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Thread: Whither Larue?/Braves Interested in LaRue [Merged]

  1. #1
    SSG, Red Army Choir Guacarock's Avatar
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    Whither Larue?/Braves Interested in LaRue [Merged]

    Pretty obvious Jason doesn't figure into the Reds' future plans. He's our top-paid catcher, but now the least played of the three catchers on the ML roster.

    The Reds have gone from showcasing him to just stashing him away on the shelf. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure out where this is headed.

    With the team having seemingly made a decision to go with David Ross as their starting catcher moving forward, Larue appears far more likely to be dangled as trade bait than Valentin. It doesn't make a lot of sense to pay $3.9 million for your backup catcher. It's not just a matter of squandering financial resources, but also creating undue and distracting clubhouse tension.

    That said, it's not at all surprising that it's taking awhile to work a decent trade involving Larue that might serve the Reds as well as provide Jason with a fair chance to regain his status as a starter. There aren't a lot of teams clamoring for a new starting catcher.

    In fact, fewer than five squads might conceivably be in the market. And none of them are screaming and desperate to make an immediate acquisition, so while we might eventually score a deal, it's looking like we might have to make the first overtures, and thus bear the greater risk of getting hosed.

    Here are three teams where we might conceivably break some bread and talk turkey, in ways that could be mutually beneficial.

    1. Colorado. Their unproven, journeymen catchers have perhaps the most abysmal offensive stats in either league, and that's saying a lot given the advantages that Coors Field provides batters. Larue could change that overnight. From 2003-05, he hit .318 in Coors, with a .500 SLG and .885 OPS. But after Jason's slow start out of the gate in '06, it's highly unlikely the Rockies would send us a player back approaching the caliber of their 1B phenom Ryan Shealy. Would we settle for a lesser return, say an aging rental reliever like LH Ray King or RH Jose Mesa, paired with a minor prospect?

    2. Kansas City. They are in overhaul mode. The team has a new GM. With as bad as they've played, the GM has to be thinking about cleaning house and asking questions later. Their catcher, Buck, has regressed this season. He wasn't great shakes to start off. Maybe Larue could be the first veteran cog in a new era in KC. But again, what can they offer us for his services? Would SP Elarton ($4 million salary, 2-year-contract, 1-8 record, 5.24 ERA) be a fair return? How about Elmer Dessens ($1.7 million salary, 2-year-contract, 3.90 ERA in relief)? While I think we could swing a deal with KC involving Larue, do we really want to pursue this route?

    3. Philadelphia. Lieberthal is rapidly breaking down, going on his 2nd DL stint this season. Fasano is hardly an adequate replacement. He doesn't come close to matching Liberthal's offense, and he's just as challenged on defense, having surrendered 37 SB last year with Baltimore, while only throwing out 7 baserunners for a pitiful success rate of .159. Not exactly inspiring, but then, Lieberthal gave up 63 SB last year, 74 in '04, 84 in '03. His offense helped compensate for his defensive shortfalls. But if he can't do the dew anymore, why shouldn't Larue, who is more of an offensive sparkplug than Fasano, and far superior to Liberthal as a defender?

    A fair return from the Phillies? Perhaps a package anchored by veteran southpaw reliever Rhodes. They have two other lefty relievers, Cormier and Fultz, who boast lower ERAs than the 3.63 Rhodes has posted this season. But Rhodes could still be a valuable asset and acquisition for the Reds' bullpen. His 14 holds leads the NL. And his 20 KOs in 22 IP suggests he can still deliver some smoke, handling setup duties more effectively than Hammond or Mercker. Rhodes' wages? 3.4 million. Right on par with Larue's $3.9 million.

    If you ask me, I'd be working the phone with Philly, but also hearing out any offers from Colorado, KC, the LA Angels or any other surprise suitors. I think we can stretch out this Reds catching triumvarate for another couple weeks, maybe a month. Any longer and we're probably looking at diminishing returns, barring a major injury to a catcher on a contending squad.

    We can keep holding out for that rainy day. It's more likely to happen than not, given the typical seasonal casualty rate among catchers. But is holding out worth the gain if, over the interim, our bullpen keeps capsizing our playoff chances or our offense sputters, owing to the bench being hamstrung and clubhouse rancor rearing its ugly head?

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  3. #2
    Redsmetz redsmetz's Avatar
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    Re: Whither Larue?

    I think you're absolutely right that LaRue will be the one out - it's playing that way right now. I like your analysis and would concur, based on it, that Philly is our best suitor. I think too, though, that they may be willing to wait to see what develops closer to the trade deadline, although, that might be, as you see too corrosive for the clubhouse.

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    Greatness In The Making RedLegSuperStar's Avatar
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    Re: Whither Larue?

    Probably so.. But who would sit Ross right now? 2 HR's last night and 11-25 (.440 AVG) with 5 HR's in his last 10 games. Ross is now batting .338

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    Re: Whither Larue?

    Texas would be a good fit for Larue.
    "My mission is to be the ray of hope, the guy who stands out there on that beautiful field and owns up to his mistakes and lets people know it's never completely hopeless, no matter how bad it seems at the time. I have a platform and a message, and now I go to bed at night, sober and happy, praying I can be a good messenger." -Josh Hamilton

  6. #5
    This one's for you Edd Heath's Avatar
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    Re: Whither Larue?

    Houston actually might be a good fit - he's much better than Ausmus.

    I can't believe that Dave Ross is going to be hitting this well into September. Career Norms and all should get in the way. He's not even Joe Oliver at this point.
    Some people play baseball. Baseball plays Jay Bruce.

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    Re: Whither Larue?

    Quote Originally Posted by Heath
    Houston actually might be a good fit - he's much better than Ausmus.
    They love Ausmus in H-town. He's excellent defensively and he provides great "leadership qualities." He's an Astro for life.
    When all is said and done more is said than done.

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    This one's for you Edd Heath's Avatar
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    Re: Whither Larue?

    Quote Originally Posted by dabvu2498
    They love Ausmus in H-town. He's excellent defensively and he provides great "leadership qualities." He's an Astro for life.
    That's what they said about Casey in these parts
    Some people play baseball. Baseball plays Jay Bruce.

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    Re: Whither Larue?

    Quote Originally Posted by Heath
    That's what they said about Casey in these parts
    They have a real GM and owner, unlike what we USED to have.
    When all is said and done more is said than done.

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    Re: Whither Larue?

    Yeah, do you think Dave Williams is available again? I don't get it. If a catcher has to go, it should be Valentin. Trade him and let LaRue be the back up, he is very good defensively and can pinch hit and we get more for our money. We are not going to be able to get much for him tradewise. If we do I will be in awe of our new boys in the front office. They have done pretty good up until now though!

  11. #10
    Tired of talk. Win! Joseph's Avatar
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    Re: Whither Larue?

    LaRue > Ross career wise. Ride Ross while he's hot, then dump him when he cools off.

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    Where's my chair? REDREAD's Avatar
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    Re: Whither Larue?

    Let me throw out another team, although we might get hosed: Cleveland. Sure they have Victor Martinez, but he is horrible at stopping the running game. Maybe if Cleveland had LaRue, they could move Martinez to 1b (this is something they were talking about doing at some point anyhow).

    As I said on the game thread, they've got to start giving LaRue some playing time, no matter how hot Ross is.
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    Member paulrichjr's Avatar
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    Re: Whither Larue?

    I was wondering after last nights game (Ross hits 2 home runs) if Krivs knew coming in that Larue wasn't as good a catcher as we need. We all wondered why he made a trade for a thrid catcher after Larue/Valentin had such a good year. Krivs is supposed to be a very good scout and he has watched the Reds alot over the years. Maybe he really thought Larue was not good enough to be the starter. Or did he just get really lucky with Ross?
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  14. #13
    This one's for you Edd Heath's Avatar
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    Re: Whither Larue?

    Quote Originally Posted by REDREAD
    Let me throw out another team, although we might get hosed: Cleveland. Sure they have Victor Martinez, but he is horrible at stopping the running game. Maybe if Cleveland had LaRue, they could move Martinez to 1b (this is something they were talking about doing at some point anyhow).
    That's not a bad idea, but that makes Ben Broussard expendable, and a LaRue for Broussard straight up deal probably wouldn't work. Travis Hafner can't play the field so the Indians can't play him at 1b. I don't want Casey Blake. The Indians aren't really pitching deep, unless you want Jason Johnson and I don't.
    Last edited by Heath; 06-13-2006 at 10:10 AM.
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    Be the ball Roy Tucker's Avatar
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    Re: Whither Larue?

    I don't think this playing of Ross is the result of a planned replacement of Larue. It's simply Ross got hot and Narron has played the hot hand. It just happened.

    I think most of us are surprised Ross has stayed hot for this long. And I think that include Narron and Krivsky.

    His extended hot streak is causing Larue to chomp at the bit. He's a warrior, a leader, and is the alpha male of the team. His basic natures screams out for playing. Some guys are OK being on the bench. Larue isn't.

    I think Larue is the best catcher the Reds have had since Bench and is still in his prime. I think the Reds would be foolish to trade him. I think Ross will cool down soon and Larue will work his way back into being the starter.

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  16. #15
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    Re: Whither Larue?

    I think Larue is the best catcher the Reds have had since Bench and is still in his prime. I think the Reds would be foolish to trade him. I think Ross will cool down soon and Larue will work his way back into being the starter.
    Yep

    Career numbers say that's more likely than David Ross suddenly becoming Mickey Cocharane for a whole season.


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