This Cincinnati Reds Bench and The Production


Apr 26 2013; Washington, D.C., USA; Izturis at bat in the sixth inning against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park. The Nationals defeated the Reds 1-0. (Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports)

One area the Reds looked to improve upon from 2012 to this season was that of the bench. More specifically, the infield side of things. As I view the offensive numbers this morning, here’s what I see:

Jack Hannahan: .214/.290/.286
Cesar Izturis: .145/.232/.161

Remember when we were howling about the atrocious bench from last season? There were issues about not having a solid lefty bat until the arrival of Xavier Paul, but even then, the vast amount of criticism centered around the infield bench players.

This is what the 2012 duo produced:

Wilson Valdez: .206/.236/.227
Miguel Cairo: .187/.212/.280

Where is the improvement? As you can clearly see, the infield bench is no better thus far in 2013 than it was in 2012. I’m not expecting these guys to go out and produce a triple slash of .300/.400/.500 by any means. I’d settle for .230/.300/.310. Is that asking too much?

What I never truly understood was Izturis making the 25-man roster. If the Reds brass was looking for more offensive production from the infield bench players, especially when compared to the 2012 “variety”, he was clearly not the correct choice.

Even back in 2010 it was recognized that Izturis was a poor offensive player…and I’m bring exceptionally nice with that claim. Here. See for yourself (by Nathan Biemiller via Fangraphs).

"Why, then, is it with a contemptuous sneer that I note that Cesar Izturis is a +5.8 WAR player? Because that’s his career mark. As shocking (or not, if you happen to be an Orioles fan) as this may be, four months of 2010 Josh Hamilton has been more valuable than an entire decade of Cesar Izturis."

Even though the article is a bit dated, I highly suggest reading it in its entirety. I will add that as of today, Izturis’ career bWAR is 5.5 and career fWAR is 2.9.

Heading into this season, Hannahan owned a career triple slash of .234/.316/.355. After what he’s posted for this season, those have now obviously receded. One of the reasons Hannahan was brought in is because he is a great clubhouse guy. Same was said – and is still said – about Cairo.

When does the chemistry aspect give way to production? Hard question to answer. Many variables, I guess, go into forming that answer.

Now as of the last few games, there hasn’t been much of a choice but to use Hannahan and Izturis – mostly Izturis – due to the sore forearm of Brandon Phillips. I get that.

Other options? There are some. May not make you jump and down with extreme excitement, but I would surely think at least one of these guys would be better.

Emmanuel Burriss (.242/.298/.275 in 149 AB)
Jason Donald (.238/.273/.365 in 63 AB; currently on 7-day DL)
Henry Rodriguez (.279/.322/.367 in 229 AB)
Kristopher Negron (.254/.335/.359 in 142 AB)

Of the four, only Rodriguez is on the 40-man roster. He’s also having the best year at the plate of these four (not by much though), but his defense has been shaky. All have MLB experience with H-Rod and Negron having the least. Donald and Burriss have started and been MLB bench players. Only issue with Donald is that he’s currently on the DL.

I know it goes “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, but this was an area that was supposed to be fixed. wasn’t it?