I have just finished reading a very good article by our friend Bart Hubbuch of the NY Post. While everyone seems to be scratching their heads and wondering what the deal is with the Mets fondness for catchers in recent days, Hubbuch actually does a fantastic job of filling in the blanks and explaining the reasoning behind some of the recent moves.
It looks like both Jerry Manuel and pitching coach Dan Warthen were very unhappy with the Mets catching situation last season and they were the motivation behind the recent Henry Blanco and Chris Coste signings. Both complained to Omar Minaya and felt the catching situation needed to be seriously addressed.
Hubbuch’s article, which is a must read, has this very revealing quote from Warthen,
Asked by The Post late in the year how he felt about the catchers’ defense and handling of the pitchers, Warthen pursed his lips and said: “Next question.”
Wow, how’s that for an answer? It speaks volumes huh?
Warthen was none to happy with Brian Schneider either, particularly his game calling.
Warthen held them partially responsible for the staff’s 4.46 ERA — 12th in the league — and the whopping 616 walks that were just three shy the franchise record.
I actually thought Omir Santos did a solid job as a backup catcher, but what the heck do I know. Although I’m always chock full of opinions, I don’t consider myself to be an expert. If Manuel and Warthen felt this bad about him, I trust their judgment and join them in ushering in the Henry Blanco and Chris Coste era.
Despite his age, the 38-year-old Blanco is considered one of the top defensive catchers in the game, although don’t expect much in the way of offense.
Apparently, Blanco will backup for the Mets, while Coste will backup and mentor Josh Thole in Class-AAA Buffalo. The hope is that Thole will then be able to take over full time for the Mets in 2011. Incidentally, Thole his having a tremendous campaign in Venezuela where he is batting .367 to lead the league.
The Mets still consider the starting catcher spot open and still have their eyes on Bengie Molina who became so much more attractive when he was not offered arbitration by the Giants. My question is, if the plan is to have Thole start in 2011, why would we offer Molina anything more than a one year deal?
Many people in the know have Molina pegged for a 2-3 year deal.
What are your thoughts?
By the way, Bart Hubbuch is one of a handful of Mets beat writers that do a fine job of interacting with Mets fans via Twitter. He also has a great Mets blog that he frequently updates and so much of what we analyze on our site comes from him and a bunch of other great beat writers including Adam Rubin, Steve Popper, Brian Costa and all the guys at Newsday. I’d have nothing to rant and rave about if not for their terrific work.