Section 518

Where we endeavor to stay positive about the 2011 Mets…

Bye-Bye Bengie

Posted by JD on January 19, 2010

Apparently Bengie Molina decided to sign a one-year deal with the San Francisco Giants for $4.5 million. That strikes me as a rather curious decision given that all reports I read indicated the Mets offered him $5 million for one year (with an option for a second year). Whatever. Sometimes the best moves are the ones you don’t make, and this is one of those times. He’s apparently an excellent handler of pitchers (not that I can quantify it enough to accurately price it), and that’s all fine and good. But he’s 35, there’s no guarantee his power would translate to Citi Field, and his other offensive numbers are just that: offensive.

Here’s a fact: even though Bengie hit 20 homers last year, he only had an 86 OPS+. Yorvit Torrealbla, with all of 2 home runs, had an OPS+ of 87. They’re both below average hitters, but Torrealba stands to make less money. Runs Created tells a slightly different story, as Molina created 58 while Torrealba created only 29. Granted, that’s a big drop off, but Torrealba had half the at-bats (520 vs. 242).  If the Mets could sign Torrealba for $2.5-3 million, that would represent a fair value, home runs or not.

Meanwhile, another potential target, Rod Barajas, stacks up to Molina almost as well. His 73 OPS+ is significantly lower, but he did have 46 RC in only 60 fewer ABs. Again, he doesn’t exactly equal Molina’s performance, but he won’t equal his price tag either. Another fair value.

And let’s not forget these three pertinent numbers: 31, 34, 35, the respective ages of Torrealba, Barajas, and Molina. I know it’s a bit old fashioned, but I’d rather spend my money on the younger catchers. Go after Torrealba first, keep Barajas in play as a fallback, and don’t even think twice about Molina. He did the Mets a favor by walking away from their offer, and we all owe him a thank you for it.

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