The Atlanta Braves were dealt a blow earlier this week when they found out that young phenom shortstop Andrelton Simmons would be lost for several weeks with a broken finger. The prospect of playing Jack Wilson at short for a large part of the second half wasn’t a bright one, but at least he’s solid defensively and comes with some wily veteran wares.
Then last night, Wilson dislocated his pinky finger and is also likely headed for the DL. The Braves ended up playing Martin Prado at short, where he had barely played since coming to the Majors. Facing the possibility of turning back to Tyler Pastornicky, who was dreadful both offensively and defensively after winning the starting job out of Spring Training, the Braves turned to the trade market and acquired Paul Janish from the Cincinnati Reds.
Janish has a reputation as a defensive wizard at short, but has never really shown much ability at the plate. In 975 career plate appearances with the Reds, Janish has a .221/.289/.302 slash line for a 57 wRC+. He has, however, been worth nearly 15 runs above the average defender in his career. The 29-year-old has spent all of his season so far in AAA-Louisville where he has a .329 wOBA in 194 plate appearances.
The Reds acquire 27-year-old righthander Todd Redmond in return. Redmond has yet to make his Major League debut.
The acquisition of Janish certainly does not preclude the Braves from trading for another shortstop before the deadline depending on the recovery of Simmons, who may not be back this season if surgery is required on his finger.
Rockies’ second baseman Marco Scutaro would be a nice fit at short for the Braves and won’t block Simmons next year as he’ll be a free agent at season’s end. Stephen Drew of the Diamondbacks could also become available if Arizona falls out of contention in the next couple weeks. Drew has a $10-million mutual option on his contract for 2013 with a $1.35-million buyout to go along with the roughly $3.5-million he’s owed for the rest of this season. This may make teams hesitant to trade for him if Arizona doesn’t pick up some of the money in a prospective deal.
Either way, the acquisition of Janish is a zero-risk one for Atlanta and he should provide more value than any other option at the position currently.