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View Full Version : Is Jason LaRue overpaid or just underappreciated?



jmcclain19
08-04-2005, 08:37 PM
This is Part two of my installment about the relative worth of Reds position players. You can see the first part, about Reds 1B Sean Casey here.

http://www.redszone.com/forums/showthread.php?p=794451

This time, the target in the crosshairs is starting catcher Jason LaRue. I've attempted to put LaRue's season into a fair perspective, and that perspective is measuring his stats against those of his compatriots, the starting catchers from around the MLB.

As of August 4th, 26 MLB Catchers have had at least 250 Plate Appearances at this point in the season, a little more than 2 a game to ensure status as an "everyday" catcher. The four teams who did not were Baltimore, Seattle, Colorado and Pittsburgh.

Batting Average

LaRue's MLB Rank - 14th (.268)

Among the 26, LaRue places almost smack in the middle. Players with similar averages are Michael Barrett (.268) and Mike Piazza (.268). His 62 overall hits puts him dead last, probably due to his 231 PA, also dead last overall among every day catchers.

On Base Percentage

LaRue's MLB Rank - 4th (.364)

If the whole goal of hitting is not to make an out, than Jason is one of the best backstops at doing that. No doubt his high amount of HBP (11) contributes to this. His OBP is higher than other well known "hitting" catchers like Paul LoDuca (.359), Jason Kendall (.351) and Victor Martinez (.352). LaRue's OBP makes him an even more valuable weapon, when you realize that the .96 bump between his average and OBP, is bested only by Gregg Zaun(.274BA/.376OBP). This helps LaRue, who is a notoriously streaky hitter, still be a valuable hitter even when the hot streak goes cold. In fact, the only other catcher with a differential over .90 is Jorge Posada (.250AVG/.340OBP).

Slugging Percentage

LaRue's MLB Rank - 6th (.459)

This is where LaRue shows off his value. His .459 slightly trails Ivan Rodriguez (.461) and Mike Piazza (.468), two of the most well known power hitting catchers of the last generation. Also in front of LaRue is Michael Barrett (.461), Jason Varitek (.552) and AJ Pierzynski (.480). LaRue's 17 Doubles help buoy this, as Jorge Posada, Bengie Molina and Rod Barajas all have more home runs than LaRue but far less doubles and have a lower slugging percentage.

On Base Percentage + Slugging Percentage

LaRue's MLB Rank - 2nd (.823)

So take LaRue's high slugging and high OBP and what do you get? A player who ranks second among everyday catchers in OPS, behind only Jason Varitek (.936). AJ Pierzynski (.808) is the only other player who tops out over 800. This puts LaRue ahead of vaunted rookie Joe Mauer (.794), Michael Barrett (.791) and Mike Piazza (.799).

Salary

LaRue's MLB Rank - 11th-Tied ($3.00Mil)

Here are the 26 everyday MLB catchers and their 2005 salary, per ESPN.com


Mike Piazza - $16.07Mil
Jorge Posada - $11.00Mil
Jason Kendall - $10.57Mil
Jason Varitek - $8.00Mil
Pudge Rodriguez - $8.00Mil
Mike Lieberthal - $7.50Mil
Paul LoDuca - $4.60Mil
Ramon Hernandez - $4.31Mil
Damian Miller - $3.25Mil
Michael Barrett - $3.13Mil
Jason LaRue - $3.00Mil
Brad Ausmus - $3.00Mil
Bengie Molina - $3.00Mil
AJ Pierzynski - $2.25Mil
Brian Schneider - $2.00Mil
Mike Matheny - $2.00Mil
Toby Hall - $1.95Mil
Rod Barajas - $1.85Mil
Greg Zaun - $950K
Victor Martinez - $700k
Johnny Estrada - $460K
Jason Phillips - $339k
Joe Mauer - $325K
Yadier Molina - $323K
John Buck - $318K
Chris Snyder - $318K
So LaRue is near tops of every major offensive category, while pulling in a salary that is just slightly above the middle of the pack as far as salary goes. Even in comparison to the rest of the division, the Cubs and the Brewers pay their backstops more and have less of an output than what the Reds receive. The Reds also don't have the same problems that the Yanks and Phillies do, with catchers who have inferior numbers than guys like LaRue while pulling in nearly four times the salary. So it appears that far from being too expensive. LaRue is a relative bargain, in comparison.

James B.
08-04-2005, 08:43 PM
That's some good stuff. Good post.

Gainesville Red
08-04-2005, 09:08 PM
Hell of a post, Hell of a post.

NC Reds
08-04-2005, 09:56 PM
Good facts.

I like Larue. I can't see the wisdom in dumping him and making Valentin an everyday catcher.

captainmorgan07
08-04-2005, 10:35 PM
good facts i've always liked jason and i think he's underappreciated for the job he does

buckeyenut
08-05-2005, 06:59 AM
Excellent series you are doing here. Liked both this one and the one on Casey.

LaRue is an interesting puzzle to me this offseason. How much might he get in arb?

To me, he feels very underappreciated. But I would try to sign him to a 3 yr 12M deal and see if he bites, go as high as 15M. If he doesn't go for that, probably let him go to arb then look to move him.

remdog
08-05-2005, 07:12 AM
Not to be critical but, at a position like catcher, defense is also a part of the equation. Without the time to look up the stats (and defensive stats are somewhat nebulous anyway) here are my impressions of Jason on 'D'. Above average skills at throwing. He gets a rap at passed balls but, personally, I don't think he is as bad as some see him in this catagory. I like the way he usually blocks the plate. Calls a decent game but it's hard to tell if the pitchers can actually produce what LaRue is calling for. (Every 'gameplan' in every sport is great on paper, the step between theory and execution is a very big one however.) Jason could probably frame his pitches better.

I've followed LaRue since his days at Chattanooga and I think the Reds are well served with him as the starting catcher---especially at his salary. For those that don't agree, picture Javier Valentin as the everyday player. Despite Javier's recent hot streak that's not a picture that leaves me smiling.

Rem

RedsFan75
08-05-2005, 08:47 AM
Great post, and I was curious, since you have a lot of the stats already compiled, and Catcher is a very defense oriented position, is there a way to break it down on defensive as well as offensive rank?

I know that will change some of the positioning of the catchers, just curious. Overall Great research and great post.

dfs
08-05-2005, 09:51 AM
I don't speak for jmcclain19 but to my knowledge catching defense isn't well measured by any metric. Part of this is due to sample size and part of it is due to usage patterns that create confounding waves in the data. I would be very wary of making inferences based on CERA or defensive win shares or anything else.

He can hit, but observationally putting Jason LaRue behind the plate is the equivalent of mailing yourself a letter bomb. He never sets a target. He doesn't frame pitches well for the umpires. He does throw well, but controlling the running game is at least half the pitchers responsability. He doesn't block the plate well, although he is willing to take a hit. He may not have many past balls, but I've seen the scorer at GAB call wild pitches on balls that have bounced off his chest protector.

The other side of the coin is how are pitchers developing with Jason around? Part of the catchers job is to make the pitcher....2% better. Does anybody think that's been happening with the reds staff? I know there is plenty of tar on that brush. It drove Don Gullet out of town. I simply don't know how much of that tar belongs on LaRue.

Now, three former catchers, Bob Boone, Dave Miley and Jerry Narron, all seem very comfortable with Jason behind the plate and you have to include that when you think about him. As jmcclain points out, LaRue carries a mean stick for his position. By his contractual status the reds still think of him as an up and coming star. Obsiously I disagree, but I can't point at any hard and fast numbers about why, just ...observations and anecdote.

Chip R
08-05-2005, 10:06 AM
Now, three former catchers, Bob Boone, Dave Miley and Jerry Narron, all seem very comfortable with Jason behind the plate and you have to include that when you think about him. As jmcclain points out, LaRue carries a mean stick for his position. By his contractual status the reds still think of him as an up and coming star. Obsiously I disagree, but I can't point at any hard and fast numbers about why, just ...observations and anecdote.
Jason isn't going to make anyone forget Johnny Bench - or Pudge Rodriguez for that matter. But who is going to do a better job back there? Perhaps the Reds could do like the Astros and Cardinals - and now the Giants - and put Sardinha back there and hope he hits his weight. The Cards have had enough offense over the last few years to carry Mike Matheny's weak stick. Obviously the Giants felt the same way or they wouldn't have signed him. HOU has had Ausmus behind the plate for years - save for the one he was in DET - but they have had a pretty good offense in the past so they could afford him back there too. But docthe Reds have enough offense that they could carry a great field/no hit catcher? Or they could go the other way and look for a good stick at catcher who is poor in the field. But some believe they already have that in LaRue.

RedsFan75
08-05-2005, 10:49 AM
I don't speak for jmcclain19 but to my knowledge catching defense isn't well measured by any metric. Part of this is due to sample size and part of it is due to usage patterns that create confounding waves in the data. I would be very wary of making inferences based on CERA or defensive win shares or anything else.


Understand that, but there are parts that are measurable. Passed Balls, Fielding %, Runners Caught Stealing etc. I'm sure jm knows more about good metrics and measurements than I do. I was just curious how they balanced out when you threw the defensive stuff into the mix.

One of my big problems with fantasy baseball as it's played to day is the focus on offense, and I was just looking at a little balance to include his defense. I like Jason's fire and drive, and I think he's a decent defender. I know other catchers out there that aren't and for all the grief we give him, myself included, I think we will be surprised at how high he ranks when you compare him defensively as well as offensively. As Chip stated Most people, and include myself in that group thought of LaRue as all offense... But My opinion is changing as I've watched other catchers this year. I think LaRue is better than the average MLB catcher in a lot of catagories we just tend to focus on the ones he's deficient in.

westofyou
08-05-2005, 11:28 AM
I think LaRue is better than the average MLB catcher in a lot of catagories we just tend to focus on the ones he's deficient in.

Very true, the state of the game these days also has reduced the number of plays in front of the plate, LaRue is extremely quick in getting on nubbers and foul balls. He's also very quick going left to right, it's the way he brandishes his glove that gives him the most trouble.

His approach is influenced by the equipment he wears, it's lighter and the gloves are bigger than the old days. Catchers in the past generally were slower moving large men with bulky gloves and bulkier chest protectors. They tended to throw their body at the ball more than todays crop. They sacrificed their body more and they payed in the the average amount of games that they could play and the hitting they could produce in those games.

Aspects like defense tend to be "of the moment" decisions by fans, based on what WE thought should have happened, that's a slippery slope to grasp in trying to evaluate a catcher. So much of what he does is not being broadcast to the stands or the fans at home. Therefore we tend to focus on his hitting or their reaction in a crisis situation such as his ability to stop a pitch that isn't where it's suppose to be.

One thing about the equipment is that it has enabled the position to produce more hitters. In the early days of the game hitting catchers were few and far between, mostly due to injuries, fatigue and the fact that most were larger men with one skill, blocking the ball.

Since the equipment changes keep coming it's easy to see more franchises having catchers that produce (offensivly) above the league average for that position.

Below is the NL catchers OPS vs the leagues average for that position in 3 eras 1876-1905, 1906-1945, 1946-2004

FWIW the Reds have always had good hitting catchers, since Ivy Wingo first put on a uniform.. it's as much a part of this franchises history as non power hitting BA driven first baseman.



Fred Flintstone Catching

1875-1905


OPS DIFF PLAYER LEAGUE G
1 Phillies .050 .688 .639 3534
2 Giants .019 .660 .641 3932
3 Pirates .006 .654 .649 3468
4 Dodgers -.009 .637 .646 2572
5 Cubs -.016 .618 .634 3785
6 Braves -.016 .615 .632 4059
7 Reds -.017 .634 .651 2599
8 Cardinals -.020 .626 .646 2471

The first wave of tools - Catchers move closer to the plate

1906-1945

OPS DIFF PLAYER LEAGUE G
1 Giants .042 .713 .671 8465
2 Cubs .036 .708 .672 7895
3 Reds .032 .703 .671 8001
4 Cardinals .018 .689 .670 8168
5 Phillies -.019 .655 .673 8270
6 Pirates -.019 .653 .672 7734
7 Dodgers -.044 .628 .672 8068
8 Braves -.050 .622 .672 8094

1945-2004 - The age of plastic

OPS DIFF PLAYER LEAGUE G
1 Dodgers .037 .737 .700 11951
2 Reds .019 .718 .700 12016
3 Pirates .016 .716 .700 12005
4 Phillies .016 .715 .700 11617
5 Braves .009 .708 .699 12155
6 Rockies .002 .732 .730 2347
7 Cardinals .001 .700 .699 12327
8 Mets .000 .695 .695 9416
9 Giants .000 .699 .699 12430
10 Expos -.009 .688 .697 7307
11 Marlins -.028 .701 .729 2347
12 Padres -.029 .671 .700 7418

Casey_21
08-05-2005, 12:59 PM
I think Jasons worth every penny. Not only does he play hard, but he is one of the most feared catchers for baserunners from what I heard. Not the Greatest offense in the world, but you gotta admit, when he's hot, HE'S HOT!! And you can't blame the poor guy for passed balls, I mean look at our bullpen!! I think he doe's considerably well under the circumstances. :p:
________________________________________

:dunn: 'Griffey Ain't Got Nutten' On Me' ;)

:freel: = :all_cohol :evil:

:pena: 'If it ain't routine, it's un-playable'

James B.
08-05-2005, 05:35 PM
There may not be a better catcher in the league the last few years at throwing out runners and I know that nobody plays as hard. I love his hustle.

oregonred
08-06-2005, 12:44 AM
Larue is fine at his present salary. Keeping him when his salary escalates into the 5M+ range would not be a good move. I don't believe a LTC makes sense with Jason. I like him, but you can't fall into that trap given the Reds market level.

I'd offer him arbitration and then try to deal him in the offseason maybe in a blockbuster package involving one of Kearns/Pena and then slot the catcher position with cheaper solutions. Posting an .800OPS season of hopefully injury free ball should put him at peak value this offseason.

A bit painful but one move that I think is needed.

acredsfan
08-06-2005, 12:59 AM
LaRue would definately fall into the underappreciated category. He is tough and give everything he has. His numbers speak for themselves. I don't think you can put a price on his worth. You have to love the way everybody on the team talks about him. It would be useless to try and trade him. If you do, you are probably taking a lesser talent, and eventhough it may save you money, you have to remember that a catcher affects more players on the team than any other player. They call the pitches, act as a coach to the pitcher, have to remember the scouting reports, and have to play excellent Defense. They touch the ball more than anybody except for maybe the starting pitcher. They are like quarterbacks. Getting a lesser catcher may also decrease the worth of your pitchers, and other teammates.

oregonred
08-06-2005, 01:27 AM
He feels young since he's still not a service level FA until 2007, but Jason will be 32 next spring. That's getting old for a brutal physical position and makes any kind of LTC above $4M per year far too risky for the franchise.

He's never posted more than 400AB in a season as a Red and won't again this season Don't forget that he's a career .740 OPS player. Will he continue to play at an .800 OPS level or revert back to a more injury prone and lower .700 level?

Assuming he slots in the $4.5-5M type range for 2006, I'd rather try to move him and certainly wouldn't advocate a LTC. Let's not fall into that trap again with another of the '99/'00 "kids". If the Reds can sneak in another year or two in the low 3's then that's a coup and I'd keep him if he couldn't be moved.

Resource constrained franchises make sound financial moves and tough decisions. Not signing Larue to a costly LTC would be one of those decisions. Investing the resources elsewhere and going down a platoon type path with lower priced alternatives makes better sense going forward.

M2
08-06-2005, 01:33 AM
Building on what James B. and acredsfans said concerning Larue's blood and guts credentials, I'm going to make a sweeping generalization here (which means I'm sure to put some nose out of joint, but oh well).

A lot of the people on this board who've expressed their distaste for LaRue over the years have been of the old school, it takes more than stats to win persuasion and it baffles me how the guy who's perhaps the most hard-nosed player to wear a Reds uniform in the past decade isn't more popular with them.

I know he's got his faults (every player does), but the guy goes to war every night. In the past we're heard that he doesn't do the little things well. This pretty much refers solely to passed balls (of which he hasn't allowed many this season). Yet if you want little things, LaRue has that cannon arm, he's cat-quick on bunts and popups, he's a pit bull when he's blocking the plate, he gets pelted in order to boost his OB and he takes extra bases as well as any catcher in the game. That's a lot of nice amenities for a major league catcher. Also, if the Reds have a clutch hitter, a guy who boosts his offensive game in key situations, his name is Jason LaRue. Combine all of that with the blood and guts and I'm shocked he isn't a demi-icon in Cincinnati. This is the kind of player fans normally fall in love with. He's right out of Dirt Players Local #134.

The only reason I can see why many fans haven't cottoned to him is his batting average, which is never going to set the earth on fire. If that's the case, and I can't say for sure it is, it's a shame they've overlooked a guy who's busted his tail for this franchise due to a throwaway detail.

I figure this is Jason's last year with the Reds and I've really enjoyed watching him. His take no prisoners approach to the game has made some tough years a lot easier to digest for this fan.

pedro
08-06-2005, 01:39 AM
I like Larue. He's one of my favorite Reds. TMBS, I'm not so sure the Reds wouldn't be better off trading him this off season if they can get good value. The likely hood is that he'll get a better offer than the Reds should be willing to give him when he hits free agency and I think they have a better chance of getting useful players for him if they trade him rather than wait and get draft picks when he goes FA.

He might be a really attractive pick up for a lot of teams. I bet there is pretty good value to an above average catcher with only a one year commitment at a reasonable price.

I'd trade him and Freel to Texas for Ian Kinsler.

cReds1
08-06-2005, 08:20 AM
LaRue is having a career year for sure, but if you let him lead off an inning, faget about it. This is where we need him the most especially when he bats on the bottom of the order. Is he worth the money, i would say so. Does he call a great game? That is very questionable to say the least.

alex trevino
08-07-2005, 03:42 PM
I would pay less for a catcher and reallocate the money on pitching.

remdog
08-08-2005, 02:09 AM
I would pay less for a catcher and reallocate the money on pitching.

You mean sort of like they did when they acquired Alex Trevino? ;) Yeah, Alex was a slight step down from the guy before him but no one really noticed the difference.

Rem

dfs
08-08-2005, 09:22 AM
As of today the reds have scored 560 runs, good for second in the league behind those other guys in red.

How much better is Jason LaRue than a bad hitting catcher? 30 runs? Say 40. That's a big difference.

That would put the reds at 520 runs, which would put them third in the league behind the Braves. This team has enough offense, they can certainly afford a lighter hitting catcher back there.

Now, would they take the extra 3 million and improve the pitching staff? or would they just pocket it? Would the catcher the bring in/promote actually prevent more runs than LaRue or would it just be mots?

oregonred
06-16-2006, 07:57 PM
bump

Interesting with all the recent Larue trade talk...

saboforthird
06-16-2006, 08:16 PM
I'd say take your chances with Ross and Valentin (as your platoon) and upgrade the bullpen.

Sham
06-16-2006, 10:34 PM
Someone is always the whipping boy.

TeamBoone
06-16-2006, 11:04 PM
M2, I totally agree with everything you said.

He is definitely underappreciated. Not only is he pretty darned good at what he does when compared to his peers, he's very low key... he pretty much just quiety goes about his business. Other than the John Deere hat this year, to my knowledge he's never been featured in a Reds promotion... though he's been with the Reds his entire career, they've never given him a bobblehead night.

He's always been well spoken (for a redneck, I say lovingly) and diplomatic when it comes to the media. He even expressed his disappointment in regard to minimal playing time in a very respectful way, even though you know darned well that he's very very upset over it.

Will Jason LaRue ever catch again (it's been 9 days)? I certainly hope so, because I miss him. The Reds starting catcher has become the Reds third stringer... I at least expect him to be second on the food chain.

Krusty
06-17-2006, 12:32 AM
M2, I totally agree with everything you said.

He is definitely underappreciated. Not only is he pretty darned good at what he does when compared to his peers, he's very low key... he pretty much just quiety goes about his business. Other than the John Deere hat this year, to my knowledge he's never been featured in a Reds promotion... though he's been with the Reds his entire career, they've never given him a bobblehead night.

He's always been well spoken (for a redneck, I say lovingly) and diplomatic when it comes to the media. He even expressed his disappointment in regard to minimal playing time in a very respectful way, even though you know darned well that he's very very upset over it.

Will Jason LaRue ever catch again (it's been 9 days)? I certainly hope so, because I miss him. The Reds starting catcher has become the Reds third stringer... I at least expect him to be second on the food chain.

I like to know what the ERAs of the pitchers that LaRue caught compared to those that David Ross caught.

pedro
06-17-2006, 01:25 AM
I like to know what the ERAs of the pitchers that LaRue caught compared to those that David Ross caught.

what difference does it make? They haven't been catching the same pitchers.

Sean_CaseyRules
06-17-2006, 01:34 AM
I like LaRue, but I would like to see us get a nice bullpen guy for him, Ross and Valentin are doing really good platooning for us. But I would like to see how LaRue ranks with throwing out runners....I know he has a really strong arm.

RedsMan3203
06-17-2006, 01:58 AM
We are just stuck with Jason... Its been a different type of year without Jason behind the plate... But... Ross has been THAT good... We have no grounds for running LaRue out there at this point....

I feel sorry for Jason... Coming into the season he thought he was going to be the man.... Not the 3rd string back up catcher, who pinch hits... He is just getting out played....

This kind of reminds me of Casey... Getting paid a bunch of money for nothing... (Even thou Casey still started) The Reds are going to find someone to take him off their hands... sometime... Untill then... He'll just have to be a trooper and take what he can get....

TeamBoone
06-17-2006, 02:16 AM
We are just stuck with Jason... Its been a different type of year without Jason behind the plate... But... Ross has been THAT good... We have no grounds for running LaRue out there at this point....

I feel sorry for Jason... Coming into the season he thought he was going to be the man.... Not the 3rd string back up catcher, who pinch hits... He is just getting out played....

This kind of reminds me of Casey... Getting paid a bunch of money for nothing... (Even thou Casey still started) The Reds are going to find someone to take him off their hands... sometime... Untill then... He'll just have to be a trooper and take what he can get....

#1 - at the beginning of the season he thought he'd be the starting catcher because he was the starting catcher.

#2 - he is not overpaid for the starting catcher that he is.

#3 - he is not being outplayed by Javy but for some unknown reason Javy is starting over him.

#4 - I'd rather the Reds found someone to take Javy off the Reds hands; not that I don't like Javy, I just like Jason more.

Highlifeman21
06-17-2006, 09:43 AM
#1 - at the beginning of the season he thought he'd be the starting catcher because he was the starting catcher.

#2 - he is not overpaid for the starting catcher that he is.

#3 - he is not being outplayed by Javy but for some unknown, even reason Javy is starting over him.

#4 - I'd rather the Reds found someone to take Javy off the Reds hands; not that I don't like Javy, I just like Jason more.


1. Knee injury, enter David Ross. Ross has exceeded our expectations to this point, and has been a great presence for the starters he catches not named Brandon Claussen.

2. He's not a starting catcher, henceforth, he's overpaid. If he never had that knee injury, we'd only see David Ross on days Arroyo takes the mound.

3. Javy habla espanol. Jason no habla espanol. Javy's helped Elizardo, who just so happens to habla espanol. Javy bats LH. Jason doesn't bat LH.

4. I would much rather someone take Javy off our hands as well, but unfortunately I don't see it happening. I could deal with Ross/LaRue as a platoon, but so far since that aforementioned knee injury, LaRue's been the odd man out.

We have to look long term for the team, and is Jason LaRue a part of that future? I'm not so convinced he is. I feel he's going to be Sean Casey revisited and be a salary dump so that money can be more wisely spent in the offseason.

TeamBoone
06-17-2006, 11:44 AM
1. Knee injury, enter David Ross. Ross has exceeded our expectations to this point, and has been a great presence for the starters he catches not named Brandon Claussen.

2. He's not a starting catcher, henceforth, he's overpaid. If he never had that knee injury, we'd only see David Ross on days Arroyo takes the mound.

3. Javy habla espanol. Jason no habla espanol. Javy's helped Elizardo, who just so happens to habla espanol. Javy bats LH. Jason doesn't bat LH.

4. I would much rather someone take Javy off our hands as well, but unfortunately I don't see it happening. I could deal with Ross/LaRue as a platoon, but so far since that aforementioned knee injury, LaRue's been the odd man out.

We have to look long term for the team, and is Jason LaRue a part of that future? I'm not so convinced he is. I feel he's going to be Sean Casey revisited and be a salary dump so that money can be more wisely spent in the offseason.

#1 - I agree. I was merely stating that at the beginning of the season Jason WAS the starting catcher and anticipated moving back into that role after activation from the DL.

#2 - Yes and No. He was the starting catcher when his contract/salary was negotiated. In my mind, he still is. When David Ross' bat cools, I expect LaRue to reclaim his duties and thus is not overpaid. If this never happens... well that's another story.

#3 - That's nice, if you can afford the luxury of carrying a player to catch for only one pitcher, but it's a dumb reason if it's the ONLY reason. I'm sure there are lots of catchers who don't speak Spanish that catch just fine for hispanic pitchers. Besides, ER speaks English.