Mets Merized Online » Omir Santos Wed, 15 Feb 2017 22:02:01 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The 2009 Mets: Where Are They Now? Mon, 09 Sep 2013 03:23:30 +0000 Welcome to the second installment of Where Are They Now?, where we take a Mets roster and check in on what the players have done since last playing in Queens. Last week, we looked at the 2010 Mets, so this week we go back a year and look at the 2009 team, the first year the Mets played their home games at Citi Field. That season, Jerry Manuel led his squad to a 70-92 record, good for a fourth place NL East finish. Let’s look at the players.

Right off the bat, 21 players also played for the Mets in 2010, who I covered covered in my previous article. If you wish to learn about what happened to Luis Castillo, Alex Cora, David Wright, Carlos Beltran, Jeff Francoeur, Fernando Tatis, Angel Pagan, Jose Reyes, Nick Evans, Josh Thole, Mike Pelfrey, John Maine, Oliver Perez, Francisco Rodriguez, Bobby Parnell, Pedro Feliciano, Sean Green, Fernando Nieve, Elmer Dessens, Jon Niese, and Tobi Stoner, check out The 2010 Mets: Where Are They Now?

Only one player (who hasn’t already been covered) that played for the Mets in 2009 is still playing for the Mets, Daniel Murphy who is now one of the top hitters in the Mets lineup. Murphy currently ranks second on the team in batting average and third highest with a 2.7 WAR. Not only does Murphy provide a presence in the top of the lineup, but he may give the Mets strong trade bait going forward.

Only two other players from the 2009 are still in the majors albeit with another franchise: J.J. Putz and Darren O’Day.

Putz, who amazingly only played in 29 games with the Mets, played with the Chicago White Sox in 2010, before heading to Arizona where he played for the Diamondbacks in 2011. He still plays for them now. Side-armer Darren O’Day was claimed off waivers by the Rangers in April of 2009 and played in Arlington until 2011. After that season, the Baltimore Orioles claimed him off waivers. He is currently in his second year with them.

Five players from that team are currently in the Minor Leagues with other organizations and include Omir Santos, Jeremy Reed, Fernando Martinez, Argenis Reyes, and Nelson Figueroa.

Omir Santos did the bulk of the catching for the 2009 Mets, and he now sits behind the plate for the Rockies’ Triple A affiliate in Colorado Springs. He also played for the Toledo Mud Hens in the Detroit Tigers system in 2011, before spending some time with the big league team for the Tigers in  2010. He’s also played with the Indians Triple-A team this season.

Jeremy Reed signed with the Blue Jays in January of 2010 and was called up on April 12th. On July 12th he was sent down, released, and signed with the White Sox. He played the rest of the season with their Triple A team, the Charlotte Knights. The Brewers signed him in 2011 and he made the opening day roster. He was sent down to make room for Jonathan Lucroy, which led to him being traded to the Twins, where he finished the year. He is now in the Arizona Diamondbacks organization, but is not currently assigned to a team.

fernando martinez

Fernando Martinez was claimed off waivers by the Astros in January of 2012 and played in Houston until he was traded to the Yankees this past June, knowing there was a chance that he could be suspended for steroids. He was among those named in the Biogenesis scandal and is currently serving a 50-game suspension.

Argenis Reyes played in the Red Sox system in 2010 and was then traded to the Cleveland Indians where he played the rest of the season. He spent time with the New Jersey Jackals of the Independent Leagues in 2011 before returning to the Indians system. He is currently not playing with an Indians team although he unassigned.

Nelson Figueroa saw time in the Phillies and Astros systems in 2010, and played in the majors with the Astros in 2011. He also played in the Pirates system that year. 2012 saw him spend time with the Yankees and Red Sox minor league systems, and now plays for the Diamondbacks Triple-A affiliate.

One 2009 Met is officially a free agent and that is Casey Fossum who played all of three games for the Amazins that season. Fossum was released at the end of April in 2009 and soon after signed with the Yankees. He played the rest of the year with their Triple A affiliate and then moved onto the Chicago Cubs system. His 2010 season was spent with the Hanshin Tigers in Japan, where he went 2-5 with a 5.72 ERA. Fossum signed with the Mets again in January of 2011 and played nine games, before being released a year later. He eventually signed with the Orioles but was soon released and has not resurfaced ever since.

13 players have retired. They are Gary Sheffield, Ryan Church, Brian Schneider, Cory Sullivan, Carlos Delgado, Ramon Martinez, Emil Brown, Marlon Anderson, Brian Stokes, Ken Takahashi, Lance Broadway, Jon Switzer, and Billy Wagner.

Gary Sheffield couldn’t find a team to play with in 2010, so he retired in the spring of 2011. Ryan Church was traded to the Braves for Jeff Francoeur and finished the year in Atlanta. 2010 was spent in Pittsburgh until the Pirates traded him to the Diamondbacks along with future Met D.J. Carrasco. He was non-tendered after the year and retired.

Brian Schneider played with the Phillies from 2010 to 2012 and retired officially on January 29th this year. Cory Sullivan, who is most remembered for being the last player to hit two triples in one inning, played with the Houston Astros for half of 2010. He played with the Phillies for half of 2011, and retired after failing to make the Dodgers opening day roster in 2012.

After being injured for most of the 2009 season, the Mets released Carlos Delgado when the season was over. The Boston Red Sox signed the future Hall of Famer to a Minor League contract. He went 3-for-13, was released and retired on April 13th 2011. He was most recently the hitting coach for the 2013 Puerto Rican team in the World Baseball Classic. Current Mets pitching coach Ricky Bones was the pitching coach for that team (and if you ask me, Delgado and Bones look extremely like each other).

Not much to say about Ramon Martinez here. The infielder who played only 12 games with the 2009 Mets was released after the season and immediately retired. Emil Brown retired after being released on June 22, 2009.

Super utility man Marlon Anderson was released in April and signed with the Newark Bears of the Independent Leagues. He played the rest of the season there and retired when the season was done. He was last seen in professional baseball as the hitting coach for the Potomac Nationals in 2012.

Brian Stokes was traded to the Angels for Gary Matthews Jr. prior to the the 2010 season and made 16 appearances for the Halos that year. In 2011 he played in the Arizona D-Back’s system, and then moved onto the Camden RIversharks of the Independent League. Ken Takahashi became the third oldest player to make his Major League debut at the age of 40 on May 2nd 2009. He was released by the Mets in October of that year and went back to his homeland of Japan and played with the Hiroshima Carp in 2010. He retired after that year.

Lance “Best Name in Baseball” Broadway has not played in the Majors since his time with the Mets. He spent time with the Blue Jays organization in 2010 and played with their Triple A team, the Las Vegas 51′s. He has since retired and done what I believe no other Met has done in their lifetime. Lance played Agent O’Neil in the 2013 movie, Olympus Has Fallen. We should keep an eye out for other movies that feature Mr. Broadway.

Jon Switzer only got into four games as a New York Met, which led to a 8.10 ERA. He signed with the Astros and played in their Minor League system in 2010. He retired after 2010 and went back to school. He is now a business manager.

billy wagner

Billy Wagner, who is probably the greatest Mets closer of the last 10 years, was traded at the end of the year to the Red Sox for Chris Carter and minor leaguer Eddie Lora. Wagner played two games for Boston and then signed with the Atlanta Braves for the 2010 season. He was injured in the NLDS, but instead of going on the disabled list, he retired. Billy is currently the Head Coach for Miller High School in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Two players are currently in the Independent Leagues. Wilson Valdez played for the Phillies in 2010 and 2011 and was then traded to the Cincinnati Reds before the 2012 season. The Reds traded Valdez to the Giants in December of 2012 but he was released this past March. He signed with the Miami Marlins the next day and was released on May 19th. He is now with the Camden River Sharks. Longtime Mets backup catcher Ramon Castro was traded to the White Sox for Lance Broadway in 2009, but I don’t think it mattered to Ramon, because later in the season he was behind the plate when Mark Buehrle tossed a perfect game. He was released by Chicago after 2011, and did not play baseball in 2012. He signed a Minor League contract with the Dodgers this March but was released after failing to make the roster. He now plays for the Long Island Ducks.

anderson hernandez

Three players are playing in foreign countries, and they all play in Mexico. They are Anderson Hernandez, Angel Berroa, and Robinson Cancel. Hernandez, who was traded from the Tigers to the Mets back in 2004 for Vance Wilson, was claimed off waivers by the Indians in 2010 but was claimed by the Astros in July. 2011 was spent in Triple A with the Astros franchise. In 2012, Hernandez played with the Pirates Triple A team. This year he has been playing with the Piratas de Campeche, where he is hitting five points south of .300 with 11 home runs.

The 2003 American League Rookie of the Year (I still think Rocco Baldelli should have won) Angel Berroa, who before LaTroy Hawkins and David Aardsma was the last player to play for both the Mets and Yankees, played in the San Francisco Giants organization in 2010. In 2011 he played with the Arizona Diamondbacks Triple A team and the Bridgeport BlueFish of the Independent Leagues. 2012 saw Berroa play with the New Jersey Jackals. He now plays for Leones de Yucantan in Mexico. He is hitting .293 with 12 homers.

Robinson Cancel made his first big league appearance since 1999 in 2008 with the Mets. He spent 2010 with the Long Island Ducks, 2011 with the Astros Triple A team (and a few games in the Majors), 2012 with Monterrey in Mexico, and is still playing in Mexico with Minatilan.

One player is coaching. Andy Green went 1-4 with the Mets in 2009. He spent 2010 in Buffalo playing for the Bisons at the Mets Triple A level. He is now managing the Diamondbacks Double A team, the Mobile Bay Bears. He is managing former Met Nick Evans.

So there are your 2009 New York Mets. What were some of your best and worst memories of that season? Next week we’ll take a look at the 2008 team and the last year of Mets baseball at Shea Stadium.

addicted to mets button

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Meet The Best Catching Prospect That Nobody Talks About Mon, 22 Jul 2013 15:22:43 +0000 plawecki

Last week, when I saw those words in my title leading off a paragraph about Kevin Plawecki, the first thing that came to my mind was that the author was obviously frequenting too many of the the wrong sites. Had he come to Metsmerized for the dope on Plawecki, he may have been talking about him for as long as I have.

That said, Nathaniel Stoltz of FanGraphs puts Plawecki on his list of five sleeper catching prospects and had the following to say about him:

Meet the best catching prospect that nobody’s talking about. You’d think he’d come up in prospect discussions more–Plawecki was picked 35th overall last year out of Purdue and has raked at a .322/.397/.485 clip between Low-A (.314/.390/.494) and High-A (.346/.418/.457) this year, but he remains largely unnoticed by non-Mets fans and hardcore prospect aficionados.

Plawecki has the distinction of being the one player on this list who projects as a legitimate above-average defensive catcher in the big leagues. He sets himself apart from most A-ball catchers with very soft hands and good receiving skills. He’s also gunned down 32% of basestealers this season. Defense will not impede his ascent to the majors–if he hits, he’ll find a catching gig. Sure, d’Arnaud is ahead of him in his current system, but two-way catchers don’t just rot on the vine.

And Plawecki is a legitimate two-way catcher, pairing that defensive ability with all-around offensive skills. He’s a big guy who ropes doubles–he has 30 (!) in 88 games–all over the park, and he has the size to be a potential 15-HR guy (he has seven this year). Plawecki makes an impressive amount of contact (11.4% K%), and could be a high-average hitter; he’ll also draw a decent number of walks.

You don’t need me to tell you that a high-contact player who hits a lot of doubles and a fair amount of homers at the catcher position is quite valuable. Plawecki has a lot of skills in place to make that happen already, and he’s just 22. He could be a fast riser on prospect lists over the next couple of months as people take stock and begin to appreciate his accomplishments and skillset.


Kevin Plawecki strikes pose for MMO during his interview with us.

After the Mets 2012 draft, my first reaction was that I loved the Plawecki pick more than I did Cecchini. After dealing with the likes of Josh Thole, Mike Nickeas, Henry Blanco and Omir Santos, I was ecstatic that at last we had a top rated catcher in our system that scouts loved and that would move fast through the system.

In a later analysis after the Dickey trade, Mitch Petanick wrote:

Plawecki is a guy that makes excellent contact. Through his college career, he had a very low strike out rate, and as stated earlier, had a 1:1 K/BB ratio at Brooklyn last season. I have read a couple of scouting reports that have noted his swing was a little long, but his swing is actually very compact, and he gets his hands through the hitting zone very quickly when he keeps them close to his body.

He has a very level swing, which will lead to a ton of line drives, but it does not generate a ton of backspin on the ball when contact is made, which is why he won’t be a big home run threat. However, he does have solid to gap-to-gap power. T

Everyone has been completely enthralled with the addition to Travis d’Arnaud, but Plawecki is a guy that fans should keep an eye on over the next couple of years. With questions of d’Arnaud’s durability arising, Plawecki is definitely a guy that could find himself behind the plate at Citi Field within the next couple of years.

My view of Plawecki has always been high. I was disappointed that the Mets chose to start him in Savannah rather than St. Lucie as most of you will remember. I wanted him to finish this season in Binghamton, start 2014 in Triple-A and have him on the big league roster by the middle of next season. I still feel that way.

I see in Plawecki as a Paul Lo Duca in his prime and I’m not just talking about his bat – his intensity and demeanor should not be underestimated, nor should his defensive skills behind the plate. I’m so confident in his ability that if I felt we could get a 30+ home run hitting outfielder for Travis d’Arnaud, I’d have no problem pulling the trigger and going with the tough as nails Kevin Plawecki as our catcher of the future. And I said as much in a post before this season ever got underway.

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Mets DFA Gary Matthews Jr., Recall Omir Santos Fri, 04 Jun 2010 20:17:54 +0000 The New York Mets have pulled the plug on Gary Matthews Jr. and will recall Catcher Omir Santos from AA Binghamton.

Matthews Jr., or GMJ for short, came over from the Los Angeles Angels for Brian Stokes, shortly after Carlos Beltran hit the DL.

GMJ has an unremarkable .190/.266/.241 line in 65 plate appearances, following a good Spring Training.

Omir Santos has been horrific since moving to the minors after the signing of Rod Barajas forced him out.

Santos holds an .074/.167/.111 line in eight games since being demoted from AAA Buffalo.

BTW: I know you’re wondering how Brian Stokes is doing in Anaheim. Let’s say that the trade has no winners. Stokes has a 7.31 ERA and 2.50 WHIP in 16 IP.

Adam Rubin writes that the Mets chose Santos over Jesus Feliciano because backup Henry Blanco is banged up. He writes that Feliciano will be called up as soon as Henry Blanco is alright.

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Morning Grind: Another Rumor, Competition Is Good, Carter Not So Much Tue, 09 Mar 2010 16:00:25 +0000 Okay so it’s almost afternoon, but Afternoon Grind doesn’t have that same ring to it…

Making The Grade

According to Adam Rubin, Bobby Parnell and/or Sean Green could be in at least a little trouble in making the club. Or at least in a competition. If Jenrry Mejia and/or Hisanori Takahashi sneaks into the bullpen, one or two reliever incumbents could find themselves in the minors … or traded. This is the best part of spring training for me. I love watching these battles unfold and this particular one could be very interesting. I said it back in January that Parnell might not be a lock for the bullpen, and obviously neither was Brian Stokes over whom too much was being made of. I’m not sure Mejia will be the one Parnell and Green should worry about. I still believe that in the end, both Takahashi AND Nelson Figueroa make the team, and that Parnell and Green will be elsewhere come opening day.

Another Texas Rangers Rumor

According to MetsBlog, Matt Pignataro of Seven Train to Shea believes that the Orioles and Rangers are very interested in C Omir Santos. I don’t see it, much like I didn’t see them trading Nelson Cruz to the Mets or anyone else. I do believe the Dodgers have more interest in Omir than they are letting on, and don’t count out the Yankees or Cubs either. In the end, I put the odds of Santos being traded at less than 50%. Unless you’re the Omar led New York Mets, the catching position is something that most teams get sorted out pretty quickly in the offseason, because as the great Casey Stengel once said, “without a catcher you’ll end up having a lot of passed balls”. Or something like that… Plus dedicated Metsmerized readers already know my stance on sources in the Twitter age. I need more than 140 characters to convince me of their veracity.

Who Is Chris Carter?

Well, in short, he’s the guy the Red Sox gave up in exchange for two first round draft picks and the services of Billy Wagner for their stretch run. He is also the guy who homered twice in the 9th inning as the Mets trounced the Marlins 11-2. One was off Seth McClung and the second came off of Chris Schroder. Ummm… who? Alrighty then… One last thing you should know, Carter is also the guy that has a snowball’s chance in hell of making the Mets opening day roster. That’s all you need to know. As for what the Mets think of Chris Carter? The Gary Matthews trade and Mike Jacobs signing tells you all you need to know. Pack plenty of sweaters my friend, it’s still freezing in Buffalo in April.

By the way, check out our newly redesigned Myspace page and add us as a friend. Since March of 2005 when we first began, we have grown to over 20,000 followers!

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Mets Could Have Trade In Works For Omir Santos Fri, 26 Feb 2010 11:25:03 +0000

Adam Rubin of the Daily News writes that the Mets could deal one of their surplus catchers and that teams are calling the Mets to inquire.

I’m asked a lot how the Mets plan to fit six catchers with major-league experience in their system. Answer: They can’t. Barajas and Blanco clearly will be the big-league catchers, barring injury. Josh Thole is the primary catcher at Triple-A Buffalo. I’m told the Mets probably can fit three catchers with the Bisons, especially since Chris Coste can play other positions while mentoring Thole. That means that Omir Santos or Shawn Riggans could be involved with a trade this spring. We’re not talking a blockbuster, but a team official tells me they’re already getting calls about the excess catching.

Last week, I suggested that the Mets could trade Omir Santos and that the Tigers, Twins and Indians could be interested in a solid backup like Santos. 

Santos, 28, emerged as a solid catcher when Brian Schneider was injured last year. He batted .260 and had some clutch hits. His game-winning homerun off Jonathan Papelbon at Fenway Park was one of the few highlights of the 2009 season.

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Mets Sign A Rod; Too Bad It’s Barajas Tue, 23 Feb 2010 16:00:00 +0000 Sorry about the title (and photo to the left), Mets fans.  The Mets did sign “a Rod” over the weekend, but it happened to be Rod Barajas, who should take over as the #1 catcher for the Mets this season.  After failing to sign other potential #1 catchers, most notably Bengie Molina, the Mets were able to sign Barajas to a one-year deal for a very reasonable dollar amount ($1 million, plus $1 million in incentives).  This will allow Josh Thole to play another season in the minor leagues in the hopes that he can be major league ready in 2011.

So what are the pros and cons of the Rod Barajas signing?  Let’s start with the pros.

Since the Texas Rangers signed him as a free agent prior to the 2004 season, Barajas has become a good source for extra-base hits, especially from the catchers’ position.  He was the #1 catcher for Texas from 2004-2006 and Toronto from 2008-2009 (he had an injury-plagued season for the Phillies in 2007 and only played 48 games for our hated rivals).  In the five seasons Barajas was an everyday player, he hit 77 HR (with a career high of 21 HR in 2005), 112 doubles (consistently hitting between 19 and 26 doubles in each of the five seasons) and collected 279 RBI (with a career high of 71 RBI in 2009).  An average season for Barajas over those five years meant 22 doubles, 15 HR and 56 RBI.  By comparison, the combination of Brian Schneider and Omir Santos hit 25 doubles, 10 HR and collected 64 RBI for the Mets in 2009.  The combined total for those two catchers were nearly identical to the numbers produced by Barajas in an average season.

Defensively, Barajas has been consistently good at throwing out would-be base stealers.  Over his career, he has nailed 34% of those who have attempted to swipe a base against him.  That same percentage was registered by Barajas over each of the past two seasons.  Over those same two seasons, which coincide with Brian Schneider’s two years in New York, Schneider also threw out 34% of opposing base stealers.  Omir Santos nabbed 30% of the would-be base stealers against him in his one big league season.

Now what is there not to like about Barajas?  How about a career .238 batting average and a frighteningly low .284 career OBP?  The numbers were even worse last year (.226 batting average, .258 OBP).  He has never walked more than 26 times in a single season and has only collected 100 hits in a season once (104 hits in 2005).  He also tends to pick up his share of errors.  In the five seasons Barajas has been a #1 catcher, he has commited 38 errors (an average of nearly eight errors per season).  In those same five seasons, Brian Schneider commited half that total (19 errors).  Also, Omir Santos only committed three errors in his one season with the Mets.

Before I end this, I do need to point out that Barajas has fared well against the three teams that finished ahead of the Mets in the NL East last year (Phillies, Marlins, Braves).  In 187 career at-bats against those three teams, Barajas has hit .316, with 18 doubles, 13 HR and 35 RBI.  Considering he will be seeing those teams more than teams in the NL Central and NL West, those numbers cannot be ignored.

So now that you have the pros and cons, what do you think of the signing?  Is this an upgrade over whatever combination of catchers the Mets would have employed?  Do you think Barajas will end up helping the team more with his bat or with his defense?  Will Barajas be the #1 catcher for the entire 2010 season?  The floor is yours, Mets fans!  Talk amongst yourselves!

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Mets Add Another Catcher Sun, 14 Feb 2010 01:21:29 +0000 In a press release, the Mets have announced the signing of catcher Shawn Riggans to a minor league contract with an invite to spring training.

Riggans had a rough 2009, hitting .143 in seven major league games with Tampa Bay, and posting just a .233/.298/.314 line in three minor league stops. Clearly, his right shoulder tendinitis played a role.

As recently as 2007, he posted strong minor league numbers, but there is little reason to expect Riggans to be much of an upgrade at catcher for the Mets. Still, when the starter is likely Omir Santos, a career minor leaguer, it is understandable that the Mets are bringing in some extra competition.

Riggans will be joining the likes of Henry Blanco, Chris Coste, Omir Santos, and Josh Thole for the split role of catcher for the 2010 season.

At this point with Molina out of the picture, it is mostly a battle between Coste and Santos on who will share time with Blanco. Thole will be spending most, if not all, of 2010 in Buffalo developing and Riggans doesn’t seem impressive enough to get a spot on the 25-man roster.

With Spring Training creeping up on us, Riggans may be the final Mets signing of the offseason.

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Omir, Oh My! Can Santos Be A Legit #1 Catcher? Wed, 10 Feb 2010 11:00:43 +0000 As the countdown towards Spring Training continues, it is becoming more and more likely that the Mets are going with Omir Santos as their #1 catcher, with Henry Blanco and Chris Coste vying for the backup spot.

The Mets spent their winter signing Coste and Blanco and let other catchers (most notably Bengie Molina) sign with other teams.  As a result, Santos will now be expected to handle the pitching staff of Johan Santana and The Four Rainouts as well as performing a few Omir-acles of his own at the plate.

Can Santos be counted on to repeat his unexpected 2009 performance this year now that more is being asked of him?  Let’s review a few things from his past to see what we can expect in the future.

In 2008, Omir Santos was called up to the major leagues by the Baltimore Orioles for his first cup of coffee in the big show after being a career minor leaguer since 2001.  His stay in Baltimore was short-lived as he became a Met in 2009.  It was in New York that Santos got his huge break when Brian Schneider got injured, forcing the Mets to call him up for what was supposed to be a short stay.

However, something happened on the way to Citi Field.  On a team full of fragile players and underachievers, Omir blossomed into a pretty decent (and clutch) hitter.

Perhaps the most dramatic home run of the 95 hit by the Mets in 2009 came off the bat of Omir Santos.  On May 23, he hit a two-out, two-run HR in the ninth inning off Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon to turn a 2-1 deficit into a 3-2 lead.  The umpires originally claimed that the ball had not left Fenway Park, bouncing off the top of the Green Monster and staying in the field of play.  That left Santos on second base and Gary Sheffield on third.  However, upon viewing the replay, the call was properly reversed and Santos was credited with a home run.

Because of Santos’ unexpected clutch hitting, the Mets decided to trade Ramon Castro to the Chicago White Sox, allowing Santos to remain on the major league roster.  His final numbers for the 2009 season included a .260 batting average, 7 HR and 40 RBI in only 291 at-bats.  He also added 14 doubles.

Now the question the Mets must ask themselves is whether or not those numbers will translate into a better season in 2010 if Santos gets the 400 at-bats usually reserved for a #1 catcher?  Unfortunately, looking at his minor league stats, the answer might be no.

In 2,229 career at-bats for various minor league teams, Santos could only manage a .258 average, with 32 HR and 260 RBI.  He hit .260 for the Mets after not being able to do that against MINOR LEAGUE PITCHING in eight-plus years.

Can the Mets expect more Omir-acles from Santos in 2010?  Probably not.  He won’t be facing Jonathan Papelbon this season and due to the lack of quality catching depth on the team, it’s unlikely he’ll get sent back to the minors.  If Santos repeats his 7 HR, 40 RBI performance in 400 at-bats, that should be considered a success for him.  But I’m not counting on it.

The Mets would be better off signing a more experienced catcher who could handle a pitching staff that can be, shall we say, a little erratic at times.  (see Maine, J. and Perez, O.)  Given 400 at-bats, any catcher can hit seven home runs and drive in 40 runs.  But with the problems the Mets could have with their starting pitchers, it may be more important to go with a catcher who can help the Mets more with his handling of the pitchers than with his handling of the bat.  If the Mets give that much playing time to Omir Santos, they’d better hope he can handle the Four Rainouts portion of Johan Santana and The Four Rainouts.  If he can’t, the band might not get another gig at Citi Field.

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ESPN Is As “Fair and Balanced” As FOX News Sun, 07 Feb 2010 17:40:23 +0000 This morning I was genuinely touched by the sheer thoughtfulness and care exhibited by Buster Olney of, who took it upon himself to seek out not one, but two talent evaluators to give us an assessment of our catcher Omir Santos.

For those of you who don’t subscribe to ESPN Insider, here is what the two evaluators concluded,

“I think Santos is more like an up/down guy for a good club… Santos is decent emergency protection at AAA for a good club and a backup catcher for a club that isn’t going to contend.  He can run into a fastball, but the more action he sees, the more that his aggressive approach at the plate is likely to be exposed at the big league level.”

“You’d think they’d be more than willing to give Josh Thole a shot to see regular at-bats”, said the other evaluator, “at least he has some upside.”

Gimme a freaking break Buster… Was this your idea of solid investigating reporting? What have we learned that we didn’t already know?

Did we really ned you to seek out two evaluators to tell Mets fans that Omir Santos is best suited to be a backup catcher?

What a waste of your time and ours on something that we already knew that ended up adding nothing to the discussion.

Why didn’t Buster ask those talent evaluators about new Blue Jays starting catcher John Buck who has allowed 100 stolen bases in the last two seasons?

John Buck sports a .16 caught stealing rating and had a woeful .976 fielding percentage last season, not to mention his career .235 batting average.

The Mets are only paying Omir Santos $400K… why not compare that to the $2 million dollars John Buck is getting this year?

Also, after beating up the Mets for pursuing Bengie Molina, where’s the follow up article pounding the Giants for re-signing him? What’s that old saying… “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”

It looks like ESPN is beginning to take on the same fair and balanced approach as FOX News, and the Mets have become the FOX equivalent of Bill Clinton these days, with Olney taking on the part of FOX News contributor, Joe the Plumber.

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Hope Springs Eternal, Especially Among Met Fans Fri, 29 Jan 2010 15:54:52 +0000 Occasionally, all of us become downtrodden, pessimistic, and critical of the Mets. Even the most faithful and patient Met fans have problems with this. We vacillate between positive and negative storylines and opinions in our comments, our radio calls, our blog writing and reporting.  I’d like to take a positive look at what the Mets have done and give hope to all of us for 2010…

The need for good health takes precedent over all our off season moves. We as fans should not forget that this team was pretty good until the parade of injuries that beset this ballclub last year.  Good health is an imperative this season, and except for Carlos Beltran’s setback, our team seems healthy for the first time in a long time. 

Seeing our Mets on the field whether in photos from the Port St. Lucie mini-camp, or video feeds on SNY, provides fans with the first glimpses of spring.  Personally, I don’t need to see a robin or wait for the groundhog.  I see Johan throw and Ollie looking to be in great shape, and the cold winter seems to melt away bringing spring ever so closer.

Although player procurement continues and additions will in all likelihood also continue, let’s see where we are now.

Going around the diamond, lets take a look at each position.  At the end of each we will say whether the glass is half full or half empty or hope for the best…

Position Players

Daniel Murphy - Murph was essentially a square peg in a round hole last season. He was thrown to the wolves in LF. His defense most assuredly was deficient.  His bat work, supposedly the strength of his game suffered. When he became the first baseman after Delgado’s injury and other player’s ineffectiveness, he settled down. He markedly improved in the second half last year both offensively and defensively, most importantly, he’ll only be 25 on April Fools Day. Glass half full.

Luis Castillo - Luis had an excellent bounce back year for the Mets. Offensively, he is just a singles hitter now, but is the best bunter in the game as well.  Defensively, he needs to improve his footwork around the bag.  Luis shouldn’t be admonished for his lack of range, rather, the coaching staff should be chided for not realizing that Luis has lost a step and using better positioning to enhance the range Luis does have left.  He came into camp last year in fabulous shape. Let’s hope he’s in great shape again. Hope for the best.

Jose Reyes - Jose was injured most of the season. When healthy, Jose is one of he best weapons in the game offensively. Essentially, Jose is the most important Met. As Jose goes, so go the Mets. His ability to turn singles and walks to doubles, and doubles to triples, is almost as important as the power that Beltran, Wright, and Bay provide. He has that smile and that infectious enthusiasm that makes Jose who he is. His glove is an asset. With better concentration, it’s easy to foresee Jose winning a gold glove in the future, maybe this year.  Jose may have a chip on his shoulder to prove his leg injuries are behind him.  That’s a good thing. Motivation is a wonderful tool.  Glass half full.

David Wright - David had an off year in 2009. We all know it. Just having Jay Bay in the lineup for protection will make him better offensively. Defensively, David needs to rededicate himself to improving his footwork and his throwing. The “team leader” mantra, I believe, weighs too heavily on him at times. This soft spoken star is not yet ready to lead regardless of the fans and media prodding. CitiField stadium got into his head as well. He will bounce back after a winter to relax and refocus his hitting approach. He’s only 27. Glass half full.

Jason Bay – Jason had a wonderful season in Boston offensively.  The Mets say his swing will translate to strong power numbers at Citi. His defense was questioned, but this is a guy who had no errors and 15 assists. He may not have the best range, but he works hard and gives his best effort every night. He’s easily the best LF we’ve had since the days of KMac in the ‘80’s. Arguably, the best LF we’ve ever had.  Glass half full.

Carlos Beltran – Carlos was injured much of last season.  But when healthy, was there any doubt he was the Mets best all around player? Offensively, he was hitting for a high average. His glove was as good and as gold as ever.  He returned in late ’09 and seemed okay. Then came knee pain in December during workouts. Then came surgery after subsequent examinations proved the need was real. Carlos knee problems are not going away. He, right now, cannot be counted on for a contribution until probably mid-May or June at the earliest. (Don’t kid yourself, the Mets are worried about Beltran hence the GMJ acquisition) Glass half empty.

Jeff Francoeur – Frenchy was a bright spot after being acquired from Atlanta for Ryan Church. His professionalism and enthusiasm were infectious in the Met clubhouse. He played well both offensively and defensively.  Howard Johnson should receive kudos for helping “Frenchy” with his swing.  A solid all around player who appears to have been invigorated by his liberation from Atlanta where he was born, raised and played.  If this guy reverts to his form of his first 2 years, the Mets and we fans will jump for joy.  Glass half full.

Omir Santos – Omir was a total surprise for the Mets. After showing surprising hitting acumen, he forced the Mets into dealing Ramon Castro and defensively seemed to hold his own.  Rumors persist of the Mets being unhappy with his game calling. The signing of Henry Blanco proves the Mets belief in the need for better defense and game calling. Hope for the best

The Bench - With the bench, usually it’s better to wait to evaluate when the roster is set at the conclusion of Spring Training, but here’s the “for sure” guys at this time…

Angel Pagan - Angel will either be the starter for Beltran till he returns or be packaged for a starter if performance or health in the rotation dictates such a move. The guy was a revelation offensively, and was pretty good defensively too. His base running gaffes are a joke; the coaching staff and Angel must be better prepared and teach him situational baseball better than he’s been taught.  His 22 doubles and 11 triples in a little over half a season were outstanding. He’s a quality player who may be a late bloomer. Glass half full.

Gary Matthews Jr. – Junior is insurance against a prolonged injury to Beltran. Don’t be fooled however, if Pagan is needed in a trade for a starting pitcher during the spring GMJ will be starting in CF till Beltran is ready, or Fernando Martinez will be the starter and Matthews Jr. will stay in the role best suited for him. Let the arguments over his acquisition end. For a 4th or 5th outfielder, he’ll do fine. He’s a better choice than Cory Sullivan or Jeremy Reed.  Glass half full.

Henry Blanco – Henry is still a superior defensive catcher but is still 38. Offensively, Henry is a great defensive catcher, enough said.  Blanco’s expertise may be in helping Josh Thole and Omir Santos learn to call a game better. He’s definitely an improvement over Brian Schneider, especially defensively. Glass half full.

Alex Cora – Alex was brought back as much for his leadership and intangibles as his baseball skills. He is a pretty decent utility man. Last year he was overexposed, of this there can be no doubt. If used judiciously to rest Reyes and Castillo, he will prove to be acceptable. Glass half full.

The Rotation

Johan Santana – Johan is simply one of the top starters in the game. Injuries are the only thing that can stop a future date in Cooperstown. He’s now healthy and the undisputed leader of this pitching staff. Glass half full.

Mike Pelfrey – “Big Pelf” was a bit of mystery in ’09 after a breakout ’08. Pelfrey has excellent stuff but needs to mature mentally.  He really just needs to stop worrying about painting the corners and trust his stuff.  If he gives up a hit or a fielding error occurs behind him, he goes to pieces. This lack of mental maturity is as much to blame as anything. His body language on the mound last year screamed of the player putting too much pressure on himself.  Still, he is only 26, and will improve.  Glass half full.

John Maine – John has a problem. He’s his own biggest critic. He needs to stop analyzing every pitch in every start and just go out and throw. His high pitch count early in games may be attributed more to the movement on his pitches than missing his spots. He’s healthy this year and feeling good. Perhaps he’ll have better mechanics with no more pain; in turn this will improve his pitch location and reduce his pitch count, which will reduce the stress on his arm, which also helps the pen. John is still only 29. Glass half full.

Oliver Perez – “Ollie” is healthy now and seems more mature and focused in his interviews. After a lost season and the heaping helping of criticism he received, maybe he’s finally begun to mature, as his off season workouts may indicate. Ollie has great talent, a rubber arm, and the attention span of a gnat. He needs to find his proper arm angle and replicate his delivery consistently, start after start. If he does so, he’ll be in the mix for “comeback player of the year”. He is still only 28. Glass half full.

Fernando Nieve – Fernando showed great promise in his few starts for the Mets. He was 3-3 2.95 ERA. If he can throw strikes consistently, he has enough ability to stick either as a number 5 or long man in the pen. Nieve throws hard and has a power arm. He is only 27. Hope for the best.

Jon Niese - Jon has ability. Jon Niese is ready. Niese who had mastered a cutter last season was brought up to plug the injuries for the major league staff. He was bitten by the same injury bug as quite a few of his teammates, tearing his hamstring tendon.  Niese appears to have turned a corner in Triple AAA last season. He’s lefty, and he’s only 23. If his injuries are behind him, he’ll contribute in 2010. Maybe not right away, but at some point for sure. Glass half full.

The Bullpen - The bullpen, like the bench, usually changes but a quick evaluation of those that will probably be there is worth a look.

Francisco Rodriguez – “Frankie” is still a great closer. He did struggle a bit the second half of last season, but can that be attributed more to the teams standing or is Frankie losing something? I think Frankie needs the adrenaline rush of a pennant race to become effective again. Closing in meaningless games seemed to affect him mentally. His WHIP was only a tick higher. His ERA was a full run and a half higher over the previous season. Lest we forget, most players have a near 1 year adjustment period in New York. Ask Carlos Beltran. Frankie is only 28 this season. Let’s hope for the best. Glass half full.

Ryota Igarashi - Ryota is a reliever that has a power arm and wicked splitter. The soon to be 30 year old can be viewed throwing over at YouTube. He appears to have a fastball that explodes up and in to right handed batters. His split is obviously his “out” pitch. Hope for the best.

Kelvim Escobar - Kelvim is coming off shoulder surgery. He’s been a starter out in LA for the Angels, but will be a reliever in NY as he was early in his career with Toronto. Escobar has always had good movement on his pitches. Now pain free, he’ll be more effective as a setup man at this point in his career. Hope for the best.

Sean Green – Sean had an uneven, inconsistent year with the Mets. Another player who was overexposed last season due to injuries, He did terribly early, and made adjustments later in the season.  Sean is a situational reliever, not a setup man. If used as such, He should prosper. Hope for the best.

Pedro Feliciano – Pedro was very good last season. The soon to be 34 year old was used in 88 games and threw 59 + innings. His WHIP was only 1.16. Most important is his status as our primary LH reliever.  A quality pitcher, the Mets need another season like last year from Pedro to return to their winning ways. There is no reason to think Pedro can’t be successful again as long as he’s not overused. Glass half full.

Bobby Parnell – Bobby” had an up and down season last year and was force fed on the major league level. His true calling appears to be as a reliever. He just doesn’t have enough quality pitches beyond his fastball to be considered a starter.  He does throw very hard. I watched games where he hit 99 on the JUGS gun. If he had better movement with that pitch and learned a splitter, Bobby could be devastating as a short reliever. Glass half full.

If you look at things objectively, the Mets could be very good this year.  Or bad again. It will depend on health and bounce back seasons from almost everyone on the team.  Younger players need to progress, and veterans need to return to form.  Indeed, hope springs eternal optimism, especially in baseball, especially with our Mets.

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Dan Warthen Blames Mets Catchers For 2009 Pitching Woes Sat, 05 Dec 2009 14:36:29 +0000 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.

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It’s Beginning To Look Alot Like Mets-Mess Fri, 04 Dec 2009 17:59:25 +0000 During the infancy of the 2009 free agency campaign, Mets General Omar Minaya has fired off salvo’s to the rest of the National League East about as damaging as a mouse passing wind. The hysteria you are hearing is coming from the rival GM’s in Philly, Miami, Atlanta, and be careful, Washington too.

Minaya has his priorities twisted. You fill in the blanks after you land the Great White, not aspire to bag a school of (dropout) minnows. He is a lousy fisherman and I am not alone in losing faith in the Mets fearless (clueless?) leader.

How else can a die hard Mets fan rationalize his first three signings: Alex Cora, Chris Coste, and Henry Blanco? Then again, what do I know? Perhaps the line was as long as the ones that formed in the wee hours of the morning on Black Friday. Perhaps Cora, Coste, and Blanco was much coveted door busters that Minaya sacrificed sleep over.

Speaking of snoozing, wake me up when he gets into the War and starts bidding on World Class talent, such as John Lackey-a must have for a team in need of an innings eater and bulldog. Not a trio of players that surely will still be in the bargain basement bin in February.

Moreover, Minaya’s rancid negotiating skills, the ones that overpaid by $20 million dollars for a nearly washed up second baseman, has reared it’s ugly head again by dolling out twice as much for Cora than the market could possibly bear (inked for the outrageous amount of $2 mill for someone who had both thumbs surgicaly repaired. Makes you wonder if Jeff Wilpon pays an iota of attention when he signs the checks).

What the heck was the rush to overpay for Cora?

Minaya should have been at Lackey’s doorstep at 12:01 when free agency opened, and bulled him over with a SUV fully loaded with greenbacks. He had his chance to set off a howitzer and instead pulled out his pea shooter. My fellow Mets fans, he is not fit to lead us into the new decade.

How about the fact, according to our esteemed Joe D., he doubled Blanco’s stipend after a retched .235 season? And Coste, a career minor leaguer, but fine author, is a catch that should have all Mets fans rushing to the liquor cabinet to rejoice with a celebratory libation.

You build a team with stars and impact players, not with leftovers. It is hard to believe Minaya is still steering our ship-albeit aground.

Anyone seen Steve Phillips lately?

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Henry Blanco To Be A Met, Is Thole Era Not Far Behind? Thu, 03 Dec 2009 16:11:59 +0000 According to several reports including Jon Heyman via Twitter, and the original story from Adam Rubin of the Daily News, free agent catcher Henry Blanco could become a member of the New York Mets as soon as today.

The Mets appeared to be closing in on a deal with free-agent catcher Henry Blanco. The Venezuelan newspaper “El Nacional” reported Blanco had left that country Sunday for a physical with the Mets.

Blanco, 38, hit .235 with six homers and 16 RBI in 204 at-bats with San Diego last season. He would presumably be the favorite over Omir Santos, Chris Coste and Josh Thole to open next season as the backup catcher.

I don’t know what this means for Omir Santos, but at this point it’s not looking good. The thing of it is, given the choice, I’d take Santos over Blanco 99 times out of 100.

First off Santos is ten years younger. Do we really need a 38-year old player on the team? Second, Santos has more power and performed quite well defensively last season.

Blanco is a career .228 hitter playing mostly his entire career in hitter friendly parks. Now, one year older and in decline, how well could he possibly translate playing in the vastness of Citi Field? 

One good thing this signing might indicate, is that the Mets must be seriously considering prospect Josh Thole for a starting role at some point next season. The only benefit I see in bringing a catcher like Blanco on board, is to serve as a mentor for Thole who is still relatively new to the catching position. From that point of view, Blanco would be more valuable than Omir Santos.

However, some believe that this signing does not entirely mean the Mets are out of the Bengie Molina sweepstakes. What the Blanco signing also does is to give the Mets a little more leverage in potential negotiations with Molina.

Stay tuned…

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Should Omir Santos Start For The Mets In 2010? Mon, 30 Nov 2009 14:55:38 +0000 Last week Topps released its All-Star Rookie team for 2009 and while there were some justified selections and some questionable ones, the player that has the most intrigue for me is the Mets’ Omir Santos. He beat out phenom Matt Wieters, who most thought would be in contention to take home the Rookie of the Year award in the American League.

Did Santos’ season really justify the award? First let’s take a look at his statistics:

281 At Bats
.260 Batting Average (73 Hits)
7 Home Runs
40 RBI
28 Runs
0 Stolen Bases
.296 On Base Percentage
.391 Slugging Percentage
.287 Batting Average on Balls in Play

I know Wieters did not come close to expectations, but Santos’ performance is far from tantalizing. While he had his moments early in the season delivering some big hits for a Mets team that was desperate to grasp onto anything, Santos’ second half left little to be desired.

He hit just .250 with 3 HR and 16 RBI over 128 AB, exposing him a bit for what he truly is, a 28-year old career minor leaguer. While people want to get excited when someone like him shows signs of success, having held on for so long, there is a reason he didn’t get his first taste of the big leagues until 2008, his eighth year of professional baseball (he was drafted in the 21st round of the 2001 draft by the New York Yankees).

We are talking about a player who was a career .258 hitter over 2,229 minor league at bats, hitting just 32 HR. In fact, he only had two seasons where he surpassed the total he hit last season: he hit eight between two levels of Single-A in ‘02 and 10 at Double-A in ‘05.

It would just make no sense for the Mets to look for a catcher to platoon with that type of performance. Exactly what do they think they are going to get? After all these years do they expect him to suddenly figure things out? Do they think he’s going to become a slugger? Or even someone who can post a decent average?

Santos is none of those things, and by now we all need to realize that. What he showed in the second half is the type of production he has been showing since he was an unheralded draft choice many moons ago.

Does keeping him around in order to be the second catcher make sense? Absolutely, but if the Mets enter 2010 with expectations of him making any type of impact at the plate they are making a major miscalculation.

As far as fantasy owners are concerned, even those in two-catcher formats should be keeping their distance. He just doesn’t have the potential to be of much value to anyone, even if he is splitting time and getting a fair share of at bats.

What do you think? Am I being too harsh on Santos? Do you think he could contribute offensively for the Mets in 2010?

For more Fantasy Info visit me at

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Omir Santos Named Topps All Star Rookie Catcher Wed, 25 Nov 2009 17:37:52 +0000 It looks like the Mets didn’t get completely shutout as far as awards go for the 2009 season.

After missing out on any off season hardware including any Gold Glove or Silver Slugger awards, the Mets manged to pull one out of the hat when catcher Omir Santos was named to the Topps All Star Rookie Team.

Omir Santos hit .260 in 96 games for the Mets last season with 7 homers and 40 RBIs, beating out the Orioles Matt Wieters who was the early season favorite for the Rookie of the Year award.

Omir provided Mets fans with one of the most memorable moments of the 2009 season when he stunned the Boston Red Sox with a game winning homerun off closer Jonathan Papelbon. With the Mets down to their last out, Santos jumped on the closers first pitch for a dramatic two-run homer that led the Mets to a 3-2 victory. 

Congratulations to Omir who will most assuredly return next season as the Mets backup catcher.

Here is the complete 2009 Topps All Star Rookie Team.

  • 1B Travis Ishikawa, Giants
  • 2B Chris Getz, White Sox
  • 3B Gordon Beckham, White Sox
  • SS Elvis Andrus, Rangers
  • OF Chris Coghlan, Marlins
  • OF Andrew McCutchen, Pirates
  • OF Nolan Reimold, Orioles
  • C Omir Santos, Mets
  • RHP Tommy Hanson, Braves
  • LHP J.A. Happ, Phillies

Each Rookie All-Star will get an nifty image of a trophy on their 2010 Topps baseball card similar to this one. I’m almost certain that the players themselves do not get an actual trophy, so I don’t know if this actually qualifies as post season hardware, but it’s still a pretty cool honor.

The Mets are still considering several options for their starting catcher vacancy, with Bengie Molina and Rod Barajas among the most talked about. Trade option also include the Pirates’ Ryan Doumit whom I feel would be the best fit for the Mets.

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MMO Mailbag: What About Catchers? Mets Non-Tenders? Thu, 05 Nov 2009 17:10:42 +0000 As we’ve done for the last two off seasons, we’ll try to get to your mailbag questions and comments at least once a week. Unfortunately, Christian has moved on, so until someone new decides they want to respond to site mail, you’ll have to contend with me. I may not get as analytical as my predecessor did, but I’ll try to answer your questions as best as I can.

All I keep hearing about the Mets going after a starting pitcher, a leftfielder or a first baseman. Please tell me that Omir Santos is not our starting catcher in 2010.

Although there’s not much to report in the way of rumors or comments from the Mets, I find it very hard to believe that the Mets game plan is to go with Santos as their everyday catcher. I’ve read some speculation that they may save money and go with a Santos/Thole platoon, but I find that very difficult to believe. Thole will most like spend the entire season in the minors in 2010 in the hopes that he will elevate his defensive skills which are way below average right now. For more on Thole, read this post from Eric the Rotoprofessor. Santos is nothing more than an above average backup catcher.

I expect the Mets to inquire about Bengie Molina and Rod Barajas once the free agent signing period begins. Marty Noble also adds Yorvit Torrealba to the mix to complete the trifecta, but I believe Omar burned that bridge a long time ago. Although there is not much talk about the Mets acquiring a catcher, it’s only because the other needs are more pressing, but I assure you that the Mets will find someone that will help lure a top of the rotation starter to the Mets. I read an interesting opinion about how Bengie Molina may help the Mets get some leverage in acquiring John Lackey because they were battery-mates when the Angels won the 2002 World Series.

Who are the Mets’ arbitration eligible players and will they be tendering all of them?

According to Cots Contracts, the following Mets are arbitration eligible: Pedro Feliciano, Jeff Francoeur, Sean Green, John Maine, Angel Pagan, Tim Redding, Jeremy Reed and Cory Sullivan.

Feliciano, Pagan and Francoeur are in no danger of being non tendered. However, Redding, Green and Maine are probably 50/50 with John Maine having the best shot of being tendered or working out a contract with the Mets. I don’t see either Reed or Sullivan coming back next season except with minor league contracts, especially if the Mets sign a new leftfielder which I believe they will do.There’s also a strong possibility in my opinion, that we may see outfielder/first baseman Chris Carter make the team if he has a strong spring training.

Why is your site so erratic in reporting Mets news and trade rumors?

We don’t see ourselves as reporters, but simply as a group of very passionate Mets fans who have strong opinions on various Mets news. As far as I’m concerned, we already have one great site that reports all the Mets news and never misses a beat and that’s MetsBlog. We do make a strong effort to cover all the major Mets news as it happens, but rather than reporting it, we instead enjoy analyzing it and sharing our views with our readers. As for trade rumors, we do frequently analyze some of the more serious rumors, but mostly we’ll take a pass on them unless it’s from a reliable and legitimate source and doesn’t smell like speculation.

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Bengie Molina Would Be A Nice Short Term Fix Thu, 24 Sep 2009 19:16:17 +0000 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.

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Mets Catching Options for 2010 Tue, 08 Sep 2009 18:30:02 +0000 I know we still have almost a month to go before the 2009 regular baseball season is over but lets face facts the Mets season ended in July.  It’s time for the Mets and us the fans to look to 2010.   This past week Josh Thole joined the Mets for their series in Colorado.  Thole had his first major league game last Thursday going 2-for-5 on the day and stole 2nd base.  He had a past ball early on that I think could be contributed more to nerves than anything else.  He called a good game that helped Pat Misch get his 1st major league win.

One thing that I’ve noticed since Thole came up is how Brian Schneider has been talking to Thole every game in the dugout.  We also hear reports that Schneider is helping before the games and after.  Schneider has shown great character knowing that it’s highly likely that Thole will replace him shortly as the Mets catcher.  It’s something I think has been missing on this team for awhile.

To be honest it’s way too early to judge Thole, whether he can play here at the big leagues or whether he’s not ready yet.  Personally I would not mind if the Mets decided to let Thole play in the minors, at least to start the 2010 season in Triple A.  He has yet to play at that level, he’s still adjusting to being an everyday catcher so more experience would only benefit him in the long run.

Since the Wilpons refuse to spend anymore money on this team and the GM is inept at developing talent where does that lead us catcher wise in 2010?  Obviously Omir Santos will be on the team but he’s a backup catcher, who will be our everyday catcher?  Victor Martinez will be a free agent unless the Red Sox sign him, but I doubt Omar or the cheapskates Wilpons are going to spend for him. 

What about bringing back Brian Schneider for the 2010 season with an option for a 2011?  He has shown that unlike most people in this club he is selfless in how he has been helping Thole.  Watching Sunday’s game as good as Pelf was you also have to credit Schneider with that win.  Pelf in his previous starts before Sunday was too much in his own head, actually you can say that about him this whole season.  Knowing that I was going to talk about this I re-watched the game yesterday afternoon on an encore showing from SNY and I noticed a few things that I missed from Schneider on Sunday.  After every pitch whether the umpire called it a strike or a ball Schneider gave Pelf a nod on the pitch.  A few pitches Pelf threw were really nasty, Schneider put his glove out to Pelf encouraging the young pitcher.  And when Pelf did give up a run Brian ran right out there to the mound and reassured Pelf on what a good game he was having.

That is signs of a veteran catcher.  That comes with experience which is something that Santos and obviously Thole don’t have yet.  Schneider has done a good job with the younger guys on the staff in the last 2 seasons.  I know he’s below .200 on his avg but he’s going to have a really rough time finding a team willing to give him a contract, he’s going to have to settle for less, he seems to like it here with the Mets, the Mets could sign him for cheap and have a valuable teacher behind the plate.

Thole can play at the Triple A club until about the All-Star season at which point if he’s having a good year in Buffalo he will be called up, the Mets can trade Schneider away to a team for a marginal at best minor league guy like they did with Castro and Thole will play everyday.  Schneider won’t cost much so the Coupons Wilpons can spend their money on getting a first baseman as well as a left fielder and a set-up guy instead of a catcher since we do have Thole waiting in minors.

Do you guys think I’m off my rocker in suggesting this?  Do you guys want to see Thole start at Ebbets Citi Field next year, assuming of course Citi Field is still standing next year or do you think we should go after a different catcher?  Sound off Met fans.

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Why Tholmir May Not Be The Answer For 2010 Wed, 02 Sep 2009 13:47:41 +0000 Ask just about any Mets fan nowadays about who will be behind the plate in 2010, most will have no idea. And, I can’t really blame them, the Mets have not made getting a quality catcher a priority in the past few seasons, unless you call Brian Schneider and his .189/.272/.318 line quality.

If you ask anyone connected to the Mets they’ll most likely say Josh Thole and Omir Santos, a tandem I dubbed Tholmir.

This makes sense, both players are young and their combined salaries most likely wouldn’t even crack one million dollars, which is perfect for the suddenly cost-cutting Wilpons.

Lately, the only positive hype surrounding the New York Mets, besides injuries and surgeries has been the talk of calling up catcher, Josh Thole. And for good reason, since the beginning of last season Thole has done nothing but hit at the minor league level.

The Mets selected the 23 year old catcher in the eighth round of the 2005 draft, which was the same draft where they picked Mike Pelfrey.

Last season, in Class-A+ ball, Thole hit for .300, which is impressive since in his prior season he only hit .267. This year, his progression continued and he hit .328 at the Class-AA level, which features generally better, more major league-esque pitching.

He is also said to have a great demeanor when it comes to the game and is extremely hard working and passionate about what he does.

However, when I read articles by some of the game’s best beat writers I get the sense that he is being overvalued. There are some who suggest that Thole could be the best catcher the Mets have had since Mike Piazza departed the team back in 2005. And the truth is, he very well could be the next big thing.

Personally, however I am skeptical a bit skeptical about how Thole will perform at the big league level. Consider this, Thole grew up in rural Illinois and learned to play baseball in a barn. Now he will be expected to perform in front of thousands and thousands of New York fans, who are not always the  most forgiving when it comes to a player’s shortcomings.

Also, Thole is not a power hitter by any means. This is evident by the fact that he only hit one home run in 384 at-bats this season. According to Eric Simon over at Amazin’ Avenue, who profiled Thole yesterday. The article also points out that Thole does not hit very many line drives, which begs the question is his high average sustainable?

Even more surprising is that using a computer generated statistics, Simon shows that Thole projects as only a .254 hitter in the big leagues. That’s less than what Omir Santos is currently hitting.

In all fairness, projections are not always all that accurate and it’s entirely possible that Thole could blow those away.

If anything it concerns me that Thole will hit .300 in the final month of the regular season, and that will be enough for Mets management to warrant starting him next year.

The last Met player that was thrust into a starting role following success in such a small sample size was Daniel Murphy, and he’s had his share of troubles at the plate and on the field this season.

The other half of the Mets projected 2010 catching tandem is Omir Santos. One of the few feel good stories this year, Santos came from out of nowhere to become a pretty decent backstop in the big leagues.

His hit for a .263 batting average and clubbed six home runs, which isn’t anything to sneeze at. He’s even had some clutch hits, including one dramatic go-ahead home run off of Jonathan Papelbon earlier this season.

To me though, Omir is more suited to be a backup at the big league level as he has gone through a pretty brutal slump from mid-June that lasted into early July.

My suggestion for the Mets would be let Thole spend a month in the bigs and see how he handles it. Then in the off-season, try to acquire a veteran catcher that is capable of starting like Ramon Hernandez. This would enable Santos to slide into a backup role, which is better suited for him. This would also allow Thole more time in the minor leagues to collect more playing time and allow Mets officials to see whether or not he is the real deal.

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Reason To Watch Thu, 13 Aug 2009 00:55:10 +0000 As I’ve been watching our beloved Mets this season, going through cases of Pepto-Bismol and Alka-Seltzer, I’ve still kept an interest in seeing the team win, no matter how many games out of first we’ve been.  Recently, it’s gotten much tougher to get genuinely excited over wins, though having them spaced so far apart does help increase the excitement when we get one.  But, for the first time in a few years, I have a different reason to look forward to late-season baseball for our New York Mets.  It’s not with the hopes of playing in the Postseason, or even to spoil the Postseason for other teams, and it’s not to see the talent that hope to grace Citi Field in 3-4 years; it’s for next year.
For many of the lower-tiered teams, the end of the season represents a time to see what’s cooking in AAA and AA to see what the future holds.  With all of our injuries, we’ve already seen many of those players come and go this year, from prized prospect Fernando Martinez to Jon Niese and Nick Evans.  So, while in a similar position in the standings to those teams looking for their diamonds from the Minors to shine through, we’re instead looking for holes.  Not because of our depleted Minor League system, but because we need to look at what holes actually need to be filled for 2010.

We can all agree that the Mets are set at a few positions for next year: Shortstop, Third Base, Center Field, the Top Spot in the Rotation, and the Closer’s role.  What the final two months brings the Mets is the opportunity to see what the other positions are: holes that need to be filled, or spots that will do just fine.  Daniel Murphy has been playing First Base for a few months now, and while his bat has been in an extended hibernation for this year, his defensive abilities and aggressiveness have shown through.  Many Mets fans are clamoring for a free agent signing to come to Queens next year to boot him from his spot, and these final months of the season represent his chance to prove he belongs.

We know Castillo’s not going to be replaced unless we find someone to eat his contract, but he has a chance to continue to prove his worth to Met fans and quiet us from begging for his removal like we did last year.  He’s been on fire over the last little while, and should he continue that through the end of the season, I’m sure we’ll all be more comfortable with the future of our Second Baseman.

Left Field is a bit of a wild card.  Angel Pagan has looked electrifying at times, and downright disastrous at others.  His baserunning blunders have left us agape, as have some of the routes he’s taken to fly balls.  But his abilities and sometimes-clutch performances could have him playing leftfield full-time for the Mets in 2010.  His biggest issue since the Mets acquired him from the Cubbies has been staying healthy, and while a two-month stint in the Majors with no issues isn’t a sign that he’s past the bug, it certainly couldn’t hurt.  Interestingly enough, I feel that Angel being accepted as our everyday Left Fielder relies more heavily on our Right Fielder than it does on his play, and that’s the reason that I didn’t put Right Field in as a “set” position above.

Jeff “Frenchy” Francoeur has looked nearly like his old self in a Mets uni, and no one seems happier with Frenchy donning the Orange and Blue than he is.  What we are looking for from Francoeur in these last weeks of the season is whether he can return to his 2006 form (kinda strange, no?) and show a homerun swing.  In 2006, Francoeur hit 29 home runs, and while it’s not the 38 that Delgado hit in 2006 and in 2008, it would certainly make the Mets more of a deep-ball threat if Frenchy can somewhat replace Delgado on the power end next year.  If he does (and with 5 HRs in 28 games as a Met entering today — a pace of 29 HRs per 162 games — he’s well on his way), the Mets may not need to fill that power gap in the lineup by replacing Angel Pagan in LF.

Which brings me to Catcher (you’ll see the connection in a second).  Our catcher’s spot has not seemed fantastic, but somehow it has been.  While he may not be The Answer, Omir Santos has filled in very nicely behind the plate this year, and our catcher’s spot as a whole has been near the top of the Majors in RBI this year.  However, our current tandem of Schneider and Santos have combined for just 9 HRs this year, which would qualify as the 14th-most amongst ML catchers if they counted as 1 person.  However, two of the catchers near the top of that list could be available in the free agent market next year.  31-year-old Victor Martinez and his 17 HRs will hit the market if the Red Sox decline an option worth nearly $8MM, and 31-year-old Miguel Olivo and his 16 HRs will hit the market if his mutual $3.25MM option is not picked up by the Royals or if he chooses to leave KC.  What Santos needs to do (more-so than Schneider, who is a free agent after this year) is prove that we need him more than we need Angel Pagan in the field and in the lineup.  The odds of us going after a big-money free agent hitter may not be all that great with the Coupons running the gig, but if we did, it may come down to a Catcher or a Left Fielder.  Omir does not have the greatest bat, and his 44 home runs career at every level combined prove that, but he can prove his worth calling games and defensively.

Now we come to the rotation.  We know Johan’s a lock at #1, so the next little while is all about Big Pelf and Ollie Ollie Auch Sind Frei can show, more-so with Ollie.  Right now, we have a bona-fide #1, and a bunch of #3/4 pitchers.  Right now, our rotation for next year looks like it could be Johan, Pelfrey, Ollie, Maine, and Jon Niese, assuming Mainer manages to regain his arm strength.  However, none of the bottom 4 of that rotation has shown the abilities to pitch in the 2-slot.  With Maine and Niese both hurt, it’s up for grabs between Perez and Pelfrey.  We need to see one of them step it up consistently through the end of the season to prove their worth as a #2, or we will know what hole needs to be filled first.

And finally the bullpen.  While a weak spot in recent years and not the unbelievable force that many of us felt it would be this season, what we should be focused on is the performance and the comebacks of Billy Wagner and J.J. Putz.  This last section of the season is their chance to prove that they are worth the money to set up Frankie Rodriguez in 2010 should they choose to accept that role for another year.  It’s also a chance for Bobby Parnell (should he be rightfully returned to the bullpen) to show if he has what it takes to setup Frankie and free up the money to fill other holes.  It’s also a chance for some other guys to prove that they can join Pedro Feliciano as middle- and long-relief pitchers next year and don’t need to be replaced.

While many are on “Minaya & Manuel Watch” for the rest of the year to see if they deserve to return in 2010, I’m more interested in seeing how the players treat the end of a disappointing season.  That’s why I’ll be watching every chance I get, 1st place or last, for the rest of 2009, because our performance may not matter, but it certainly counts.

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Santana Dominant As Mets Top Padres 5-1 Mon, 10 Aug 2009 02:11:00 +0000 The Mets were on the verge of getting swept in a four game series at Petco Park for the second straight year, but Johan Santana wasn’t about to let that happen. The Mets ace won his league leading 13th game of the season as he staked the Mets to a 5-1 victory over the San Diego Padres.

Santana (13-8) was brilliant and just allowed five hits and the one run. He walked two, struck out four, and lowered his ERA to 3.00. In addition to pitching eight solid innings, he also had two hits and figured into the scoring.

The Mets got on the board in the second inning when newly reacquired Anderson Hernandez drove in Jeff Francoeur, who had led off the inning with a single. They added three more runs in the sixth inning when Francoeur stroked another leadoff single followed by an Omir Santos single. Frenchy came around and scored when Johan Santana singled to center to put the Mets up 2-0. Angel Pagan then followed with a line drive off the glove of second baseman Oscar Salazar that was ruled an error and scored both Santana and Omir Santos. Daniel Murphy drove in the fifth run in the ninth inning.

It was great to see Luis Castillo who made his first start since Tuesday and went 2-5. Also, Anderson Hernandez made his first start since the Mets traded for him on Thursday, and he chipped in with an RBI single and went 2-3 in the game. Francoeur and Murphy also had two hits a piece.

Frankie Rodriguez wrapped it up with a scoreless ninth, and the Mets avoided the sweep.

They now head to the desert where Mike Pelfrey will try to pickup his ninth win of the season against Doug Davis and the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Lets Go Mets!

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