Cincinnati Reds: What to Do with Paul Janish Now That Wilson Valdez Is on Board?

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Cincinnati Reds: What to Do with Paul Janish Now That Wilson Valdez Is on Board?
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Paul Janish

With the offseason signing of utility man Wilson Valdez, and last year's stellar rookie performance by Zack Cozart, has the light just dimmed on the career of Paul Janish?

Janish was the shortstop-to-be prior to the signing last winter of Edgar Renteria. After a respectable year at the plate in 2010, it looked like he was preparing to free himself from the "slick fielding, no hitting" moniker.

The shortstop position has been a proud tradition for Cincinnati fans. We went from Leo "Chico" Cardenas in the sixties and seventies, straight into Davey Concepcion and the Big Red Machine, until 1987 when he handed the reins over to Hall of Famer Barry Larkin. His last year was 2004.

That is not a bad track record, my good readers. Three shortstops in 42 years. Since then we have gone through Felipe Lopez, Alex Gonzalez, Jeff Keppinger, Orlando Cabrera and Renteria.

Janish was the understudy to Gonzalez, Keppinger and Cabrera and looked ready for a starting job during the winter of 2010-11.

With Renteria's arrival and manager Dusty Baker's predilection to play washed-up veterans over younger up-starts, it was not to be. He shared the position with Renteria and had a dismal season at the dish, offering up a slash line of .214/.259/.262/.521.

His melancholy hitting earned him a spot on the Louisville Bats roster for 13 games in which he batted .256.

Cozart was brought up from Louisville on July 7 and stayed for 11 games until he experienced a season-ending injury. He had very good numbers on such a small sampling. He hit .324/.324/.486/.811 with two HR in only 37 AB.

Will Janish ever be an MLB starting shortstop

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Janish saw his starting role and the job for which he had been auditioning for several years go down the drain. Everyone knew, I assume he did too, that Cozart had popped up and simply stole his job after only 11 games.

To add insult to injury, the Reds sent Jeremy Horst to Philadelphia for Valdez. I know Janish will have the opportunity to win the job at Goodyear, but come on, who believes he will?

Valdez is a slick fielder who has only two years experience on Janish (sure seems like more). But what he does bring to the table is the fact that he has played on two playoff teams and will surely win the favor of Baker right out of the box.

I may have counted wrong, but I believe Janish has one option (maybe two) left, so look for him to be starting at Louisville on Opening Day.

Valdez has no options, so unless Cozart breaks a leg or ends up like Steve Sax and can't throw to first base, he will be with the Reds on Opening Day at Great American Ball Park.

I do not intend to discredit or disrespect Janish in any way. He has played hard, been treated like a red-headed step child and still remained positive. The Reds had just signed him to a one-year $850K contract prior to signing Valdez.

Janish no longer has baby fat, as he is now 29 and his career looks like it is on the downhill drag. I wish nothing but the best for the young man, but I have him on the same petri dish as Todd Frazier right now. Too old to start over and too much time invested to give it up.

What do you think?

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