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Torrealba Follow Up

Mike SteffanosWednesday, November 14, 2007
By Mike Steffanos

I've been mulling this over all day, and is still doesn't make much sense to me. By the way, keep in mind that despite all of the ink today on the Mets making an offer to Yorvit Torrealba this isn't a done deal yet.

MetsBlog's Matt Cerrone has a good post on why the Mets are pursuing Torrealba:

...from what i can gather, the Mets feel torrealba, going forward, over the next few years, will be as good as Paul Lo Duca, if not better, plus come at a less expensive price...the team would rather have traded for a catcher, such as Ramon Hernandez, Gerald Laird or Kelly Shoppach, but the cost on all three was and will continue to be too high...ultimately, giving torrealba a three-year deal is the quickest, best, least-expensive option, and allows them to re-focus on filling its pitching staff, who, by the way, like to know who they'll be throwing to when coming to a new team...

...as such, we should expect torrealba and Ramon Castro, who will likely ink a deal in the next week or so, to split time equally throughout the season...

Matt also has an interview with Rockies beat writer Troy E. Renck on Torrealba.

As stated previously, I have my reservations about Castro staying healthy enough to catch half the games, but we all like Castro's offense when he's in there. As for Torrealba, he doesn't walk much, doesn't hit for average and doesn't hit for power. I honestly don't see this one. I think the Mets should have taken a shot at getting a little more offense for the catching position.

Baseball is a tough business, and requires tough business decisions. Lo Duca was here in the first place because the Mets made a business decision to let Mike Piazza go -- who spent more time in New York than Paul did. Although I liked Lo Duca, I could live with a decision to let him go. I could also understand the point that the trade market for a reasonable catcher is over-priced, and this would only cost the Mets money. I still can't get myself to embrace this signing, if indeed it takes place.

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Comments (9)

If the Mets knew they wouldn't be re-upping Lo Duca, then why on earth did they expose Jesus Flores to waivers? He is probably going to have as good a year for the Nats as Torrealba will have for anybody.

I think they could have found a place on the 40 man roster for the best catching option they had in the system. Instead we got old and older, and now gone options.

Oops, my bad. I read your posts out of sequence, else I would have refrained from making the point on Jesus Flores, since you said the same thing earlier.

Damn, letting my work interfere with baseball again.

Sorry, I just can't bring myself to see this signing as the horrible move everyone says it is. Torrealba is known for just as much "fire" as LoDuca, he "rose to the occasion" in the postseason, and is apparently a great teammate. He'll bring the same BS intangibles people loved LoDuca for. For confirmation, google a blog post I found somewhere that detailed all this. Colorado, Florida and Milwaukee (who just non-tendered the overrated clubhouse cancer Johnny Estrada) would not be bidding on him also if he didn't have value beyond the naysaying statisticians.

For the record, Torrealba hit the same when he was playing in AT&T Park, a notorious pitcher-friendly stadium where righthanded bats go to die. He had a 4.12 CERA in COORS FIELD, and the pitchers supposedly loved working with him; he's credited with the big leaps forward of Ubaldo Jimenez and Manny Corpas. He had a minor shoulder ailment that caused his low percentage of runners thrown out that apparently will be ancient history if and when he signs with the Mets. If Omar truly explored trading for a younger guy and found the price too high (a top-7 prospect was the likely demand as the Mets had no leverage in such negotiations), this is the best and most cost-effective option available by a wide margin.

LoDuca had an inexcusable .311 OBP in less than 120 games last season. Additionally, he is slow on the basepaths. He did well for us in '06, but it's about time he left town. Torrealba is younger, healthier, more athletic, and better behind the plate. The idea that he is an upgrade, IMHO, is a no-brainer.

Based on Castro's career track record starting games, I'd put Torrealba as the guy behind the plate and let him work with our young pitchers. Think ahead about this: a three-year deal means he can oversee the development of Perez, Maine, Pelfrey, Humber, Mulvey, and the crown jewel Deolis Guerra. A bilingual catcher would also probably work wonders for El Duque and Mota (remember, he sucked but still has the raw stuff for a bounce-back year).

No one has to work wonders for El Duque, Matt, except maybe the trainer.

Hey, if Torrealba reveals as a builder of pitchers -- and it leads to a winning Mets team, must include that little caveat -- I couldn't be happier. I just doubt it is all.

Look through baseball history and tell me how many of the no-hit, canny pitchers' mentor-style catchers actually made a dent in their teams' fortunes. Sure, it CAN happen; Jim Sundberg made it to a World Series. But my team, the New York Mets, have shone when they got that other, alternate advantage: having a catcher who delivered the offense, and did a good-enough job behind the plate. We remember Mike Piazza and Gary Carter because their hitting boosted the entire lineup.

Cross Hell's Gate and slip into the Bronx, it's been the same story; the Yankees won big with Yogi Berra, Thurmon Munson and Jorge Pasada behind the plate. Elston Howard was a good, active catcher; the Yankees really prospered the years Howard was hitting over .300.

Everywhere it's the same tale: catchers get loads of credit for their game calling, even in an age when all the pitches get called from the dugout. Maybe it's fair and reasonable, I sure couldn't prove it otherwise. And catchers get rated on the strength of their throwing arms, an overrated attribute to a catcher's game if ever there was one.

But many, many of the actual winners in baseball do it with an offensive plus player behind the plate; and virtually all the great catchers were offensive players, not fiery non-hitters or scientists of pitching.

Look, I understand that Carlton Fisk isn't available for us this winter. I just wish that my team would settle their priorities.

I'm still up in the air about it. If it improves the team, then it has my blessing, and maybe his numbers will be better with a platoon of he and Castro. I am now in wait and see mode, I still want them to improve the pitching both starting/relieving and settle secondbase.

I am from the old school where catchers were big bats in the lineup. Roy Campanella,Bench, Piazza, They had a bat and could catch the pitch, Amen.Torrealba maybe can catch the pitch? And we are not sure if he can throw it to second. OH Boy for 3years or more. If we are going to trade Miledge, Heilman, Pelfrey for a pitcher, the names I hear are the A's Harden or Haren the Drays Kazmir or the Marlins Willis. I am not sure what I would do with any of them for that price. maybe Haren? maybe welcome back Kazmir, but thats it. OH Boy, I hope it gets better soon. It seems everybody else is getting stronger except us.

p.s. The O's Eric Bedard lhp. a bigger catch , a biger trade?Thats a Oh Boy! and would make a differance.

dd - It's cool, we're definitely in agreement on Flores.
Matt - I understand that Torrealba brings some good things to the table. I also understand the Mets making a business decision to turn the page on Lo Duca. Funny, though, that you called Lo Duca's .311 OBP from last year inexcusable. Torrealba's career OBP is .313.
Look, I'm willing to wait and see on this one, too. I just don't love the idea.

is torrealba the answer? i don't know about this move. i would be happy with loduca, but apparently torrealba is who the mets are after:


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