DON’T Get Used to Yorvit

Darn, I was just starting to get used to the idea of Yorvit behind the plate (not) …

Unbelievably, the Yorvit Torrealba deal is dead.

This is most strange and remarkable, since the signing was officially posted on Mets.com and MLB.com on Thursday. Of course, those announcements, stories and links have now mysteriously vanished from both websites — as if it never happened. Suddenly I feel like I’m inside a George Orwell novel.

No one is talking, but apparently it had nothing to do with the physical. Maybe Yorvit was browsing the various Mets blogs and saw he was receiving a less than lukewarm welcome. Or perhaps Omar Minaya was reading the blogs and suddenly realized the impending catastrophe of signing a career backup to a three-year, fifteen million dollar deal.

Or maybe Yorvit’s name will be appearing on George Mitchell’s list of steroid suspects when it’s published next month.

Strike that last sentence from your memory, folks — I stated “maybe” as in “I have no idea and just coming up with some kind of explanations”. I am not suggesting that Torrealba ever did anything that could have been illegal nor against MLB rules. And not trying to start any rumors, nor trying to create scandalous lies. If that sentence is held against me, I’ll make it “vanish” just like MLB.com makes transactions vanish from their website.

Seriously though, everyone is mum on the situation, and we’ll hopefully get some kind of statement by Monday. This is all we have, officially, from Jay Horwitz:

“The Mets did not reach an agreement with Yorvit Torrealba, and there are no current negotiations.”

The problem now, of course, is that the Mets also seemingly burned their bridges with Paul LoDuca. Not saying that LoDuca is the answer for 2008, but it doesn’t help that the free agent options are dwindling. No more Jorge Posada, looks like no Torrealba, and likely no LoDuca. That leaves Michael Barrett and Jason Kendall. Ugh.

So perhaps the Ramon Hernandez rumors will be heating up again. Or maybe Mike Sweeney was serious about putting the gear back on.

Anyhow, it’s back to the drawing board, with the trade route seemingly the only place the Mets can find a legit catcher — which doesn’t help their bargaining position with trade partners.

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. sincekindergarten November 18, 2007 at 6:20 am
    Suggesting this should . . . oh well, I do it. What about Milledge straight-up for Ramon, or would we be getting seriously screwed over . . . Yeah, we would be. There’s more in this than meets the eye, for sure. At least we still have Castro.
  2. sincekindergarten November 18, 2007 at 6:25 am
    As someone over at MetsBlog suggested, I wouldn’t be surprised if George had something to do with this.

    George Mitchell, that is.

  3. isuzudude November 18, 2007 at 9:15 am
    It’s pandamonium over at metsblog! Oh no, we lost Yorvit Torrealba! It’s over for us Mets fans! Mail in the season! We’re toast!

    Good grief, some of the reactions over there would lead you to believe we just lost out on Albert Pujols or something. I, for one, am glad of this turn of events. Torrealba has a cranky shoulder, does a poor job of throwing runners out, and has very little offensive game. Pretty much we were giving $5-mil a year to a guy who we think calls a good game and blocks balls well in the dirt. People, those skills do not justify signing a guy to be your starting catcher, much less at that cost. It’s not like Torrealba is the only catcher in baseball who can block balls in the dirt, so we’re not losing out on some commodity that no other team possesses. I would have been fine with tabbing Yorvit as the back-up, maybe for 2 years at $3-mil a year, but I wasn’t happy with him serving as Castro’s platoon partner. Essentially, we would have had 2 career back-ups with injury histories and low batting averages as our catcher. And in an organization with virtually no depth at the position, that really is a recipe for disaster.

    As for the reasoning why the deal fell through, it’s anybody’s guess at this point. My gut tells me it doesn’t have to do with steroids, for 2 reasons. 1) if Yorvit took PED’s, I think his offensive numbers would have looked a whole lot better than what they have over the past few years, and 2) the Rockies are still offering him a 2-year deal, and if the steroid rumors were true, I think they would have also pulled their offer from the table. I’d like to think Omar played a huge game of possum with another team **cough cough Orioles*** where he came within an eyelash of signing Torrealba to a lot of money to say to this other team, “look, we mean business, and this is the length we’re willing to go not to have to give up a ‘high-level prospect’ to get your catcher **cough cough Ramon Hernandez.” At that point he gave the other team one last chance to accept a lesser package for their catcher and take his burden of a contract off their hands, which they agreed to and the trade will be processed sometime early this week. Hey, a guy can dream, can’t he?

    The biggest negative about the fallout is that it makes the Mets look somewhat amateuristic, at least for the short term. For the past week, the Mets seemed to be head over heels for Yorvit, and were wooing him with big bucks and promises to start. And then, completely out of the blue, they change their mind and give no reasoning for their decision. If I’m a free agent out there and I see this happen, how seriously do I now take the Mets interest in me? I’d be like, “Hey, you guys teased Torrealba just to pull the plug, what makes me any different?” Hopefully, a good reason for calling off the deal will come out soon, or else this really makes the Mets look foolish.

    If anything, we now know that Yorvit and Lo Duca will not be on the Mets in 2008, and that at least we have Castro back. My fingers are still crossed that a Hernandez deal gets worked out…but if not, there are still plenty of options left available at this time. And if fans can justify the Torrealba signing, I’m sure that if stiffs like Kendall or Barrett are signed, they’ll be praised as good signings as well.

  4. Micalpalyn November 18, 2007 at 10:59 am
    Isu: Or my take is that Yorvit looked at the prospect of the Yormon tandem (and Willie the puppet master), and said No to the platoon.

    Thats fine. I think ramon is the key. I think he could be a poor man’s Posada, AND as such I think Kendall is my next fav FA option for the twin headed Catching monster.

    But as u all know, I am just fine with ramon.

  5. Micalpalyn November 18, 2007 at 11:09 am
    1. on Eckstein: I like this idea. I would like Eck as a #2, AND I kike the idea that Eck can play SS too giving Gotay more oppurtunities and resting Reyes who can then come off the bench, play late inning defense.
  6. joe November 18, 2007 at 11:31 am
    I think the guy at MetsBlog who suggested the Mitchell investigation might have gotten the idea here.
  7. isuzudude November 18, 2007 at 11:54 am
    I agree, Joe. To my recollection, you were the first to mention anything about a connection between Torrealba and Mitchell’s investigation, and the next thing you know the idea is running rampant on metsblog.

    Mic: Although you’re not the only one to guess that Yorvit got cold feet and passed on the contract at the last minute, I’m not seeing it. No other team in baseball is going to give Torrealba $14.4-mil over 3 years. I doubt any other team will go beyond 2 years. And no way will he be making $10-mil or more over the life of that contract. So esentially, for Yorvit to back out, he’s giving up the most money he could possibly have made on the open market. Maybe it’s all about being the #1 catcher for him (which I think he would have had first crack with on the Mets anyway), but I just don’t see him saying no to that much money. My best guess is that something surfaced about his shoulder that the Mets didn’t like, or Omar worked out a deal with another team for a better catcher at the last minute, and we’ll find out about that deal once it goes through all the proper hoops.

    I’m hearing Johnny Estrada’s name being mentioned as a possibility as well. I like his offense, but I read he went 0 for 35 throwing runners out to finish last season. However, he does come with his own batch of positives, so I’d be willing to explore that option.

  8. sincekindergarten November 18, 2007 at 2:18 pm
    Joe, you were. Props to you on that (about the Mitchell investigation). If that is the case, the Albany (NY) County DA, David Soares, has his name as well, and there will be an announcement in the Albany Times Union soon. (Almost 30 years ago, I delivered the Sunday issue in my neighborhood. Other than the Sunday New York Times crossword puzzle being in it, it’s birdcage liner-class.)
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