Section 518

Where we endeavor to stay positive about the 2011 Mets…

Blanco and Cora – Blancora?

Posted by JD on December 4, 2009

Why can’t I come up with a catchy title for this post? When your favorite baseball team signs a back-up catcher and back-up middle infielder for a combined $3.5 million, you should be able to come up with a snarky title. I think it’s in the blogger rule book. Chalk it up as my latest example of blogger fail (it’s quite a long list).

The reason may be that I’m pretty ambivalent to both signings. I should be angry that the Mets doubled Henry Blanco‘s contract from last year, but apparently the Padres and White Sox were both interested in signing him and the Mets felt they had to spend that much to land him. Did they overpay? Probably, but they needed a catcher to pair with Omir Santos (Josh Thole needs more time, IMHO) and they would’ve overpaid even more for Bengie Molina. That’s what it boils down to for me: one year of Blanco is better than two or three of Molina. And maybe he passes on some knowledge to Santos and Thole and they become better players for it. I think it’s a good move, but I’m not about to stand on my rooftop and proclaim my love for it.

Alex Cora also falls into that bucket, but on the negative side. I can’t wrap my mind around why the Mets would want to spend $2 million on an aging backup middle infielder coming off surgery to BOTH thumbs. Maybe a promise was made to Cora last year while he was playing injured and the Mets are just keeping their part of the bargain. I actually hope so, because that’s a semi-defensible justification for spending $500,000-750,000 more than necessary. If not the Mets threw away money that could be used on something else because, as much as I maligned him, Wilson Valdez could approximate Cora’s production at a far more affordable price. So, do I like this move? Not really, but I’m not cancelling my season tickets over it, either.

Really, these two moves highlight what a quiet offseason it’s been to date. The Mets have a limited budget, there are very few big-ticket free agents out there, and the odds of one of them actually landing on the Mets are long. As we stew over which backup infielder, outfielder, or catcher is signed, released or traded, the bigger, bleaker picture indicates that we’re going to be watching mostly the same team next season. For better or worse, the 2010 Mets will closely resemble the 2009 Mets.

What’s that you ask? Where’s my analysis of the Chris Coste signing? The ambivalence I feel about Blancora is dwarfed by the ambivalence I feel toward Coste, negative comments or not. Welcome to the Mets (or Bisons), Chris, and congratulations! You’ve effectively replaced Robinson Cancel! That is all.

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