From the looks of things, it’s safe to say that the Paul Lo Duca era is over in New York. There will be no more Volare` or Smoke On The Water blasting from the Shea Stadium sound system.
Paul Lo Duca has been handed his hat by Omar Minaya. He may lead you to believe things are cool with Lo Duca negotiations, but nothing can be further from the truth. Even Lo Duca’s agent will tell you that the Mets have at least six other options to explore before they even consider bringing Paulie back. In other words he is the last person in the world Omar wants behind the plate in 2008.
Ben Shpigel of the NY Times penned the following in his article today,
The Mets have zeroed in on Torrealba, who played for the National League champion Colorado Rockies, and should offer him a multiyear deal worth perhaps as much as $5 million annually, which would be a hefty raise from the $1.075 million he was paid last season.
He excels at blocking balls. During the postseason Colorado pitchers raved about his ability to call a game, crediting him for guiding them past a potent Philadelphia team in the opening round. The Mets’ pitchers were just as complimentary of Lo Duca, too, but he will turn 35 in April and the team is looking to bring in someone younger behind the plate.
Still, Torrealba is hardly an ideal fit. His offensive performance was dramatically better at Coors Field, where he hit .292, posted an on-base percentage of .353 and slugged .424, compared with what it was on the road, where he batted .212 with a .292 on-base percentage and a .326 slugging mark. The Mets, however, would not be improving their ability to throw out potential base-stealers. Torrealba ranked 21st among 29 qualifying catchers, according to Stats LLC, throwing out 17.6 percent (13 of 74). Lo Duca ranked a notch above him at 19.1 percent (17 of 89).
I’m so upset that we are downgrading at this position. At Shea Stadium we’ll be lucky if Torrealba bats .180. We went from a catcher who also could hit second or sixth in the lineup to one who will bat eight. I agree the Mets should get younger, but not at the expense of intensity, experience, and leadership.
It’s the bottom of the ninth inning and the Mets have the tying and winning runs on base, the Mets are down to their last out. Here comes Torrealba up to the plate. Yorvit, Yorvit, Yorvit…