According to Mike Puma:
A Mets official spoke with Ivan Rodriguez as recently as 10 days ago, and the team hasn’t ruled out the possibility of signing Rodriguez as a backup to Josh Thole. But before the Mets spend the roughly $2 million they have remaining in the budget, their priority is to ensure Johan Santana is healthy. Otherwise, the remaining money would be allocated toward another starting pitcher. The Mets official told Rodriguez to “stay in shape,” because anything can still happen.
I feel like there is a Pudge-to-Mets rumor right after the end of every season and right before the beginning of every season; it’s like a bookend. Could it really happen this time?
In past seasons, signing Ivan Rodriguez would have made plenty of sense, because the Mets could have used his veteran experience and leadership behind the plate in years when they were gunning for the postseason. Now, I’m not so sure why the Mets would add him.
Perhaps Pudge fits in as a mentor, both to Josh Thole and to the youngsters on the Mets’ pitching staff. The Thole idea holds water, but as for the latter, the Mets’ Opening Day roster doesn’t project to have many “young” pitchers. Jonathon Niese, Dillon Gee, and Pedro Beato are all the youngest, at 25 years old (and Beato may start the year in AAA), so I’m not sure the “teaching the youngsters” thing flies.
On the other hand, I wonder if the Mets bring in Pudge because they don’t have confidence in Thole to properly handle a pitching staff. If that’s the case, well, hmm … if Thole isn’t going to be given the chance to learn this year, then he likely never will.
One more possibility: the Mets believe that there’s still enough left in Pudge to make him a worthwhile chip at the trading deadline. Who knows? If he goes on a hot streak in June, and a contender’s starting catcher goes down with injury, Pudge could command interest.
My best guess is that the Mets would bring in Ivan Rodriguez to both teach Thole and take some of the load off of him. Mike Nickeas appears to be a solid defensive catcher who pitchers like to work with, but Nickeas doesn’t have the same aura or experience that Pudge does — and therefore isn’t as valuable as Pudge in terms of mentoring Josh Thole.
What do you think? Should the Mets bring in Pudge? Why or why not? Answer in the comments.