Section 518

Where we endeavor to stay positive about the 2011 Mets…

Re-evaluating the Catcher Situation

Posted by JD on May 30, 2009

I made a rookie mistake today in my haste to evaluate the Mets’ catcher situation. As Ken Davidoff of Newsday pointed out, the Mets do have a viable third option at Buffalo. His name? Javier Valentin.

You may disagree, but this changes my take on the Ramon Castro trade completely. While I love the production and energy (in that order) that Omir Santos has brought to the lineup, I’m worried that he might hit the wall. Heck, with such a small sample size it’s practically inevitable that he will hit the wall. Castro has far better career numbers than Santos over a much larger sample size. He’s a proven commodity.

As a result, I worried that the Mets would be left short-handed by the lack of depth in the minors. I spoke to soon. Valentin is hitting the cover off the ball at Buffalo. Playing exclusively at first base, he’s compiled a .320/.433/.560 BA/OBP/SLG line. Even if he reverts to mean, he’s a proven major league hitter (.251/.310/.402). By comparison, Castro’s career line is .237/.311/.417. Yes, Castro has a career OPS+ of 90 (compared to Valentin’s 82), but Valentin is solid defensively. Castro is a capable but limited receiver. Valentin is certainly solid enough to fill in for a prolonged period of time.

And if that wasn’t enough, Davidoff implied that Castro may be a negative presence in the clubhouse. I’m surprised if only because I’ve seen so many SNY clips of him placing bubble-gum on other players’ hats. I always had an image of him as the clubhouse comedian. If that’s not actually the case there’s even less reason to keep him around.

I have to tip my cap to Omar on this one. He signed Valentin about a month ago, well before Omir started tearing the cover off the ball. If the Mets need another catcher, Omar may have covered that base already.


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