So, as far as position players are concerned, there's really only one spring training battle for a roster spot, right? That being Jason Donald v Cesar Izturis for the backup middle infielder job? I think the two backup OFs are set with Heisey and Paul. So, unless I'm missing something, that leaves just Donald v Izturis. I personally hope Izturis makes it just for the defensive aspect. Also, I hope Izturis is willing to accept an assignment to Louisville if he doesn't make the Reds' 25-man roster coming out of Goodyear.
Fully expect Izturis or any defensive CF to be at AAA.
Not sure the Reds would want another no-hit, all field, guy like Valdez on the bench.
I see very little competition this spring for position player spots.
Much still depends on whether or not Rolen decides to return - even for a bench role. Even with Rolen on the bench, it causes a domino effect for the other bench slots.
Opinions are like belly buttons. Everybody has one, and they don't want someone else's shoved into their face.
I guess there's a chance Hannahan could be the backup SS if Rolen does return. Probably wouldn't have much range, but if he's that great of a glove man at third, he could probably hold the fort down at SS if Cozart got a minor injury or something (nothing long-term). Has anyone seen Hannahan enough to know whether he's even an option as a backup SS? Again, not saying this is ideal, but if Rolen comes back, Hannahan would still be on the team in some capacity.
Donald is currently sporting a .257/.309/.362 career line with a glove that won't play at short and is average to below average around the rest of the infield.
Izturis has a .255/.294/.323 career line with a good glove at short who can also play the rest of the infield.
I used to like Donald a lot in the 2008-2009 time frame when we really needed a young SS. He has proven to be a AAAA player since that time. He is now 28 years old and had a terrible year at the plate and in the field last year.
Cesar Izturis is only 32 years old. We know he can't hit, but I am not sure his bat is that far behind Donald's. We also know for sure that his glove is better than Donald's.
The more I research these two guys, the more I think Izturis should have the bench spot over Donald.
With Cozart and Phillips such fine defenders, I don't see the need for a no-hit, good field guy as a backup. I think the Reds probably learned their lesson with Janish/Valdez. With a five man bench, have players who hit a little.
Now, if Cozart should get hurt, all bets are off, and Izturis could get quite a lot of playing time. I just think Donald will be deemed the better choice for the bench while Cozart and Phillips are starting most every day.
Last edited by Kc61; 01-15-2013 at 05:19 PM.
I think I would rather have a much better glove than a barely bat out of my backup middle infielder. The better glove would not be used as a defensive replacement for Phillips or Cozart, but rather as a helper to pitchers when Cozart and maybe Phillips need a day off. I am not sure Donald (or anyone else on the 25 man roster you propose) can play an average defensive shortstop when Cozart needs a day off. Izturis will give an above average defensive performance on those days off. Remember Zack had 24 games off last year and we will need someone to start shortstop when Dusty inevitably gives him a rest.
Technically the Reds can only keep one of them on the major league roster (assuming a seven-man pen, which is becoming standard practice) and I'd vastly prefer it be Donald. Izturis should be competing with Burriss in AAA to be the guy who gets the call if Cozart gets injured.
I'm witchcrafting everybody.
Who are you starting at short when Cozart needs a day off? The guy who has played 571 innings there, all below average using any defensive metric or the guy who has played 9152 innings there all above average? I won't be extremely mad if the Reds chose Donald over Izturis, but I certainly don't think it is a lock that Donald deserves that roster spot over Izturis.
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.
I'm witchcrafting everybody.
Izturis is a cheap rider on the SS insurance policy, nothing more.
Can't win with 'em
Can't win without 'em
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.