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AmarilloRed
01-04-2008, 01:23 PM
Around the Horn: Catchers
Toss up going into Spring Training for Reds backstops
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com


CINCINNATI -- Will it be David Ross or Javier Valentin behind the plate for the Reds in 2008?

Will there be one regular starter -- or would it perhaps be a platoon?

The catching situation is one of a few questions new manager Dusty Baker will seek answers for when Spring Training opens next month in Sarasota, Fla.

"It's up to Dusty. It's his call in how he handles it," general manager Wayne Krivsky said.

Ross is considered better defensively while Valentin is more known for his hitting. But the differences aren't that black and white.

A 2006 season in which Ross smashed career highs in home runs (21), RBIs (52), at-bats (247) and games played (90), earned him a two-year contract worth $4.5 million with a $3.5 million club option for 2009. However, the 2007 season proved to be more of a disappointment.

Ross carried over a paltry .203 second half batting average from his previous season and equaled it for all of 2007 in 112 games. He had 17 homers and 39 RBIs in 311 at-bats, but saw his on-base percentage plummet from .353 to .271 while striking out more.

The Reds would like Ross to become more selective at the plate. He struck out 92 times compared to 30 walks last season.

"I think in David's case, he didn't stay on the ball and use the whole field to hit," Krivsky said. "He might have gotten too pull-conscious. All good hitters hit the ball where it's pitched and put the ball in play."

Defensively, Ross threw out 23 of 54 baserunners trying to steal (43 percent), ranking among Major League leaders. The 31-year-old also caught five of the pitching staff's six complete games and five of their seven shutouts.

As Ross struggled to hit and later suffered a concussion in an August collision, an opportunity opened for Valentin. The 32-year old was able to show he's more than a reliable pinch-hitter as former interim manager Pete Mackanin wrote his name on the lineup card more often.

Valentin batted .276 with two homers and 34 RBIs in 243 at-bats over 91 games and led the team with 40 pinch-hit at-bats. A switch hitter almost exclusively used as a lefty only in the past, he batted right-handed more often. A career .222 hitter as a righty, Valentin batted .290 from the right side last season, compared to .274 as a lefty.

"Pete came in and wanted to keep Javy sharp so he could come in versus a tough relief pitcher and have a better chance," Krivsky said.

Valentin, who batted .338 in August, started 25 of Cincinnati's last 45 games behind the plate. Although he threw out just five of 44 (11 percent) baserunners attempting to steal overall, he dedicated himself to improving defensively.

"He worked hard on his throwing and got better later in the year the more he played," Krivsky said.

On Oct. 31, Cincinnati picked up Valentin's $1.35 million club option for 2008.

Future options:

The Reds carried three catchers for much of the past two seasons but don't appear likely to do that again in 2008.

Four younger catchers will get exposure in big league camp during Spring Training. Ryan Hanigan was 3-for-10 (.300) with two RBIs as a September callup after splitting 2007 at Triple-A Louisville and Double-A Chattanooga.

Hanigan, 27, batted .292 with a .420 on-base percentage in 60 games at Chattanooga before moving up on June 28. At Louisville, he batted .252 in 41 games and threw out 48 percent of runners attempting to steal.

Alvin Colina, who is a non-roster invite, spent 2007 with the Rockies' Triple-A team in Colorado Springs. The 26-year-old batted .195 in 80 games and played two big league games in 2006.

Craig Tatum emerged as a prospect when he split last season between Class A Sarasota and Double-A Chattanooga. Overall, he batted .281 with 12 homers and 61 RBIs while walking 26 times compared to 90 strikeouts. He was invited to participate in the Arizona Fall League.

Chris Kroski spent the last two seasons at Sarasota, where he batted .281 with a .368 on-base percentage.

http://cincinnati.reds.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20080103&content_id=2338780&vkey=news_cin&fext=.jsp&c_id=cin

*BaseClogger*
01-04-2008, 02:13 PM
I'd like to see Ross get the majority of the starts, especially against LH pitchers, with Valentin starting once a week or so against a RH pitcher...

Newman4
01-04-2008, 02:50 PM
I'd like to see Ross get the majority of the starts, especially against LH pitchers, with Valentin starting once a week or so against a RH pitcher...

Sounds like a good plan. Ross looked pretty bad in some swings on breaking balls from RHP. Even WK can spot his hitting deficiencies. Ross tried to jerk everything to LF for a home run. You can't complain about his defense though. If Javy can't cut it behind the plate though, he only should start periodically and basically be a PH.

Redsnake
01-04-2008, 02:55 PM
I agree. Besides it seems like Ross calls a better game than Javy. I have no evidence that supports it. Just from what I've seen. :confused:

roby
01-04-2008, 03:27 PM
What's the deal on Hannigan? His minor league numbers don't look too bad. Does anybody have any info on him?

Nasty_Boy
01-04-2008, 03:57 PM
Tatum has really improved, and I think that he can work himself into the picture with a strong spring. Of course he won't break camp with the Reds unless Javy or Ross get hurt, but he has decent power numbers for a catcher and he's still young.

Brian
01-04-2008, 04:41 PM
I think Ross is your guy, for 110-120 games at least, but man, I really hope his bat comes around. Last year was ugly...better than LaRue back there though.

bounty37h
01-04-2008, 05:32 PM
OK guys, I can read between the lines, this is an article realy beggin me to come and catch for us this year, dust off the tools of ignorance that have been sitting in my garage a few years now. I hate to tell ya boys, but I havent caught a full game in 4 years now, but will give it a try. Will even do it free, Reds dont have to pay me a cent, use that money to get some pitchers for us, ya know? SO, to make sure I have it on my calander, I need to be in Sarasota on Feb 16? Who do I ask for when I get there? Can I request a number now, or wait till I sign the contract?

BLEEDS
01-06-2008, 03:14 PM
http://www.kffl.com/article.php/84695/89

"Mark Sheldon, of Reds.MLB.com, reports the Cincinnati Reds are not sure whether or not C David Ross or C Javier Valentin will be used as the primary catcher next season. Additionally, the team may start only one catcher or could use both in a platoon."




WOW, kffl, where do I sign up?!?!? "Additionally, the team may start only one catcher or could use both in a platoon".
Gee, he must have some REAL insiders to come up with that one!:thumbdown

I could have written that.

That being said, I think we are set with both of these guys, and are not looking for any other catchers in FA, maybe get a young guy some looks in ST, but that's about it.
2009 is the option year for Ross, and Javy is a FA as well. Then we'll have to make some decisions. I don't know much about who we've got in the minors other than that kid who is now suspended.

Anybody else know how our minor leagues are for catchers?

PEACE

-BLEEDS

*BaseClogger*
01-06-2008, 04:43 PM
They have discussed the organizational depth chart on the Minor League board here: http://www.redszone.com/forums/showthread.php?t=64701

roby
01-06-2008, 06:10 PM
OK guys, I can read between the lines, this is an article realy beggin me to come and catch for us this year, dust off the tools of ignorance that have been sitting in my garage a few years now. I hate to tell ya boys, but I havent caught a full game in 4 years now, but will give it a try. Will even do it free, Reds dont have to pay me a cent, use that money to get some pitchers for us, ya know? SO, to make sure I have it on my calander, I need to be in Sarasota on Feb 16? Who do I ask for when I get there? Can I request a number now, or wait till I sign the contract?

You probably won't need a contract if you are catching for Free!

BLEEDS
01-07-2008, 12:03 PM
They have discussed the organizational depth chart on the Minor League board here: http://www.redszone.com/forums/showthread.php?t=64701

Thanks!

PEACE

-BLEEDS

will5979
01-10-2008, 11:41 AM
this may have been asked before but are there any quality FA catchers currently on the market?

Bip Roberts
01-10-2008, 11:42 AM
this may have been asked before but are there any quality FA catchers currently on the market?

No not really, most have just as many question marks as our guys

flash
01-10-2008, 11:47 AM
I am really expecting Hannigan to replace Ross from the right hand side of the plate. He is much more of a contact hitter and he did throw out 48 percent of the runners at Louisville.