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.