Royals Acquire Veteran Backstop LaRue

Catcher Jason LaRue has had his moments with the Reds, but the club showed its confidence in backstops Javier Valentin and David Ross by shipping LaRue to the Royals for a player to be named. The Royals also get $2.95 million in the deal to help cover LaRue’s 2007 salary, which is $5.45 million. Update: The Royals completed the trade by sending cash considerations to the Reds.

LaRue had his finest season in 2005–the year the Reds led the National League in runs scored–when he hit .260/.355/.452 (all career bests) with 14 home runs and 60 RBIs. The righthanded-hitting LaRue teamed with Valentin, a switch-hitter who hits better from the left side, to form one of the most productive catching platoons in the game. LaRue, 32, had long been rumored as a possible trade chip, but it wasn’t until the emergence of Ross last season that the Reds decided to act. LaRue spent the first two weeks of 2006 on the DL recovering from right knee surgery.

A career .239/.325/.415 hitter in 715 games, LaRue will challenge incumbent John Buck for playing time in Kansas City. LaRue was the Reds fifth-round pick in 1995 out of Dallas Baptist.

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