I don’t think it’s the age as much as it is the fact that Omar has soured on Paul Lo Duca. Despite being 35 years old, Lo Duca still has plenty of gas left.
If Jorge Posada bolts the Yankees, you will definitely see Minaya make a strong effort to pursue him, and he is the same age as Lo Duca. Last season, Posada allowed over 100 stolen bases which was the second worst showing in the majors. He set records for passed balls last season as well, but that won’t hinder Omar’s efforts to get him if he becomes available.
Like I said, age has nothing to do with why Lo Duca has not been signed.
The Mets are going to be stuck at catcher in 2007 when all is said and done. Lo Duca will be pursued hard by the Marlins and the Cubs. Both teams are already on record with whom they are targeting this off season. Even Ramon Castro is said to have teams pursuing him as an everyday catcher/DH and the Mets don’t see him that way at all.
This would be all fine and dandy if the Mets had someone in the minors who could step in and take over in 2008, but their closest catching prospect is at least two years away.
The Mets actually had a fine catcher in their system, but he was lost via the Rule 5 draft to the Nationals because they had to make room for Julio Franco on the 40 man roster. The 23 year old Jesus Flores played for Class A Port St. Lucie Mets in 2006 and hit 21 home runs, despite playing with a bad thumb. He jumped from single A to the majors and held his own as the primary backup catcher for the Nats.
Former Mets manager Davey Johnson helped scout Flores for the Nats and was impressed with his bat speed and ability to drive breaking balls with such frequency. As the Nationals were about to discuss Flores in trade talks with the Mets, they found out that the Mets left him unprotected and snared him. Bowden likened it to hitting the jackpot and couldn’t believe the Mets thought such a talent would slip through the draft.
It’s sad to think that we exchanged such a talented catching prospect for only three months of Julio Franco.
The Mets are in no position to trade for a catcher as any bargaining chips they have must be used to strengthen the pitching.
The fact is that Omar better wake up and smell the coffee, and sign Lo Duca now before it is too late. The alternative would be signing a catcher off the free agent scrap heap, each of whom have lesser overall skills than Lo Duca.