Thursday, December 14, 2006

Presenting Toby Hall, Best Catcher Nobody Wanted

The Dodgers decision to cut loose Toby Hall -- the best catcher that nobody ever wanted -- opens a number of possibilities for clubs seeking an upgrade at backstop.

At 31, Hall has a decent arm, owns a better than .300 average in the minors, has never embarrassed himself at the plate in the majors, and knows how to put his muscular, 240-pound widebody behind an occasional deep fly.

Oddly, in his four years at Tampa Bay, despite his bat repeatedly coming to life for weeks at a time, he was always left naked at the bottom of the batting order, wasting his potential to drive in runs.

Acquired from Tampa Bay as part of the deal for top rookie Dioner Navarro, Hall again was relegated to the end of the bench with the Dodgers despite hitting .368 in limited appearances. Hall is much better and more valuable than Mike Lieberthal, 37, but Dodgers GM Ned Colletti chose to sign Lieberthal rather than give Hall a continued shot as backup.

Hall thinks he deserves to play every day. He's right.