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The Mets’ Catching Situation

Posted By Jim Mancari On Aug 22 2010 @ 3:36 pm In New York Mets | No Comments

The Dodgers have claimed catcher Rod Barajas off waivers from the Mets. Rod will get the majority of the playing time in LA now that Russell Martin is out for the season.

Barajas hit .225 with 12 HR and 34 RBI in 74 games as a Met in 2010. He started the year on a torrid pace, hitting 11 HR through the team’s first two months. More importantly, his home runs were clutch, including a go-ahead blast in Cincinnati on May 4 and a walk-off shot against the Giants on May 7 at Citi Field.

Barajas cooled off in June and July, failing to hit a home run for 30 straight games. It seemed age caught up with the 34 year catcher. An oblique strain landed him on the DL in late July which allowed for Mets’ catching prospect Josh Thole to see time behind the plate.

Thole hit over .500 through his first 20 at-bats and is currently hitting .292 for the season. He has improved his skills defensively to the point where the Mets felt confident enough to let Barajas go. The Mets appear to be easing Thole into the everyday role. For now, he is splitting time behind the dish with veteran back-up Henry Blanco.

Thole is the immediate solution to the Mets’ catching situation. The Mets must first accept his style of play before they fully hand him the reins of the position. Thole is an excellent contact hitter with a good OBP. He is not a power hitter or run producer, and the Mets can not expect him to be one. He would be a valuable commodity as the 8th hitter in the lineup, since he would allow the pitcher to bunt him into scoring position for the top of the order to drive him in. Due to the Mets’ struggling offense, Thole has hit as high as 6th in the order, a spot he is not suited for. He is solid defensively and has shown that he is willing to improve all facets of his game.

Good luck to Barajas in LA, but let the Josh Thole era in Flushing begin!

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