Catcher Paul Lo Duca officially left the New York Mets for good on December 12, 2007, for the Washington Nationals. His departure ushered in a wave of mostly forgettable catchers.
The impact Paul Lo Duca had on the New York Mets in his two seasons with the club makes it feel like he was with the team for much longer. Arriving at the perfect time in 2006, he was a stalwart at and behind the plate for two competitive seasons in Flushing.
Lo Duca had huge cleats to fill. He replaced Hall of Famer Mike Piazza. The local guy more than lived up to those expectations. In 2006, he was named an All-Star for the fourth time in his career.
The Mets clearly made the right choice in signing him. After the 2007 campaign when he delivered another quality year, they were also correct in moving on.
More from Rising Apple
- NY Mets News: Marcus Stroman sees “potential fit” with the Angels
- NY Mets were too “seek” and not enough “destroy” last winter
- NY Mets: 1 trade target to consider from each 100-loss team
- NY Mets: Top 12 free agents the team should look to sign this winter
- NY Mets: Jeff Wilpon’s legacy continues to plague the Amazins
In his age 36 season, Lo Duca joined the Washington Nationals for the 2008 campaign. He showed his age while in D.C., hitting .230 in his 153 trips to the plate. Injuries got the best of Lo Duca and played a part in his struggles at the plate. He was eventually released by the Nationals, later signing with the Florida Marlins for the final 21 games of his big league career.
As it turns out, Lo Duca’s final MLB home run took place on September 23, 2007, as a member of the Metropolitans. On a Sunday afternoon against the Marlins, a fourth inning home run tied up the game at two.
Home runs aren’t everything, but they can show a player’s decline. Lo Duca hit only 14 in his two seasons with the Mets, knocking just five round-trippers in his memorable 2006 campaign.
In the years that followed Lo Duca’s departure, the Mets struggled to find a replacement. For more than a decade, the catcher position was a revolving door of guys best-served in a part-time role.
Quality catchers have always been a big part of the organization. Whether it was a defensive stud like Jerry Grote, an offensive monster like Piazza, or a little of both like Gary Carter; they have rarely punted the position.
Since Lo Duca left, the Mets haven’t been able to say catcher was a strength. Wilson Ramos did hit well in 2019, but his game-calling skills came into question several times.
Want your voice heard? Join the Rising Apple team!
Lo Duca may have been a Met for a limited time. When he officially left on December 12, 2007, the franchise lost an important part of the franchise.