Where’s the Market for Bengie Molina?

bengie-molina-mugIt’s no secret that the plodding Bengie Molina is the #1 choice of Omar Minaya to be the Mets’ starting catcher in 2010. However, talks appear at a standstill as Molina is looking for a three-year deal — something the Mets are intelligently refusing. So far.

Does it make sense for the Mets to stick to their guns, and play hardball with Bengie Molina?

First of all, we need to get past the argument of whether Molina is best choice (he’s not) — that debate is moot since Minaya has his mind made up. We must also put aside the insanity of offering Molina anything more than an NBA-style 10-day contract. Today we focus on why the Mets MUST NOT BUDGE from their one-year offer — and in fact, they should pull their offer and submit a lower-salaried deal if Bengie balks.

Why? The answer is so simple it’s silly: there is no market whatsoever for Bengie Molina.

Batting cleanup for the Giants has filled Molina’s (and his agent’s) head with grandiose self-confidence on his ability as an everyday player. So he is not going to take a job as a mentor / backup catcher (such as Pudge Rodriguez did with the Nationals). He wants to be the starting catcher on his next team.

Peruse the depth charts of all 30 MLB teams and see who currently needs a starting catcher. I came up with the Giants, Mets, Royals, Brewers, and Astros. The Giants have already officially exited the bidding, as per GM Brian Sabean, when asked if Molina could be brought back to San Francisco:

“That ship has sailed. That’s not going to be a fallback position for us.”

The Brewers are almost a lock to bring back Jason Kendall, who is in a similar situation to Molina (not many jobs available) — so cross him off the list. That leaves the Mets, the Royals, and the Astros.

Will the Royals or Astros be crazy enough to give Bengie Molina two years and over $10M? Maybe, but it wouldn’t make much sense for either of those clubs. The Astros’ #1 prospect is catcher Jason Castro, the 10th-overall pick in the 2008 draft who could be ready for MLB sometime before the end of the 2010 season — certainly by 2011. That leaves the Royals.

Now you tell me: if indeed the Royals are willing to offer him a two-year deal (and there has been no buzz that they’re even interested), do you believe Bengie Molina wants to finish his career in Kansas City? (No offense to the Royals fans, but the team does not seem poised to jump to the top of the NL Central anytime soon.)

If I’ve missed someone, let me know in the comments. But it’s pretty clear that Flushing is Bengie Molina’s best shot at an everyday big league job in 2010 — for better or for worse.

** UPDATE **

David Lennon reports that the Mets have offered a two-year deal to Molina, and he’s looking for THREE. I’m not sure who is more insane.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. Harry Chiti December 9, 2009 at 1:42 pm
    Omar liked bidding against himself last year when he overpaid for Perez, that he wants to make it an annual event. Two plusses in this for him. He gets his man and he wastes the money of the owner who is going to fire him soon.
  2. isuzudude December 9, 2009 at 1:58 pm
    A year with an option is as far as I’d go with Molina, and anything over $6M per year is too much. If those parameters are exceeded by the Omar administration, mark it down as yet another blunder on his resume. There’s an outside chance some other team, perhaps delusional or desperate for a DH, will pony up a larger offer, but it’s doubtful, and it’s also in poor judgement, which is why the Mets should stand firm on their initial proposal and let someone else make the mistake of signing Bengie to a multi year pact.

    I wonder how stupid the staff is going to look if/when Bengie opts for greener pastures and the Mets are left with the downtrodden Omir Santos as their only starting catching option left. I hope that brigde wasn’t burnt too badly, because, at this point, I kinda think the Mets need Omir Santos more than Santos needs the Mets.