November 27, 2006

Reds Ink Chad Moeller

A young Chad Moeller: Learning to hold the batNo, really. I read it on Marc's blog:

Lo and behold, the Reds have signed veteran backstop Chad Moeller, who spent last year in the Brewers organization, to a one-year contract. Not sure what this means in the grand scheme just yet, as Moeller appeared in just 31 big-league games last year, but I'm sure it's all part of the master plan.

Marc asks Kriv-dawg to explain:

“You need depth,” said Krivsky. “You need a team. You need guys with roles. You just can’t go with two catchers – you’d better have depth there. If someone gets hurt, a foul tip, you’re out there scrambling. You’d better have some depth at that position. That’s what we’re doing here.”

And Moeller's .184 average in 29 games with the Brewers last year?

“He’s better than that,” said Krivsky.

Now, before you get all excited, I should point out that “you just can't go with two catchers” IS actually an appropriate sentiment in some cases. For example, if a person were to walk up to you and ask, “What's the absolute minimum number of baseball players needed to form a proper human pyramid?” or “I don't want company, I want a crowd. What do I need?”

33 comments to “Reds Ink Chad Moeller”

  1. Geki says:

    Krivsky is an incompetent assclown and this makes anything gained in the LaRue deal obsolete.

  2. Zeldink says:

    Was anything really gained in the LaRue deal? The team has to send $3 million in salary. I think that’s too much. And now the team’s right back where it languished all last year: with three catchers.


  3. Joel says:

    [quote]And Moeller’s .184 average in 29 games with the Brewers last year?

    “He’s better than that,” said Krivsky.[/quote]

    Yeah, Krivsky has a point. He’s a career .227 hitter and he batted .208 and .206 in the previous two seasons. I will agree that he is better than a .184 hitter. Yipee.

  4. ohiobobcat says:

    .184 .208 .206?

    Uh, Eric Milton is better than that….

  5. Red Hot Mama says:

    From the story on
    [quote]After that trade was announced, Reds general manager Wayne Krivsky said Ross and Valentin were the team’s catchers “for now.” [/quote]

    For now?? How many more catchers is he going to carry into 2007??

  6. smartelf says:

    The difference of course is that Moeller knows his role: he is a 3rd string scrub who won’t get any opportunity unless an unfortunate injury occurs to the frontline tandem. LaRue completely disrupted chemistry by demanding playing time and pouting when better players moved ahead of him on the depth chart. So LaRue gets his wish and gets a shot in KC, and Moeller is here for emergency purposes only. Don’t read anything else into it… it doesn’t mean Valentin or Ross are going anywhere. Also, they may use the 2nd catcher as a primary pinch hitter like last year, in which case yes you do require 3 catchers on the roster… this gives them some options.

  7. Joel says:

    [quote]he is a 3rd string scrub who won’t get any opportunity unless an unfortunate injury occurs to the frontline tandem[/quote]so he’s a player that will only play if 2 other players get hurt? How is that good roster management?

    [quote]this gives them some options[/quote]He’s a terrible hitter and at best an average fielder. If that is what considered to be “options” then I’d rather they just took a chance that both catchers won’t get hurt.

    Realistically, how often does a team have an immediate need for a third catcher? If injuries become a problem, couldn’t they just cover with someone from Triple-A until they can find some guy (read: Chad Moeller) who is sitting around without a job? I’d much rather they signed an average hitter to pinch hit than carry an extra catcher who can’t hit just so that Jerry always feels comfortable using one of the tandem as a pinch hitter on a nightly basis.

    And how did Larue’s complete ruination of team chemistry affect the team again? I don’t remember “chemistry” being a problem for the team last year. In fact, I remember very few complaints from players about anything last year. Even Larue was quick to compliment Ross before saying that he would like more playing time. It’s not like he was stabbing players in the back along the way.

  8. smartelf says:

    If 1 player gets hurt you need a 2nd catcher… you always need a back up catcher. Plus I am thinking they are looking at valentin as a pinch hitter and maybe even a 1B back up to hatteberg, because recall that valentin played some 1B in 2005.

    As for your chemistry question… the exact moment LaRue returned from the roster is when the Reds dropped there big lead of 1st place… I mean the exact moment, and that is no coincidence…go back and take a look at the day by day standings as soon as LaRue returned. But aside from that evidence, anytime a guy is bitching in the clubhouse it spoils positive energy and creates negative energy. Unslefish players that willingly accept whatever role they find themselves in wins championships… even minor players can be heroes, but when you make unreasonable demands to your manager it affects the atmosphere.

  9. Joel says:

    [quote]If 1 player gets hurt you need a 2nd catcher… you always need a back up catcher.[/quote] Yes, you always need a backup catcher, but you don’t need a backup to the backup on the active roster. The Reds aren’t good enough to be wasting roster spots on players who only play in absolute emergencies. So, either he sits and wastes a spot or he plays from time to time and wastes at bats. Either way, I think it is a poor use of a roster spot.
    [quote]I am thinking they are looking at valentin as a pinch hitter and maybe even a 1B back up to hatteberg, because recall that valentin played some 1B in 2005.[/quote] That may be the case, but I think they would be much better served keeping Valentin as the backup catcher, dropping Moeller and getting a right-handed bat to play first base for those tough left-handers that Hatteberg gets killed by. In fact, they should probably look at the possibility of getting someone to platoon first base with Hatteberg, and that surely won’t be Valentin.
    [quote]the exact moment LaRue returned from the roster is when the Reds dropped there big lead of 1st place… I mean the exact moment, and that is no coincidence…go back and take a look at the day by day standings as soon as LaRue returned[/quote] LaRue came back on April 19th. The Reds went 11-2 in the next 13 games – including a 9-1 stretch.

    I guess you and I have different memories of the poison that LaRue spewed. All I remember him saying is that he wanted more playing time, and I have yet to hear from any other player saying that he was bitching in the clubhouse. Usually if someone is a clubhouse cancer it is implied by at least least one person to the media. If LaRue was so bad, why were there more players defending him than saying get him out of here?

  10. smartelf says:

    You know how I know I am right about LaRue… for the exact way this whole saga is unfolding.. they dumped him on KC, even bribed KC to take him off their hands, and then replaced him with Moeller. I think that tells you right there what laRue’s value was in Krivsky’s mind… and I agree wholeheartedly.

    I am shocked by the numbers you just recited… I recall a major fall sometime in mid to late may which was just a little while after LaRue arrived on the scene… yea, when he first arrived they were still just giving him a game here and there because he was still sort of rehabbing.. it wasn’t till he got the bulk of the starts that the losses piled up… so please look after the time frame you just mentioned.

  11. Joel says:

    I don’t disagree that LaRue pissed off Krivsky with his comments at the end of the year. He asked to be traded and I think Krivsky was more than happy to oblige him. After all, Ross was the guy he brought in anyway. And I’m not arguing that LaRue’s value was not down – the dude had terrible numbers in 2006. None of this proves that he was trouble in the clubhouse though.

    Yes, the Reds fell apart in May, but I don’t know how it can all be blamed on LaRue. The team was playing way over their head in April and a fall was inevitable. And LaRue wasn’t getting much more playing time once the team started to fall. Here’s the team’s record during the good stretch after LaRue came back and during the down stretch for the rest of the month of May. LaRue had almost exactly the same percentage of starts during both stretches. And coincidentally, the team had a worse record in games in which LaRue didn’t start.

    Reds – 11-2
    LaRue – 6-1

    Reds: 10-16
    LaRue: 7-9

  12. smartelf says:

    hmm… interesting. Good work on the research

  13. smartelf says:

    Well my theory is that was right when it became an issue of who should be starting… whether they did better with LaRue or not is irrelevant in my mind, because the dude struggled mightily at the plate but still wanted the starting job. We can only guess, but I am guessing he was bitching behind closed doors throughout that collapse, which couldn’t have helped… and yea you can argue theyw ere due for a dropoff, or you can argue that was a key stretch when they could have padded their lead and maybe run away with it. It was definitely a picotal point in the season and we may never know the truth unless we get granted some interviews… because they like to keep the clubhouse dirt private and off the books… but the fact laRue got dumped, and to KC of all places is very telling in my mind. Either he was so bad that only KC was willing to take a chance on him, or we punished him on purpose by sending him to baseball hell. And I still think he is going to wind up as back over there which will be a very rude awakening and maybe his karmic reward.

  14. smartelf says:

    bunch of typos sorry.. I meant to say “back up” in that last sentence.

  15. Geki says:

    The Reds basically traded LaRue for Moeller and $1.5 million (and the PTBNL, but they’re always useless). How is that anywhere near a good trade? That’s a massive downgrade for an absolutely paltry amount of cash, and there’s no evidence to suggest LaRue was a cancer in the clubhouse.

  16. smartelf says:

    You just don’t get it. The role available is to ride the pine and get aq handful of at-bats whe3n they don’t matter and back up two other catchers. LaRue absolutely refused to take that role… it has nothing to do with comparative value.. it has to do with roles… and yes, the reds saved 2 million or so, which is nothing to sneeze at… that might be a few extra 1.00 hotdog days in 2007.

  17. Geki says:

    He refused to take that role despite the fact that he took it almost all of last year? I’m not saying he would’ve been happy, but I don’t see why he couldn’t have earned the job back, honestly. Chad Moeller wouldn’t even be a good player if we stuck him in Louisville and we just handed him a major league roster spot in November to basically do nothing but pinch-hit (and, rest assured, he will do so terribly because he’s a terrible hitter). I was fine with the LaRue trade if it led to something positive, but instead it led to less talent on the roster and more money for Big Bob to act like he’s gonna spend.

  18. smartelf says:

    LaRue would have demanded a trade if he was not the opening day starter, he made that clear. That’s why they traded him… no he did not want to have to battle Dave Ross (and probably lose) again this season. I am sure he’d much rather take his chances in KC vs John Buck. That’s why LaRue said he’s happy about the deal. He chose starting over being with his team in an unwanted role. He likes to be the clearcut starter. There are lots of players like that, and in fact, Aurilia is probably leaving for a similiar reason, although it sounds like he will also get more money than we would have offered as well… but guys like to know they are the opening day starter. You are obviously more loyal to LaRue than he is to you (and Reds fans).

    As for Moeller, he is simply an insurance policy in case one of the catchers gets hurt. he would not pinch hit (unless the rest of the bench was depleted) and he would be a back up only, not a platoon player… he’d only start when Ross or valentin needed a day off. The guy is a capable back up, though not a good hitter, that is for sure. Obviously whatever we have in the minors is an even worse option.

  19. HoosierVirg says:

    Miguel Perez is the catcher we carry on the forty man roster and after a good start in the rookie leagues has not shown any outstanding batting averages in the lower minors, of course he is only 22, the same as EE. He seems to strike out a great deal but so do a lot of Reds. I liked LaRue because he was a hard nose player who didn’t back off at home plate defensively. In observing Ross, I can not say the same thing. I wonder if the Reds tried to go after Craig Wilson, he has caught, plays first, plays right-field, and bats right handed. probably cost around five million. Isn’t he a free agent?

  20. KC2HMZ says:

    Instead of looking at this as a three-headed catching monster, try thinking of it as having two catchers, Ross as the starter and Moeller as the backup, with the Reds also benefitting from the fact that their top pinch-hitter, Valentin, can also catch or play first base if need be.


  21. BubbaFan says:

    Craig Wilson is a free agent.

    Though the Yanks might still sign him. They had hoped to sign Greg Zaun, as a backup catcher and platoon first baseman, but Zaun chose to stay put. With Aurillia reportedly about to sign with the Giants, the Yanks need a first baseman. Preferably right-handed. Cashman says he’s okay with Andy Phillips, but I’m not sure I believe him. He does have a bizarre love for Andy. I like Andy myself, but by his own admission, he can’t run, can’t play defense, and is an easy out. And though he’s right-handed, his splits are reversed, so platooning him with Giambi may not be a great idea. (On the bright side, Andy Phillips is supposed to have the best singing voice in baseball, so if you need an emergency backup to sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” before the game, he’s your man.)

    The Yankees weren’t thrilled with Craig Wilson’s performance, but his career numbers are clearly better than any of their other options at the moment.

  22. Geki says:


    And I’m honestly not loyal to LaRue at all, but he’s an exponentially better option than Chad Moeller and it really doesn’t matter if he demands a trade or not. This is baseball, not football. Players don’t hold out. Yeah, he probably would’ve been unhappy. He probably would’ve stewed and pouted, but at the same time, he wouldn’t have mailed it in because he would’ve wanted another job after this season. I’m fine with dumping LaRue, but I’m not fine with dumping LaRue for Chad Moeller. It’s another instance of Krivsky showing that he has absolutely no idea how to identify value in a player.

  23. smartelf says:

    If a player demands a trade or demands to be starter and it won’t happen, you grant his wish… you don’t hold him hostage. You don’t create a clubhouse problem like that, it makes Narron’s job harder and it creates bad vibes… I seriously doubt you have ever played organized sports, so I am not at all insulted by your dumbass comment. Take a look around, there arent many good hitting catchers.. the fact LaRue is considered a good offensive catcher with a career average of .239 speaks volumes about the lack of good hitting catchers. We are lucky to have two of them in Ross and valentin, and yes you can burn a roster spot on a light hitting 3rd catcher knowing he will see very little action, because it frees up valentin’s bat for pinch hitting or for playing some 1B if nothing else comes through in that dept.

    Its really funny that you are calling me dumb while advocating making LaRue miserable, as if that is some kind of irrefutable argument. grow up.

  24. smartelf says:

    I should also remind you and everyone else that you were totally bad mouthing Aurilia during spring training last year, and I defended him, and who turned out to be right on that one, you or I?

  25. Red Hot Mama says:

    It doesn’t bother me that you say trading LaRue was a good move. It wasn’t my preference, and I think the Reds got screwed financially on the deal, but it’s hardly the worst thing we’ve seen out of Kriv-dawg.

    It doesn’t bother me that you say that picking up Moeller was a good move. It clearly was not, but that seems like a different issue.

    What bugs me, smartelf, is that you insist on acting like you know Jason LaRue’s motivations and what he’s like as a person. You don’t know him, you couldn’t know what’s going on in his head, and you don’t have any evidence of what he’s like as a teammate. What you’re doing is character assassination.

    If you want to say that you don’t like LaRue, that’s your business. If you want to say that you think he hurt the team and that you’re glad he’s gone, also a matter of opinion. But to infer that he was a “clubhouse cancer” and to invent evidence that he demanded a trade is slander.

    I mean, I make way more than my fair share of fun of players I don’t like, but I don’t make up stuff about them without evidence. If I have anything nasty to say, I publish my sources.

    And you’re slandering a guy who, by everyone else’s accounts, is a genuinely good guy. Maybe not the brightest bulb on the tree, but an upstanding, hardworking, and down-to-earth fellow.

    You got what you want, and he’s gone. You think he must be pretty down now that he’s in KC. Well, then stop kicking the guy already.

  26. Zeldink says:

    Getting this back to RHM’s as always humorous post:
    [quote]”What’s the absolute minimum number of baseball players needed to form a proper human pyramid?” or “I don’t want company, I want a crowd. What do I need?”[/quote]
    Obviously, [b][i]two[/i][/b] catchers wouldn’t be enough for either of these scenarios. However, does this mean that Krivsky thinks the team will need 23 catchers whenever they need to skidoo?

  27. smartelf says:

    I’ve read plenty of quotes to indicate that LaRue expected to be the starting catcher and was displeased that it wasn’t his job at a certain point in the season. I am not inventing… yes I am inferring some things based on the quotes by various sources, but I am pretty sure somewhere in this thread I said we can only surmise what happened behind closed doors, and unless we are granted an interview we will never know for sure.. but Geki stated that he agreed that LaRue was pouting, and wanted the job and would probably be very down in the dumps next season as a Red, so when I replied to Geki I was saying that if he admits that laRue would be not content to be a back up, that it makes no sense to hold him hostage and force him into a role he doesn’t want.

    I am not assassinating him on this thread, I said he got what he wanted and that it has worked out best for all parties involved, including the Reds… it is geki and others who are saying Kriv-dawg is a moron and should have held LaRue here as a back up against his will.

    I have also said numerous times I realize LaRue had some good moments and some decent years, and I wish him well… yea, I took a few pot-shots at him, sort of outta jest and sort of as a critical insult because I do honestly believe he’d rather be a starter than be in the playoffs as a back up. i could be wrong on that, but that’s my hunch… but again, if I make bold claims I do so as just intuitive guesswork, not based on concrete evidence… I never said I had proof of my accusations, I think I have been very clear on that by stating we would need interviews to really know what happened.

  28. smartelf says:

    Sorry, I might be confusing 2 different threads regarding LaRue.. but I did say the thing about not knowing what goes on behind closed doors, somewhere on this site. Everything I say about LaRue is just intuitive hunch/guesswork except for the fact, based on his own quote, that he is happy to go to KC and be a starter, that he feels he is a starter and does not want to be a back up… that much we know for certain… so is it a big stretch to say he is probably a negative influence by being in a role he doesn’t want (sitting on the pine while Ross gets the majority of playing time)? I think not. THINK. I never said I know for certain and that I have proof. This isn’t a trial, Mama… everyone makes claims about players, and that is what sports fans do… we make claims based on what we have seen and what we think is going on, but no one is psychic so no one is right all the time, and none of us have clubhouse access, so it would be wrong to assume that anyone here is saying anything other than OPINION.

  29. Red Hot Mama says:

    You also “remembered” reading lots of quotes where I’d skewered David Ross, but then couldn’t present any of them. Present these quotes from LaRue, explain your interprettation, and then we’ll talk.

  30. smartelf says:

    Whatever…. I am not really in the mood to dig up quotes. Again, I am not on trial and neither is LaRue.. I am just making opinionated remarks, which is what sports fans typically do because we are on the outside looking in. I still don’t get why you feel I ever said anything as purely factual as opposed to opinion. A lot of people apparently agree with me, I’ve seen quite a few votes here and on regarding addition by subtraction of LaRue. If you feel he never indicated he wouold rather be traded than play back-up, you are entitled to your opinion, although I think its wrong… but I am not going to waste our time any further by combing through old articles for “proof” of my hypothesis.

  31. Geki says:

    [quote] it is geki and others who are saying Kriv-dawg is a moron and should have held LaRue here as a back up against his will.[/quote]


    Do the caps help get that across to you or should I bold it as well?

  32. smartelf says:

    I agree that LaRue is much better than Moeller. I am not disagreeing that at all. But you can only have two catchers that get the majority of playing time, and those spots belong to Valentin and Ross, and both of those guys are above average offensively. Ross had a career year but there was no doubt about his power potential the guy was killing the ball and reaching the upper deck with regularity. I just don’t see how you can allocate 5.2 mill to the 3rd string position. Yea its unfortunate they had to eat some of it, and they even had to buy out the no-trade clause in LaRue’s contract that cost them another 500k… unfortunately laRue was coming off a miserable campaign and is reaching an age where catcher’s knees become problematic, and he is coming off a surgery as well. There were no takers other than KC, I am assuming, based on the fact the Reds were willing to send over cash. Maybe they will get a good young prospect out of this, who knows.

    Anyhow, I see your viewpoint, I really do… but I am hoping you can see mine as well. This is a small market club with just 60 million in payroll, trimming 2 million here and there is the difference between getting a guy like Hatteberg, Randa, and Aurilia (in recent years), so I don’t think this is chump change. I have a feeling what you and others are really distressed about is the economic reality that we are basically playing this sport with a team handicap because the city of Cincinnati is simply non-comparable to markets like new York and Chicago and even St. Louis. To be honest, I think it makes it that much more fun when we do win, however infrequent it is.. sort of like David vs Goliath… but yea, the down years are very depressing, and having to make hard decisions because of budgetary concerns is hard for the loyal fan who gets attached to the personalities. I don’t know what else to tell you. I don’t hate LaRue, I just think it was time for him to move on, and I don’t think his problems are going to go away just because he is changing scenery. The reality is that most teams have catchers that split the duties and he is reaching the age where that is inevitable.

  33. smartelf says:


    He’s no Johnny Bench that is for sure, and I just don’t see how you can rationalize 5+ million for a guy that is basically a platoon catcher reaching his creaky years (for his position) and who strikes out 100+ times despite batting 8th and playing only 100 or so games per season. But that’s just my opinion. I am guessing they would have never brought him back next year no matter how good he did this year, and I agree with you he would probably be moticated as hell… and that would have been problematic as well. Anytime you cut or trade a guy that’s been around awhile we have an ugly debate. It was the same way with Danny Graves and Sean Casey and I think in hindsight those were the right decisions, so I have faith this one will work out too.

    GO REDS!