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The Ned Yost Lifetime Employment Program

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Ned sez:

Yost also is taking extended looks at catchers Mark Johnson and Mike Rivera but downplayed the notion that Chad Moeller's job could be in jeopardy after his slow start (0 for 12, including four strikeouts in the Japanese exhibition game).

"We want to look at different guys," Yost said. "I played Jeff Cirillo at second base today. Does that mean Rickie Weeks should be worried? No. This is the time to look at guys."

I really don't understand why Ned doesn't put pressure on Moeller.  Maybe he thinks Chad will perform better without it; it's always possible there are back-office conversations that we're not privy to.  As we need to be reminded during Spring Training, what managers and GMs tell beat writers doesn't really tell us much until moves actually happen.

But here's what we do know.  

  1. Chad Moeller hasn't been good since 2003.  
  2. He just turned 31, so there's no reason to expect he's maturing or somehow "peaking" at this point in his career.  
  3. We have one organization soldier, Mark Johnson, who is at least as good (though probably not much better).  
  4. We have another journeyman in Mike Rivera who probably is better.
  5. Both Johnson and Rivera  would cost an extra $150k or so to put on the major league roster.  In other words, the cost of upgrading from Moeller to Rivera is negligable.  We'd be eating Moeller's $800k, but that's spent whether Chad plays for Milwaukee, Nashville, or Yomiuri.  
  6. Moeller's not a world-beating defender.  Neither is Rivera, but Rivera isn't bad--many observers think Moeller is.  

Moeller has never done anything on the field for Milwaukee to earn this kind of guarantee.  He may well have earned a S.T. invite, and a spot on the 40-man.  Heck, with the backup catchers available this offseason, Chad may deserve that $800k deal.  But bringing Moeller back and gifting him the backup catcher job is like giving Chris Magruder a deal, promising him a role as 5th OF, and then unthinkingly sending Gabe Gross to Nashville.