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Thread: Which catcher to keep ?

  1. #31
    Member Red Heeler's Avatar
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    Re: Which catcher to keep ?

    The Rockies have the biggest need at catcher of any contender right now. Larue or Valentine for AAA 1B Ryan Shealy and AA C Chris Iannetta would work for me. The Reds might have to kick in a prospect to get the Rockies to bite, but it would deal from strength and shore up two positions in the near future for the Reds.

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  3. #32
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    Re: Which catcher to keep ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Red Heeler
    The Rockies have the biggest need at catcher of any contender right now. Larue or Valentine for AAA 1B Ryan Shealy and AA C Chris Iannetta would work for me. The Reds might have to kick in a prospect to get the Rockies to bite, but it would deal from strength and shore up two positions in the near future for the Reds.
    Not a bad idea at all. I'd guess the Rocks would want us to kick in a few bucks to help pay Jason for the rest of the year though. I still might do it.
    When all is said and done more is said than done.

  4. #33
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    Re: Which catcher to keep ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Red Heeler
    The Rockies have the biggest need at catcher of any contender right now. Larue or Valentine for AAA 1B Ryan Shealy and AA C Chris Iannetta would work for me. The Reds might have to kick in a prospect to get the Rockies to bite, but it would deal from strength and shore up two positions in the near future for the Reds.
    Closser is their savior.

  5. #34
    SSG, Red Army Choir Guacarock's Avatar
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    Re: Which catcher to keep ?

    Ross looks like a keeper, so that probably means Larue is the odd man out. You don't want to pay $3.9 million this year, and over $5 million in '07 for a guy who might ride the pines, or grouse because he was splitting a lot of time with a "journeyman."

    Folks have mentioned Colorado as a possible destination. Here are two others: Los Angeles Angels and Philadelphia.

    Angels have more hot, young prospects than they could ever use. Would like to acquire the discontented 1B Kotchman after he gets off the DL from mono. He should come cheaply with the Angels anointing Morales as their next 1B. Especially after Kotchman has been burning bridges, mouthing off about the team's handling of him this spring.

    As for Philadelphia, its contract with Lieberthal runs out after this season. They have C prospect Carlos Ruiz supposedly ready to step forward. Ruiz has torn up minor league pitching, but he tanked during his recent callup with Lieberthal on the DL. So I could see the Phillies acquiring Larue for a year to transition between Lieberthal and Ruiz. After paying Lieberthal over $7 million, Larue's salary, even above $5 million, would look palatable to the Phillies.

    Now, onto Valentin. I would be inclined to keep him around for a period of time after trading Larue -- just to make sure Ross can perform on a more daily basis. However, if a team offered a decent reliever for Valentin, the temptation would certainly be there to approve the deal. Still, $1 million is OK for a bench player, especially a catcher who can also play a little 1B and pinch-hit. The fact that Valentin is a switch-hitter isn't of much value. He's really only able to hit from the left, although Ross being a righty means they could complement each other.

  6. #35
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    Re: Which catcher to keep ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Guacarock
    Ross looks like a keeper, so that probably means Larue is the odd man out. You don't want to pay $3.9 million this year, and over $5 million in '07 for a guy who might ride the pines, or grouse because he was splitting a lot of time with a "journeyman."

    Folks have mentioned Colorado as a possible destination. Here are two others: Los Angeles Angels and Philadelphia.

    Angels have more hot, young prospects than they could ever use. Would like to acquire the discontented 1B Kotchman after he gets off the DL from mono. He should come cheaply with the Angels anointing Morales as their next 1B. Especially after Kotchman has been burning bridges, mouthing off about the team's handling of him this spring.

    As for Philadelphia, its contract with Lieberthal runs out after this season. They have C prospect Carlos Ruiz supposedly ready to step forward. Ruiz has torn up minor league pitching, but he tanked during his recent callup with Lieberthal on the DL. So I could see the Phillies acquiring Larue for a year to transition between Lieberthal and Ruiz. After paying Lieberthal over $7 million, Larue's salary, even above $5 million, would look palatable to the Phillies.

    Now, onto Valentin. I would be inclined to keep him around for a period of time after trading Larue -- just to make sure Ross can perform on a more daily basis. However, if a team offered a decent reliever for Valentin, the temptation would certainly be there to approve the deal. Still, $1 million is OK for a bench player, especially a catcher who can also play a little 1B and pinch-hit. The fact that Valentin is a switch-hitter isn't of much value. He's really only able to hit from the left, although Ross being a righty means they could complement each other.

    Two words: Sal Fasano.

    Philly has no pressing need for a catcher.

    Honestly, whoever wants to pick up the majority of LaRue's tab, I think moving his contract alone is a mini-Casey situation revisited, and we could use the money more wisely elsewhere for the future.

  7. #36
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    Re: Which catcher to keep ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Highlifeman21
    Two words: Sal Fasano.

    Philly has no pressing need for a catcher.

    Honestly, whoever wants to pick up the majority of LaRue's tab, I think moving his contract alone is a mini-Casey situation revisited, and we could use the money more wisely elsewhere for the future.
    You're right in one respect. I'm sure the Phillies want to use Fasano as the transitional partner with Ruiz in '07.

    But Fasano is no offensive dynamo, and so far Ruiz has looked a little unsteady himself at the ML level.

    After Lieberthal, Daulton, Boone, Burgess, et. al, the Phillies fans have come to expect catchers who don't just field the position, but also wield some batting power.

    If Fasano keeps plodding along like he has this season, and Ruiz looks overmatched again in September, I can still see Philadelphia taking a flyer on Larue over the winter. Of course, if some other team wants to trade for Jason before then, you do it. As you pointed out, his contract -- while perfectly reasonable in relationship to his ML experience and skillset -- does make him a bit tricky to move.

  8. #37
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    Re: Which catcher to keep ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Highlifeman21
    Two words: Sal Fasano.

    Philly has no pressing need for a catcher.

    Honestly, whoever wants to pick up the majority of LaRue's tab, I think moving his contract alone is a mini-Casey situation revisited, and we could use the money more wisely elsewhere for the future.
    The fact that Larue's salary might benefit the Reds more if spent in other areas should not enter the discussion. Sure, to date he has not been productive, but his 2006 is a tiny sample size compared to his career. Over his career, he is an above average offensive catcher who is excellent in some areas defensively and weaker in other areas. In other words, on the field, he has positive value. His salary is middle of the road for veteran starting catchers. So, you have a player who has positive value on the field at market value. That type of player should be traded for value, not at a discount to shed salary.

    BTW, I could have replaced "Larue" with "Casey" , and it would have applied.

  9. #38
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    Re: Which catcher to keep ?

    Quote Originally Posted by tripleaaaron
    the cut in cap space is worth it alone
    Huh?
    We'll burn that bridge when we get to it.

  10. #39
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    Re: Which catcher to keep ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Guacarock
    You're right in one respect. I'm sure the Phillies want to use Fasano as the transitional partner with Ruiz in '07.

    But Fasano is no offensive dynamo, and so far Ruiz has looked a little unsteady himself at the ML level.

    After Lieberthal, Daulton, Boone, Burgess, et. al, the Phillies fans have come to expect catchers who don't just field the position, but also wield some batting power.

    If Fasano keeps plodding along like he has this season, and Ruiz looks overmatched again in September, I can still see Philadelphia taking a flyer on Larue over the winter. Of course, if some other team wants to trade for Jason before then, you do it. As you pointed out, his contract -- while perfectly reasonable in relationship to his ML experience and skillset -- does make him a bit tricky to move.
    Word in the City of Brotherly Love is that the Broad Street Babies will resign Lieberthal, since he's the only thing remotely offensive since DD.

    You're absolutely right that Phillies fans want a catcher who can handle the bat, but I don't view LaRue as an upgrade over Ruiz or Fasano, and from some reports on the local TV media, the only names tossed out that Philly might have interest are Navarro and Closser, neither of whom I see ending up here.

    The Lieberthal injury has been a blessing as well as a curse for the Phils. They've been forced to try and imagine a long term situation without Lieberthal, and so far they haven't found the answer.

  11. #40
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    Re: Which catcher to keep ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Red Heeler
    The fact that Larue's salary might benefit the Reds more if spent in other areas should not enter the discussion. Sure, to date he has not been productive, but his 2006 is a tiny sample size compared to his career. Over his career, he is an above average offensive catcher who is excellent in some areas defensively and weaker in other areas. In other words, on the field, he has positive value. His salary is middle of the road for veteran starting catchers. So, you have a player who has positive value on the field at market value. That type of player should be traded for value, not at a discount to shed salary.

    BTW, I could have replaced "Larue" with "Casey" , and it would have applied.
    That is a valid point, but what everyone else is trying to say is we have a cheaper replacement who is just as good. I still agree with the Casey trade. I do wish we could have got more in return. Maybe the market wasn't out their for Casey. At the time we had 4 spots for 5 players, because of his salary and production he was the odd man out.

  12. #41
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    Re: Which catcher to keep ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Red Heeler
    The fact that Larue's salary might benefit the Reds more if spent in other areas should not enter the discussion. Sure, to date he has not been productive, but his 2006 is a tiny sample size compared to his career. Over his career, he is an above average offensive catcher who is excellent in some areas defensively and weaker in other areas. In other words, on the field, he has positive value. His salary is middle of the road for veteran starting catchers. So, you have a player who has positive value on the field at market value. That type of player should be traded for value, not at a discount to shed salary.

    BTW, I could have replaced "Larue" with "Casey" , and it would have applied.

    Why shouldn't it? Ross is Arroyo's personal catcher, so LaRue's stuck splitting time with Valentin, who seems to have the latin connection with the Lizard and catches him regularly, so now roughly LaRue should start for the other 3 starters, yet he's not. I'm not comfortable paying LaRue his contract if at best, he's going to only start 60% of the time. Reduce his salary by 40%, and they he's a fiscally sound decision.

    I'm comparing LaRue's salary to the rest of our roster, not the rest of the league. Based on what he's making, he's not producing for the price. This is Sean Casey all over again. We shed his contract, which allowed our organization to sign Dunn to a long term contract, which IMO was more important than retaining Casey for this season.

  13. #42
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    Re: Which catcher to keep ?

    I think the salary arguments were perhaps more valid during the previous ownership. I've seen no indication from the current ownership that they would let a few million dollars get in the way of acquiring the pieces necessary to win. The real problem is that it takes time to acquire those pieces when they aren't all immediately available.

    I'm all for trading Larue if it brings back the piece(s) the Reds need to win, but there is no reason IMO to shed his salary just "because".
    Get your nunchucks and the keys to your dad's car. I know where we can get a gun

  14. #43
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    Re: Which catcher to keep ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Z-Fly
    That is a valid point, but what everyone else is trying to say is we have a cheaper replacement who is just as good.
    I can't believe I'm reading phrases like "catcher of the future" and "just as good" applied to David Ross.

    With Ross, you're talking about a player who has barely a full season's worth of ABs in five years of playing. His greatest amount of playing time, to date, occured in 2004 when he accumulated 165 ABs, a .170 BA, a .253 OBP, a .544 OPS, 5 HR and 15 RBI. He's had one year of part-time playing where his numbers have been respectable (2003), beyond that he's ventured between awful and non-existent. Defensively, he's thrown out a lower percentage of base stealers and has an identical fielding percentage to LaRue, in spite of a significantly fewer number of chances.

    David Ross isn't the long term solution to anything, and if his previous 3 seasons are any indication he will never produce at a level eclipsing a part-time backup. Valentin isn't a full-time solution, either. Except for a solid second half in 2005, his career has been nothing but mediocre.

    And LaRue is a far more productive catcher than many here seem to want to give him credit for. $4 million is absolutely in line with what a catcher at the level of laRue should be making.
    We'll burn that bridge when we get to it.

  15. #44
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    Re: Which catcher to keep ?

    Quote Originally Posted by registerthis
    I can't believe I'm reading phrases like "catcher of the future" and "just as good" applied to David Ross.

    With Ross, you're talking about a player who has barely a full season's worth of ABs in five years of playing. His greatest amount of playing time, to date, occured in 2004 when he accumulated 165 ABs, a .170 BA, a .253 OBP, a .544 OPS, 5 HR and 15 RBI. He's had one year of part-time playing where his numbers have been respectable (2003), beyond that he's ventured between awful and non-existent. Defensively, he's thrown out a lower percentage of base stealers and has an identical fielding percentage to LaRue, in spite of a significantly fewer number of chances.

    David Ross isn't the long term solution to anything, and if his previous 3 seasons are any indication he will never produce at a level eclipsing a part-time backup. Valentin isn't a full-time solution, either. Except for a solid second half in 2005, his career has been nothing but mediocre.

    And LaRue is a far more productive catcher than many here seem to want to give him credit for. $4 million is absolutely in line with what a catcher at the level of laRue should be making.
    We won't know Ross' ceiling until we see a little more of him in action. He's certainly making a case for himself this season, not only with his bat, but also his smart game-calling and decent defense.

    What you say about Larue is absolutely true of Jason in his prime, at his peak. But he's showing the inevitable signs of slippage. The wear and tear always hits catchers earlier than other players, and they decline at a more precipitous pace.

    Always a slow starter on offense, Jason is getting a little more sluggish out of the chute every year. When was the last time he enjoyed a solid month of April or May?

    He still has a strong arm for a catcher, and plus defensive skills. But if you look, you'll see cracks as well in his defensive armor. 2001 was the year when he put on a clinic with his ability to halt the opposition running game -- throwing out 42 of 69 basestealers for a .609 CS%. But by last year, his CS% had declined to .329, and basestealers were getting more brazen facing him -- 76 made steal attempts. He threw out 25, while 51 of them succeeded.

    So, you'll get no argument from me that Larue, careerwise, is always likely to dwarf Ross. But will Larue run circles around Ross this season? I'm not so sure of that. And I suspect that whatever we see from Larue in '06, we'll see less of it in '07.

    There are two risks we have to avoid here. One involves overinflating Ross' potential based on two months of production. The other risk involves assuming that the Larue we get in '06 or '07 is bound to match or come close to matching his career averages.

    We just don't know which direction this worm will turn yet. Something tells me, though, that by the end of July or August, one of our catchers will go. Could be Valentin, could be Larue. Doubt Ross will be moved, unless he really takes a tumble from the production levels he's posted to date in '06.

  16. #45
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    Re: Which catcher to keep ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Guacarock
    We won't know Ross' ceiling until we see a little more of him in action. He's certainly making a case for himself this season, not only with his bat, but also his smart game-calling and decent defense.
    I guess I just don't see much upside for a 29 year old catcher who has shown only the slightest hint that he has the capacity to put it all together. If he were 5 years younger, perhaps I would be more optimistic.

    What you say about Larue is absolutely true of Jason in his prime, at his peak. But he's showing the inevitable signs of slippage. The wear and tear always hits catchers earlier than other players, and they decline at a more precipitous pace.
    I just find it odd that people are willing to write off a catcher who's had an above-average career after only 75 ABs, while seemingly annointing Ross as the heir apparent. It doesn't make sense to me.

    Jason LaRue, last year, was still among the top defensive catchers in the NL, and had the best offensive season of his career. Hardly what I would consider to be "slipping."

    I do agree that catchers age faster than other players, and clearly the Reds need to be making plans for life without him. No argument there. But the answer isn't David Ross or Valentin, and I'm not prepared to write LaRue off yet, either.
    We'll burn that bridge when we get to it.


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