Way too much is being made of comments from Jerry Manuel that sounded like Omir Santos will be the starting catcher next season. I must have come across a dozen stories that ran with that notion today, but let’s not read too much into what Manuel is saying regarding the catching situation.
First, Manuel is the manager and for now Omir Santos is one of his catchers – what do you think he’s going to say?
Second, the last time I checked Jerry Manuel goes into the 2010 season as a lame duck manager and has no say on who the Mets will sign or what everyone’s roles will be next season. It’s hard enough for Manuel to keep up the pretense of Mets manager let alone general manager.
Omir Santos is one of my favorites, and he has done a capable job defensively and an average job offensively, but lets not make him out to be the next Johnny Bench. Santos is a fine backup catcher, but that’s where it ends.
The Mets will be in the market for an everyday catcher to replace Brian Schneider. One viable option may be San Francisco’s Bengie Molina.
Molina has always been very intriguing to me, and I believe he would provide the Mets some much needed offense in the middle of their lineup – and he probably won’t be too costly either.
I fear that my sabermetric friends would have a coronary if the Mets were to go anywhere near him despite the fact he has averaged .281 - 18 HR – 80 RBI in his last three seasons. They will argue that he has just 13 walks this season and has had only two 20-walk seasons in his eleven year career. But as I’ve said regarding Jeff Francoeur on the day we traded for him, sometimes you have to look beyond the boxscore and consider a players intangibles.
I’m willing to overlook his reluctance to take a walk because he has proven that can drive in runs and add some power to the lineup.
I believe that given the current market conditions, a two year $14 million dollar deal could be enough to land the feisty Molina brother in Flushing. He may even sign a one year deal with a vesting option which would make ownership a little less uptight about his age. Molina is 35 years old, but has shown no signs of slowing down.
We obviously could use his brand of intensity in the clubhouse, and the two-time Gold Glove winner would be a great tutor for Omir Santos, while Josh Thole spends 2010 refining his catching skills in AAA Buffalo.
Furthermore, Molina would be an asset to the pitchers, especially the starting rotation.
In my opinion, he would be an upgrade over Schneider offensively AND defensively, and most important of all, he knows how to play the game. By that I mean, he’s old school when it comes to fundamentals, and certainly Jose Reyes, David Wright and Daniel Murphy would all benefit with him on the team.
Oh and one more thing… He has caught two Cy Young winners in Bartolo Colon (2005) and Tim Lincecum (2008). That’s not something to sneeze at.
He has also has been to the post season three times and earned a World Series ring in 2002 when he was with the Angels. Mets fans may remember how he single handedly beat the Yankees in the 2005 ALDS when he battle .444 and hit three homeruns in the series.
We would still have a lot of work to do before next season, but getting Bengie Molina on board would be a heck of a nice start.