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Nationals to Sign Paul Lo Duca

Ironic! The Nats are going to sign former Mets catcher Paul Lo Duca to replace Brian Schneider, who they just traded to... the Mets.

This is really rich on a number of levels. Lo Duca only hit .272/.311/.378 in 2007 and he'll be 36 next year, so he may well be cooked. But he was good in 2006, and though the financial terms of his agreement with the Nats weren't immediately available, the Washington Post reports that he was "thought to be seeking $5 million," which is completely reasonable in this market.

Also, Lo Duca is a better hitter than Schneider, even in an off year - Schneider hasn't topped Lo Duca's 2007 OPS since 2005. And by my math, the Mets now owe Schneider $5.4 million in 2008 (including a $500,000 bonus he gets for being traded) and $4.9 million in 2009. Schneider's much better defensively, but still - why not just keep Lo Duca and Lastings Milledge? It's less money and fewer years for a player who's pretty similar to Schneider in terms of overall value, and on top of that you get to keep Lastings Milledge.

Forgetting about the trade for a second, this was still a good move for the Nats - it wasn't a great free agent market, and the only obvious option they had at catcher was Jesus Flores, who had a Rule 5 year in 2007 and could probably use some more time in the minors. As for Lo Duca, this has got to be a bitter pill - just a couple weeks ago (scroll down) he was seeking a three- or four-year deal. The Mets should have waited longer for Lo Duca to realize he's nowhere near that good.