As spring training fast approaches I want to go around-the-horn on the projected Mets opening day lineup position by position. I will talk about my thoughts on how that position matches up and how it should be handled. Hope you enjoy.
I have already covered the Mets catching position two weeks ago when I said that Josh Thole is our only real hope, funny how two weeks later we have an entirely new catching corps. I shall henceforth refer to Rod Barajas as “Rowdy Rod Barajas.” Why? Not sure really. I don’t even know if he’s a gritty type of player, truth is I don’t know much about him, but since I am kind of “blah” about his signing I wanted to spice it up a bit and have some fun writing about him, thus the fun with names.
I have serious misgivings about Barajas as our everyday catcher. I mean how is it that the first contract you offer the guy is a minor league deal, and a week later he’s your starting catcher? Now I am not one that is crying in my Cheerios cause we didn’t sign Molina, I didn’t think he ever wanted to come here anyway, and I felt he was fat, slow, and not worth the money. Then I start taking a deeper look at Barajas and I start to wonder if these guys might be cousins?
There are good sides to his signing. He is a bona fide big league catcher. He is a good backstop and he has worked with premiere pitchers before (Doc Halladay for one). So he has that track record and that’s plenty more then any of the other of the Mets Motley Crew behind the plate (Blanco, Coste, Santos, Thole). Perhaps the biggest upside is that this allows the Mets to keep Thole down in AAA for the season. Thole’s bat sure looks like it’s ready for the major leagues, but I think everyone has serious doubts about his defensive ability, and nobody really knows about his game strategy.
Barajas is a stop-gap player for 2010, nothing more, nothing less. I actually took a liking to the guy when I heard his first interview and he openly admitted his weaknesses (striking out too much) and how he learned a lot by working with Halladay in Toronto. When you step back and take a look at what was out there, and what the Mets options really were (again I don’t think Molina had any intentions of coming to NY) then Barajas is about as good as could have been done. Sad, yes, but it’s the reality. Truth is the Mets had big holes, in a small market, and that’s just unfortunate.
Mets fans need to prepare themselves to the fact that we may just have to take 2010 as a bad dose of medicine if things go wrong. The plan should be to let players mature in AAA and do not rush them up. Take 2010 on the chin, hey what’s another embarrassment when your the NY Mets anyways? Let Ike Davis, Josh Thole, Jenry Mejia, et al, play a full year at AAA to hone their games, and to get to know each other. This is hopefully the class of 2011.
Rowdy Rod, just call a good game, be a reliable backstop, and give us a punchers chance in the batters box and provide some pop.