New York Mets cannot settle for a mediocre catcher next season
By Tim Boyle
The catcher position is a need for the New York Mets and not one they should try to fix with a mediocre option.
Steve Cohen set the bar high with his introductory press conference. Hopeful he can bring a championship to New York Mets fans within the next few years, the mission to achieve this goal begins with a successful first winter as the team’s owner. This means adding pieces to the roster while going above and beyond to ensure they have the best roster possible.
The dream many have is a lineup full of returning favorites and some brand new All-Stars. It’s very possible the Mets could look something like your imaginary dream offseason, but with possibly one or two left over holes that need filling.
One need they cannot avoid is the one behind the plate. The catcher spot is vitally important. With J.T. Realmuto and James McCann both out there as free agents, it’s essential we see the Mets open the year with one of them behind the plate.
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But what if they don’t? Is this offseason a complete disaster even if everything else goes well?
The Mets can certainly survive a year with a lineup of studs plus a lackluster catcher behind the plate. And when I use the word lackluster, I mean a guy who can barely hit his weight. We’ll give this hypothetical backstop the benefit of being able to call a good game. Beyond that, he’s quicksand in the lineup.
If the Mets don’t go outside of the organization to find some catching help, the next man in line for the job already under team control is Tomas Nido. He showed promise in limited action last year, but I’m not so sure he can handle full-time catching duties. Over a full season, his weaknesses may become too much to handle.
Aside from just what a catcher can do at the plate, it’s what he can do behind it that matters a lot to an organization. The Mets have a real opportunity this offseason to build a core and create some chemistry between their next catcher and the pitching staff. Relationships like this aren’t built easily. When you have a chance to start building them, you don’t wait.
This is one of the most valuable lessons we learned during Wilson Ramos’ time with the club. Starting pitchers were vocal about their dislike of seeing him behind the plate. It wasn’t a pride thing they had to swallow either. Pitchers, while treated fragile to an extreme at times, need to be comfortable. If the majority of them don’t like working with the catcher, you have a problem.
The Amazins don’t need to go 162-0 and sweep their way to the World Series in 2021. They don’t even need to end the year with a victory parade. The franchise needs to start roster-building properly with a little foresight toward the future of the franchise.
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One of the ways to do this is to find the right catcher now and build around him.