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Will Paul Janish or Zack Cozart Be The Cincinnati Reds 2012 SS?

CozartCincinnati Reds general manager Walt Jocketty and manager Dusty Baker place a high emphasis on defense, even to the point of sacrificing offense.

 Their high regard for defense is why last winter, after signing Edgar Renteria, both Jocketty and Baker called Paul Janish to reassure him he was their short-stop.

Baker commented then that Janish could be part of the offense by being a great defensive player. He reminded people that Dave Concepcion was not polished when he first came up.

"Davey was a skinny, little kid that got bigger and stronger and better. He hit around .200. If that happened now, they'd be ready to lynch everybody," Baker said.

Janish struggled during the 2011 season and in July Zack Cozart was called up to replace him. Cozart played well hitting .324 with two home runs and three RBI in 11 games before an elbow injury led to season ending surgery.

Heading into 2012,Cozart appears to be the leading candidate at short-stop. John Fay, Cincinnati Enquirer, believes the job is his to lose. In his article "Can Cozart be Reds' main man at shortstop?" he appears very high on Cozart.

"Cozart was having a breakout year at Louisville - .310 with a .357 on-base percentage with seven home runs and 32 RBI in 77 games," Fay wrote.

Although these are Cozart'sbest numbers, it is a stretch to call it a breakout year. But, his numbers impressed Fay enough to write "He showed the Reds enough that the job is his to lose going into spring training. In fact, the job was his for the rest of (the) year if he had not been hurt."

Fay's article leaves me with the impression that he believes Janish is done in Cincinnati. However, I believe, once again, Fay is wrong.

Cozart likely is the leading candidate, Baker and Jocketty have so much as said so.

"Of all the young guys who have come up, he (Cozart) looks the most ready to play winning baseball in all phases of the game," Baker said.

Jocketty said, "We're hoping he's the guy.

Baker and Jocketty seem hopeful of Cozart, but I don't believe Baker has just yet given up on Janish.Keep in mind he come on strong in September, hitting .321 over a 13 game stretch, and Baker says he is "one of the best-liked guys on this team".

In July when Janish was sent down, according to Mike Bauman/, Baker said this:

"Paul Janish was putting a lot of pressure on himself, and his confidence was waning some. He needs to go down there and, more than anything, get his confidence together. He's definitely a quality shortstop, definitely a proven shortstop, one of the best there is, I think. It's just a matter of him getting his stroke together and his confidence together."

Contrary to Fay's opinion, I look for the Reds to sign Janish and  give Cozart some good competition this coming spring.



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Who Will Be The Reds 2012 short-stop?

Zack Cozart

Paul Janish

Someone else

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