Mets Merized Online » Bengie Molina http://metsmerizedonline.com Sat, 25 Feb 2017 16:56:53 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.18 This Day In Mets Infamy With Rusty: Root For The Mole, Not The Cardinals Edition http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/10/this-day-in-mets-infamy-with-rusty-root-for-the-mole-not-the-cardinals-edition.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/10/this-day-in-mets-infamy-with-rusty-root-for-the-mole-not-the-cardinals-edition.html/#comments Sun, 13 Oct 2013 04:47:05 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=131086 beltran

Before the post season started, a few people asked me which two teams I predicted would meet in the World Series. I calmly responded that I hoped it would come down to the Pirates and the Athletics. Well as we know predictions are like opinions – everybody has one, and of course mine were wrong.

So now that we are down to the final four teams, I will have to hold my nose and root for the Red Sox as well as the Cardinals to meet in the Fall Classic. Why would I choose those two teams you may ask ? Well with the Sox I can’t hold much of a grudge. I mean we did beat them in ’86 and I am eternally grateful for their coming back from being three games down in the ’04 ALCS against the Goliaths of the American League, the New York Yankees, and go on to beat the Cards to win the World Series that year.

But I have hated the Cardinals of St Louis ever since that team took what was rightfully ours way back in ’85. Everyone knew that the Mets should have been the team that represented the National League East in the post season, but the Amazins faltered towards the end finishing in second place.

As we all know, the Mets would go on to win it all in ’86, but in ’87 the Cards once again stuck a dagger into the hearts of Met fans when on the 21st of September, Terry Pendleton hit that game tying home run off Roger McDowell and winning it in the tenth..

Zoom ahead 19 years to 2006, when it seemed like the Mets had the National League all sewn up and was on the verge of heading to the World Series for the first time since 2000. Once again it was our age-old rival who delivered the crushing blow as the Mets were shutdown by the Cards – this time from a Yadier Molina homerun that ended up being the game winner and a Adam Wainwright curveball that even the great Bambino himself couldn’t hit. But Carlos Beltran – one of the best postseason players at the time and still today was fooled by that nasty curve and didn’t even attempt to swing at the pitch that was eventually called strike 3. Game over! The Mets quest to be the 2006 NLCS and World Series Champs had ended.

So here we are seven years later, and Beltran (as well as his world famous mole) are members of the hated Cardinals. He currently has 9 RBIs and two home runs this postseason with plenty of action still ahead. He seems to be his stoic self at the plate, and I just have to root for him.

As much as I want to root for the Sox if they make it to the World Series, I most likely find myself painfully rooting for the Cards if they get past the Dodgers. Beltran has yet to win a World Series ring, and I feel that he is more than deserving. He never did me wrong as a Mets fan. He always tried to play as hard as he could – even when injured. It almost always seemed like he got a hit in the clutch when the team always seemed to need one. And when he came back from knee surgery in 2011, he checked his ego at the door and switched to right field because the Mets were afraid that his outfield range would greatly be affected. He stepped aside for the younger Angel Pagan in center field while delivering an MVP type season up until his final game as a Met. He came in on top and he went out on top.

And if it wasn’t for Carlos hitting the cover off the ball during the ’11 season we may never have gotten Zack Wheeler from the Giants  – which we all know at the time and now was a steal.

So if it comes down to the Cards versus the Sox during the Fall Classic, take a word of advice – Root  for Beltran to win a ring, and try to forget that the rest of the Cardinals will be getting one too.

Carlos = Beltran

And with that said…. HERE COMES THE INFAMY!!!!

Mets alumni celebrating a birthday today include:

Mets third base coach from ’68-’75, Eddie Yost would have been 87 (1926).

Middle reliever from ’73-’74, John Strohmayer is 67  (1946).

Spot starter/middle reliever from ’90-’91,  Julio Valera is 45  (1968).

Middle reliever from the ’11 season, Taylor Buchholz is 32 (1981)

Some other notables include:

The New York Mets traded spot starter/middle reliever, Ray Sadecki and middle reliever, Tommy Moore to the St. Louis Cardinals for third baseman,  Joe Torre on October 13, 1974. Not a bad score for the one time N.L MVP and batting champion (’71) , golden glove award winner (’65), but by the time he came to the Mets he was often injured. Although he did hit over .300 one time as a Met ( ’75) he had morphed into a double play machine – even doing it infamously four times in one game!

Mo Vaughn is openly rooting for the Cardinals and the Red Sox – but not because he likes the teams …. It’s because he loves their FOOD !!!!!

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An MMO Tribute To The Yankees and Phillies http://metsmerizedonline.com/2010/10/an-mmo-tribute-to-the-yankees-and-phillies.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2010/10/an-mmo-tribute-to-the-yankees-and-phillies.html/#comments Mon, 25 Oct 2010 02:42:37 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=37810 You didn’t for one minute think that I’d let his go without saying something did ya?

They Lost, They Lost 

(Sing to the music of “New York, New York”)

Start spreading the news… We’re crying today.
The Yanks wont be a part of it. They Lost, They Lost.

These overpaid boobs… Won’t have their parade.
I can’t believe how bad they were, Out-played, Out-played.

I want to throw up in that shithole in the Bronx,
Where they serve warm cups of beer… and charge twenty bucks.

These Yankeetown blues… Won’t soon go away.
They just can’t face the fact that they – were so disgraced…

If they can make one plea.
They’d get down on their knees.
Please come and save our ass… Cliff Lee.

Ah yes, it was so sweet to see their strategy of not pitching to the new “Yankee Killer” Josh Hamilton, burn in flames.

The Beard Of The Giant 

(Sing to the music of “Eye Of The Tiger”)

Packing up, there goes our season.
Took the field, got our ass kicked.
Halladay, he just wasn’t enough.
Lincecum was too freaky.

Howard choked, left his bat on his shoulder.
He has no passion or glory.
Thought for sure, that our Cheesecakes would win.
But we choked, that’s the story.

It’s like burning to ashes, with no rescue in sight.
Shrinking from all the pressures of fighting.

It’s so easy to choke, when you are counting on Chase,
And the last thing we saw was the beard… of the Giant.

Hey, a cool fun fact from Ed Leyro of Studious Metsimus, no matter who wins the series, Bengie Molina gets a World Series ring either way! Oh and Rob Neyer, would you like to take back your quote that whoever is interested in Jeff Francoeur, is not interested in winning? LMAO!

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Are We Living On Borrowed Time With David Wright? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2010/08/are-we-living-on-borrowed-time-with-david-wright.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2010/08/are-we-living-on-borrowed-time-with-david-wright.html/#comments Thu, 05 Aug 2010 06:51:40 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=33126 It was a good day. We scored a run in the bottom of the 8th to defeat Montreal 5-4, reached .500 and now trailed the first place Phillies by just 3. Orber Moreno picked up the W in relief and Braden Looper collected his 20th save. Batting 7th that day was a rookie 3bman named David Wright. He went 0-for-4.

Since July 21, 2004, David has moved up in the batting order and 0-fers have given way to some great numbers.

In 6 years David Wright has already assumed his position amongst the elite hitters in our history. Through August 3rd David is 5th all-time in Runs (609), 4th in HR’s (157), 3rd in SLG and OBP (517 and 387 respectively). His 308 career BA is 2nd in team history. He has 1101 hits and may move up to 2nd by the end of this season. At just 27 years old, 3000 hits is not out of the question. He has already become our team leader in doubles with 250. And by next summer, David will be our all-time leader in RBI’s.

When you think of the Yankees you think Jeter. When you think of the Cardinals you think Pujols. And when you think of the Mets you think David Wright.

As the Mets steamrolled over the NLE in 06, David signed a contract extension. “I have wanted to be a lifelong Met,” he said, “And this is the first step in that direction.” But he also said, “To know I’m going to be a Met for the next 6 or 7 years is special.” 6 or 7 years, David? Not any more?

We hate to admit it but Baseball is a business. But it’s a business of winning. Players sign long term contracts worth tens, sometimes hundreds of millions of dollars. In addition to the financial reward, they also seek something money cant buy: A World Series ring. Even our own players such as Beltran and Santana came to NY not only due to the contract, but to play for a winner. At that time, the Mets were heading in the right direction.

However things have changed. Since Beltran and Johan were brought in–and since David signed his extension–we seem to be heading in the wrong direction. A devastating Game 7 loss, two historical late-season collapses, an abysmal 2009 and a 2010 season where we are at 500.

This is all hypothetical, of course. No one knows what the rest of this season will bring, much less 2011 or 2012. And of course, no one has any idea what David’s mindset is–or will be.

But unless we change direction and start winning, it’s difficult to imagine anyone wanting to stay here long term. This past winter Giants catcher Bengie Molina accepted less money to stay away, knowing full well that Buster Posey would soon be taking his job. Molina’s refusal to play for the Mets may just be the first sign of things to come.

Before we realize it the 2012 season will be here and we will be talking about locking up Wright with a long-term deal. But if the Mets continue down this woeful path it’s hard to picture David wanting to remain a Met.

He will be 30 years old Opening Day 2013. If this club continues to flounder, if we are continuing to struggle with dissension, if we are still second guessing managers, general managers and ownership, if we are falling out of pennant races in July, why would David want to spend what remains of his most productive years on a team such as this?

Maybe by 2013, David will grow tired of being pressured to assume a ‘leadership’ role he is clearly not comfortable with. Maybe by 2013, he will grow tired of post-game interviews where reporters run to him for the latest in a long line of excuses. Maybe, just maybe, unless things change, he wont want to grow old in a Mets uniform and be the cornerstone of a team that is rebuilding around him.

For several seasons, we have questioned when Wright will ‘take charge’ and assume the leadership role? But he probably never will. Some athletes have that ability. Some do not. But that doesn’t matter. Leadership is not a pre-requisite for a Hall of Fame career

The clock is ticking. With each game we come closer to the end of his contract. And come closer to his possible departure. David Wright vacating New York and leaving this organization would have just as negative an impact as the discarding of Tom Seaver. It was over three decades ago when our beloved Seaver grew tired of the direction–or lack thereof–this team was taking.

To Mets ownership, I plead with you. Do something. Do something now. Give us a winner. Don’t let history repeat itself. Lets not bid farewell to another ‘Franchise’ player.

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Losing Bengie is a Lucky Break http://metsmerizedonline.com/2010/01/losing-bengie-is-a-lucky-break.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2010/01/losing-bengie-is-a-lucky-break.html/#comments Thu, 21 Jan 2010 03:04:01 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=19368 The knee-jerk reaction among the unenlightened on New York sports talk radio (can someone please shut WFAN’s Chris Carton up for crissakes!) and in the blogosphere today is that the Mets blew another one when catcher Bengie Molina decided to spun the club’s offer and sign for less money to return to San Francisco. But the real fans (like the ones on this site) knew a potential dud deal when they heard one.

Omar Minaya and company have absorbed a lot of deserved criticism for their questionable personal decisions and signings the last couple of years, but on this one they were right to stand firm and resist giving Molina the two-to-three year contract he wanted. Unfortunately for Bengie, he suffered the fallout from two of the worst signings in recent years–the misguided four-year, $24 million deal the Mets gave  Luis Castillo in 2008 and last year’s disastrous signing of Oliver Perez for three years at $12 million per.

It’s clear (not only on this move but in the signing of Jason Bay) that Omar learned his lesson regarding overpaying and bidding against himself. He was also wise not to overreact and regard Molina as some kind of compensation for losing Carlos Beltran’s home runs and the public relations hit they took for the communication fiasco regarding Beltran’s sudden knee operation. Molina would have been a good signing for one year as a stopgap while the Mets wait for Josh Thole to be major-league ready or scour the market for a new catcher next year. But committing two years or more to a catcher who will turn 36 in mid-season would have been a major mistake.

It is common knowledge around baseball that catchers start breaking down at around 35, and those are the ones who are in shape. Molina looks like he’s ready to be a contestant in “The Biggest Loser.” Watching highlight footage of him running around the bases, his beer belly bouncing around like jello, was cringe-inducing. The Mets need athletes, not out-of-shape guys a couple of years from retirement looking for one more good payday. Molina is an injury waiting to happen and that’s the last thing the Mets would need after last season when practically half the roster was on the disabled list.

On top of that, Molina has never met a pitch he didn’t like. While his strikeout totals aren’t terrible, he hardly ever takes a walk and that would not be a good fit on a club with high strikeout guys like Bay, Jeff Francoeur and David Wright. While Molina belted 20 homers for the Giants last year, that number would likely decrease in spacious CitiField, especially if he started succumbing to the age breakdown.

Would an experienced handler of pitchers like Molina have helped the Mets staff? No doubt. The team was obviously willing to have Bengie serve as a bridge while they developed or traded for a new catcher. But giving into this guy’s demands would have just been throwing good money after bad. Give this round to Omar and regard Molina’s decision to go back to San Francisco as a lucky break.

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Molina Rejects Mets Offer, Signs For Less With Giants http://metsmerizedonline.com/2010/01/molina-rejects-mets-offer-signs-for-less-with-giants.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2010/01/molina-rejects-mets-offer-signs-for-less-with-giants.html/#comments Wed, 20 Jan 2010 03:28:48 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=19334 After rejecting a $5 million dollar offer with incentives from the Mets earlier today, Bengie Molina decided to to sign a one-year deal with the San Francisco Giants for a reported $4.5 million.

Jon Heyman believes the news shows just how much Molina wanted nothing to do with the Mets. Especially, when the Mets deal was also reported to include a vesting option for a second year.

So with Molina now off the table, the attention has now shifted to Yorvit Torrealba who according to Andrew Marchand of ESPN Radio, is waiting to hear from Omar to see where they stand as far as an offer goes.

Another option could be that the Mets just stand pat. However, considering the uncertainty surrounding Carlos Beltran, I am shocked that they won’t even consider Rod Barajas who has significantly more power.

Still, the chance that we might see an Omir Santos and Henry Blanco platoon behind the plate this season, remains a strong possibility. Hopefully, they don’t do something stupid and rush Josh Thole before his time.

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Mets Are Rudderless And Have No Clear Vision http://metsmerizedonline.com/2010/01/mets-are-rudderless-and-have-no-clear-vision.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2010/01/mets-are-rudderless-and-have-no-clear-vision.html/#comments Wed, 20 Jan 2010 03:09:23 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=19311 Free agent catcher Bengie Molina has rejected the latest offer from the Mets, according to a tweet by Buster Olney of ESPN.

Heard this: Bengie Molina has turned down the Mets’ most recent offer, and the Mets are beginning to focus on Joel Pineiro.

Just last week, Jon Morosi of Fox Sports reported that the Mets were “close” to signing Molina it was expected that something was getting done in 3-4 days. The Mets and Molina have been at odds over the length of any deal with the Mets standing firm on one year plus an option, and recently Molina softened his stance from three years guaranteed to two.

I wonder if this will finally allow the Mets to look at other catching options such as Rod Barajas who might be a better fit anyway?

* * * * * * * * * *

Buster Olney also revealed on his Insider Blog that Omar Minaya was never given a budget to work with and that everything is being done on a case by case business.

This will explain why the Mets have not been able to conduct more than one or two negotiations at the same time. It’s a terrible way to operate a big market team and only strengthens the notion that the Mets front office has become very dysfunctional.

We have already seen some of the dysfunction at work in 2010, and with a an organization that now seems rudderless and without any concrete plan in place, things can only get worse from here.

Most of this comes from the Wilpon’s decision to keep Omar Minaya as the GM even though they apparently have no confidence in his ability to lead the team.

The Mets bought on some good baseball people in the off season to help out, but with Omar still the team’s GM, you can imagine how unorganized things currently are at the top of the Mets hierarchy.

Until the team has a clear leader, how can they be led?

And what is the vision for the future, and who is communicating that vision?

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Latest Mets Hot Stove: O-Dog, Molina, Delgado http://metsmerizedonline.com/2010/01/latest-mets-hot-stove-o-dog-molina-delgado.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2010/01/latest-mets-hot-stove-o-dog-molina-delgado.html/#comments Tue, 12 Jan 2010 20:23:58 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=18897 According to Bill Ladson who covers the Washington Nationals for MLB.com, second baseman Orlando Hudson is seeking a $9 million dollar contract for next season.

The market for second baseman is very soft and in my opinion, Hudson will end up taking a one year deal just as he did last season. The Mets would still like to add the O-Dog, but probably not for more than $6 million in guaranteed money.

Meanwhile, John Morosi of Fox Sports believes that free agent catcher Bengie Molina is now willing to accept a two year deal after holding firm on three years all off season.

Free agent catcher Bengie Molina has lowered his asking price, multiple sources said Tuesday, raising the likelihood of a long-expected union with the New York Mets. Molina had been asking for a three-year contract, but one source believes he is now willing to sign for two years.

All arrows continue to point toward the Mets signing Molina. If the second year is a vesting option or a team option, it should work out okay for the Mets. I’d have a big problem with two guaranteed years.

Ed Price of AOL, posted an update on Carlos Delgado via his Twitter. He says that Delgado is not moving well while playing first base and that the Mets have already seen Delgado play twice, but will take one more look before moving on or making a decision.

Price also speculates that the Blue Jays might be the final destination for Delgado who is batting .316 in Winter Ball.

I think this latest news should close the book on Carlos Delgado who is obviously a designated hitter posing as a first baseman.

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2010 Off To Good Start, Looking Forward To What’s Next http://metsmerizedonline.com/2010/01/mets-starting-out-2010-good-and-looking-forward-for-whats-next.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2010/01/mets-starting-out-2010-good-and-looking-forward-for-whats-next.html/#comments Tue, 05 Jan 2010 12:00:23 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=18402 The Mets have started 2010 the right way as Jason Bay is officially a New York Met after passing a physical.  Later on today the Mets will have a press conference introducing Jason Bay as the newest Met.  The deal is for 4 years and is worth $66 million dollars with a vesting option for a 5th year.  Some have problems with the contract but the Mets needed Jason Bay to fill that very sizable hole out in left field.

I preferred Bay as I believe he is better suited for hitting at Citi Field than Matt Holliday.  Bay is not strictly a power hitter and in Citi he can hit doubles and drive in runs as well as knock the ball out of the park.  The Mets lineup if healthy and back to 100% has now become a very formidable one.  This potential lineup is better than the 2006 team that just missed out on the World Series.

Bay’s signing is a great way to start 2010 but there is still work to be done.  The Mets need a catcher and it looks like this game of chicken between the Mets and Bengie Molina is going to continue into the new year.  I applaud the way the Mets are handling these negotiations with the veteran catcher.  Molina needs to lower his expectations as 3 years is just out of the question.  I know the Mets would like a 1 year deal with an option for a 2nd but if you look at what other free agent catchers have gotten that is not going to be enough.  The Mets need to offer Molina a 2 year guaranteed deal, if he doesn’t want that walk away and go after another catcher.

Now that the Mets have Bay in left field the biggest concern is pitching.  This year’s free agent class is very weak for pitching.  The best pitcher on the free agent market was John Lackey and he is signed.  The best pitcher on the trading block was Halladay who we all know was traded to the Phillies.  My pick for a 2nd tier pitcher was Jason Marquis who is now off the market so the Mets need now to be aggressive and go after the better remaining pitchers on the market.  I don’t believe the Mets will trade so looking at the free agents still available I’m thinking the Mets are going to go after Joel Pineiro.  Pineiro record last year was 15-12 with an ERA of 3.49.  He pitched 214 innings, the first time in his career he pitched over 200 innings.  I do feel that the Mets or any team that sign him is going to overpay for his services, that’s the way the market looks right now.

There are pitchers out there coming off of injuries that could be good for the Mets such as Chien-Ming Wang.  Wang as we all know pitched for the Yankees before being non-tendered last year.  Wang had won 19 games two years in a row before hurting his ankle rounding bases that ended his 2008 season.  Wang came back last season and the results weren’t pretty.  He struggled for the entire season, some thinking that the injury to his ankle forced him to change the way he pitched which resulted in him getting knocked around all last season.  Wang was sent down to Tampa to work on his mechanics and it was discovered that he had weakness in both his hips and was put on the DL.  Eventually Wang would get shoulder surgery ending both his 2009 season and his tenure with the Yankees.  Wang could be very good for the Mets but I suspect after last season the Mets are staying away from guys with injury history and won’t attempt to sign him.  I understand the thinking and if Wang does have a good season with whatever team signs him I won’t hold it against the Mets.  Wang is a big risk to a team that has really no depth in the rotation, not performing or getting injured would really hurt the Mets and they can’t afford that.

Overall Bay’s signing is a great way to start 2010 but there is still work to be done.  I believe that Bengie Molina will eventually be our starting catcher and the pitcher that the Mets do sign will not be met with 100% satisfaction whether it’s Pineiro or Sheets or Wang or whomever.

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Molina Rumors False, Catcher Saga Continues http://metsmerizedonline.com/2010/01/molina-rumors-false-catcher-saga-continues.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2010/01/molina-rumors-false-catcher-saga-continues.html/#comments Sat, 02 Jan 2010 18:09:17 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=18334 Bengie Molina #1 of the San Francisco Giants poses during photo day at Scottsdale Stadium on February 23, 2009 in Scottsdale, Arizona.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Bengie MolinaAccording to Anthony McCarron of the Daily News, the New York Mets “shot down” a recent radio report that the Mets were nearing a deal with catcher Bengie Molina. A team official has completely killed the report that said a 2 year deal was close for the free agent catcher.

The Mets would very much like to sign Molina for a 1 year deal with a vesting option for another year, but the 35 year old Molina continues to hold out for a 3 year deal.

It seems like this Molina situation is becoming a big waste of time, especially when the Mets could be considering other options like Yorvit Torrealba who suddenly is very available due to the Colorado Rockies nearing a deal with Miguel Olivo.

I’m actually not sure if he would cost the Mets less money, but it seems like a good bet. If I were Molina I would simply take the Mets’ one year deal at this point, before the Mets actually come to their senses and switch their focus to someone like Torrealba. If the Mets were to pull back their offer to Molina, what other teams would pursue him?

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Mets On The Verge of Signing Bengie Molina http://metsmerizedonline.com/2009/12/mets-on-the-verge-of-signing-bengie-molina.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2009/12/mets-on-the-verge-of-signing-bengie-molina.html/#comments Tue, 29 Dec 2009 23:17:54 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=18098 Just hours after we found out about a deal being in the works to bring Jason Bay to Flushing another significant free agent signing is being reported.

ESPN Radio’s Rich Coutinho is reporting that the Mets are close to signing catcher, Bengie Molina, to a two-year deal. Financial terms of the deal have not yet been disclosed.

Last season with the San Francisco Giants, the 36 year-old Molina hit .265 with 20 home runs and 80 RBI’s.

Despite what some analysts have said I believe that this is a solid signing by Omar Minaya as it gives the Mets some much needed power behind the plate that they haven’t had since the days of Mike Piazza.

Next on the agenda for Minaya and the Mets will hopefully be a starting pitcher, but I must say that these two signings are definitely a step in the right direction.

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It’s Been A While http://metsmerizedonline.com/2009/12/its-been-a-while.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2009/12/its-been-a-while.html/#comments Tue, 29 Dec 2009 14:51:28 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=18067 The title of this post works in more than one way. It’s been a while since I have sat down and wrote an article, and it’s been a while since we’ve seen a major move from the Mets. Of course, that hinders on what you consider a major move, but looking at what the opposition has done so far this offseason, it’s not exactly easy to sit back and stay calm. Now I understand the pain and the angst that any Met fan is experiencing right now, but I will play Omar for a few seconds and hope that you will stay patient.

The Mets tend to be good for at least one big signing or trade per offseason, big being a relative term (See : Carlos Beltran, Johan Santana, Francisco Rodriguez.), and I do think we’ll be seeing at least one big move. Personally, I feel it will be Jason Bay, and I agree with that course of action (Only because Lackey and Halladay are off the market.) In any case, I figured I’d take the time to weigh on current NYM activity and put my spin on things.

Jason Bay: The Mets need Jason Bay as much as Jason Bay needs the Mets. They seem to be his only suitor right now, and frankly, I am fine with that. I want Jason Bay over Matt Holliday, because I feel he’d be better suited for Citi Field. Now don’t get me wrong here, because I’ll make this clear. The Mets need pitching more than offense, and at that, good pitching. But right now, the biggest thing that can be done to help the team is bolstering the offense. Admittedly, five years is a long contract. My offer at the moment : 4 Years at 68 MM with fifth year vesting option.

Bengie Molina: Bengie Molina is a very interesting option because he can produce offensively at the C position, but he is aging and asking for a lot of length in his contract. He is reportedly seeking a three-year deal, but he might accept a two-year deal. Right now the Mets offer is one-year with an option, and I agree with this. We don’t need Molina, but he would be nice. Be wary however, Mets fans, because Josh Thole is no Mike Piazza.

Orlando Hudson: Orlando Hudson’s name always comes up because he reportedly always wants to play for the Mets. Honestly, even Kelly Johnson might be a better option at 2B for the Mets, because I personally consider Luis Castillo a liability in the Mets offense. I think the Mets need Brandon Phillips at 2B, not Hudson. However, I would take Hudson over Castillo. The Mets should revisit Castillo-Byrnes and Byrnes would make a decent 4th OF.

Joel Pineiro: I’ll keep this one simple. No. I don’t want him, and someone else can have him. He pitched 200 Innings for the first time since what, 2003? I don’t want him. Dave Duncan can keep him. Yes, admittedly, he won’t do horrible at Citi Field, but he wants 10 MM per year, and I don’t want to be the team that gives it to him.

Aroldis Chapman/Yuniesky Maya: Again, this one seems simple enough. Yes. I want them both. Chapman alot more than Maya, but believe me, these two could go a long way for the future of the Mets, even if they end up being traded. I like what I have heard about Chapman, and his price tag is definitely more appealing to me than Pineiro’s.

Ben Sheets/Erik Bedard: Yes, I’d be the guy to give Ben Sheets 12 MM if he proved to me his arm is healthy. I’m not kidding. I’d rather give Sheets 2/20 than Joel 3/30. Call me crazy, but if Sheets is healthy, he is an ace pitcher for any team. He’s a risk, yes, but he’s a gamble I would take. If Bedard could be had for less than 4 MM, I’d take him. He used to be somewhat of an ace for Baltimore, in a hitter’s park in the AL east. That’s something to think about.

Kelvim Escobar/Ryota Igarashi/Clint Everts: I love all of these signings. They were cheap, and a couple of these guys can be effective weapons for the Mets late in games. For about a combined 3 MM, the Mets may have found effective 7th and 8th inning relievers. I’m just going off upside, don’t quote me on that. Clint Everts was a coveted arm and may actually be of some use to the Mets in 2010.

Now this is all purely opinion and speculation, but I’d like to hear what you’ve got to say in response. Later this week, I’ll try to get something up about what players I feel the Mets should be going after for cost-effective solutions.

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Mets Hot Stove Providing Little Heat On This Wintry Day http://metsmerizedonline.com/2009/12/mets-hot-stove-providing-little-heat-on-this-wintry-day.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2009/12/mets-hot-stove-providing-little-heat-on-this-wintry-day.html/#comments Mon, 21 Dec 2009 01:26:37 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=17672 With only five days left until Christmas and 12 days until the start of 2010, the New York Mets still find themselves needing to address the same areas as they did on October 1st when the season ended for them.

The Mets did sign a backup catcher in Henry Blanco for a tidy sum of $750 K, and re-signed Alex Cora for more than twice that, but for a team that finished last in MLB in slugging percentage and homeruns, this will hardly make a dent… or a ding… or a smudge.

On the pitching side, the Mets imported Ryota Igarashi who they hope will fill a big role in the bullpen, but as is the case with all of these Japanese players, you don’t know what you have until the season is well underway and it’s mostly a crapshoot. Of course the Mets have yet to hit any pay dirt in this market and are still stinging from the Kaz Matsui blowup.

All told, the Mets shopping spree comes in under a thrifty $5 million dollars for 2010. Even Baltimore and Kansas City can boast that they’ve outspent the Mets for now.

The bottom line is that we still find ourselves short two starting pitchers, one starting catcher, one starting leftfielder, one lefthanded reliever, a righthanded bat off the bench who can play first bases, and if you want to get real technical, a second baseman.

That’s a pretty extensive shopping list considering the rest of the NL East teams are nearly done retooling for 2010.

Making matters worse is the fact that despite not having offers from any other teams, free agents Bengie Molina and Jason Bay both sit and wait for another team to give them a reason not to play for the Mets. Nobody will admit it, but I find it pretty embarrassing as well as indicative of how tinged the Mets have become.

Furthering the Mets futility this off season, is their reluctance to do anything unless the Bay and Molina situations sort themselves out. And even though the team needs at least three additional pitchers, nary an offer for the remaining bottom of the barrel starters that are still left in the market place.

Trading for help is practically a non-issue as the only teams finding any value or quality in Mets prospects, are the Mets themselves, and of course Mets fans who clutch these prospects to their chest in hopes of better days ahead. As for me, most prospects pan out at about a 40% success rate, and with the Mets it’s even less than half that, so move them for established talent whenever you can.

I don’t get this strategy of waiting for Molina and Bay before addressing the pitching concerns. Are we so incapable of working both sides of the fence at the same time?

Where is all this new help we hired for the front office?

Can’t they work the pitching market while Omar stays glued to the offensive side of things?

We’ve already seen John Lackey, Randy Wolf, Brad Penny and Rich Harden sign with other teams, and any of them would have been a significant upgrade over any starters not named Johan.

For a team that dished out more bases on balls than any other team in baseball sans the Nats, where is the urgency to rectify the situation?

For a team that had the worst power numbers in the game, where is the urgency to rectify that situation?

I don’t get it…

Pitchers and catchers report in one month and 22 days. Woo freaking hoo!

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Molina Tells Mets He Wants 3 Years Or Bust http://metsmerizedonline.com/2009/12/molina-tells-mets-3-years-or-bust.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2009/12/molina-tells-mets-3-years-or-bust.html/#comments Wed, 16 Dec 2009 18:29:16 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=17425 The New York Mets must be banging their heads on the wall right now as the off season continues to evolve into a public relations nightmare.

As Omar and Jeff make appointments to see their chiropractors to have their necks checked out, after suffering some severe whiplash last night courtesy of the Phillies and Red Sox, the hits just keep coming in for the woeful Mets.

According to a tweet from Ken Davidoff of Newsday, one of their top off season targets, and not a very good one at that, has given the Mets an ultimatum. Free agent catcher Bengie Molina has informed the Mets that he will not play for them unless they offer him a guaranteed three year deal.

Actually, for Molina, 35,  it’s a very smart move. Why not? After all if Jason Kendal and Pudge Rodriguez can land a deuce why shouldn’t he hold out for a trey?

Molina had 20 homers and hit .265 for the San Francisco Giants last season.

Of course for the Mets, it would amount to sheer lunacy and so thus, this will most likely spell the end of all the Molina to the Mets rumors which should make many of us very happy.

The question now is, where do the Mets turn to now?

It’s kind of a scary thought as the Mets are currently operating under panic mode, so hopefully Omar won’t do too much damage, although that may be asking a lot.

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Mets To Make Two Offers; Bengie Molina and John Lackey? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2009/12/mets-to-make-two-offers-bengie-molina-and-john-lackey.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2009/12/mets-to-make-two-offers-bengie-molina-and-john-lackey.html/#comments Thu, 10 Dec 2009 16:24:39 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=17191 Steve Popper of the Bergen Record is reporting that the Mets will make two contract offers before leaving the Winter Meetings today.

Based on additional reporting from Adam Rubin of the Daily News, one of those offers will most likely be to free-agent catcher Bengie Molina. Earlier reports yesterday that the Mets had already made an offer turned out to be inaccurate.

Also, there is some buzz around Twitter that the second offer could be for starting pitcher John Lackey. However, this has not been confirmed by any reliable source so please take it with a grain of salt.

The Mets did meet with the agents for John Lackey last night, so it wouldn’t be far fetched to think that an offer could be forthcoming.

Of course it’s a 2-way street as well. Making an offer is only half the battle and the easy part. It’s accepting the offer that usually proves to be more elusive.

Stay tuned for more updates on this…

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Mets Showing Signs Of Life: Lackey, Bay, Holliday, Molina http://metsmerizedonline.com/2009/12/mets-showing-signs-of-life-lackey-bay-holliday-molina.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2009/12/mets-showing-signs-of-life-lackey-bay-holliday-molina.html/#comments Wed, 09 Dec 2009 17:22:40 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=17140 MLB Insider Jon Heyman of SI.com tweets that the Mets are now engaging John Lackey, Matt Holliday, and Jason Bay with renewed hopes of signing one of them.

Purse strings opening for Omar? Mets are talking to Lackey, Holliday and Bay with renewed hopes to sign one of big three.

I’m not buying into anything until we get something more substantial, but at least that bit of news is somewhat hopeful.

Of course the big news this morning is that the Mets have offered free agent Bengie Molina a 2-year deal worth $12 million dollars. That is according to David Lennon of Newsday who includes this quote:,

“The Mets have told other agents that Bengie Molina is clearly their first choice, and if he accepts a two-year deal, in the $12-million range, he figures to be a Met very shortly.”

This goes against earlier reports that suggested the Mets were only willing to go one year with Molina which I think was the smart move.

However there are several other teams interested in Molina and the Mets may have had to give him a two year deal just to get something done.

Still no indication if Molina is going to accept the Mets offer or maybe shop it around for something better.

From what I can tell, Mets fans are very split on Molina with strong opinions on both sides. He could become just as polarizing as Jeff Francoeur was when the Mets acquired him.

Molina will probably signal the end for Omir Santos unless the Mets decide to go with three catchers which they’ve done in the past. But somehow I get the sense that Santos has few friends among the Mets coaches and that he’ll be spending most of 2010 in Class-AAA Buffalo.

Would you be happy if Bengie Molina accepted the Mets offer?

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Another Winter Meetings Wish List http://metsmerizedonline.com/2009/12/winter-meetings-wish-list.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2009/12/winter-meetings-wish-list.html/#comments Tue, 08 Dec 2009 12:00:13 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=17031 Yesterday the winter meetings officially began in Indianapolis and as usual some trades were apparently made and then it turned out that there was no trade. In some cases the two teams involved in the trade had not even spoken to each other.  This is the joys of covering the winter meetings.  In the case of the Mets a Philadelphia paper reported that the Mets traded Luis Castillo as part of 3 team trade that had the Mets acquiring Pat Burrell.  Thankfully, that trade was proven false and as of this writing it does not look like it’s even going to happen.  Burrell is an overrated hitter and not much of defender in the outfield and the idea of him playing  first base was not a good one as he hasn’t played that position in close to a decade.  Burrell’s offensive numbers in the past were aided because he played at Citizens Bank Park - a hitter’s paradise. Playing half of his games at Citi Field, Burrell would be lucky to total 20 homeruns and that’s a stretch.

Edwin Jackson yesterday was also rumored to be joining the Mets, but that rumor was also shot down less than 20 minutes later.  Unfortunately, we live in an age where the quest to break the news, outweighs the responsibility to accurately report the news, and it frequently leads to the kind of inaccurate reporting we saw on Day 1 of the 2009 Baseball Winter Meetings.

Regardless, those rumors did get me to think about what I would like to see happen at the winter meetings for the Mets this year. 

My wish list for the winter meetings begins with a starting catcher. I’m hoping that the Mets are done signing every backup catcher on the market, and will now focus on acquiring a starting catcher for the 2010 season.  As we all know, the team is very high on Bengie Molina and would prefer to sign him, but the problem is that Molina is said to be wanting a 3 year deal.  There’s no way that the Mets can give into him.  Omar cannot cave into any of the pressure that Molina and his agent are putting on him regardless of how much he wants him.  It’s very unlikely that any other team would give Molina a 3 year deal, and Omar cannot give in to the players demands as he did last year when he agreed to give Oliver Perez a 3 year deal.

It’s important to remember that the 2010 starting catcher would be a one year stop gap, and that Josh Thole, barring a major setback, will be the everyday catcher for the Mets in 2011.  The Mets did sign a very good defensive catcher last week in Henry Blanco, and they also have Omir Santos and Chris Coste. Rod Barajas is still available and would be a good alternative to Molina, and Dioner Navarro could possibly be non-tendered and become available as well. The bottom line is that the Mets have options and are the ones sitting in the driver’s seat, not Molina.

The second item on my wish list is to get a starting pitcher.  The Blue Jays are reportedly taking offers for their ace Roy Halladay, and besides the huge cash outlay that Halladay would require in an extension. it’s going to require a bunch of top prospects be sent to Toronto in exchange for Halladay’s arm.  The Mets farm system is not very deep at all, and trading away our best prospects will set this organization back so far it could take years to recover.

It’s imperative that the Mets focus all of their attention toward signing free agent John Lackey.  He will not cost as much per year as Halladay, and of course he won’t cost the Mets any of the prospects that Halladay will.  The  Mets need to sign Lackey and then go after a second tier pitcher like Joel Pineiro, Randy Wolf, and Staten Island’s own Jason Marquis, who wants desperately to be a Met.

Finally I want Matt Holliday.  He will cost a ton of money, but his bat and power is much needed for this team next season and beyond.  He is not exactly the best defensive player, but he is still an upgrade over what we had last season. Holliday would be a force in the lineup and provide much needed protection for David Wright.

I know my list is long and costly, but this is what I believe the Mets need to do for them to be competitive next season.

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Mets To Offer Bengie Molina One-Year Deal With Option? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2009/12/mets-to-offer-bengie-molina-one-year-deal-with-option.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2009/12/mets-to-offer-bengie-molina-one-year-deal-with-option.html/#comments Tue, 08 Dec 2009 04:23:05 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=17021 According to Jon Heyman who was a guest on MLB Network’s Hot Stove show, the Mets may be readying an offer for free agent catcher Bengie Molina. On his blog at SI.com, Heyman wrote,

 

The Mets are considering a bid of about $6 million for one guaranteed year plus a second-year option for free-agent catcher Bengie Molina, whom they have made their top catching target.

 

Heyman added that there’s a possibility that the Mets may be willing to even go to two years for Molina even though it would block Josh Thole who they expected to take over as the starting catcher as soon as 2011.

 

Apparently the Mets are banking on the hope that there is a limited demand for catchers this off season.

 

Earlier in the day, the Mets were considering making a run at Rod Barajas who is also a free agent.

 

The Royals, Blue Jays, Rockies and Giants are all in the market for a catcher and at least two of those teams were rumored to be negotiating for the Pirates’ Ryan Doumit.

 

I don’t know about you, but at this point I just wish the Mets would solve this catching situation already.

 

It seems that the discourse has centered mostly around moving Castillo and getting a starting catcher. The sooner we accomplish those things on the agenda, the quicker we can move onto finding a cleanup hitter who can play either first base or left field, and finding a starter to pair with Johan Santana in the rotation.

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Winter Meetings: Where We Were, Where We’re Going? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2009/12/winter-meetings-where-we-were-where-were-going.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2009/12/winter-meetings-where-we-were-where-were-going.html/#comments Mon, 07 Dec 2009 13:36:32 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=16944 The 2009 MLB Winter Meetings are now underway in Indianapolis, and will provide fans with either much joy or just as much angst. Last year’s Winter Meetings certainly fit that bill.

In 2008, we suffered through another miserable bullpen, and it seemed like money would be no object to revamp it in the off season. GM Omar Minaya was under the gun to retool the bullpen and deliver a winner. This year, the details of need are different, but the gist is the same. Minaya will under even more pressure to deliver a winner after suffereing though a ridiculous number of injuries and a barren farm system.

The Winter Meetings were in Las Vegas a year ago, and we were witness to a very interesting turn of events:

Hot and Cold

The 2008 Winter meetings were home to two huge deals for the team, which would turn out to have strong and opposite results. The Mets signed Francisco Rodriguez for 3 years/ $37 million; much less than the 5/$75 mil he was anticipating after setting the single-season saves record. Not bad considering that the Mets were the one team that Frankie knew had the money he wanted, and the Mets were looking for the best of the bunch.

The following day, The Mets, Mariners, and Indians swung a three way trade that had All-Star closer J.J. Putz coming to Flushing. Among the notable players the Mets dealt were Aaron Heilman, Mike Carp, and Endy Chavez to Seattle; and Joe Smith to Cleveland. In two fell swoops, it looked like Citi field would be home to the best back-end of the bullpen in the National League.

Or so we thought…

That’s What You Get For Waking Up In Vegas

The Putz deal would go on to be one of the worst trades by the organization this decade. Putz would get injured in May and miss the rest of the season with a bone spur. And ironically, Billy Wagner ends up coming back from Tommy John Surgery, and Putz would never return from his bone spur.

As for the players we gave away, Heilman was later dealt to Chicago, where he was far from inspiring. Endy Chavez suffered a terrible knee injury and missed the rest of the season, and will miss part of this season. Joe Smith only pitched 34 innings due to rotator cuff injury. Mike Carp actually had a good run after he was called up by the M’s, though he is blocked at 1B. We also got Sean Green and Jeremy Reed, but with Reed a non-tender candidate, it looks like the inconsistent reliever Green may be the only thing we have to show for this “blockbuster.”

But this year…

Shut Up and Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

Simply put, Omar Minaya’s best deal was his own, as it forced the Wilpons to keep him rather than eat his contract. This was one year he’s like to forget.  Fans can complain in blogs, radio call-ins, or the Mets Merized Chatroom all they want, but the only way to put pressure is to stop paying for the team. The Wilpons have a new stadium that they need to fill, and people will not show up to watch a AAA team, injuries or not. The front office traveled the talk show circuit in October saying that money will be no object. Well, show us. Last year, we fixed the bullpen (or at least it looked that way), but this year we have more holes to fill.

How can they make moves for fans and quality players?

If You Want Me, You’re Gonna Have To Break The Bank

The Mets, according to random rumors, are not expected to be big players in the meetings. Other fan comments (you know, the ones that start with “If I were the GM…”) seem to choose between one big move or a few smaller ones. It may be unlikely that we see any of the second-tier starters go early, as pitchers like Marquis, Harden, etc. will wait to see what John Lackey gets.

Omar Minaya made a statement supporting the likelihood of more trades than signings. Tom Terrific pointed out in his column yesterday that money is the big factor in deals, and it’s true.  But as Joe D. will point out, value is everything, as you can’t just go pumping money into a three year deal for Oliver Perez (wait…). Most likely candidate to be signed looks like Bengie Molina, the only haggle will be how many years. How much will that leave for a #2 starter and a power hitter?

I wish a Katy Perry lyric had the answer to that.

Till Next Time

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Mets May Consider Rod Barajas Over Bengie Molina http://metsmerizedonline.com/2009/12/mets-may-consider-rod-barajas-over-bengie-molina.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2009/12/mets-may-consider-rod-barajas-over-bengie-molina.html/#comments Mon, 07 Dec 2009 11:24:41 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=16956 Last night, Newsday’s Ken Davidoff reported via Twitter that the Mets are considering free agent catcher Rod Barajas as an alternative to Bengie Molina.

With Molina’s insistence for a three year deal, he may have played himself out of a contract with the Mets who are looking for a starting catcher, but are unwilling to sign one for more than one year, although they would be willing to go two years with Molina to get something done.

The Mets believe that Josh Thole will be ready to take over the starting catchers job in 2011, and are not looking to commit to anyone beyond the 2010 season. 

Last season while playing for the Blue Jays, Barajas hit .226 with 19 home runs and a career high 71 RBI in 125 games.

I’d rather go with Barajas for one year anyway rather than Molina for even two years. Take the money they would save and put it toward filling another need. Maybe we get lucky and Thole presses the issue with a huge season in AAA that would force the Mets to call him up. Stranger things have happened, right?

Hey, maybe if we sign Barajas, it might buy us a little leverage in getting Roy Halladay?

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Hot Stove Recap: Harden, Dye, Hudson, Bay, Molina, Doumit http://metsmerizedonline.com/2009/12/hot-stove-recap-harden-dye-hudson-bay-molina-doumit.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2009/12/hot-stove-recap-harden-dye-hudson-bay-molina-doumit.html/#comments Thu, 03 Dec 2009 14:45:23 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=16730 Here’s a round-up of the day’s Hot Stove rumors and transactions.

Rich Harden SP – Several reports today suggest that Rich Harden is drawing heavy interest from the Red Sox and the Mariners. Harden was not offered arbitration and the 28-year old righthander has become much more desirable in the eyes of many. Of the second tiered free agent starters after John Lackey, I consider harden to be the best and most talented of the group.

Roy Halladay SP – According to Jon Heyman of SI.com, the Yankees and Blue Jays have discussed a deal and Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain, Jesus Montero and Austin Jackson were all mentioned. The Angels are also interested and are considered a dark horse. At this point I’m convinced the Mets will not get Halladay, so the only thing I hope for now is that he doesn’t end up with the Phillies or Yankees.

Jermaine Dye OF - According to the Sun-Times, several teams are interested in free agent outfielder Jermaine Dye including the Yankees who requested medical reports. It sounds like posturing to me. The Rangers, Red Sox, Cardinals and Giants are also interested. I’d rather stick with Pagan than to sign Dye to a multi year deal myself.

Orlando Hudson 2B – The Mets are not alone in their interest in the 2009 Gold Glove second baseman. Add the Mariners to the list of teams that will pursue Hudson. If the Mets want in, they better make a move with Castillo fast. I like Hudson a lot, but I like Polanco a whole lot better.

Jason Bay OF – Gordon Edes said that the Red Sox still prefer Bay to Matt Holliday. That’s not stopping the Red Sox from looking at other options. Bay’s agent said he will not wait for Holliday to sign before securing a deal for Bay. It’s shocking how little Jason Bay’s name appears in Mets rumors. You would think he’d be very high on the Mets wish list. Defense aside, he fits the mold of what the Mets need as a cleanup hitter, and his glove isn’t exactly gonna kill you.

Ryan Doumit C – Lots of buzz surrounding catchers this week, and Fox reports that the Blue Jays are interested in dealing for the young Pirates catcher. Doumit slipped a little in 2009, but he has plenty of upside and would be under a teams control for two more years at a very reasonable contract. I sure wish the Mets would take a look.

Bengie Molina C – Finally some Mets news… Jon Heyman says that the Mets are the “heavy favorite” to sign free agent catcher Bengie Molina this offseason. The Giants did not offer Molina salary arbitration, which means the Mets don’t lose a draft pick. The 35-year old Molina is looking for a 2-3 year deal. If that’s what he wants, I’d pass. At some point we have to stop overpaying players past their prime right? We need to start getting value like the Phillies and Braves.

J.J. Putz RP – Don’t look now, but the Philadelphia Phillies are hot on the trail of the former Mets setup man. The Mets paid dearly to land Putz last season, but the Phillies will not have to give up anything for him, and they’ll pay him less too. Like I always say, it’s all about the value.

Milton Bradley OF – According to Joel Sherman, the Rays and Cubs are discussing a swap of Milton Bradley and Pat Burrell. Please God, let this happen so that I no longer have to hear the ridiculous rumors that have the Mets interested in either of these slugs.

Let me know if you enjoy these Hot Stove recaps, and I’ll continue posting them through the end of the Winter Meetings at which point I’ll go from a daily format to a weekly format each Friday. I think it’s a good way to catch up on anything you might have missed, and it could serve as a thread for some interesting Hot Stove debate.

By the way, thanks to all of our fans on Twitter for helping us surpass 1,800 followers. You guys are the best!

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Josh Thole Is Giving Me Second Thoughts On Bengie Molina http://metsmerizedonline.com/2009/12/josh-thole-is-giving-me-second-thoughts-on-bengie-molina.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2009/12/josh-thole-is-giving-me-second-thoughts-on-bengie-molina.html/#comments Wed, 02 Dec 2009 13:21:11 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=16595 I’m really starting to have second thoughts about the Mets going after free agent catcher Bengie Molina. I know how strongly I have advocated for Molina in the last two months, but am becoming more and more taken with Josh Thole as he toils away in Winter Ball with the hopes of impressing Mets brass and potentially earning a spot on the big league roster next season.

Thole continues to wield a hot bat in Venezuela and is leading the league with a .391 batting average. In 133 at-bats he has 17 extra-base hits including three home runs, and 24 RBI. He has almost twice as many walks (24) as he does strikeouts (13), and that gives him a sizzling .488 on-base percentage. His 1.059 OPS leads the league as well.

If not for the fact that he might be a defensive liability, the lefthanded hitting Thole is probably a better offensive option than all of the other free agent catchers that are currently being considered by the Mets.

While Thole may not possess the power of Bengie Molina right now, you can make a good argument that he is a better pure hitter and can get on base at a much better rate than Molina. Plus, Thole wouldn’t clog the basepaths like the lead-footed Molina would as the Mets catcher of the future above average speed for a catcher.

As a southpaw, Thole would be perfectly suited for a platoon with the righthanded Omir Santos.

Minor league scouts and coaches have been impressed with how quickly Thole has adapted behind the plate. He has come a long way defensively when you consider that he has only been playing the position for barely two years.

The good news on the defensive front is that Thole is extremely dedicated to improving at his new position, and he believes that he will ultimately be a solid defensive catcher. 

His defensive improvement in Venezuela has already drawn much attention. In fact, I spoke to one of our contacts who covers the Venezualan League in the winter, and yesterday he told me that Thole looks as comfortable behind the plate as any of the other catchers in the league, and that if he is a defensive liability it’s news to him.

That bit of good news is not at all surprising regarding Thole who is a fierce competitor on the field.

I have a suspicious feeling that Molina will probably be looking for a 2-3 year deal this winter. With Omir Santos already settled in as the backup catcher, it may be unwise to block Josh Thole who could be ready to contribute by the All Star break if not sooner.

He certainly will not solve the team’s shortage of homerun power, but he has a swing that is well suited for Citi Field and he should produce a fair share of doubles along with 5-6 home runs. I believe he could have a season very similar to the one Paul Lo Duca produced for the Mets in 2006.

When I consider the other very pricey catching options out there, I can’t help asking myself this one important question:

Are any of those expensive catching options that much better than Josh Thole?

The answer I keep telling myself is no.

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