“I’ve always believed the greater danger is not aiming too high, but too low, settling for a bogey rather than shooting for an eagle” – Peter Smith
“If the Mets go the free-agent route at catcher, Miguel Olivo is now their top target”, a major league source told ESPN New York on Tuesday.
Yesterday, Sandy Alderson admitted that “the trade market for catchers doesn’t look all that promising” and also added, “but the free agent market is also thin”.
When the season ended, Alderson sounded like a man who had seen enough of Josh Thole after two years of evaluating him. But it soon became apparent that Thole would be back and getting the lion’s share of playing time behind the dish. This became confirmed when the Mets decided to tender Thole an offer after some speculation he would be non-tendered.
By the time the calendar turned to November, it was quite clear the Mets were looking for a backup catcher to platoon with Thole rather than an upgrade at starting catcher.
Kelly Shoppach didn’t impress the team in his short stint with the Mets in 2012 and Rubin earlier reported that the front office was determined not to revisit any of the former Mets on the market, including Shoppach, Rod Barajas and former farmhand Jesus Flores.
That brings us back to Olivo. The righthanded hitting backstop is 34 and would probably qualify as the best defensive catcher under the Alderson era if they were to sign him. But that’s not saying much.
Olivo batted .222 in 323 at-bats with the Seattle Mariners in 2012, but was equally ineffective from both sides of the plate swinging an unimpressive .221 against lefties and .223 against righties.
As I stated right from the start, despite the promise of wholesale changes, I don’t believe we’ll see one significant upgrade this offseason. It’s already apparent that we are not improving behind the plate, the bullpen will largely remain intact, and in fact the rotation could take a significant hit if Dickey is traded. The bench was already downgraded with Brandon Hicks replacing the effective utility infielder Ronny Cedeno. No changes are planned for the infield, and they’ll need to add a 25 home run bat in the outfield just to maintain last year’s production which was still ranked the worst in baseball. I don’t say these things to turn fans off or to come off like a pessimist, but this is exactly where the team stands right now… Like it or not…