Friday, August 01, 2008


The Nationals released Paul LoDuca yesterday. With the trade of Pudge and the current presence of Dane Sardinha on the Major League roster, would it make sense to pick up LoDuca and make him a backup?

Offensively, LoDuca has been overrated for a long time. He's hitting just .230/.301/.281 this year, and has only had one season (2006) since his career year in 2001 when he had an OPS+ above 100. He's clearly not the offensive catcher that his reputation would lead you to believe. With the emergence of Jesus Flores as a regular catcher, LoDuca's playing time was reduced and he spent a lot of time filling holes at first base and left field. Defensively, most reviews suggest that he has been particularly poor at the position.

You also have the 800 pound gorilla in the room regarding Paul LoDuca's role in baseball's performance enhancing drug use. While much of the post-Mitchell Report reaction has been around Roger Clemens' extramarrital affairs, the most shocking part of the report to me was the role that LoDuca played. First of all, he was stupid enough to pay for three shipments of human growth hormones in checks. Then he referred teammates Adam Riggs, Eric Gagne, Matt Herges, and possibly others to dealer Kirk Radomski. Why the role that guys like LoDuca played isn't getting more attention is absolutely beyond me.

Overall, between the PED baggage and declining defense, Paul LoDuca probably isn't worth the prorated minimum. It will probably be best to let Sardinha get his four starts in August and then let some combination of Dusty Ryan and James Skelton take over the backup role once their respective seasons are over.

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