A couple weeks back it was reported by Andy Martino of the Daily News that some officials within the New York Mets organization were very displeased with the play and attitude of Ronnie Paulino this past season and were pushing to replace the arbitration eligible back-stop. Today it seems like the plan of non-tendering Paulino is still in tact but with the price of free agent catchers high and not to New Yorks liking, internal candidate Mike Nickeas may get the job backing up Josh Thole in 2012.
As Adam Rubin of ESPN New York wrote yesterday, there may be a committee approach to backing up Thole, one comprised of players with Triple-A experience (wow, that sounds enticing):
Team officials have been down on Paulino, who disregarded pitch-sequence game plans and was lethargic. Still, a team source said at the winter meetings in Dallas last week that the organization had all but resolved to stay internal with its major league catching for 2012 because the free agents had warts as well and the preference was to concentrate the available dollars on bullpen spending.
Keeping Paulino would be an indication the Mets are uncertain whether Mike Nickeas, while defensively capable, has enough offense from the right side of the plate to complement Josh Thole. Still, it’s entirely conceivable the Mets cut loose Paulino and then bring in Triple-A depth with major league experience as a hedge against Nickeas.”
Even with Jose Reyes gone, if Ike Davis is healthy, Lucas Duda picks up where he left off, and David Wright and Jason Bay benefit from the new wall dimensions, then New York may have enough offense to hide someone like Nickeas down in the line-up. With a strong bullpen defense will be important late in games, which may be a reason why the team is looking at slick fielding infielder Jack Wilson:
I love the idea of getting rid of the bad attitudes and bringing in solid veterans such as Andres Torres and potentially Jack Wilson. While there’s nothing sexy about this offseason, logic is certainly dictating the team’s direction. I’m just not sure how fun it’s going to be to watch a bunch of Spock’s on the field, because everyone knows you pay to see Captain Kirk.
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