Back To Square #1
Just when you think things are a done deal, they fall back apart. Now, the Mets are back out looking for a catcher after their deal with Yorvit fell through. I for one, am a bit disappointed. Not because I think Torrealba was the lynchpin to the season, but because now they have to go back out there and find another catcher in a market that is just not good for catchers.
Laird? Texas knows there are not other attractive options and will not just give him away. They have no incentive to. If it would cost a low level hard thrower, then possibly. However, those guys are nice to have for any team and giving one up for Laird would probably not be a great thing. Shoppach? He will cost more than Laird. The Indians presumably love having him as they can give Victor Martinez some time at first or DH and not lose much at catcher. He is a luxury item for them.
Overall, Torrealba was the best fit. Was he getting overpaid? Shit yeah, but the Mets were giving up a few more dollars than they should have to retain draft picks, which Michael Barrett will cost, and to get someone that is on the right side of 30 that could have capably shared a job with Ramon Castro. I do not know why the deal was broken off, but injuries and a possible inclusion on Mitchell's soon to be infamous list have been bandied about. Either way, the Mets are back to needing a catcher. Orangeandbluebood said it best though:
If the Torrealba deal is dead a new catcher is needed. I hope the Mets wait and let the market develop. If the Padres do not offer Barret I say go after him. Since Castro is in the fold I think Barret is a good upside risk. If Barret is offered arbitration and would cost the Mets #22 pick and the Braves have signed Glavine Barret may still be an option since the Braves would give the Mets the #18 pick by signing Tom, Not So Terrific Glavine. I wouldn't complain if the Mets went for a solid defensive catcher with average offensive skills. Consider Mike Leiberthal or someone like him. A solid defensive catcher who would be cheap for a short term contract and up until last year was a .275 hitter with .315 OBP skills and more power than LoDuca. Better defense than LoDuca, better power and similar average and OBP skills and he could likely be had for a one year $2M deal. No matter what, the available catchers are all #8 hitters so why not get low cost, low years, and good defense. My preference would be Castro and Barret but I think the #18 and 22 pick in the draft may be worth Castro and Leiberthal.
At least the Mets have locked up second base, but four years for Castillo seems excessive for a slap hitter extraordinaire. Obviously less than $6 million per year is not going to break the bank, but I hope this is not backloaded. Maybe $7 million for the first two years, $6 million for the third year, and $5 million for the last season. I guess there was more competition for Castillo than we all expected and Eckstein wanting a $36 million dollar contract added up to overpaying for Castillo. But with Gotay in the fold, I am not all that concerned since he probably is a better choice right now anyway so second base will be capably filled at all times.
Also, if they ink Santana, trading Garza or Slowey not only becomes more likely, but almost a certainty in my eyes.
Also within the piece:
David Wells is one name that is expected to be pitched to the Mets. The 44-year-old free-agent left-hander finished last season with the Dodgers.
Wells is considering retirement, but the Mets are among the teams for which he would consider pitching.
Um, let me think about this one. No thanks. The Duque, Pedro, and Wells?
Says Willie, "I felt all year long we didn't have that killer instinct consistently that we should've had. We had at it times when our backs were against the wall, and we did show some fight (the Mets went 8-2 after the first four-game sweep by the Phillies), but you have to be careful when you put your back against the wall, because you can't always get off that wall. In the end, that's (exactly) what happened."
It is ironic because that is the persona Willie projects. Don't get too high. Don't get too low. Keep it even keeled. Even keeled Willie drove this team and their lack of urgency reflected his leadership style. Even when we could all smell collapse, he did not exhibit any urgency and is now shocked at the way his team played? I've been saying all off-season that the Mets needed someone at the helm to create a spark if no one there was going to do it. It is time to get someone with fire in there, which Willie clearly does not have.