Originally Posted by M2
I was using their career numbers on the estimation and adjusting for Donald being in his prime and Izturis well past his. Plus, Donald can get a few HRs out of the GAB.
Castro, with the Reds (which is the reference point I use for him) was a .628 OPS and 61 OPS+. That's better than what Izturis can do these days.
And Cozart's likely to start 150 games this coming season. Izturis is completely useless on the bench. He can't PH, he's past being a PR, he isn't going to the Reds' best defender at any position. It's like having a 24-man roster. I'd much rather give Donald those starts. He played 415 games at SS in the minors and he'd have played more of it in the majors except Asdrubal Cabrera had that position locked down in Cleveland. Donald won't be anything flashy there, but he'll supply Keppinger-level defense. He's shown some ability to hit LHPs (something the Reds need off the bench), he's got a little speed, he offers better positional versatility (Donald can play OF if needed). I'll take the guy who has uses in 162 games over the guy who only has a use in 12.
How do we figure that Cozart is going to start 150 games next year when he started 136 last year (138 GP, but 2 PH PAs)? Furthermore, it is not like Dusty likes to play his starters (even his superstars) every day. Only two guys actually started more games than Cozart last year and that was Bruce (150) and Brandon (145). Sure, Votto probably would have broken 136 if he was healthy the whole year, but it is pretty telling that only two guys started 137+ last year. I think there is a much better chance that Cozart starts 136 games than 150 next year. Let's split the difference and say that Cozart starts 143 games next year. That still means Cozart is on the bench for the majority of 19 games next year. During those games, do you really want Jason Donald as the starting shortstop?
Sure, he played 415 games there in the minors, but it's not like he played it well. Every advanced defensive metric says that he has been terrible at short throughout his major league career. You give the Keppinger defensive comparison, which is a good one. Both are terrible defensive shortstops. The difference between Kepp and Donald is that Kepp is a much better hitter. Kepp has a career .733 OPS with a .806 OPS last year and Donald has a career .672 OPS with a .529 OPS last year. It is also telling that Keppinger hasn't played short at all since 2010 and not over 87 innings since 2008, as a Red.
Also, going to your point of Donald being valuable for 162 games while Izturis would only be valuable for 12, I will go back to my point that Donald is taking Valdez' spot on the bench. Sure, Donald is a better hitter than Valdez, still Donald is definitely behind Heisey and Paul on the bench pecking order, and probably Hannahan as well. Furthermore, he should be behind Mesigan, but he may still get PAs over them. Valdez got 15 PH PAs last year, I would doubt Donald/Izturis would get more than 25 PH PAs in 2013.
Furthermore, Donald isn't a better defender than any starter, so it's not like he can help with the glove off the bench either.
In addition, Donald has 12 steals in 170 games in the bigs and he hasn't stolen more than 12 bases in any pro season, so he doesn't add any speed off the bench either. Izturis may not have the speed he had in 2008 when he had 24 steals, but I don't think speed is an advantage to Donald. I think it's a push.
So it comes down to the value of Izturis being the better defensive shortstop when the backup gets to start around 20 games next year compared to Donald being the marginally better hitter (which he wasn't last year) in 25 PH PAs.
The more I look into this, the more I think Izturis should have this bench spot over Donald.