Yearly Archives: 2010

December 17, 2010

Second Verse, Same As the First

You may remember last year at this time how Paul Janish was preparing to become the team’s everyday, starting shortstop. That didn’t happen, thanks to the February 2010 signing of Orlando Cabrera.

So far, this off-season is shaping up to be a repeat of last year. Cabrera was not re-signed, leaving Janish as the only player on the major league roster capable of playing shortstop. Janish’s 2010 was much more promising than his 2009. This season, Janish improved his batting average, not out percentage, and his slugging percentage. All the while, his defense seems to be better than any the Reds have had in many years up the middle.

I wasn’t too happy with the Cabrera signing. Clearly, the Reds weren’t happy enough with his performance to pick up his $4 million option for 2011. Janish has shown that he can produce as much offensively and better defensively than Cabrera, and for the minimum wage.

According to an article from Mark Sheldon, it sounds like manager Dusty Baker is ready to give Janish the ball daily, too.

Asked if Janish was ready to be “the guy” at shortstop next season, Baker replied, “Yeah, I think so.”

“He showed improvement offensively,” Baker said. “There is no better place to serve your apprenticeship, get time in the big leagues and time in service than he had in that role before.”

Obviously, if by some roster and payroll miracle, Hanley Ramirez becomes available, I’d prefer that upgrade. Since that won’t happen, I’d really like to see Paul Janish have a year at shortstop.

December 14, 2010

Too Many Bruce Contract One Liners

The Cincinnati Reds officially announced today that they have come to an agreement with right-fielder Jay Bruce to lock him up for 6 years.

Apparently Bruce hadn’t heard that that’s an overwhelming thing to ask a young person like himself, when he doesn’t know where he’s going to be in one, two, three years.

The Cincinnati Reds officially announced today that they have come to an agreement with right-fielder
Jay Bruce to lock him up for 6 years.

Now where is Willy Taveras supposed to play??

The Cincinnati Reds officially announced today that they have come to an agreement with right-fielder
Jay Bruce to lock him up for 6 years.

The guaranteed contract ensures Bruce will receive $51 million, even if he goes all Austin Kearns on us.

December 13, 2010

What the Cardinals are Doing

While the Cincinnati Reds haven’t been too active this off-season, with the exception of re-signing a player or extending others, what have the St. Louis Cardinals, second-place finishers in 2010, been doing? About the same thing as the Reds, actually.

The Cardinals re-signed their mid-season acquisition Jake Westbrook, giving them a projected 2011 rotation of Chris Carpenter, Adam Wainwright, Jaime Garcia, Westbrook, and Kyle Lohse. That’s a solid rotation, although not without its questions, especially in terms of staying healthy for both Carpenter and Lohse.

As for the team’s offense, which seemed a bigger issue in their season-ending collapse, the team has added Lance Berkman, apparently to play left field. Berkman last played left field in 2006. He last spent significant time in the outfield in 2007.

The team also traded for former Chicago Cub Ryan Theriot to take over shortstop duties for Brendan Ryan, who pissed off Chris Carpenter several times last year because he was more relaxed than the uptight pitcher. Theriot is slightly better at the plate and slightly worse in the field, so this particular move is unlikely to bring any overall change to the team, other than to make everyone even more careful around the holy Carpenter.

Of course, the biggest news concerning the Cardinals has been something they have yet to do: sign Albert Pujols to an extension. His current contract runs out at the end of the 2011 season, and with the crazy money free agents who are far less capable than Pujols, he stands to make a metric crap-ton of money.

Jayson Stark had a nice article examining the Cardinals Pujols situation last week. The Cardinals are facing some payroll issues.

They already figure to be on the hook for about $68.4 million, just for six players, in 2012, assuming they pick up options on the nearly equally indispensable Chris Carpenter, Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina. Now if you add another $30 million for Pujols, they’d be closing in on $100 million for just 28 percent of their roster — this for a team that had a $113 million payroll last season.

That’s a tough place to be. I’ve seen a team who devoted an unseemly high percentage of its payroll to one player. That didn’t end well (2000-2008 Reds, I’m looking at you). The Cardinals are going to have to increase their payroll, get very creative with contracts, or look at a future without Albert Pujols.

I have a hard time envisioning the latter, as do most Cardinals fans, I’m sure, but it’s one that would make me happy.

December 10, 2010

Reds Love Jay Bruce Long Time

Bruce warming up with the ball boy.Jay Bruce has signed a 6-year contract with the Cincinnati Reds, according to ESPN.

Bruce had been forthcoming about his desire to stay with the Reds just last weekend at RedsFest. “This is the place I want to be,” he said then. “We’re in a great position as far as the team, and the front office is doing all the things necessary in order for us to continue to win. That’s what I want to be a part of. I’d love to be here.”

And he will be. The deal is reportedly for 6 years and $51 million. There is also a club option for a seventh year, which would bring the contract’s total value to $63 million. The guaranteed contract eliminates the need for salary arbitration for Bruce this year, as well as keeping him with the club for several years into what would have been his first free agent foray.

With career highs in all the best offensive categories (25 home runs, 70 RBI, .281 average, 35.3 Not Out Percentage, and .493 Slugging), Bruce established himself well in his age 23 season. There is definitely potential for growth and improvement, too.

This deal could prove to be a bargain if Bruce continues to improve. Even with the same production as 2010, I think it’s worth it. Bruce’s excellent, gold-glove level defense in right field isn’t something that’s likely to degrade, either. Unlike the other two signings this off-season by the Reds, it is refreshing to have a reasonable expectation of improvement for a player. I look forward to seeing Bruce patrolling right field for the foreseeable future.

December 9, 2010

Miguel Cairo Comes Back Twice

Yesterday, towards the end of the day, the Cincinnati Reds made their only move of the 2010 Winter Meetings. They re-signed Miguel Cairo to a 2-year deal.

The contract is 2 years for $2 million, so an average of a million dollars each year. The length of the contract is…odd. Cairo will be 37 next year, and 38 when he finishes the deal. I know he’s signed only as a backup infielder, but color me skeptical about the production he’s likely to put up by the end of things.

Cairo was a great bench guy last season, filling in admirably when Joey Votto was injured. But in many ways, it was a career year. He had an on-base plus slugging percentage (OPS) of .763. The only time in his career that he’s performed better as a hitter was way back in 2001 at age 27 when he put up a .782 mark. His not-out percantage (NOP) of 35.3% was the second-best of his career, too. Both were well above his career averages of .678 OPS and a a NOP of 31.7%. What I’m saying is that Cairo will play more like he has during his career, possibly a little worse, and expecting him to contribute offensively as he did in 2010 is not rational.

A one year deal would have been fine. Signing him to 2 years seems to me to be more of a risk than it’s worth, especially with the younger, cheaper players available in the farm system.