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Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Reds pick up David Ross

Krivsky has the tradin' bug, and something tells me he's not done yet. From Marc:

SARASOTA -- The Reds have acquired catcher David Ross from the Padres in exchange for minor league pitcher Bobby Basham.

Right-hander Jason Standridge was designated for assignment to make room for Ross on the 40-man roster.

Ross has been tearing it up this spring for San Diego, hitting .529 (9-for-17) with three homers. But with Mike Piazza and Doug Mirabelli there, not much playing time was in the offing for Ross. Of course, one could say the same thing here. We'll see what Wayne has to say.

Here are some relevant stats on 29-year old David Ross:
2003 LAN 124 32 10 13 42 0.336 0.556 0.892 0.298
2004 LAN 165 28 5 15 62 0.253 0.291 0.544 0.202
2005 PIT/SDN 125 30 3 6 28 0.279 0.392 0.671 0.230

PECOTA: Breakout 37%, Improve 56%, Collapse 25%, Attrition 48%

The guy clearly has some power, as evidenced by his impressive part-time work in '03 with the Dodgers. He also had an impressive campaign in AAA-Las Vegas, hitting 0.297/0.384/0.519/0.903 in 293 AB's in '02. But hasn't done squat since then, even when he's been down in the minors. Apparently he's "tearing it up" in spring training, but one should take that with a grain of salt. Based on his PECOTA (which is based on comparable players over history), he does have a pretty high chance (36%) to break out this season. But he also has a good chance to collapse completely, and the 56% improve rating indicates that he'll probably just keep "producing" at the same level.

Defensively, hew as listed as +7 in 31 games in '05 in Baseball Prospectus's book, though I'm unclear if that accounts for his throwing arm or not. His career caught stealing percentage is 38%, which is not shabby, and he was up at 60% last year (again, limited playing time). BP's book states that he "has a flashy arm, and can call a major league game." All in all, he looks to me like a fairly protyptical backup catcher.

But the Reds' had the best offensive catcher duo in the league last season in LaRue and Valentin. So what's up with this trade? The Reds seem very unlikely to carry 3 catchers with their miserable pitching staff, so I can only imagine that we're going to see another trade, probably involving one of our catching pair. My preference would to be trade Valentin, as he can't hit lefthanders and I'm expecting a regression this year vs. right-handers as teams pitch him more carefully. But the Latin Love Machine also probably has far less trade value than LaRue, and I can deal with limited offensive capability at catcher if we can trade LaRue + a pitcher (Milton to a fly-ball friendly park?) and get an improved starter in return.

As for Bobby Basham, he was a 26-year old, former prospect AA pitcher with a history of arm problems. BP rated his STUFF (an indicator of future potential in the big leagues) as -4, while a +10 is appropriate for a regular big-league starter. I don't think we lost much here. Not sure we gained much either. -j

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