To be honest, I bet the Mets first push hard to trade for a starting catcher, like Pirates C Ryan Doumit, D-Backs C Chris Snyder or Rays C Dioner Navarro, and then, if all else fails go to a free-agent starting catcher, like Miguel Olivo, Benjie Molina or Rob Barajas, in hopes they take a one-year deal.
Molina appears to be the most controversial name of the bunch, among media and fans, so I sent an e-mail to Grant, from the Giants blog, McCovery Chronicles, and asked for his opinion of Molina, since he watched him play every day for the last three season.
Grant sent back an e-mail, which said:
“The more I think about it, the more I think that Molina is one of the worst everyday players in baseball, which is hard to do when you hit 20 home runs as a catcher. But the on-base percentage is the league’s worst, and he’s certainly the worst baserunner in the game. I should preface this by noting that I don’t put a lot of stock into things like game-calling, handling a pitching staff, or all of the other unquantifiables that people use to attribute value to a catcher. I know that this isn’t everyone’s view, so your mileage may vary. I think Tim Lincecum would have won two Cy Youngs with Mike Piazza behind the plate. Others would disagree. That’s where Molina’s value would really lie.
“Personally, I’m done watching Molina. I’m tired of one-pitch outs, I’m tired of watching him stop at third when another Giant actually gets a hit with a runner in scoring position, and I’m tired of the organization believing that he’s indispensable. I’m not sure if I’d feel that way, though, if he were a No. 7 or No. 8 hitter. So, maybe I’m not being fair by misdirecting frustration that should go towards the front office for putting Molina in a position to frustrate.”
To read more of Grant’s opinion on Molina, click here.
For what it’s worth, in the last day or so, I reached out to people in the Giants organization, and was told pitchers on the team feel Molina is terrific at game-calling, based on their pre-game approach, and the team believes he did a fantastic job communicating and working the their pitching staff, from older pitchers like Barry Zito to youngsters like Lincecum.