Tag: ramon castro

2011 Analysis: Ronny Paulino

For a while, it was questionable whether Ronny Paulino would ever get going in a Mets uniform, and what kind of contribution he’d make. Visa issues kept him out of Port St. Lucie until Mid-March, and when he finally arrived, manager Terry Collins announced he’d be Josh Thole‘s backup. Not long after he arrived in spring training, Paulino was diagnosed with anemia, further setting him back — and then there was the remainder of his PEDs suspension to serve.

Despite these multiple issues that prevented Paulino from properly preparing for the 2011 season, things turned out OK.


Video from PSL Training Room

MetsBlog isn’t the only website with video coverage of Mets spring training … we have some of our own available below, which is purportedly recorded from the trainer’s room at Tradition Field in Port St. Lucie.

I say “purportedly” because the person with the camera isn’t exactly an expert on baseball, nor even a Mets fan. But he was the best cameraman we could hire on the meager MetsToday budget … and, well, you get what you pay for.

The quality isn’t great, so it’s hard to tell who is getting the back rub, but the videographer claims it’s “one of the Mets catchers” (a good bet, considering that half the players in camp don the tools of ignorance).

My money is on Rod Barajas or Henry Blanco … though, for all I know this is re-used video of Ramon Castro from last spring.

If you can positively identify exactly who this is, please let us know in the comments.


Mets Sign Rod Barajas

Yes, the Mets have signed another catcher. And this one is the best of the bunch.

Unfortunately, that’s not saying much.

Rod Barajas is an average to slightly above-average defender and a terrible offensive player with one tool: the ability to hit the ball over fences. Don’t get too excited, though, as it’s not as though Barajas is Babe Ruth. By “the ability to the ball over fences”, I mean he has more power than Luis Castillo. Over the course of 450-500 at-bats, playing half of his games in Citi Field, he might hit 10-15 HR.

However, he’ll also hit .230 (.240 at best) and post an OBP around .250 – .280. He won’t score many runs. His RBI total will be dependent on his homer total and his RBI opportunities. Essentially, he is a poor man’s Bengie Molina — and most of the statheads were very much against a Molina signing. Though, Bengie is not a good comparison, since Barajas has been more of a backup catcher most of his career. Considering that, Barajas is most similar to Ramon Castro. Before you say “a more durable version of Ramon Castro”, I will point out that Barajas has endured chronic hamstring, groin, and back issues — symbols of someone who has a problem with flexibility and is perpetually overweight. So again, Barajas is essentially Ramon Castro — minus the jokes and personality.

We’ll get back to his defense, since that’s what the Mets’ spin doctors want us to focus on. You’ll hear nonsense such as “Barajas is an excellent defensive catcher”. He’s not. He’s “excellent” compared to Josh Thole. Compared to all other MLB backstops, he’s about average. His caught-stealing percentage has been consistently around 34% his entire career, which is much better than Mike Piazza, and a few ticks better than the average. However, did you know that the Mets catchers in 2009 had a caught-stealing percentage of 34%? Interesting, eh?

I would say that, defensively, again, Ramon Castro is a fair comp. Is Barajas better than Brian Schneider? Tough to say, as they’re pretty close. If it came right down to it I’d take Schneider, who I think is a better overall receiver and a bit better when it comes to throwing out runners. Offensively, Schneider doesn’t have the pop, but he’ll get on base at least 50-60% more often. Barajas’ power is his singular tool, and even that is deceptive. Of his 19 HR in 2009, nearly one-third (6 to be exact) came in Fenway Park, Citizen’s Bank Park, and The Ballpark at Arlington — so take that info as you will. Additionally, he’s an incredibly streaky hitter, as evidenced by his .300 average in April last year, and .150 average in September. Also speaking to the streakiness, 7 of those 19 dingers came in August — 6 of those in a 10-game stretch. That hot April included 7 of his 19 doubles. Most scouts agree that in addition to being streaky, Barajas’ main problem offensively is that his performance drops considerably the more he’s exposed. Again, he’s sounding a lot like Castro, isn’t he?

The sad thing about this? Upon his arrival on Tuesday, Rod Barajas will be the best catcher in camp, and the best on the Mets’ 40-man roster.

But don’t let that fact depress you, since the catching position is unimportant and a non-factor on most teams. Though, you could also point out that “most teams” don’t make the postseason.


Castro, Church Off the Table

Forget about the ironic pipe dream of platooning Jeff Francoeur with Ryan Church in right field next year — Church has signed a one-year deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Additionally, you can drop the possibility of Ramon Castro returning to the Mets to bolster their second-string catching depth, since Castro has re-signed with the White Sox.

In other news, the Mets are not the only team scouting Carlos Delgado this winter. The Blue Jays are keeping tabs as well, so a return to Toronto is a possibility for the hobbling slugger. Since some people claim that Delgado is “not moving well”, his best landing spot may be in the AL where he can DH. But, I don’t remember Delgado EVER “moving well”, even when healthy, so take that scouting report with a grain of salt. I’d prefer to hear from someone who has been watching Delgado for the past three years, and is familiar with the fact his feet move like cinderblocks in oatmeal.

Speaking of former Blue Jays, the latest rumor is that Orlando Hudson is being courted by the Washington Nationals. Those Nats are quietly building what could turn out to be a pesky club. If they add O-Hud and one more veteran starter, they might have enough to jump out of the cellar. Color me concerned.

The last update to report is that Bengie Molina has supposedly lowered his contract demand to two years. Surprisingly, his door is still firm on its hinges, with no one racing to break it down. I’m still looking for the team that’s willing to give him more than one year guaranteed.


Broadway a Blue Jay and Other News

In a twist of irony, Lance Broadway has signed with the Blue Jays.

Broadway was non-tendered by the Mets seven months after acquiring him in a trade with the White Sox for Ramon Castro. Castro agreed to terms with the Blue Jays a few days ago.

Meanwhile, free-agent righthander Jason Marquis announced he is a “perfect fit” for the Washington Nationals. Hmm, where have I heard that before?

In other news, the Mets may or may not have upped their offer to Jason Bay. I’ve chosen to avoid any Bay buzz until things sound more serious and/or “real” — there’s a lot of hot air. The Cardinals seem intent on signing Matt Holliday, having offered him either a 5- or 8-year deal, depending on the source.

Additionally, the Mets have reportedly made a two-year offer to Ryota Igarashi, a relief pitcher from Japan. However, Patrick Newman of NPBTracker hears there are at least three offers from other teams on the table. I know nothing about Igarashi other than what Newman has on his blog (which is excellent, by the way).

So hard to comment on the Mets when it comes to Japan. On the one hand, you want them to be “in” on anything that could be fruitful, but on the other hand, their history with Japanese imports has been less than fulfilling. Remember it was the Mets who chose not to listen to Bobby Valentine when he recommended Ichiro Suzuki, but later brought in Kaz Matsui to move Jose Reyes out of shortstop. But then again, Ken Takahashi worked out nicely. /sarcasm


Ramon Castro Traded to White Sox

lance-broadwayAs had been rumored, catcher Ramon Castro has been traded to the Chicago White Sox in return for RHP Lance Broadway.

The deal cements Omir Santos’ place on the 25-man roster as the current backup to the returning Brian Schneider. Manager Jerry Manuel, however, said that although Schneider would get the bulk of the playing time “at first”, he would more or less have to perform to remain the regular backstop.

At first glance, the trade appears to be a good one for all sides. The White Sox get a slugging righthanded-hitting catcher to platoon with A.J. Pierzynski, the Mets make room for Santos while also ridding themselves of a player in need of constant motivation, Castro gets a chance to play for a manager who will push him, the Mets get a young middle reliever to add to their AAA depth, and Broadway goes to an organization that may have more use for him than the one he’s leaving.

The White Sox have good depth in their bullpen, leaving little room and patience for the 25-year-old Broadway, who has struggled in his short stints in MLB over the past three seasons.

However, Broadway was the 15th overall pick in the 2005 draft, and as recently as last January was Chicago’s #2 prospect according to Baseball America. He is a tall Texan who can throw four pitches for strikes, but his velocity rarely gets above 90 MPH. If he can ever find consistent command of those four pitches, he would project as a Greg Maddux type of pitcher. The White Sox gave up on him as a starter, and though he remained one as a minor leaguer, he’s since been projected as an MLB middle reliever. I’m not sure how that will pan out, as it’s tough to pitch in that role as a junkballer. In any case, he’s being sent to Buffalo, and we’ll find out soon what plans the Mets have for him. My guess is they’ll plug him into the rotation at first to get a good look at him / give him innings to show what he can do.

The Mets did send cash back to Chicago, though the amount was undisclosed at press time.

As David Lennon tweeted, Broadway has a good name for New York City.


Castro To Be Traded?

With Brian Schneider on the mend, and possibly re-joining the Mets this weekend, Adam Rubin reports that the Mets are seeking to trade Ramon Castro, keeping Omir Santos as the backup.

Great. Except, what team is looking for an overpaid, overweight, underachieving backstop who can’t stay healthy? And what in the world are the Mets going to get in return, when the other teams know full well that the Mets can’t get rid of Ramon fast enough?

Call me crazy, but the Mets may be forced into demoting Santos, at least for a week or so, to showcase Castro and/or hope that someone’s catcher goes down with an injury. Yeah, I know, Santos is like the next Johnny Bench and all, but when it comes right down to it, is he SO much better than Castro that the Mets should eat Ramon’s contract?

A quick look around MLB tells me that the following teams MIGHT be interested in Castro’s services: Yankees, Rockies, Tigers, Nationals, and Blue Jays.

** UPDATE ***
There is a rumor that the White Sox are talking to the Mets about catching. Certainly, Castro would be a nice platoon partner for AJ Pierzynski, who is currently caddied by the .210-hitting Corky Miller. Getting Wilson Betemit in return would be nice for utility purposes, but I’d be happy if the Mets were able to get at least LOOGY Jimmy Gobble.


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: