Janish Signs with Rockies

I always wanted to see my name in headlines …

No worries, I’m not packing up for Colorado to be the Rockies’ bullpen catcher. Rather, Paul Janish has signed a minor-league deal with the Rox. In addition to having a great surname, the shortstop has great hands, strong arm, and stellar glove. Unfortunately, he can’t hit — essentially, he’s a modern-day Mario Mendoza. He’s so poor offensively, I don’t allow him to pronounce his last name correctly, to save the family from embarrassment.

Seriously, though, in which scenario would the Mets be better off, in the event Ruben Tejada went down? Omar Quintanilla‘s below-average to average defense and .220 hitting, or Paul Janish’s excellent defense and .190-.210 hitting? In similar MLB time, Quintanilla has a career .584 OPS (in 1131 plate appearances), while Janish is at .572. (1206 PA). Strangely enough, Janish puts the ball in play more often than one might expect for such a low-average hitter — he’s struck out 175 times in his career, or about once every 7 plate appearances (6.9 to be exact). That’s not very good, but I’d expect more whiffs from a guy who is constantly struggling to stay above the Mendoza Line (in contrast, Quintanilla has struck out 233 times, or once about every 5 times to the plate (4.85).

What’s the point? Personally, if I can’t get much offense at a position, then I’d like to at least get very good defense if possible. The two positions on the field where I’d consider giving up offense completely in return for outstanding defense are catcher and shortstop, because I believe that defense at those two positions can have more of an impact on winning (or losing) than any other place on the field (well, except for the guy standing on the little hill in the middle of the diamond). But, that’s just me; I’m sure there are stats somewhere that completely squash my theory.

Not that it matters — what’s done is done. Quintanilla is back with the Mets, and Janish is with the Rockies. And I just had a great excuse to type “Janish” a half-dozen times.

What’s your thought? If it’s not Ruben Tejada at shortstop — for whatever reason — are you happy with Quintanilla? Would you prefer someone with a better glove? Would you go with a lesser glove, and better bat? Would you like to see me warming up pitchers in Colorado? Sound off in the comments.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. NormE February 3, 2014 at 2:14 pm
    Looking at Q and Tejada both with the bat and glove (neither has any speed) I would say that Q is lucky to have a job and Tejada at his best (2012) is probably below average.
    The best available answer is Drew. If the Mets won’t spring for Drew, and the spin on Tejada working out in Michigan indicates that, then it doesn’t matter if it’s Q or Tovar or Tejada. Alderson has failed to upgrade both SS and 1B. Maybe he’ll surprise us in the days ahead, but I’m not holding my breath.
  2. Eric Schwartz February 3, 2014 at 3:32 pm
    I don’t want to see Quintanilla at shortstop under any circumstances. What happened to the Tejada who hit .290 the first year after Reyes? I’d five him one more chance to regain his form. He must have been taking something last year — that’s the only way I can rationalize his complete collapse. Players can have individual bad years — look at Roy Campanella in 1954 — but their fielding usually stays the same.

    If Tejada doesn’t recover, the Mets will HAVE to get a shortsop in the free agent market next year.

  3. DaveSchneck February 3, 2014 at 4:36 pm
    I give Q a lot of credit for making it to the bigs, and being the SS in the only no hitter in Met history. That said, if he makes the 25 man roster for opening day, that is a really really bad sign for the Mets. I too would prefer Yanish and his glove at .190 over Q at .220. And, on top of that, I’d prefer Drew with Tejada subbing vs. LHP for him and Murphy.
  4. argonbunnies February 4, 2014 at 1:30 am
    Isn’t Ronny Cedeno a better hitter and fielder than Q? Coulda brought him back, now that his dreams of everyday play have been dashed. Dunno how he and Janish compare defensively. I recall Janish being slick, but not having jaw-dropping range or anything. His overall upgrade over Q would probably be small.

    Reports today claim the Sox offered Drew 2 years. I am a little confused about Boston’s plan. Isn’t blocking Bogaerts a really bad idea? Have they given up on Middlebrooks? I always figured that if the Mets went to two years, they’d beat out Boston. Perhaps not.

    • Joe Janish February 5, 2014 at 12:50 am
      Regarding Cedeno vs. Q, yeah, I said as much a few weeks ago – http://www.metstoday.com/9103/13-14-offseason/izturis-cedeno-francis-young-off-the-table/.

      I don’t think the Bosox are guaranteeing Drew a starting job — what I’ve heard is he’ll be an expensive utilityman. It makes sense for a team focused on the postseason to have a guy like Drew as insurance behind Bogaerts / Middlebrooks. And if it turns out he’s not needed, there’s a good chance someone will be willing to peddle a prospect or two for his services at the deadline. Remember when the Mets traded for two months of Mike Bordick? When the Mariners — and later, the Braves — made a desperation deal for Jack Wilson? Defense at shortstop is highly valued by clubs looking to get into the playoffs.

      • DaveSchneck February 5, 2014 at 3:26 pm
        We all (including me) keep commenting on Drew like he is Rogers Horsnby, but in the depths of the offseason I guess Drew is the “hot topic”. The Mets have two advantages over the Red Sox. First, he should get more playing time on the Mets, which will put him in a better position for his next contract. Second, since the Red sox now get a supplemental pick if he signs elsewhere, re-signing Drew actually costs the Sox a pick, and one much higher than the Mets’ 3rd rounder. I would not give Drew more than two years, but I don’t think it makes any sense to sign him for only one year. Two years plus an option for a 3rd year for say 500AB in 2015 would be fair.
        • Joe Janish February 6, 2014 at 11:34 am
          Compared to the current projected Mets lineup, and the shortstops in particular, Drew might just be Rogers Hornsby.

          Can’t trust Scott Boras — he’s going to pull a third, mystery team out of his butt. Watch Drew sign with someone like the Angels, out of the blue.