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Surprise! Mets have awful fallback plan at catcher

Jan 25, 2010, 1:48 PM EDT

When viewed in isolation missing out on Bengie Molina last week wasn’t really a bad thing for the Mets, because he’s old and overrated and fairly expensive. However, this report from Adam Rubin of the New York Daily News regarding the team’s fallback plan at catcher may have Mets fans thinking differently:

Jerry Manuel suggested Omir Santos would be the favorite to be the No. 1 catcher if the Mets don’t add another backstop before Opening Day. That presumes Henry Blanco as the backup and Josh Thole and Chris Coste at Triple-A Buffalo. Mets executives are meeting this afternoon, and I’m told it’s 50-50 whether they decide to go with what they’ve got or sign one of the remaining free agents, Yorvit Torrealba or Rod Barajas.

I’d still bet on the Mets signing Yorvit Torrealba, but if they don’t and Omir Santos ends up starting 4-5 times per week behind the plate … well, it’ll be ugly. Santos got enough timely hits last season to convince some Mets fans who just don’t know any better that he’s a good player, but in reality he batted .260 with a ghastly .296 on-base percentage, .391 slugging percentage, and terrible 44/15 K/BB ratio in 306 plate appearances
And before anyone points out that he was a rookie and is thus likely to improve, please note that Santos was a 28-year-old rookie who previously spent nine seasons in the minors hitting .258/.304/.348, including .256/.311/.325 at Triple-A. Guys who spend a decade in the minors posting a .652 OPS tend not to maintain a .671 OPS in the majors, so as bad as Santos was last season that was actually him playing over his head. Bengie Molina never looked so good.

  1. Jonny5 - Jan 25, 2010 at 1:49 PM

    Woo hoo!!! Go mets!!! All that money in payroll and still can’t piece together a good team…. Phew! Man I feel for you Mets fans… :>(

  2. Ryan - Jan 25, 2010 at 2:03 PM

    I’ve heard of addition by subtraction but it seems like the Mets have spent this offseason subtracting by adding.

  3. motherscratcher - Jan 25, 2010 at 2:16 PM

    Somebody better get Sal Fasano on the phone.

  4. (Not That) Tom - Jan 25, 2010 at 2:19 PM

    Not that it changes things much but I thought the Mets were planning on using a Santos/Blanco platoon with Santos playing against righties. (He hit .283/.321/.408 against them last season.)

  5. John Pileggi - Jan 25, 2010 at 2:26 PM

    Wait until they re-sign Lo Duca! Or was it Piazza? Hundley?

  6. Augie Dawgie - Jan 25, 2010 at 2:49 PM

    Well, maybe they do need Molina! And Pineiro or Marquis,and Laroche or Tejada. Omar,Omar! Time and platers are running out!

  7. Drew - Jan 25, 2010 at 2:54 PM

    Here’s the bright side of the story: With Santos back there, when he’s terrible, you can decide you need to replace him and go do that. If you sign Molina, even when he’s terrible, you say “Well, we paid a ton of money for him and signed him for two years, so we’re stuck with him”. Maybe they end up giving one of the young guys a shot and it pays off. Maybe they decide they have to go get someone midseason. Or maybe the whole team collapses again and at least they saved some money on a catcher.
    I’m just saying, you can put a positive spin on this.

  8. Jeff Wilpon - Jan 25, 2010 at 3:01 PM

    We think Omir has the SKILLSETS to be a productive majore leaguer and an integral piece of what we are building here.

  9. Omar Minaya - Jan 25, 2010 at 3:02 PM

    Umm, uhhh..umm…uhh….what Jeff said.

  10. john - Jan 25, 2010 at 3:05 PM

    The Mets make Dan Duquette’s run in Boston look good. I can’t believe this is a big money team.
    Example: the Rays trade Mitch Talbot for Kelly Shoppach. The Mets? They trade Brian Stokes for Gary Matthews. Unbelievable!
    And I am an Indians fan!

  11. Omar Minaya - Jan 25, 2010 at 3:08 PM

    I would like to address what we are hearing which is what was said and we hear you on that, but have no comment.

  12. Edgy DC - Jan 25, 2010 at 3:13 PM

    Why the shot at Mets fans? We didn’t sign the guy.
    Like a lot of guys, Santos is the best of what they got until they get somebody better at a price that makes the upgrade worthwhile. That doesn’t mean anybody in management or the fan base has any illusions about what he is or what he’s likely to be. Guh.

  13. Jeff Wilpon - Jan 25, 2010 at 3:13 PM

    What are we building? We are building a team that has skillsets and good athletes at each position. We believe strongly that focusing on pitching and defense is the key to championships though we haven’t actually executed that plan (see Delgado, Carlos and Sheffield, Gary, et al.)
    We continue to be dedicated to wasting money on poor acquisitions and NEVER EVER developing our minor league system at all.
    Omar will have no comment on that, and uh, we love the Dodgers.

  14. moreflagsmorefun - Jan 25, 2010 at 3:16 PM

    Your Pirate team is that much better…….

  15. Jeff WIlpon - Jan 25, 2010 at 3:29 PM

    We would like to address the rumors concerning Omar Minaya’s status. Omar is focused on making this a top-flight organization and is doing his part by NOT participating in press conferences. Additionally, Omar believes he found a way to make the front office more efficient so he has been involved in meetings with entry-level employees from the Staples on Northern Blvd. He has our full support in this venture.

  16. Campy - Jan 25, 2010 at 3:31 PM

    How ’bout we swap owners? The Wilpons have some $$ left. The McCourts ain’t got squat.

  17. Omar Minaya - Jan 25, 2010 at 3:34 PM

    That was easy.

  18. Jeff Wilpon - Jan 25, 2010 at 3:37 PM

    I love my dad. Not trading him. Interesting in a GM who should not be permitted to speak to the press? I am willing to throw in a crack (head) medical staff and an appropos rotunda.
    Get back to me on that…

  19. Omar Minaya - Jan 25, 2010 at 3:50 PM

    I too can public speak in. Say that don’t please.

  20. Jeff Wilpon - Jan 25, 2010 at 3:52 PM

    Somebody get Omar out of here!!

  21. Jonny5 - Jan 25, 2010 at 4:51 PM

    There are pirates fans???? That’s funny, like the elusive Abdulali’s wrinkled frog, I have yet to see one on my quest to catalog every species of Baseball fan….

  22. Mike - Jan 25, 2010 at 8:34 PM

    Blah. It takes a good blogger to criticize a team’s fallback plan AND suggest a better one of their own. It takes Aaron Gleeman to criticize a team’s fallback plan and…well, I guess that’s really all you’re doing here, isn’t it, Aaron? Anyone could be critical, couldn’t they? (Especially of the Mets, which is like beating the proverbial dead horse.) What do YOU think the Mets should do, Aaron?

  23. joshjs - Jan 25, 2010 at 8:54 PM

    I’d still take this guy over Jason Kendall.

  24. willmose - Jan 26, 2010 at 12:07 AM

    The Mets need a new GM. I suggest Matt Millan, I know he has no track record in baseball, but that would be an improvement. Besides, if Mets go 20-142 they would get the first round draft pick for sure. Seriously, they need to sign Yorvit Torrealba to a 5-year deal at $8 million per.

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