Sunday, July 20, 2008

Ramon Castro needs to be starting

I had thought that one possible benefit of the managerial change would be more playing time for Ramon Castro. From the day Jerry Manuel took over on June 17 to the All-Star break, it looked like Castro was getting the majority of the starts behind the plate. But today was the first game of the Cincinnati series with him in the lineup card, meaning Jerry must not like seeing his catcher hit two-run bombs.

Brian Schneider is worse than your typical terrible hitting catcher. He's hitting .243/.335/.294 in his 214 ABs, and it's not that off a year for him. Meanwhile, we have this funny looking guy on our bench who was hitting .286/.356/.462 before the homer he just hit. Those are numbers we'd love to get from our left field slot.

If Castro were a Mike Piazza-scale liability behind the plate, it might justify sitting him behind Schneider, but he's not that. He doesn't let the ball get by him much, he doesn't commit many errors, and for his career he's thrown out a very respectable 30% of base-stealers. What more does he have to do?

I'm afraid this is a case of two managerial bad habits converging: 1) giving a guy you acquired in trade (Schneider is the non-brain damaged half of the Lastings Milledge trade) every chance to fail rather than admit he's not a starter; and 2) overvaluing the intangible benefits of grizzled veteran catchers (see: Ausmus, Brad), and wasting untold outs on them.

The toad-man may not be great, but he's much better than Schneider.

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