

    While I’m still not sold on Cabrera rebounding fully from a terrible year in 2009, if Dusty is to stick to his preprinted roster line-up (1. CF – 2. SS,etc.) I do prefer Cabrera over Janish in that situation. The key is going to be Rolen and Cabrera staying healthy and having good years and Stubbs proving 2009 was not a fluke but a glimpse of things to come.

  63. hoosierdad

    As for the $1.7M the A’s save by trading Miles, I think the reference is referring to the $1M the Cubs sent with Miles and his $2.7M salary. Though I think the math is wrong. If I have the numbers right it looks more like this:

    The A’s eat WT’s salary +$4,000,000
    The A’s pay AR’s salary + 400,000
    The A’s KEEP AM’s Cubs money – 1,000,000
    The Reds pay AM’s salary – 2,700,000

    Net difference for the A’s =$ 700,000.

    A net cost to the A’s of $700,000 after it’s all said and done. Somebody check my figures and make sure I got it right.

  64. BJ Ruble

    @hoosierdad: They must really like Adam Rosales because it doesn’t make much sense to make this deal from the A’s perspective any other way.

    • hoosierdad

      BJ Ruble: @hoosierdad: They must really like Adam Rosales because it doesn’t make much sense to make this deal from the A’s perspective any other way.

      In looking at a couple of the A’s fan sites, they like Miles even less than we liked WT. A lot of the fans think they got a steal in getting ANYTHING for Miles. Several have said WJ got fleeced.

      Many of them have been looking at his Adam’s 2009 (and 2008) minor league stats and are convinced he is a MAJOR upgrade from Miles.

  65. GregD

    I think
    (1) “the A’s likely will release him and eat the majority of his $4 million salary for 2010.”
    and
    (2)”They saved $1.7 million by trading Miles.”

    are intended to be two separate statements in this story, but the sentence structure and wording is weak.

    The A’s received $1 million from the Cubs when they acquired Miles. Trading Miles frees up the $1.7 million they would have had to pay him from their coffers. They saved $1.7 million on Miles contract only.

    Separately, they will eat $4million if no one else claims Taveras. The waiver period hasn’t expired yet, so their net cost in this transaction is yet to be determined.

  66. david

    @GregD: It’s hard to do all the math without knowing what money is changing hands etc. For example, I’ve not heard if the Cubs’ million follows Miles to the Reds.

    Also, I’m pretty sure Rosales will make more than $400k, due to yearly raises for players under team control.

    Walt Jocketty was on Lance yesterday. He said the team actually reduced payroll in the two deals.

  67. Travis G.

    This Fangraphs analysis pretty much mirrors my own thoughts:

    “From a resource standpoint, it doesn’t appear that this is the best use of the Reds’ money. On the surface, Cabrera doesn’t appear to be a major upgrade over Janish. However, we can’t evaluate this deal in a vacuum. The Reds don’t have any other major holes in their roster, perhaps apart from depth. Given the lack of game-changing talent left on the free agent market, both at the SS position and overall, Cabrera should be a good addition. Cabrera won’t be a significant overpay unless his fielding collapse is real, and the depth added by this move could be key if the Reds find themselves in contention this year.”

    Agreed. They could have gotten more bang for their buck with a LF, but it would have been irresponsible to go into spring training with — at best — one ML-caliber SS in the entire organization. If none of the in-house LF options pans out and they’re in contention, a corner OF should be easier to pick up than a credible SS.

  68. jason1972

    What are the real experts saying about Cabrera? By that I mean the professional guys who actually go to the park everyday and participate/report on the game in some way, as opposed to the ones who spend all of their time bent over computers staring at spreadsheets while they eat Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.

    • GregD

      david: @GregD: It’s hard to do all the math without knowing what money is changing hands etc. For example, I’ve not heard if the Cubs’ million follows Miles to the Reds.

      The numbers have been reported. From what I’ve read, the Cubs sent cash to the A’s, they didn’t agree to pay a portion of Miles contract. So, that money stays in Oakland. The A’s will send cash (we don’t know how much) or a PTBNL to complete this deal with Cincinnati.

      david: @GregD: Walt Jocketty was on Lance yesterday. He said the team actually reduced payroll in the two deals.

      Possibly semantics. It depends on how the Reds are accounting for bonuses and buyout options. Cabrera’s salary is less than $1M this year, but his bonus puts his total compensation at $2M. If they are only counting salaries of the players involved, then yes, 2010 salary has been reduced.

      jason1972: What are the real experts saying about Cabrera? By that I mean the professional guys who actually go to the park everyday and participate/report on the game in some way, as opposed to the ones who spend all of their time bent over computers staring at spreadsheets while they eat Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.

      Are you talking about professional sports writers?

    • Steve

      You mean real experts like Dusty Baker?

      jason1972: What are the real experts saying about Cabrera? By that I mean the professional guys who actually go to the park everyday and participate/report on the game in some way, as opposed to the ones who spend all of their time bent over computers staring at spreadsheets while they eat Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.

    • Travis G.

      jason1972: What are the real experts saying about Cabrera? By that I mean the professional guys who actually go to the park everyday and participate/report on the game in some way, as opposed to the ones who spend all of their time bent over computers staring at spreadsheets while they eat Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.

      *This message was sent via Telecopier from the ballpark.

  69. david

    @GregD: I’m curious to know if the Reds have separate budgets for bonus money and salary. The way the Reds talk about it makes me think there may be separate budgets.

    @jason1972: The real experts are saying exactly what we are saying, which is based on Cabrera’s age, recent performance, and understood rate of decline Cabrera is a marginal upgrade over Janish. I fear we will endure two months of suck before Janish is brought up (assuming Sutton/Miles are on the bench).

    • jason1972

      Unless I am misreading you, in the same post that you concede Cabrera is an upgrade over Janish you predict Janish will have to be called up to replace him.

      david: @GregD: I’m curious to know if the Reds have separate budgets for bonus money and salary.The way the Reds talk about it makes me think there may be separate [email protected]jason1972: The real experts are saying exactly what we are saying, which is based on Cabrera’s age, recent performance, and understood rate of decline Cabrera is a marginal upgrade over Janish.I fear we will endure two months of suck before Janish is brought up (assuming Sutton/Miles are on the bench).

  70. preach

    How did the A’s and Reds BOTH save money on this deal? Me confused.

  71. indy Doug

    uhhmn,…..who did the math on this deal? $770,000 + 1.25 Million bonus does not equal $2.00 Mill. It does = $1.95 mill. :mrgreen:

    • indy Doug

      indy Doug: uhhmn,…..who did the math on this deal? $770,000 + 1.25 Million bonus does not equal $2.00 Mill. It does = $1.95 mill.

      I meant $2.02 MILL. AS REPORTED 😳
      @indy Doug:

  72. Glenn

    Any word on who’s coming off the 40 man roster?

  73. Glenn

    BTW, IMO Janish is not a .230 hitter until he actually hits .230. Cabrera is a .270 hitter because he’s done it…several times. At this point, I don’t see anyway that the addition of Cabrera is anything but an upgrade to this team.

    $3million is not bad at all for a player with his service length and his ML track record. The proof will come during the season. There’s no way any of us can know what the future will bring.

  74. preach

    Cabrera is much more than a marginal upgrade. And the money is not bad. If Janish can maintain a spot on the bench, and we have an established backup for Joey, then I really like our infield starters and bench guys.

  75. TC

    @jason1972: I think david.. or GregD… or whoever is first quoting the experts, then he states what he feels will happen.

  76. BJ Ruble

    @preach: The bench is actually not looking bad, but I don’t like the fact there isn’t anyone to back-up Votto at 1B. That is why I wouldn’t mind a guy like Hank Blalock on a minor league deal to back-up the corner infield spots as well as having power off the bench.

  77. hoosierdad

    Last year Hernandez played 30 games at first base. So he should be a viable option there. Not that I would prefer it, but Aaron Miles can play there. For an extended absence (injury, etc.) there’s always Alonso or Frazier (he’s played about 50 games there). Chris Burke has played a little 1st base in the majors.

  78. BJ Ruble

    @hoosierdad: Hernandez was serviceable there last year, Miles is awful, and I’m not sure Frazier or Alonso are ready for the ML (plus starts service time).

  79. Ellis Otte

    Oh. My. Gawd. Hahaha.

    Willy Taveras is jobless. Not for too long, since the A’s will either lose him on waivers — not sure lose is the right word here — or he could find himself in Triple-A. His employment in limbo stems, in large part, because his on-base percentage was .275 last season. Here’s some food for thought. Zack Greinke was pretty much the best pitcher in the American League last season. Greinke’s on-base percentage against was .276. That means, Taveras got on base less against all pitchers faced than the rest of baseball did against the league’s best pitcher.

  80. GregD

    @jason1972: I don’t know that I what call what David said a “prediction”. He said he fears that possibility.

  81. hoosierdad

    @BJ Ruble: Oh, I wasn’t saying any of them would/should be a long-term replacement. Just saying in a pinch they could play the position. Hey, given his batting stats I might put Owings there, in a pinch. lol

  82. david

    @jason1972: To clarify, all of the “experts” any of us have access to via mass media consider Cabrera to be, at best, a marginal improvement.

    The major projection system run by “experts,” PECOTA, has projections of the two players, which is far less optimistic. CHONE projects Cabrera’s value at 0.5 wins above replacement, Janish’s projected value is 1.5 wins above replacement.

    At about 4 million per win, that makes his contract about right. The problem I have is that the deal is not a SUBSTANTIAL upgrade over Janish, so why make the deal? Imagine paying five dollars for a Coca Cola when you’ve got a Pepsi sitting in front of you that you bought for $0.50.

    Better yet, imagine giving Willy Taveras when Dickerson and Stubbs are sitting there ready to play an equal or better CF. How is this deal any different?

    Last year Cabrera’s value was 0.6 wins above replacement. Granted, last season was the first time since 2004 Cabrera’s value dropped below 2.5. So it is possible he rebounds from an awful season. However, I don’t think that is going to happen.

    If you read the many articles which I’ve posted on Cabrera, you’ll see that his best asset, speed, has steadily declined. He’s a guy that has to hit .290 to be useful given his poor OBP and inability to take walks. With less speed, Cabrera is far less likely to maintain a high average.

    In conclusion, the Reds spent $3 million on a wash. There is certainly a chance that Cabrera rebounds. Just as there was a chance that WT would rebound last season. I hope Cabrera does rebound. However, my fear is that Cabrera further declines and the Reds have a two-hole hitting SS who can’t get on base…. again.

  83. Wishbone D

    So…”If” his ability declines he’ll be “a wash at best” for the club? Not that I’m all that excited about signing him, but that statement doesn’t mean much.

    • david

      Wishbone D: So…”If” his ability declines he’ll be “a wash at best” for the club? Not that I’m all that excited about signing him, but that statement doesn’t mean much.

      If your quotes, which I think are inaccurate, is what you took from my post, then I might not have stated my position clearly. There are two eparate arguments at play.

      My first argument is that Paul Janish, according to CHONE projections, has more value than Cabrera. CHONE has Cabrera at 0.5. I’m not that pessimistic. The CHONE projections came out before he joined the Reds; therefore, I think his defensive measures will be far better while he is playing between Rolen and BP. As a result, I think you have a 1.0 WAR player in Cabrera. Could he bounce back to a 2.0 WAR player? I think it’s possible but unlikely.

      On the flip side, Janish is projected at 1.5 WAR. Cabrera projects much more easily than Janish given a better sample size of data. That said, I too figure Janish to be in the 0.5 – 2.0 WAR range.

      In other words, you have guys with identical WAR value i.e. a wash.

      Secondly, I’m pointing out that Cabrera’s deal, based on his projected value, is in line with market expectations. While the Reds did not “overpay” for Cabrera’s services in terms of offering fair market value, the Reds “overpaid” in the sense that there is an equal option available at a lower cost.

      To me the Reds wasted $3 million on Cabrera. They have a guy in Janish who should be just as valuable as Cabrera for near league minimum, so why spend the extra $3 million when you are already, allegedly, strapped for cash?

  84. GregD

    @Wishbone D: That’s what I’m thinking. Cabrera’s floor is Janish’s ceiling, IMO.

    @david: The difference between Cabrera and Taveras was the Dickerson/Stubbs have much higher upside than Janish, and the Taveras deal was a 2-yr contract.

    And I’d rather pay $5 for the Coke than pay anything for a Pepsi! 😀

  85. TC

    @david: I get you. I also agree. But since it’s 3 huge not coming out of my pocket, I’m not too worried about it at this point. If all Cabrera has to do is not suck too badly to be as good as Janish, then I’m all in. I don’t have that low of a reguard for Janish, but hey, I’m thrilled WT is gone and the Reds are still tied for 1st place, so I’m pretty amenable right now.

  86. Glenn

    David, please don’t take offense to this, but the CHONE and WAR predictions just don’t do it for me. I can’t imagine that WJ consults CHONE before he sits down with the other GMs.

    I’ve always went with the old school approach that the best indicator of future performance is past performance. I’m sure the recomendations of scouts and other baseball people who have actually watched Cabrera and others play in weighted more heavily come decision time.

    All these new stats are intriguing and fun to sort through, but they still play the games with real people.

    As for the cost, I’m with TC on this one. The money’s not coming out of my pocket. I’m glad the team is willing to open up the wallet a little. Let’s see what happens.

  87. preach

    I think the D’backs were working out Owings at first for a while. I don’t think the experiment was given up on because he couldn’t do it, but because their bench situation changed. I don’t really remember the particulars. I think it would be really cool to have Owings at first as a late replacement and perhaps move him to the mound to pitch to a couple batters at the right time.

    The problem with using Hernandez as your primary 1b backup is then you run the risk of burning your catchers and we are left with the possibilty of the three catcher monstrosity.

    I was pleasently suprised at how well Ramon performed at first, I guess he plays a lot there in winter leagues, but having a third catcher on the bench makes my stomach hurt.

    • hoosierdad

      preach: I think the D’backs were working out Owings at first for a while. I don’t think the experiment was given up on because he couldn’t do it, but because their bench situation changed. I don’t really remember the particulars. I think it would be really cool to have Owings at first as a late replacement and perhaps move him to the mound to pitch to a couple batters at the right time. The problem with using Hernandez as your primary 1b backup is then you run the risk of burning your catchers and we are left with the possibilty of the three catcher monstrosity. I was pleasently suprised at how well Ramon performed at first, I guess he plays a lot there in winter leagues, but having a third catcher on the bench makes my stomach hurt.

      I agree about Hernandez. I wouldn’t want him as a long term 1st baseman. But he could play there for a few games if needed. Your Owings comment is pretty amazing. I was wondering when I wrote my first post about 1st base if there was any thought given to playing him there. I know he played outfield in college.

  88. david

    @Glenn: What do you think CHONE projections are based upon? PECOTA stands for Player Empirical Comparison and Optimization Test Algorithm. Advanced algorithms based on empirical data i.e. past performance seems to be exactly what you are looking for

  89. Glenn

    David, I’m not trying to sell the math majors short here. It’s just my eyes glaze over when the conversation turns to “advanced algorithms” to determine future human performance/behavior. I wonder if it takes the human factor out of it.

    Somehow, I don’t see WJ or most other baseball executive types consulting CHONE, or Pecota when setting up a roster.

    The way I see it the Reds picked up a .270 hitter for a .210 hitter. In doing so, they traded offense for some defense.
    8)

    • Travis G.

      Glenn: David,I’m not trying to sell the math majors short here. It’s just my eyes glaze over when the conversation turns to “advanced algorithms” to determine future human performance/behavior. I wonder if it takes the human factor out of it.

      Pretty sure that’s the point of statistics, is to eliminate the errors present in the subjective human factor. The subjective human factor, on the other hand, can help sort through statistical noise.

      Any team that doesn’t use both is, well, probably the Royals. More information = better. You might see something you’d never noticed before.

  90. Matt WI

    @Glenn: I absolutley hope Walt Jocketty is looking at those stats. Bill James consults for the Red Sox for crying out loud. No, projections are not the end all be all, but I’d rather go into a deal using all the information at my disposal to help inform my “gut” at the end. As Greg points out, stats are just a quantification of past behavior. And… some people make really, really, good money on Wall St. using advanced algorithims. All things in their place.

  91. Glenn

    ok, caveman gets it. Stats good…gut bad. 😀

  92. david

    @Glenn: I don’t think anyone is saying that the eye of a scout doesn’t have merit. It does. Statistics cannot tell the whole picture. Statistics treat an out is an out is an out. A hit is scored as a hit even if the defender misreads the fly and gets a bad jump. Craig Counsell vastly improved upon his game this past year by tweaking his wildly popular stance, shortening his swing, and allowing him to be a better hitter.

    So, trust me, I understand where you are coming from.

    However, advanced metrics, etc. are important to predicting future performance as much as anything.

  93. Glenn

    DAvid, My point was not that stats are unimportant, but rather that human beings still have to go out and play the game and in my mind the observations of coaches and scouts USUALLY trump all. I may have unitentionally tweaked some of the sabermetrics devotees. In the end, I think you and I are more in agreement than disagreement. Thanks for the debate.

    • Tom Diesman

      Glenn: DAvid, My point was not that stats are unimportant, but rather that human beings still have to go out and play the game and in my mind the observations of coaches and scouts USUALLY trump all.I may have unitentionally tweaked some of the sabermetrics devotees.In the end, I think you and I are more in agreement than disagreement.Thanks for the debate.

      The bottom line to this debate is that if you are not doing a combination of scouting and stats analysis, you are probably not being successful. Neither one in itself is going to be successful, you have to consider both. The Reds stats expert, uh, yeah, what’s his name, they talk about him all the time don’t they? Oh yeah, I forgot, we haven’t won since 2000. They must be missing something.