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Friday, January 19, 2007

Transaction Ketchup: Chad Moeller

This is probably one of those transactions that we just shouldn't get worked up about. It shouldn't make much of a difference for the Reds next season, as long as they're being smart. ...

Despite clearing room only days earlier on the 25-man roster by trading away Jason LaRue for peanuts, Wayne Krivsky added 31-year old catcher Chad Moeller to the team via a one-year major league free agent deal.

Moeller had a good pair of years here in hitter-happy Arizona from '02-'03, posting 0.852 and 0.770 OPS's over a total of 344 at bats. But after arriving as part of the Richie Sexson deal for the 2004 season, he hasn't done squat:
Year/Team PA %K %BB %HR SB SB% OBP SLG OPS GPA EqA VORP PrOPS
2004/MIL 343 21.6% 6.1% 1.5% 0 0.0% 0.265 0.303 0.568 0.195 0.200 -15.0 0.634
2005/MIL 214 22.4% 6.1% 3.3% 0 ---
0.257 0.367 0.624 0.207 0.220 -4.2 0.699
2006/MIL-AAA 153 18.3% 9.8% 1.3% 0 0.0% 0.307 0.311 0.618 0.216 --- --- ---
2006/MIL 104 25.0% 3.8% 1.9% 0 ---
0.231 0.276 0.507 0.173 0.000 -8.4 0.707

While PrOPS is slightly kinder to him, there's just no evidence over the past three years that he can hit. What success he did have previously happened in his 27 and 28-year old seasons in one of the most hitter-friendly ballparks in baseball (Chase Field of Arizona). Since that time, his walk rate has dropped to nothing, as has his batting average.

Defensively, Krivsky has talked up his ability to "handle the game." He does have a lower-than-average catcher ERA for his career (4.03), so perhaps there's something to that--especially since much of his playing time happened in a hitter's park. But his arm, at least, is subpar, catching only 25.5% of would-be base stealers over his career--and declining every single year since 2001, to a low of 21.4% last year.

So why do we have this guy? I have a hard time believing he'll hit any better than Ryan Jorgensen might if he were called up. Maybe he'll be better defensively, I don't know. But I can come up with two somewhat snide possibilities. One, he was originally signed by the Minnesota Twins in the 1996 draft, and debuted with them in 2000. And two, he hit for the cycle against the Reds in 2004 (one of only 13 doubles & 5 homers he hit that year in 317 AB's).

Honestly, I'd be surprised if he lasts the season. The Reds always have roster size issues, and this year will be no different (e.g. we already have too many outfielders already on the roster). He should be an easy guy to cut.