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Behind the Dish

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During the announcement of the Lo Duca trade the following was brought forward:

Willingham to catch:  With catcher Paul Lo Duca traded to the Mets, the Marlins have reconsidered their plans and are looking at Josh Willingham to be their catcher next year.

Last month, the Marlins were planning to use Willingham in left field. Now they want him to concentrate on his original position, catcher.

Oooh, this may not be such a good idea.  The pitching staff is basically going to consist of players who have little or no Major League experience and I am not sure going with a young catcher is a desirable tack for the organization.  Not to mention that Willingham isn't ready to be an everyday catcher and he may never be ready.  But he would make a nice backup on the days when the everyday catcher needs a rest.  Willingham should play another position if the team is wanting to get him in the lineup.

What the team needs is a veteran catcher which, apparently, needs to make less than $6.25 million/yr.  One of those defensive guys, so that the staff feels free to throw any pitch in any situation.  You know, one of those guys who is a pitching coach on the field.  It doesn't matter if he can hit or not;  but if he can hit... gravy.  The team has a pitching staff that needs to be reared and going with a young catcher will only impede the process.

If I were the GM, I would be right in the middle of the bidding for Brad Ausmus.  He fits the above description and he also brings an added bonus.  If he were signed by the Marlins, Roger Clemens wouldn't pitch next year for the Astros since he said he wasn't coming back if Ausmus wasn't catching.  So there you have it - pitching staff groomed and young hitters not embarrassed on the road trip to Houston.

Still, I can't think of one reason why a veteran would want to sign-on with the Marlins at this point.  And I sure don't see the front office opening those tight little purse strings, even to invest in the development of their new acquirees.

Good luck Josh.  You may need it.