Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Moore on LaRue

According to Dayton Moore, Jason LaRue will compete with John Buck for the starting catcher position in Spring Training. That makes a little more sense. Taking on so much salary for a back up catcher just wasn’t computing. But if Buck beats him out, we’ll still be paying $2.5 million of LaRue’s salary for him to catch 40 or 50 games. If I had to guess, LaRue is going to be the starter next season simply based on his salary.

John Buck hasn’t become the catcher everybody seemed to think he might be. His numbers at the plate have been mediocre. He has been in double digits in home runs all three years he’s been in a Royals’ uniform and he’s a career .242 hitter with a .292 OBP and a .692 OPS who strikes out too often. Pitchers seem to like him, but you can’t tell that by looking at their stats.

LaRue’s numbers are slightly better. He hits between 12 and 16 home runs every year. He’s a .239 career hitter with a .325 OBP and a .740 OPS. Like Buck, he strikes out way too often. But I don’t think that there’s any question that he’s a better defensive catcher that Buck. I’m hoping that he’ll be a slight upgrade, but I have concerns about his age (32) and his right knee that was repaired in March.

I do wonder though if we couldn’t have signed another veteran catcher for much cheaper, allowing Buck to start next season, and put the money toward pitching where we are in desperate need.

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