Update: apparently, Ausmus went ahead and agreed to terms with the Dodgers less than an hour after I originally posted this. He’ll get $1m for one year. Not to be outdone, the Padres then turned right around and signed Henry Blanco – who, as you’ll see below, is superior to Ausmus both at bat and defensively – for $250,000 less. Just in case you need to be bludgeoned over the head with it, the Dodgers just paid more for an older catcher who can’t hit or throw than the Padres did for a guy who can do a bit of both. Because, that makes sense. I strongly look forward to Vin Scully explaining that Ausmus went to an Ivy League school 50 times this year. The original post from this afternoon remains below.
Would you prefer having a backup catcher who can actually produce… or one that Joe Torre might actually play? We’re hardly alone in the Dodger blogosphere in calling for Russell Martin to get some more rest (check out his declining OPS by month last year, bouncing back only in September when he did get some time off); it’s been one of our recurring themes for quite some time. And no, Joe, third base does not count as a rest, though with Casey Blake around that’s unlikely to happen as much as last year.
While we’ve all spent countless words on Manny, Furcal, and starting pitching, it shouldn’t be ignored that backup catcher is a pretty important role if we want to see Martin live to age 30. In 2007, we had the Token Veteran Goodness of Mike Lieberthal, who had all of one RBI that year. In 2008, we had the Token Veteran Goodness of Gary Bennett explode in our faces
(and all over the infield), only to be replaced by Brotherhood of the Traveling Masks member Danny Ardoin. Clearly, the Token Veteran route hasn’t worked out. So what’s the plan for 2009?
Free-agent catcher Brad Ausmus, seeking to play for a team near his home in Del Mar, Ca., is in the process of choosing between the Dodgers and Padres, according to major-league sources.The Dodgers are Ausmus’ likely choice, sources say – they figure to be a stronger contender in the NL West next season than the Padres, who are reducing their payroll to $40 million.