Dodgers of the Decade: Catcher

It’s been a hell of a decade, no? When the 2000 Dodgers took the field, Davey Johnson was the manager, with Kevin Malone still in the GM box. You want to know how long ago that was? The first Dodger game of the 2000s was played in a city that doesn’t even have a team any more (Montreal), with Devon White leading off. Devon White! Clayton Kershaw had just recently turned 12 years old that day.

This was a decade that saw 4 managers, 4 general managers, and 2 owners. We’re still batting .000 on the owners, aren’t we? It saw ups (9 seasons over .500, 4 playoff appearances and 2 series wins, after a 1990s that saw zero playoff wins) and downs (91 losses in 2005, more than their share of on- and off-the-field controversy). So it’s time to look back and build the all-decade team for the Dodgers. Should I have started this before December 27? Well, probably. Blame that pesky day job, I suppose. I’m also aware that this is somewhat of a hackneyed gimmick, but I’m also aware that there’s just not going to be much real Dodger news until spring training starts, so we might as well take advantage of the downtime while we can.

We’re going to include all candidates who played 100 games at a position during the decade. I’ll include traditional stats, but also WAR (Wins Above Replacement). We’re using the WAR from baseballprojection.com since FanGraphs doesn’t go back before 2002. I’ll include offense and defensive stats, but not for catcher since defensive stats are so unreliable there.

Let’s start off with catcher, where we have four eligible candidates but only really two with a shot. At first, this seems like a slam dunk, but…

Russell Martin (570 games, 2006-09)
Dodger stats: .276/.368/.407 .775 49 hr 274 rbi
WAR: 10.8

Paul LoDuca (546 games, 2000-04)
Dodger stats: .290/.344/.433 .777  54 hr 263 rbi
WAR: 11.4

Chad Kreuter (194 games, 2000-02)
Dodger stats: .245/.378/.392 .770 14 hr 57 rbi
WAR: 3.8
Pending lawsuits against former teammates: one
Fights against fans during games: one

Dave Ross (118 games, 2002-04)
Dodger stats: .207/.292/.411 .703 16 hr 35 rbi
WAR: 0.7

Top three seasons
5.0 WAR LoDuca, 2001
4.2 WAR Martin, 2007
3.6 WAR Martin, 2008

I have to say, I’m suprised at how close Martin and LoDuca are here. Their stats are nearly identical, and LoDuca has the slight edge in WAR. I suppose Martin’s stats are dragged down by the fact that even though he was great from mid-2006 to mid-2008, he’s been pretty awful ever since then. Clearly this doesn’t show up in the stats, but LoDuca also contributed value in another way – by being part of the deal that brought Brad Penny to LA, and Penny put up a few good seasons as a Dodger. LoDuca was one of the more beloved Dodgers at the time of his trade, though I think it’s safe to say that opinion of him has fallen somewhat since his naming in the Mitchell Report.

One other thing that stands out? Look at the years these catchers played in Dodger blue. You have the catcher for the first half of the decade, LoDuca, and his two primary backups. Then you have the man for the second half, Martin. There’s only one season in which none of these four guys were a Dodger, and that’s 2005.  What, no love in the stats for Jason Phillips, Paul Bako, and Mike Rose? God, that year was an abortion. Let’s never speak of it again.

It’s up to you, friends. Who’s your Dodger catcher of the 00s?

[polldaddy poll=2434347]

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  10. [...] of the Decade team: C: Russell Martin (68%) 1B: James Loney (62%) 2B: Jeff Kent (88%) 3B: Adrian Beltre (80%) SS: Rafael Furcal (87%) [...]

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