Tag: dioner navarro

Mets Hot On Ronny Paulino

According to ESPN’s Jorge Arangue, the Mets are close to signing free-agent catcher Ronny Paulino.

If indeed this deal becomes reality, it gives the Mets a very good backup to Josh Thole — and one who, if motivated, can challenge Thole for the starting job.

Of course, that’s a big “if”. Paulino has always had the physical talent to be a solid, perhaps above-average, Major League catcher. He has a strong and accurate arm, balanced setup behind the plate, and can move his feet pretty well for a man his size — when he’s at a good playing weight. Offensively, he has the physical tools to hit for power and has at times shown an ability to get on base.

However, Paulino has also been something of an enigma. He’s been wildly inconsistent, both behind the plate and at it. Part of it, I’m sure, has been bouts of lazyness, an inability to stay focused, and a chronic weight problem. In some ways, he may remind one of Ramon Castro, though I think Paulino has better all-around defensive skills. He also reminds me a bit of Javy Lopez — another catcher who perpetually underachieved due to issues of motivation and concentration (though, Lopez was far more gifted offensively).

Maybe Paulino can reach his potential under a strict disciplinarian like Terry Collins, who knows? Maybe someone on the Mets’ medical staff will find out the guy needs medication for A.D.D.

At worst, the Mets get a RH-hitting catcher who hits very well vs. LH pitchers and provides solid if inconsistent defense — a good foil to Josh Thole. At best, the Mets may catch lightning and have an everyday catcher similar to Miguel Olivo.

Assuming the Mets sign Paulino to a cheap, one-year contract, it’s a good deal for them — particularly considering the dearth of catching available on the free agent market. Though, I’d still like to see them make a play for Dioner Navarro.

Adam Rubin has more on Paulino here.


Catcher: Now What?

You know the saying, “be careful what you wish for — you just may get it” ?

We all wished the Mets would fail in their attempt to sign Bengie Molina, and our prayers were answered. But, now who will be the backstop?


Putz and Kendall Sign

jjputz-sadJ.J. Putz agreed to terms with the White Sox on a one-year, $3M contract plus incentives. Heck, at that price I would’ve liked to have seen him return to the Mets, who paid for his surgery and rehab. Oh well.

But hey, the Mets won’t miss the 7 players they sent to Seattle and Cleveland for the pleasure of 29 innings thrown by Putz and 161 at-bats by Jeremy Reed. And hey, there’s a good chance Sean Green returns to the Mets bullpen in 2010, so the deal wasn’t a complete loss. Meh.

In other news, Jason Kendall signed a two-year, $6M deal with the Kansas City Royals. I realize Kendall wasn’t the “sexy” choice among the free-agent backstops, but he wasn’t the worst either. The price and the two-year commitment seems steep for a 36-year-old catcher who makes Luis Castillo seem like a power hitter.

You could argue that the relatively expensive cost Kendall gives Bengie Molina leverage, but I believe just the opposite. Signing Kendall takes the Royals off the board in regard to the tiny and ever-shrinking demand for starting catchers. The only teams left who are definitely in the market for a veteran everyday receiver are the Giants (who publicly stated “that ship has sailed”), Astros, and Mets. The Rangers might be in play as well — despite having youngster Taylor Teagarden and Jarrod Saltalamacchia — but we haven’t heard any buzz about them going after Molina. So really it comes down to the Mets and the Astros, with Molina, Miguel Olivo, Rod Barajas, and Yorvit Torrealba all available — though, most believe that Torrealba will re-sign with the Rockies to platoon with Chris Iannetta.

Not to be ignored is the fact that Dioner Navarro — among others — may be non-tendered soon, swelling the pool of available catchers a bit more.

That said, you have to hope that the contract offer tendered by the Mets to Molina this past week was for one guaranteed year and an easily digestible salary. Anything else is bad business, since the supply exceeds the demand.


The Mafia’s Team?

While some ignoramuses accuse Omar Minaya of favoring latino ballplayers (no, we’re not going there, not ever), MopUpDuty wonders if J.P. Ricciardi’s reign with the Toronto Blue Jays was focused on building an all-Italian team

Metsgrrl reveals the results of her in-depth survey researching why Mets fans are not renewing their ticket plans.

On a related subject, Dan Twohig at MetsPolice received an answer from the Mets regarding his letter to Fred Wilpon

24 Hours from Suicide asks Omar Minaya not to “jump the gun” on Bengie Molina, noting the availability of Dioner Navarro

In contrast, Ed at MetsFever makes clear he’s in support of Bengie Molina


Kelly Shoppach Traded to Rays

kellyshopIn the past week, Ed at MetsFever, DJ Short, and Ted Berg all discussed Indians catcher Kelly Shoppach, who would become available if he were non-tendered.

Before I could weigh in on the subject, however, the Indians traded Shoppach to the Tampa Bay Rays.

As a free agent, I liked the idea of 29-year-old Kelly Shoppach — much more than I like the thought of Bengie Molina. But that ship has now sailed, so forget it.

However, whenever one door closes, another opens, right? And with the acquisition of Shoppach, the Rays have to do something with incumbent catcher Dioner Navarro. A-ha !

Navarro hits from both sides of the plate, has a strong arm, and was an All-Star in 2008. Oh, did I mention he’s only 25 years old?

The downside to Navarro is he had an awful year at the plate in 2009, hitting only .218. However, his impressive 2008 season suggests that he has offensive skills — maybe all he needs is a change in scenery to see them return. Again, he’s only 25, so there’s plenty of time to make a comeback. After his awful ’09, there’s a good chance that the Rays non-tender Navarro. If so, he’ll become a free agent, in which case, I’d hope the Mets would at least make an inquiry. After all, switch-hitting All-Star catchers in their mid-20s don’t grow on trees.