Tag: omir santos

Omir Santos Signs with Tigers

According to Jason Beck on Twitter, the Detroit Tigers have signed Omir Santos.

The former Topps All-Rookie Team catcher took a minor-league contract and will be insurance behind Victor Martinez and Alex Avila.

A few weeks back, Sandy Alderson mentioned that the Mets needed some catchers. With Santos leaving for the Detroit system, the next backstops on the depth chart behind Josh Thole are Mike Nickeas and … hmmm … not sure … Kai Gronauer?


Henry Blanco is a Backup

henry-blanco-foldedAccording to Mets GM Omar Minaya, Henry Blanco is a backup catcher.

And you thought Minaya didn’t know things.

Unfortunately, Minaya also announced that the Mets’ starting catching position would be a competition between Omir Santos and Josh Thole, both of whom are also backup catchers. So maybe Omar only knows some things.

If this is really the way the Mets think about the backstop position, it might have made sense to sign veteran free-agent Mike Sweeney and have him platoon with Mike Jacobs behind the plate. Both Mikes started their careers as catchers, both would be at least as good defensively as Santos/Thole, and both would have a better chance of providing offensive production that approaches the best that Jerry Grote ever mustered.

It might be different if either Thole or Santos were remarkable defensively — you could live with substandard offense. But if you’re going to hit like Charlie O’Brien, you darn well better catch like Charlie O’Brien.

My apologies to the Kool-Aid drinking Mets fans who believe Thole will hit better than .240, and/or think Santos is going to duplicate his surprising offensive “prowess” of 2009.

At this point the Mets may as well sign Jose Molina and make him the starter. He’ll at least give them a strength on one side of the ball … and it’ll give the Mets an excuse to apply Tony LaRussa’s strategy of hitting the pitcher eighth.


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?


2009 Analysis: Omir Santos

omir-santos-commonsIt’s safe to say that Omir Santos exceeded expectations in 2009.

Santos was signed as a minor league free agent in mid-January, an under-the-radar move lost among announcements such as Casey Fossum, Bobby Kielty, and Valerio de Los Santos — not unlike a similar transaction that brought Ramon Castro to New York in the winter of 2004. At the time, even those who noticed the signing figured Santos was simply an extra guy to catch all those pitchers invited to spring training. Santos was competing with Rene Rivera, Robinson Cancel, Salomon Manriquez, Josh Thole, and others for a third-string backup job that didn’t exist.

But Brian Schneider struggled with back ailments all spring, something about Santos caught the eye of Jerry Manuel, and the rest is history.


Mets Game 68: Win Over Cardinals

Mets 6 Cardinals 4

Miracles DO happen.

Fresh off the news that yet another All-Star and “core” player — Carlos Beltran — was unavailable due to injury, the bedgraggled and beleaguered New York Mets pulled off the impossible, beating the St. Louis Cardinals in an official Major League Baseball game.

Tim Redding was spectacular — OK, maybe not spectacular, but so surprisingly effective it felt spectacular — in holding the Cards to a mere four runs over seven full innings of work to earn his first victory as a New York Met. Key to Redding’s performance was his handcuffing of Sir Albert Pujols, holding the Great One to a mere double and one measly run scored. If you can stymie Pujols, then the rest of the Redbird lineup is cake in comparison. Indeed, Redding allowed a total of five hits and one walk to the Cardinals, and struck out four.

Meanwhile, the supposedly shorthanded Mets offense exploded for 14 hits, 4 walks, and 6 runs, led by teacher’s pet Omir Santos and the previously contemptible Luis Castillo, who were perfect on the day, combining to go 7-for-7 with a walk, 3 runs scored, and 2 RBI. Five Mets drove in a run or more, and Danny Murphy electrified the crowd with one of those “over the fence” hits that fans in other cities refer to as a “home run”.

Supporting Redding’s winning performance was the bullpen, which held the St. Louis batsmen scoreless through the final three innings of play. Jon Switzer struck out one and allowed a hit in his 1/3 inning of work, Brian Stokes (yes he’s still on the roster) retired the only batter he faced, and Francisco Rodriguez cut up the Cards in the ninth for his 19th save of the season.


Alex Cora was 2-for-4 with a walk and 2 RBI from the leadoff spot, and David Wright had one single and two walks. In addition to the four-bagger, Murphy also singled and scored on a Ryan Church sacrifice fly in the first frame.

Jeremy Reed was 0-for-4 starting in centerfield in place of Beltran. Wouldn’t it just figure, the guy was a firestorm in spring training, hot as a griddle through April and May, and now that he finally has been forced into an opportunity to play, his bat is cold as ice. More bad luck for the Mets, and terrible luck for Reed. Expect to see Ryan Church and/or Fernando Martinez getting time in centerfield as a result.

In the fourth inning, Santos scored on a bomb to left-center by Luis Castillo. On the relay home, Brendan Ryan threw a perfect strike to catcher Yadier Molina, but the throw was a few feet short of Molina, who allowed the ball to skip through his legs. Ryan was charged with the error and SNY announcer Keith Hernandez spent considerable time criticizing Ryan for having his back to the plate as he received the relay throw from left fielder Rick Ankiel, going so far as to demonstrate from the broadcast booth the proper way to position oneself for accepting the throw from the outfield. However, Hernandez failed to notice, nor mention, the reason WHY Ryan had his back to the plate when he caught the ball — it was because the throw by Ankiel sailed to Ryan’s right side, and Ryan had to quickly re-position his feet and move his entire body to the right in order to catch the throw cleanly. Originally, Ryan was getting himself into the proper position (left shoulder pointed toward the target) but once the ball tailed the “wrong” way, he had no choice but to turn his back to home plate. What made Keith’s diatribe even more ridiculously pointless was the fact that Ryan made a nearly perfect throw. Despite being completely turned around, with his back to the plate, Ryan spun and let loose a fine throw that was perfectly on line, and only about 5-10 feet short of home plate. Watching the replay several times, it looked to me like Molina was at fault for not handling the short-hop — he allowed the ball to handcuff him by reaching out and stabbing for it instead of allowing it to come to him. And, in defense of both Ankiel and Ryan, the conditions were rainy and wet, and the ball was likely slick, making it very hard to get a good grip and probably the reason Ankiel’s throw was to Ryan’s right side instead of his left. For all you kids out there, yes, Mr. Hernandez did demonstrate the proper fundamental in receiving a relay throw — but understand that circumstances can sometimes force you out of the ideal position, in which case you have to “get creative”.

Next Mets Game

The Mets will attempt to again attain the impossible on Tuesday night when they host the Cardinals at Citi Field at 7:10 PM. Livan Hernandez faces Joel Pineiro.


Mets Game 60: Win Over Yankees

Mets 6 Yankees 2

There’s no better way to put a catastrophe in the rearview mirror, than to win handily the very next day.

The Mets picked up their second baseman and beat the Yankees easily in one of the most boring Subway Series games in baseball history. The three-hour, 11-minute affair felt much longer than that, and I’ll place equal blame on the poor performance of Andy Pettitte and the insipid commentary of Joe “Velvet” Buck and Tim “Sinatra” McCarver.

From the initial inning, Pettitte was laboring, something of a cross between a typical John Maine start and Friday night’s performance by Joba Chamberlain. He was up to 75 pitches by the fourth inning, yet somehow walked only one batter. The Mets took advantage of his nitpicking and inability to put away hitters by singling him to death — except for Omir Santos, who took him deep once and lashed a double in a subsequent at-bat.

Meantime, as bad as Pettitte was, Fernando Nieve was contrastingly good, allowing only two runs on four hits in six and two-thirds innings. Fernando fired 95-MPH fastball after 95-MPH fastball, pounding all locations of the strike zone with pinpoint accuracy. If he can pitch like this every time out, we won’t need to worry about Maine coming off the DL.


It’s clear that Omir Santos should be playing in the AL East. He may just create a bidding war for his services between the Red Sox and Yanks this winter.

Gary Sheffield blasted his seventh homer of the year, a soaring, majestic fly into the left field stands. Sheff is the only hitter I know who can hit a high fly that leaves the park as quickly as a line drive. That thing singed through the heavy, misty air.

Frankie Rodriguez finished the game in a non-save situation. Jerry Manuel had no choice but to use him after Friday night’s debacle — you can’t take any chances, even with a four-run lead.

Seven Mets had two hits or more. Fernando Martinez very quietly went 3-for-4 in the nine spot.

Lost in the excitement of scoring six runs and beating the mighty Yanks, the Mets left 11 runners on base.

Also lost was Luis Castillo trotting for the first few steps off first base in the top of the eighth with two outs on the Carlos Beltran liner that fell safely when Brett Gardner slipped and fell. He turned it on after he saw Gardner drop, though — and that’s pretty much what the Mets expect from the players (as F-Mart learned on a certain popup). But hey, the Mets were up by four, so who cares, right? And the Mets won, so why nitpick, right? We only care about selective hustling and poor fundamentals in games they lose, and specifically when we see they directly lead to the winning run, right? Yeah … that’s right!

Sean Green pitched an inning and a third of scoreless ball. And just like that, he’s anointed the setup man. Will it last?

Late in the game, Brian Stokes was seen in the players’ parking lot outside the Stadium, washing cars. The Mets figured he should be doing something.

What ever motivated Tim McCarver to record a CD? One where he sings? My best guess is it was not unlike the plot of “The Whistler” episode from 10 Items or Less (a show I recommend highly for laughs — and you can watch episodes for free!).

Next Mets Game

The rubber match occurs at 1:05 PM in the Bronx. Ace Johan Santana faces bust A.J. Burnett. I’m liking the Mets chances — and wouldn’t it be sweet justice if the Mets won this series, after the way it started? Then again, the majority of Mets fans would be whining “it shoulda been a sweep!”.

If you’ve given up on the Mets, but not on baseball, head down to Riverbank Park in Newark (not to be confused with RiverFRONT Park) to jeer and heckle yours truly as I partake in a doubleheader (hardball, wood bats). First game begins at 10 AM, and I’ll be catching a kid half my age. If you get bored, you can leave the park and enjoy the Portuguese Festival, which is sure to be chock full of shellfish, garlic, and brandy. Public transportation is highly recommended.


Mets Game 47: Win Over Marlins

Mets 2 Marlins 1

Omir Santos has officially tied the hands of Mets management.

Santos has been Joe Hardy-like in his first two months as a Met, getting one after another clutch RBI and walk-off hits. In this game, he drove in both runs, creating a situation where Mets management cannot Chip Ambres him back to AAA when Brian Schneider is activated on Saturday.

Santos hit a solo homer in the fifth to tie the game, and drove in Gary Sheffield from third base in the bottom of the 11th to give the Mets the win.

Sheffield led off the inning with a walk, and the 40-year-old stole second, and proceeded to third when the catcher’s throw sailed into the outfield.

Mike Pelfrey was outstanding, pitching 7 2/3 innings of one-run ball, allowing only five hits and a walk, striking out 6.

However, Pelf’s effort did not return him a win, as rookie Sean West matched him pitch for pitch. West went seven, allowing four hits and a walk.

Pedro Feliciano, who threw six pitches to get the final out in the top of the eleventh, was awarded the victory.


Not much to say. It was a fairly crisp, clean, quick game, mainly due to the strong pitching performances. Well, it was quick until it went into extras.

Pelfrey is quickly evolving into a legit #2 starter, meaning, he can slot into most rotations around MLB in that role.

Next Mets Game

Mets and Marlins do it again at 1:10 PM. John Maine faces Josh Johnson.


Link Roundup

Several members of the media question the emasculation of Ramon Castro, including Ed Coleman.

Similarly, Adam Rubin believes Jerry Manuel is burning his bridges with Castro, and doesn’t understand why he was tweaking Ryan Church earlier this spring, either. Oh, he also thinks Manuel is burning out the bullpen. Funny how those things are more noticeable when you’re losing.

Mike Vaccaro also wakes up and smells the coffee, pointing out that Jerry Manuel had a “personality conflict” with Frank Thomas in Chicago, and wonders if the banishment of Ramon Castro is a prelude to challenging Carlos Delgado or David Wright.

Enough negativity … how about something positive? The Yankees are slashing their ticket prices. Oh, wait, those reductions are only for the highest-priced, premium seats — the ones that, ironically, are in the direct focus of the centerfield TV camera.

Maybe today’s video will make you smile. It is Wally Backman speaking from his RV, about everything from the ’86 Mets to his theories on the DH.

Use the left/right arrows to jump from clip to clip: