Hello Met fans,
So what are the Mets gonna get? What is on their Holiday Shopping List? Today in Part 1 of a 5 Part Series we look at the Catcher position and I suggest a veteran catcher might be just what the Mets need
Last year, the team struggled mightily and despite the fact that injuries and poor starting pitching were big reasons for the slide of 2009, the lack of leadership behind the dish was painfully obvious all year long. Brian Schneider, who was supposed to provide solid defense and occasional hitting, did neither as he struggled below the Mendoza line and at times looked lost defensively. Omir Santos showed flashes but in reality he is solid back up receiver but looked tired late in the season. He, is however, a solid #2 catcher who is well liked by the entire pitching staff and can provide some relief for the #1.
Who can be the that #1? Josh Thole showed late in the season he can hit but needs a lot of work behind the plate and can not be considered an option before 2011. Clearly, the answer needs to come from outside of the organization for 2010 and with so many holes to fill, many feel the Mets will go cheap on that decision.
I would not be penny-wise and pound-foolish here because a strong catcher will be very important for a pitching staff that needs to throw more strikes and serve up less home runs than they did a year ago. You would also like to get a little offense from the position but a strong armed and heady catcher is what I would put on the heading of this job description.
Only one free agent fits the bill and he is Bengie Molina who will make the infield defense better by serving as a "secretary of defense". We all know how brutally bad the Mets were last year in the most rudimentary baseball skills. Part of that was nobody took charge out there and Molina would not be reticent to do just that. He is a tireless worker and an added benefit will be reuniting him with Frankie Rodriquez who seemed to be a bit perplexed with Schneider at times last year.
Molina is also an accomplished 2 strike, 2 out hitter that has thrived in San Francisco the last 3 years crushing 20 homers and driving in 80 runs in a ballpark that is not exactly a launching pad and whose dimensions are strikingly similar to CitiField. He was asked to bat 4th or 5th in the Giant batting order but Jerry Manuel would likely move him down to 6th or 7th lengthening a Met lineup that needs sock in the bottom third of the order.
More than all of this, the Mets would be getting a winner both on the field and in the clubhouse and they desperately need help with both. They may have to sacrifice dollars in another area but to me you do not pinch pennies here because Molina would have an impact on so many other players.
In a painful twist of irony, maybe this Molina could help the Mets as much as Yadier Molina destroyed the dreams of Met fans in Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS.