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Jason Donald Oct 2, 2012; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Indians shortstop Jason Donald (16) rounds first base on a double in the tenth inning against the Chicago White Sox at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Jack Hannahan and Jason Donald: Comparing the Cincinnati Reds' Duo to Cairo and Valdez

Jack Hannahan Apr 28, 2012; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Indians third baseman Jack Hannahan (9) in the first inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

At the end of the 2012 season, utility infielders Miguel Cairo and Wilson Valdez both became free agents. Therefore, it became necessary for the Muckety mucks in the front office to procure someone to fill those vacancies.

Reds’ GM Walt Jocketty picked up Jason Donald in the deal that brought Shin-Soo Choo to the Queen City and sent Drew Stubbs to Cleveland. In an unlikely bidding war the Reds won the jackpot by signing free agent Jack Hannahan to a two-year deal.

Cairo had been a valuable bench player since coming over from the Philadelphia Phillies in 2010. In 2012 he had a dreadful time of it and failed to hit the Mendoza line batting only .187.  Cairo could play nearly every position on the field, spending the bulk of his time last year at 1B. At 38, he has probably seen his best days, or perhaps his last days.

Valdez was signed last season as a free agent and although having a couple clutch hits, his season was less than memorable while compiling a .206 BA. Normally a middle infielder, he also played eight games at the hot corner and five in center field. He, too, is becoming ‘long in the tooth’ as far as baseball players are concerned. He may last a little while longer but his days are probably numbered.

                                            REDS UTILITY INFIELDER COMPARISON

Player PA AVG OBP SLG R HR RBI SB BB K BABIP OPS+ WAR
Jack Hannahan 1665 .234 .316 .355 152 28 159 6 172 385 .296 85 5.4
Jason Donald 603 .257 .309 .362 70 7 43 12 34 145 .335 89 0.4
Miguel Cairo 4392 .264 .314 .361 504 41 394 139 243 482 .289 77 6.9
Wilson Valdez 1240 .236 .281 .313 131 6 107 17 89 173 .273 59 0.6

                             (Data for table extracted from Fangraphs and Baseball-Reference)

Let us have a look at what we have coming in the Spring. Hannahan played 86 of his 105 games in 2012 at 3B for the Indians. He has been around the block and is no spring chicken at 32. He hits from the left side and there isn’t much difference in his splits between righties and southpaws. Hannahan does not have the power that you would like for a corner infielder but he is going to be a backup to Todd Frazier.

Donald, the youngster in this foursome at 28, is a utility man to the core, playing every position except 1B and he hasn’t worked behind the plate. Most of his time has been split between shortstop and second base. He has very little power and hits lefties to the tune of .282 and righties at .245. He has only been in the big leagues for three years and the most PA he has had in a season is 325 in his rookie campaign. According to Cot’s Baseball Contracts he is under club control until 2017 and isn’t scheduled for arbitration until 2014.

Hannahan and Donald look to be a decent upgrade to the departed Cairo and Valdez. I hope the Pirates don’t get rid of their closer Joel Hanrahan. I look forward to the matchup and can hear the Cowboy say, “Hanrahan deals to Hannahan.”

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Tags: Cincinnati Reds Jack Hanahan Jason Donald

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