Wednesday, December 05, 2007


Svrluga sez that Paul Lo Duca might be moving to the forefront in the Nats' catcher sweepstakes.
Read the story - which says the first option is to trade for a left-handed hitting long-term project, Arizona's Miguel Montero - and then scroll down. Lo Duca would still be Plan B - a free agent signing that would only help in the short-term - but he would certainly be sexier than Damian Miller, who folks told me yesterday appeared to be the fall-back.

Let's consider this.

  • Barry Sez:
    "Lo Duca is an accomplished hitter"
    Paul Lo Duca's on-base percentage was .311 last year. Brian Schneider -- the guy whose offense we couldn't stand -- had a .326. His OPS+, which adjusts his on-base and slugging averages for league and park was 80 last year, meaning he was 20% worse than an average hitter. Brian Schneider -- the guy whose offense we couldn't stand -- was 77, a smidge below.

    The average NL catcher created .15 runs for every out they made. Paul Lo Duca created 51 runs while using 355 outs, meaning he was 2 runs below the average NL Catcher. Brian Schneider -- the guy whose offense we couldn't stand -- was 4 runs below average.

    They're the same feckin' batter!

  • Barry Sez:
    "as one official told me last night, [Lo Duca is] 'a gamer.'"

    This is translation to mean: He's a redass. He's a fireplug of a guy who runs around slapping people on the ass going rah rah, let's go get 'em boys. It's important to note that he's one of the players who helped cement Lastings Milledge's reputation, by pseudo anonymously ripping his attitude any chance he got. It's widely suspected that he was one of the driving forces (perhaps with Billy Wanger) of the "Know your place, Rook" note left on his locker one game.

  • Barry Sez:
    "Though his defensive skills have dwindled - or were never that good"

    He's on to something with the latter. Paul Lo Duca caught just 18% of the runners trying to steal against him, which is in the bottom half of the league. He committed 9 throwing errors, which was second most in the league. Base stealers ran early, often, and late against him. He faced an average of .82 attempts against him per game, a number that was higher than all but one other regular NL catcher. So runners ran MORE often on him and with GREATER success than the average catcher. To say his defensive skills have declined is like saying that Pavarotti's singing skills have faded. They're both long gone! (How's that for a hip reference? I'm down with the kids today!)

  • Barry Sez:
    "he would add some punch to the lineup with quality at-bats."

    We've already established that he's Schneider-like with the result of his ABs. I don't know where this perception comes from. Well, I guess I do sorta. Lo Duca -- on top of being that tough and frequent talking man's man that makes sports writers (especially in LA!) go in a tizzy -- is the kind of high average (at least til last year), good contact batter that makes grizzled old baseball men nod approvingly because he knows how to "play the right way." The fact of the matter is that no matter how many times he DOESN'T strike out, he had a terrible offensive season, and he's not likely to improve given his age.

    While his 24/33 BB/K ratio is impressive (although those walk totals would look great in Soriano's batting line), those also compare favorably with Schneider's 56/56 totals. Schneider might strike out a bit more -- just 20 times over a full season -- but he walks 30 more times per year! SCHNEIDER HAS A BETTER APPROACH AT THE PLATE!

  • So if you want Lo Duca, you're getting Brian Schneider's bat, but without any defense. Sign me up.

    At least the dirtbag will give a good quote.

  • Special Uncle Teddy's Home For Wayward Youth Note:
    He likes to sleep with teenagers

    And the guy loooooves to gamble. especially on the ponies.

    So maybe he'd fit in afterall?


    • Chris,

      I think you're absolutely right on the defense and character issues, but it seems like the question on offense is whether 2007 marked the beginning of Lo Duca's inevitable slide or was just a down year. His 2006 numbers were considerably better than Schneider, and if he did that again in 2008, I think he would be an upgrade on offense over #23.

      By Blogger Unknown, at 12/05/2007 12:05 PM  

    • Art, he's a catcher who's going to be 36. It would be *highly* unusual for him to bounce back at that age given the wear and tear on a catcher's body.

      He's done.

      By Blogger Yuda, at 12/05/2007 12:13 PM  

    • Lo Duca would be terrible. Make a deal with Arizona. That guy can actually catch! The Mets organisation couldn't wait to get rid of this guy.

      By Blogger Unknown, at 12/05/2007 12:19 PM  

    • LoDuca LoSucks.

      i can't imagine the Nats touching this guy with a 29 1/2 foot pole. but i guess every team needs a token tough italian kid. or maybe that's just every New York team. i get confused.

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12/05/2007 12:22 PM  

    • .... waiting for the DC 19-year old to come forward....

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12/05/2007 12:30 PM  

    • Can you imagine the book that will be written about the 2008 Nats? It will probably be one of the most entertaining and least baseball related books ever written about a season.

      By Blogger Ironic Goat, at 12/05/2007 12:38 PM  

    • LoDuca would teach the team and fanbase, over the course of the long season, how important a defensive catcher is. But it is a lesson I hope we do not have to learn.

      It would be far better to get someone who does not make us (and the pitchers) miss Schneider too much. This means a defensive catcher with a strong, accurate arm and someone who at least has a pretty good batting eye, if not batting average.

      Is that asking too much?

      By Blogger EdDC, at 12/05/2007 12:41 PM  

    • Yep, this is just getting crazy, are we going for some kind of Bengals record? We should definitely avoid Lo Duca. Not only would he steal ABs from Flores, but he stinks. It's amazing, but I'd rather have Fats Estrada than Pauly Jailbait.

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12/05/2007 12:43 PM  

    • .... waiting for the DC 19-year old to come forward....

      By Anonymous, at 12/05/2007 12:30 PM

      Which one?

      By Blogger Unknown, at 12/05/2007 12:53 PM  

    • I still say we go for Montero - funny that we haven't heard anything about what we would be offering Arizona for him, something tells me a straight up trade for Cordero or Rauch would be too one sided for a backup catcher. Maybe if we could get a mid level pitching prospect (A or AA) starter or reliever would be about right...

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12/05/2007 12:55 PM  

    • Right on, estuartj. Don't we already have all of the Snakes mid-level pitching prospects with Mock, Gonzales and Chico? I guess we could ask for the other Gonzales, too. Otherwise, I can't envision something that works without overpaying for Montero. On second thought, the Chief for Montero, Gonzales and Fruto! Nah, we had him, too.

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12/05/2007 1:07 PM  

    • Devin Ivany is wondering why he bothered going to the Arizona Fall League.

      Chris, be careful!!! You railed against getting Dukes, too, and see where that got us?

      By Blogger Positively Half St., at 12/05/2007 1:30 PM  

    • Looking back, you can't help but wonder whether we would have still got Milledge for Cordero and Church. Fewer holes in the roster and someone could still teach Flores how to call a game, and to act as a calming influence for Bad Boys Inc. in the outfield.

      Sorry, Chris I'll stop defending Brian now. I know I know he had to go. But I really liked the guy and now we may end up worse off. But I swear I'll stop now.

      By Blogger Unknown, at 12/05/2007 1:33 PM  

    • (How's that for a hip reference? I'm down with the kids today!)

      The kids today don't even know who the hell Pavarotti was, guy. Your so-called hipness is every bit as pseudo as your stats are. (But hey, Pavarotti. That dude could really put away the eggplant parm!)

      OTOH, you're right about LoDuca basically being Schneider, minus some defense. So, presuming that Flores will be picking up playing time in 2008 over what he had last year, is basically trading Schneider + Church for Milledge + Schneider Lite really all that bad a deal? And if Teddy ends up spending more for Schneider Lite than he would have for Schneider, does that make it look even better to you? I mean, the more they pay for Schneider Lite, the better he must be, right? Otherwise, why even talk about payroll, eh?

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12/05/2007 1:38 PM  

    • I just saw this on a BA blog in response to a question about Nick Johnson's health:

      Will Carroll: It's a huge question mark. Having signed Dmitri Young and locking in the Island of Misfit Toys outfield, I'm not sure how all the pieces fit. I don't think the Nats do either. Johnson is going to have to prove himself healthy, but once he does, there's plenty of teams that would take him. It's never a problem to have too much talent and no one questions the talent of the Nats right now.

      By Blogger Positively Half St., at 12/05/2007 2:03 PM  

    • "The kids today don't even know who the hell Pavarotti was, guy. Your so-called hipness is every bit as pseudo as your stats are."

      Apparently someone needs to get Eggplant a sarcasm detector.

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12/05/2007 2:07 PM  

    • Apparently someone needs to get Eggplant a sarcasm detector.

      If they do, I'll gladly re-gift it to you, anonymous. Looks like you could really use one yourself...

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12/05/2007 2:13 PM  

    • I really hope Nick Johnson gets back. He was one of the best players in the NL in '06, and no one noticed. With a .500-ish ballclub, that could change.

      By Blogger Michael Anthony, at 12/05/2007 2:16 PM  

    • I like the payroll breakdown. It helps to see where the Nats are spending their money and how ridiculously low their payroll is compared to teams that are trying to win.

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12/05/2007 3:03 PM  

    • Chris,
      Barry totally called you out for calling him out! You are just everywhere, aren't you?

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12/05/2007 3:38 PM  

    • Nice shout out from St. Barry re: his "misguided off-the-cuff analysis."

      Score one for the bloggers!

      And props to St. Barry for the recognition (whether snarky or not).

      By Blogger Unknown, at 12/05/2007 3:42 PM  

    • Excellent. You're being quoted all over the place.

      Your analysis is certaibly off the cuff, but it's not misguilded.

      Don't poison the club house more. No Lo Duschca!

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12/05/2007 3:45 PM  

    • Lo Duca is an absolutely terrible hitter, and while most Mets fans love him, I've always disliked him and am glad to see him go. Schneider, as miserable of a offensive player as can be, is probably superior to Lo Duca at this point, especially when you consider that Schneider's OPS is more heavily weighted toward OBP, the more important of OPS's two components.

      Sportswriters will continue to celebrate the redass dickwad and his high, empty batting average; and celebrate Schneider for illusory pitcher-handling and defensive qualities, while deriding his .230 batting average, but putting it all together Schneider actually seems like the better offensive player, as pathetic and weak as that sounds.

      By Blogger Scaevola, at 12/05/2007 4:06 PM  

    • lo duca is a piece of garbage. if you sign him you are idiots. you have the mets former best young player. why f things up by signing their former worst old player?

      lo duca is inexcusable. what a low life degenerate. please, get real people.

      By Blogger Ken Dynamo, at 12/05/2007 4:37 PM  

    • Ah, Peterson, fancy seeing you here

      By Blogger Ken Dynamo, at 12/05/2007 4:38 PM  

    • I am still angry at him for getting Soriano out without the ball on opening day, 06.

      By Blogger Ironic Goat, at 12/05/2007 4:57 PM  

    • If you're going to platoon Flores, how about doing so with a catcher that bats LEFT? Isn't that half the reason for platooning him?

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12/05/2007 5:22 PM  

    • I am in no way saying that the Nats should sign Lo Duca, but you do need to consider this about the difference between his obp and Schneider's:

      Schneider usually batted 8th in the lineup and would draw more IBB's since our pitchers couldn't hit/bunt for s**t.

      Lo Duca usually batted 2nd and would get mostly strikes thrown his way as pitchers were afraid to walk him to get to Beltran/Delgado/Wright/Alou.

      Therefore, Schneider's obp would be significantly higher than Lo Duca's.

      Again, I do not, in any way, want Lo Duca as a Nats catcher. Just thought I'd bring this point up.

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12/05/2007 5:56 PM  

    • none of this matters the Blue Jays are about to sign LoDuca

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12/05/2007 6:41 PM  

    • LoDuca had a off year with the bat but still out hit Schneider by 40 points. LoDuca has a .288 career average over ten seasons. No way you can say his offense is as weak as Schneider's, who can't hit a lick. Besides, LoDuca's bat always killed the Nats when he was on the Mets. Just having him on the roster would be a plus because he could no longer tee off on our pitchers. Further, I believe that Schneider's defense was sliding. He could throw base runners out in 2005 but last year he was beginning to look like Matt LeCroy.

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12/05/2007 6:48 PM  

    • Signing Lo Duca would be a big mistake unless it's just for one year and we also plan on signing another veteran catcher so we can send Flores to AAA. Otherwise, he would make no sense since he's going to want to play everyday and since he's a righty.

      IMO, we should grab Montero and platoon him and Flores, letting them both season up a bit. If next year is going to be the major rebuilding year we're expecting it to, we should just play the youth and not put too many expectations on them. Or, on the other hand, if we're thinking we might make a run at .500, we also shouldn't grab Lo Duca, since the man isn't exactly great for team chemistry, particularly when it comes to rookies, which we'll have in spades. Only way Lo Duca would make sense is if we're aiming for mediocrity, which is the same reason we dumped Church and Schneider.

      By Blogger Michael Taylor, at 12/05/2007 6:51 PM  

    • LoDuca would cost at least $3 million for a year, perhaps more and you know Grandpa Teddy will never shell that much out. Anyway, LoDuca is close to signing with the Blue Jays. He earned $6.25 million got 2007 and he is not going to settle for Nats' peanuts when catchers are in such high demand.

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12/05/2007 6:56 PM  

    • May god help us if we sign LoDuca. I'd rather have you catch, Chris, instead of LoDuca.

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