Wednesday, March 26, 2008

PREVIEWS: Catchers

As I did in 2007, to preview this year’s club, I’ve broken the team down positionally into categories of how they can best benefit me. I believe this is the best and most relevant way to preview any team.

Which catcher would like to help me solicit members for my cult?

Javier Valentin
: the Reds Rocket offers a cult narrowly tailored to meet the needs of today’s angry loner. It’s more social club than restrictive pseudo-religious organization, like the Elks but with fewer old people. Sure, there may be some brainwashing and door to door solicitation (with monkey sales) but it’s also a place where you can show up and just hang out. We’re not here to judge you. You can finally be yourself. Aren’t your parents a drag? Mine too. Let me level with you, there’s not going to be anything crazy like forced procreation and the issue of mass suicide isn’t even an absolute certainty. There will be severe limitations placed upon your free will, but if you ask our members, it’s not something they miss or even remember. The impact a personable Latino can have upon our angry, young Hispanic demographic far outweighs any liability behind the plate (threw out 5-44 base runners attempting to steal, 11%). Welcome aboard Javy. Let’s get brainwashing.

David Ross: Ross, or Ragweed to friends, suffered from a bad case of cold stick last season (112 games, .203/.271/.399, 92K/30 BB, 10 2B, 17 HR, 39 RBI). But, in addition to playing a little defense (threw out 23 of 54 potential base stealers, 43%) and adding his name to records books (hit into the Reds’ first triple play since Eddie Taubensee on 9/19/97), Ragweed brings other things to the Reds which, as color announcers everywhere like to say, don’t show up on the scorecard. Just call him Mr. Intangible, like Derek Jeter but without the on-field performance. For example, Saturdays remained bullpen barbecue (‘Hey assheads, grub’s done, come and git it’). The Reds likely wouldn’t have quality back end of the rotation Josh Fogg (they were both on the UF Gator baseball team and Fogg, according to Ross, is “the shit”) without Ragweed’s recommendation. And he continues to bring the ladies out to the ballpark, the importance of which cannot be underestimated. But is he truly cult material? We’ll get him fitted in a fuchsia robe and then make a final decision.

*Update: Ragweed's down! Looks like Ross begins the season on the DL but we're hoping for a full and speedy recovery. I don't think it qualifies as Saturday without a hearty portion of ribs.

Paul Bako: the Reds finally realized the mistake they made 10 years ago when they let Bako go the first time. After drafting him in the 5th round of the 1993 draft, a rare lapse in judgment allowed Bako to escape to the Tigers in 1998. And look at what he has done since then; he’s hit .233/.306/.315 with 9 teams in 10 seasons. Last year with the Orioles, Bako put together the following line: .205/.277/.256, 60 G, 156AB, 1 HR, 8 RBI, 50 K/15BB. Fortunately for Reds fans, Bako crossed paths with Dusty Baker during his 2003-2004 tenure with the Cubs and as we know by now, Dusty takes care of his friends despite the demonstrated detrimental impact such relationships have had upon previous employers. That sort of loyalty is certain to endear him to Reds fans over the course of the next three seasons. Unfortunately our cult has one rule, people with the first name Gabor cannot join. Sorry man, it’s a weird name.

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