When viewed in isolation missing out on Bengie Molina last week wasn’t really a bad thing for the Mets, because he’s old and overrated and fairly expensive. However, this report from Adam Rubin of the New York Daily News regarding the team’s fallback plan at catcher may have Mets fans thinking differently:
Jerry Manuel suggested Omir Santos would be the favorite to be the No. 1 catcher if the Mets don’t add another backstop before Opening Day. That presumes Henry Blanco as the backup and Josh Thole and Chris Coste at Triple-A Buffalo. Mets executives are meeting this afternoon, and I’m told it’s 50-50 whether they decide to go with what they’ve got or sign one of the remaining free agents, Yorvit Torrealba or Rod Barajas.
I’d still bet on the Mets signing Yorvit Torrealba, but if they don’t and Omir Santos ends up starting 4-5 times per week behind the plate … well, it’ll be ugly. Santos got enough timely hits last season to convince some Mets fans who just don’t know any better that he’s a good player, but in reality he batted .260 with a ghastly .296 on-base percentage, .391 slugging percentage, and terrible 44/15 K/BB ratio in 306 plate appearances
And before anyone points out that he was a rookie and is thus likely to improve, please note that Santos was a 28-year-old rookie who previously spent nine seasons in the minors hitting .258/.304/.348, including .256/.311/.325 at Triple-A. Guys who spend a decade in the minors posting a .652 OPS tend not to maintain a .671 OPS in the majors, so as bad as Santos was last season that was actually him playing over his head. Bengie Molina never looked so good.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes will opt out of his contract shortly after the World Series concludes. Cespedes, who earned $17.5 million for the 2016 season, has two years and $47.5 million remaining on his deal which includes an opt-out clause.
That Cespedes plans to opt out isn’t surprising as he’s almost certain to get a better contract entering a weak free agent market. He hit a terrific .280/.354/.530 with 31 home runs and 86 RBI in 543 plate appearances for the Mets this past season.
It remains to be seen how the Mets will deal with potentially losing Cespedes. They can pick up a $13 million club option for Jay Bruce, but he performed terribly after joining the Mets in a trade from the Reds. The Mets could also go after free agents Jose Bautista or Mark Trumbo. Curtis Granderson and Michael Conforto will handle the other two outfield positions.
Major League Baseball announced on Wednesday that former Red Sox DH David Ortiz and Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant won the 2016 Hank Aaron Award in their respective leagues.
Ortiz, 40, flourished in his final season, batting .315/.401/.620 with 38 home runs and 127 RBI in 626 plate appearances during the regular season. His .620 slugging percentage, 1.021 OPS, and 48 doubles led the majors while his 127 RBI led the American League. Ortiz also won the Hank Aaron Award back in 2005.
Bryant, 24, is the likely winner of the National League Most Valuable Player Award as well. He hit .292/.385/.554 with 39 home runs and 102 RBI over 699 plate appearances. He also led the league by scoring 121 runs. Bryant is the first Cub to win the Hank Aaron Award since Aramis Ramirez in 2008.
Last year’s winners in the AL and NL, respectively, were Josh Donaldson and Bryce Harper.