Bengie Molina Signs with Giants

It turns out that Bengie Molina was not prepared to leave his heart in San Francisco. Further, it turns out that the ship that sailed from the bay could in fact return to shore.

This is a good thing, from the perspective that — for once — the Mets did not grossly overpay a free agent. On the other hand, it’s a little sad knowing that the Mets outbid the Giants, yet still lost out on him.

In other words, at least one thing has not changed since Omar Minaya took over as Mets GM: free agents still have little desire to play in Flushing unless they are over-compensated.

Mo’ money is the only reason Pedro Martinez and Carlos Beltran signed with the Mets in the 2004-2005 offseason — just like it was the only reason Tom Glavine signed two years prior. Just like it was the only reason Billy Wagner, Francisco Rodriguez, and most recently, Jason Bay, chose the “other” team in NYC.

But still, it is a good thing. The only way Bengie Molina was signing with the Mets was if they gave him at least two, possibly three, guaranteed years. The Mets held firm, believing he had no other options (I believed the same). Molina called their bluff. That’s OK — sometimes the best moves you make are the ones you don’t.

Molina counted on getting a contract similar to, or better than, the one Pudge Rodriguez received from the Nationals. What he didn’t count on was the fact that few teams other than the Nats and Mets were desperately seeking a backstop. The Mets counted on Molina caving in to their one-year offer, because they also counted on Brian Sabean sticking to his sailed-ship quote. I have to admit, it seemed to me to be an inevitable conclusion that Molina would wind up a Met this winter — color me pleasantly surprised.

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. CatchDog January 20, 2010 at 8:41 am
    Perhaps the Mets can re-visit the Ryan Doumit trade. Coming off an injured 2009 (wrist), the 28 year old switch hitting catcher could be a “buy low” acquisition who would fit well with Blanco this year.

    Then pull the trigger on the Arroyo/Phillips deal. Word is that the Reds and Dodgers trade involving Harang is off, which could pave the way for the Reds to salary dump both Arroyo & Phillips. A package of Castillo, Niese, Santos, Kunz, Evans and Tejada may work.

    Then take a flyer on Sheets or Wang to return with Beltran in May or June.

    Here’s my take on the lineup: Pagan, Reyes, Wright, Bay, Phillips, Murphy, Doumit, Frenchy & pitcher.

    Santana, Arroyo, Pelfrey, Perez, Maine/Nieve with Sheets or Wang added later.

  2. isuzudude January 20, 2010 at 9:26 am
    It was assumed a while back before he eventually signed on the dotted line that Jason Bay was the player who wanted nothing to do with the Mets. Turns out it was Bengie Molina. Like you say, Joe, if Molina needed to be grossly overpaid just to consider coming to NY, he’s obviously not the type of player we want on the ballclub.

    C’dog: good thought on Doumit, and it would behoove Omar to at least kick those tires. However, though you are right that Doumit is coming off an injury-shortened, subpar season, he is, like you say, still just 28 with a world of talent, and though he may be a buy low candidate, it’s still going to take more than a low-level prospect or two to pry him away from Pittsburgh. He’s also only owed roughly $9-mil over the next 2 years, so it’s not like the Pirates are viewing him as a salary dump. I’m thinking it would take a Niese/Holt/Santos package to get him, which may or may not be worth it – but that also handcuffs the Mets in their ability to consequently go after Arroyo/Phillips from Cincy. As I see it, if the Mets are to investigate both trades, they’ll have to settle for one or the other and not both.

  3. CatchDog January 20, 2010 at 12:55 pm

    Excellent call. I have no idea where the Bucs rate Doumit and his value but your trade scenario sounds about right. Hopefully Omar finds out too.

  4. joejanish January 20, 2010 at 3:07 pm
    CD – good thoughts. The only thing I take issue with is Wang, who reportedly won’t be ready until June — which usually means, “out for the year” in agentspeak.

    Doumit isn’t the defensive specialist the Mets covet but he’s comparable to Omir Santos behind the plate and will provide much more offensively.

  5. Walnutz15 January 20, 2010 at 3:16 pm
    The Pirates have actually been discussing moving Doumit this winter — and I could see them doing so, especially with an arm built-into the package.

    Just last month we heard that the Blue Jays were interested. Additionally, the Giants (obviously, pre-Molina) and Mariners were talking trade with the Pirates.

    Coinciding with that angle, though, the Mets allegedly “dropped out of the talks”. I wonder what a Doumit + Duke/Maholm package would get for the Buccos?

    Doumit will be 29 in April — The main attraction to him? Aside from being a pretty good (switch-hitting) offensive threat at the 6 or 7 spot in the order; is that he comes with 4-years of relatively-cheap control.

    10: $3.55MM
    11: $5.1MM
    12: $7.25MM club option
    13: $8.25MM club option ($0.5MM buyout)

    Even if Doumit’s “subpar” in terms of your traditional defensive catcher — he’s pretty attractive from an offensive standpoint.

    I think he’d slot in nicely within a potent lineup, and would be a world better than some of the catchers that are left on the open market not only offensively, but in terms of defense. (Believe me, he’s no prize — though.)

    He’s reasonably-cheap and under control for awhile…

    I always wonder how much a player will progress in actually getting out of Pittsburgh….there’s always that element involved; working with inexperienced players, pitchers especially.

    Not that our pitchers are much further along than any of the ones he’s working with — but you’d like to hope, anyway.

    As far as arms are concerned:

    Paulie Maholm is 27 — and makes $11MM combined between this year and next.

    Zach Duke is 26 — can’t really be awarded much more than $4MM or so in Arby this winter. Whoever traded for him would have him under control through 2011.

    If the Mets are truly “looking for defense”, then they’re not looking for either one of Torrealba or Doumit (being honest)……however, he’s a switch-hitter who might be able to provide some solid offensive contribution.

    Makes me wonder if the Pirates would be interested in Santos at all, mixed around some cost-effective players/prospects. Not saying it’ll happen, but I’d at least open up some dialogue again with them.