Thole and Nickeas possible 2012 backstop combo

According to Adam Rubin of ESPN New York, a team insider “strongly suggests” a back-stop tandem of Josh Thole and Mike Nickeas in 2012; especially if the club resigns Jose Reyes and “the money isn’t available to spend on a catcher from outside.”

Ronnie Paulino is arbitration eligible and should earn a slight increase from his current salary of $1.35 million, but according to Rubin “the organization has been displeased with Paulino’s disregard for game plans and his second-half lethargy.”

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Can’t say I disagree with the clubs sentiments on Paulino. He has had a dreadful second half. Assuming the Mets bring Reyes back, a back stop of Thole and Nickeas would, if nothing else, leave money to better allocate to other positions of need. Most notable the bullpen.

With that said, in order for Thole to become an everyday catcher he will need to become a much better defender behind the plate. Something that can at least be worked on in the off season.

Recap: Sandy talk with media at Citi Field today (with Video)

To read a transcript of Sandy Alderson’s talk with reporters today in Citi Field, check out this post from Andy McCullough on his blog for the Star-Ledger; to see video, watch this:

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Original Post at 2:02 pm:

Sandy Alderson talked with reporters today at Citi Field and, according to video from SNY, said he expects the team’s payroll to be between $100 and $110 million in 2012, which could include Jose Reyes; but, if it did, it would limit the team’s flexibility over the next two seasons.

In addition, Alderson said:

  • He has not yet reached out to the agents for Jose Reyes, and he feels that, considering Reyes hasn’t re-signed to this point, he will likely have to wait until bidding is open to all teams.
  • The team has a general idea of how what they’re willing to offer Reyes, leaving little room for negotiation.
  • He expects Reyes to be a Type A free agent, meaning, if he signs with another team, he will net the Mets two compensatory draft picks for next year.
  • He wouldn’t say if next season’s center fielder is in the organization.
  • Daniel Murphy’s role on the team, be it as a bench guy or every-day player, in large part depends on what happens to Reyes.
  • The team’s defense and bullpen are most in need of being improved this off season.

Teams cannot bid on free agents from other teams until five days after the World Series.


Yesterday on WFAN, Mike Francesa said Alderson’s off-season budget will be less than what was initially expected (at will end up being in the range of $80 and $110 million).

“I’m hearing rumblings the team’s payroll could be under $100 million,” Francesa said. He says he’s heard the front office has a plan for each level, be it over $100 million or below.

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Michael Baron: Despite some recent reports, Sandy has not deviated from his projected payroll at any point. Things can certainly change, and it would certainly be very difficult to bring Reyes back if the payroll was below $100 million. But at the payroll level Sandy has suggested, I still think the flexibility exists to bring Reyes back plus make improvements, especially to the pitching staff which was their key problem from the beginning this year.

Listen: Mostly Mets podcast with Toby, Ted and Flood

In this week’s edition of the Mostly Mets podcast, Ted Berg, Toby Hyde and Patrick Flood discuss if Sandy Alderson’s grace period has officially ended, after which they look at the team’s best performances in 2011:

Click here to subscribe to this podcast on iTunes: [jbutton color=”gray” size=”xsmall” link=”http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/mostly-mets/id448682290″%5DSubscribe%5B/jbutton%5D

Thank you for reading MetsBlog.com

Thank you for continuing to read MetsBlog.com.

This was my eighth season writing this site, and hearing from people who enjoy it is what sustains me. Despite the team’s struggles the last few seasons, I continue to take pride in being a Mets fan because of our collective loyalty and passion for this team – and to have a similar passion and loyalty directed toward this website is overwhelming and always appreciated more than you’ll ever know.

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The regular season may be over, but the Hot Stove season is just beginning – and I hope you keep reading as we work together to chronicle what’s next.