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40-players-in-40-days-david-ross | November | 2009 Articles

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40 Players in 40 Days: David Ross

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[caption id="" align="alignright" width="300" caption="By Keith Allison"][/caption]

There's a lot up in the air this winter for Frank Wren and the rest of the front office, but the catching situation is one area where the Braves are set. Courtesy of an unheralded move last winter, David Ross will return to reserve catching duties for another year, after a 2009 season in which Ross was certainly the best backup in baseball. He hit .273/.380/.508 for a remarkable .888 OPS and played solid defense behind the dish, filling in admirably while McCann was dealing with his eye issues.

The only thing to lament about Ross' campaign, as I alluded to in my post on McCann, is that he didn't play more. For years, Bobby Cox used a "personal catcher" for one of his starting pitchers, and that's become infeasible in recent years as we've endured the likes of Corky Miller backing up Brian McCann. But now that he's got a more-than-capable second catcher in Ross, there's no reason why he can't let Ross play once in five games and let McCann get some much-needed rest. Or even if he doesn't want to go back to the personal catcher concept, there's always interleague play, where Ross could catch so that McCann can DH. There's also the fact that Ross, unlike Mac, is right-handed, so what a perfect excuse to give McCann a break against tough lefties.

It would be foolish to expect another .900 OPS campaign out of Ross, especially if he does play more and get more exposure. Still, with excellent patience and solid power on contact, he's probably good enough to start for many major-league teams, so he's more than capable of playing once a week for the Braves.

The bottom line: Though the deal was oft-maligned at the time, Frank Wren's signing of David Ross to a two-year, $3 million deal last winter looks like a coup after the deal's first year. Ross will be a superb backup backstop, after which he'll likely be able to win a starting job in another organization.


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