Schneider, Castro Available
According to Jon Heyman, the Mets are open to trading catchers Brian Schneider and Ramon Castro.
To which my reply is, who cares?
I do not doubt the Mets are open to trading either — or both — of those players. And I’m sure that Heyman’s information is reliable and legitimate. But again, why would anyone in MLB care that Schneider and Castro are available? What kind of value do they have?
Castro is a solid backup catcher who would probably benefit by moving to the American League, where in a DH role his powerful bat can be used more often. But his mobility gets worse every year, and even in a backup role has difficulty staying healthy. Those factors, along with his age (33 by Opening Day) and price tag ($2.5M), may scare away potential suitors. Still, finding a backup backstop who can hit like Castro are hard to come by, so perhaps a team would be willing to trade a AA pitcher for him.
Similarly, Brian Schneider is not getting younger — he’ll turn 32 next Wednesday — and there are scouts who think his defensive skills are eroding. If that’s true, Schneider doesn’t have much value at all — he certainly doesn’t scare anyone with his bat. His offensive output — particularly in terms of extra-base hits — was reminiscent of Rey Ordonez. As a former catcher myself, I love Schneider, and do believe he’s solid defensively, but unfortunately, at this stage of his career, I’m not sure he’s the game-changer behind the plate that he used to be. I would not be disappointed in the least if he returned to the Mets in 2009, and I don’t know what the Mets would get in return for him.
If the Dodgers follow through with the idea of transitioning Russell Martin to third base, then they might be interested in one of the Mets’ catchers. The Red Sox could be in the market, if they choose not to bring back Jason Varitek, but I’d think they’re after someone younger and with more offensive potential, such as Jarrod Saltalamacchia. The Yankees might need a backup plan to Jorge Posada, and there are a few other teams actively seeking help behind the dish. Perhaps the Tigers would like a catcher so that Brandon Inge can remain a super utilityman.
In my opinion, the Mets will look to move a catcher only after acquiring one. There were rumors about Ivan Rodriguez wanting to sign with the Mets, and others that the Mets were trying to pry Bengie Molina away from the Giants. The Orioles have Ramon Hernandez on a permanent trading block, so he’s always a possibility. Any of the three would be an upgrade over Schneider, and/or could be an ideal platoon partner.
That’s the idea that makes the most sense to me — moving Schneider into more of a platoon role, and teaming him with a similarly highly skilled, veteran catcher who also needs frequent breathers. As much as I love Ramon Castro, I don’t see him getting through a full season without an injury — otherwise he’s the perfect fit.
We’ll see what the market bears. If the Mets can pick up a decent starting pitcher or middle reliever, it’s worth dealing one of their backstops. Looking around the roster, there aren’t many other areas of surplus from which to trade.