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The Dodgers have agreed to terms with Brad Ausmus

Jan 26, 2010, 5:20 PM EDT

Ausmus Dodgers.jpgSo tweets Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times. He’ll earn a base salary of $850k and there’s a mutual option for 2011.

Ausmus actually had a decent year with the stick by his standards in 2009, although it was in exceedingly limited play (.295/.343/.368 in 107 plate appearances). Before that, you’re looking at basically a solid decade of awful production, a good year or two back in the late 90s, and then a lot more nothin’ before that.

But as I noted last month, Ausmus, despite his extreme limitations at the plate, always manages to find a job.  A lot of that has been because of his defense, but in more recent years I have no doubt that it’s because of his work ethic. He has giant binders
on hitters’ tendencies and studies them all the time, and by all accounts, he’s the one of the most prepared and focused players in the game and spends tons of time teaching and helping his teammates. In this way he’s a good clubhouse guy, not because of some vague chemistry consideration like so many others who get that label, because he’s really valuable to have in the clubhouse for legitimately tangible reasons.

So sure, he may be 41 and he may not hit my daughter’s weight, but there are probably worse guys to have occupy the 25th spot on the roster.

  1. gumbercules - Jan 26, 2010 at 5:29 PM

    Is Diane Sawyer available for comment?

  2. gumbercules - Jan 26, 2010 at 5:30 PM

    Is Diane Sawyer available for comment?

  3. Stone - Jan 26, 2010 at 5:45 PM

    Jeez dude, I hope your daughter doesn’t read this and cry because you said she weighs over 295 pounds…or whatever his career lifetime average is.

  4. Craig Calcaterra - Jan 26, 2010 at 5:47 PM

    No, my daughter is 6 and weighs something less than 50 pounds. My point, slightly exaggerated, is that Ausmus may not hit at all.

  5. jwb - Jan 26, 2010 at 7:20 PM

    In the 2009 Hardball Times Annual, Craig Wright did a study of batting statistics with Mike Piazza compared to other catchers on his teams, controlled for plate appearance in a season for each pitcher. This is a large step forward from catchers’ ERA because it controls for pitchers and largely controls for the quality of the defense and for park effects. Compared to his ‘mates, Piazza was -.007 in BA, -.012 SLG, and -.013 OBP for a -25 OPS in over 26,000 matched PAs. From this, he concluded that Piazza’s defense was awesome and he really contributed to the success of his pitchers.
    I repeated his methodology with several other catchers, Ausmus among them. Ausmus is -.002/-.006/-.012/-18 in over 22,000 matched PAs. I’d love to give you a run value for this, but the matched PA approach doesn’t lend itself to that. If Piazza’s defense was awesome, Ausmus’ is pretty darn good. I can give the names of a few who aren’t, but I’d like to have a larger group not chosen because of their reputations as being particularly good or bad game callers.

  6. Mark C - Jan 26, 2010 at 7:58 PM

    Ausmus has a lifetime batting average of .252 which is not horrible for a “defensive” type catcher. Last year he batted .292 which there are more than a few players on the Dodgers who wish they had that batting average, especially in limited play.
    His work ethic and game preparedness are known throughout the league and he will no doubt make a good major league coach or manager in the future.

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