Reds Pick Up Third Backstop In Ross

Though the Reds already had a productive catching tandem in Jason
LaRue and Javier Valentin, they added a potential third catcher to the
mix on Tuesday. Cincinnati acquired David Ross from San Diego for
righthanded pitching prospect Bobby Basham.

Ross, 29, spent most of last year in the majors with the Pirates and
Padres, switching organizations in a July trade for J.J. Furmaniak.
He hit .240/.279/.392 with three homers and 15 RBIs in 51 games. He
also threw out seven of 13 (54 percent) basestealers. Ross’ best tool
is his power, and he has decent catch-and-throw skills. He doesn’t hit
for average because he’s overaggressive at the plate, and like most
catchers he has well below-average speed. He’ll make $500,000 this
season and likely will be eligible for arbitration afterward if he
spends much time in the majors. Ross is a career .217/.288/.406 hitter
with 19 homers and 50 RBIs in 169 career games.

Basham, 26, signed as a 2001 seventh-round pick out of
Richmond, where he also served as a backup quarterback. Several Reds
officials considered him the system’s best pitching prospect after he
had a breakout season in 2002, but he subsequently tore his labrum and
missed the entire 2004 season. Basham returned last year to go 10-5,
3.36 in 20 starts between high Class A Sarasota and Double-A
Chattanooga. He had an 88-15 K-BB ratio in 102 innings, with opponents
batting .292 with eight homers against him. Basham, who had a low-90s
fastball before his injury, pitched in the high 80s for most of last
year but showed increased velocity at season’s end. His slider also
isn’t as good as it once was but could give him an average second
pitch. He also has a passable changeup and has no problem finding the
strike zone. He has a career 22-22, 3.55 record in 57 minor league