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Tuesday Rockpile: Rockies sign Paul Janish

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The Rockies on Monday made a low-profile signing that has a chance to be one of their most important moves of the offseason. That's a bad thing and a good thing.

Bob Levey

The Rockies on Monday signed veteran shortstop Paul Janish to a minor-league deal that includes an invitation to spring training, the team announced.

Janish, 31, is coming off a pair of dreadful seasons at the plate with the Atlanta Braves, hitting just .183/.260/.231 in 231 plate appearances in 2012 and 2013. His best offensive season came in 2010, when he hit .260/.338/.385 with the Cincinnati Reds. So, I'm sure you have a pretty good idea of his exploits with the bat.

The Houston native does bring value on defense, though; enough, in fact, that he could realistically compete for a spot on the Rockies' Opening Day roster. For his career, Janish is 35 runs above average as a shortstop. He's on the wrong side of 30, sure, but he's only been a part-time player for the entirety of his big-league tenure, so he likely still has plenty left to work with in terms of defensive ability. He certainly wouldn't add any pop off of the bench, but he would present a better Troy Tulowitzki insurance policy than perhaps anyone else in the organization, Josh Rutledge included.

That is, unless Rutledge can improve defensively and/or hit well enough to make up for his shortcomings. This is precisely the type of move to motivate him to do such a thing, because he's now going to have his work cut out for him in what's shaping up to be a pretty underrated spring training battle for a roster spot.

Bottom line, I like these types of moves. The majority of the fanbase is probably rolling their eyes and "meh"-ing up a storm, but these types of moves normally only present a possibility of upside, rarely the opposite.

Off-topic

LINKS

ESPN's Keith Law ranks the Rockies' farm system No. 8 in baseball. Here's an excerpt:

"A sneaky-good system, although with Eddie Butler and Jonathan Gray throwing 98 mph tablets by hitters I doubt the Rockies can keep their prospect depth on the QT. They've generally been a productive club in Latin America despite avoiding the biggest bonus babies, and I'm in the camp that assumes that 2012 first-rounder David Dahl will return this April without missing a beat."

Major League Baseball has approved padded caps to be used for head protection for pitchers, according to ESPN Outside the Lines' William Weinbaum. This is a wonderful step in the right direction in terms of player safety in baseball.