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Good News For Old, Light-Hitting Catchers Everywhere

If you hadn't seen, the club signed Brad Ausmus to a two year, 7-1/2 millin dollar deal Tuesday.  

With the deal front-loaded so that Ausmus gets 4 of it in 2006 and the rest in 2007, Ausmus will be receiving a million dollar raise.

Aside from the declining defense (62% SB%), it's just possible Brad may have earned the pay hike:  he posted numbers that represented highs during his current, second, stint in Houston for average, onbase percentage, and RC/27.  And I'm sure you know Ausmus led NL catchers in hits and walks after the all-star break.  His post-All Star OBP of .373 was third among catchers with over over 100 at bats, and third on the club.

And only one catcher had more AB's than Brad did.

No-one interviewed Andy Pettitte or Roy Oswalt about the signing, but I think it's safe to say that if asked they'd express nothing but joy over the deal. Plus, the Astros' keeping Ausmus happy might help us lure Clemens back at a reasonable price come May 1st.

The contract also included an incentive: his 2007 number will increase to 4M if he reaches 400 plate appearances in 2006. This should be money in the bank for Brad if he stays healthy, as he hasn't missed 400 plate appearances since 1995.

Mike Lamb also signed a 1.7 million dollar deal, and while the streaky Lamb can be handy to have around at times, I'd like to find out why the Astros gave him a 400,000 dollar raise after he dropped 50 points in average, 70 points in OBP and 100 points in slugging off his 2004 numbers last year.

Ausmus' Salaries Since Returning from the Tigers
Year Salary
2001 $4,250,000
2002 $5,000,000
2003 $5,500,000
2004 $1,000,000
2005 $3,000,000
2006 $4,000,000
2007 $3,500,000