Mets Finally Get a Catcher

November 20, 2007 at 7:36 pm 16 comments

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The New York Mets traded reliever Guillermo Mota to the Milwaukee Brewers for catcher Johnny Estrada. The Mets finally get their catcher, the only problem is he’s not much better than Torrealba. This a case where Omar Minaya overvalued another catcher.

Estrada is going to be 32 next season and just had two surgeries in October. He isn’t very good behind the plate either. He only threw out 13% of would be base stealers. Of the 22 catchers recieving votes in the “Fielding Bible Awards” Estrada recieved none of them. That’s sad because Jason Kendall recieved 3 and Dioner Navarro even had 2. This is a panel of 10 very respected baseball writers and insiders who have 10 votes each. That’s 100 votes and none going to Estrada. NONE!

Estrada’s offense is lacking also and he’s moving to a pitcher’s park. He might hit .300 but he might also hit .265. His career AVG of .280 might be where he hits which isn’t bad. What is bad though is that his walks have gone down the last 4 years from 39, 20, 13, and 12 in 2007. He has ZERO speed with zero stolen bases (on zero attempts) and zero triples in his career. He doesn’t get on base at a high rate or even a moderate rate (.296 in 2007, .320 in his career). His SLUG could also be better (.406 in his career).

The Mets took him, in my opinion, because he is a veteran, he’s on a short term contract that is fairly cheap, he can split time with Ramon Castro and won’t complain about it, and he “calls a good game”.

I still think this is a move that heavily favors the Brewers in my opinon. They added a good relief arm and Mota is only under contract for one year. The Mets still need some pitching help!

This move makes no sense to me from the Mets prospective. They obviously have a strong desire to prematurally grab a catcher while his value is higher than what is should be.

Here is the article from the AP:

NEW YORK — The New York Mets acquired Johnny Estrada from Milwaukee for reliever Guillermo Mota on Tuesday, moving quickly to plug their hole at catcher after talks with Yorvit Torrealba collapsed.

Estrada batted .278 with 10 homers and 54 RBIs for the Brewers this year. He is eligible for arbitration this winter and can become a free agent after the 2008 season.

“Johnny adds depth to our catching situation,” Mets general manager Omar Minaya said. “He’s a former All-Star who switch-hits and has hit over .300 three times in his career.”

Mota served a 50-game steroids suspension at the beginning of the season and finished 2-2 with a 5.76 ERA in 52 appearances. Often booed at home, the 34-year-old right-hander struck out 47 and walked 18 in 59 1-3 innings.

“We are getting a quality relief pitcher who can pitch out of the back of the pen,” Milwaukee general manager Doug Melvin said. “We have been looking for a pitcher who can give us multiple innings, and last season Mota showed he could do that, pitching 2.0 innings 13 times.”

The trade leaves Paul Lo Duca, New York’s starting backstop the past two seasons, looking for a job elsewhere. Last week, the Mets re-signed Ramon Castro to be their backup catcher again, though he could get more playing time now than he did behind Lo Duca.

The 31-year-old Estrada had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee Oct. 4 to repair a torn meniscus. He also had a bone spur removed from his right elbow. The operations were performed by Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala.

Estrada threw out only 11 of 84 basestealers (13 percent) in his lone season with the Brewers, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, and he also lacks discipline at the plate. He drew just 12 walks despite getting 442 at-bats, leaving him with a meager .296 on-base percentage.

Torrealba appeared set to become New York’s No. 1 catcher when he and the Mets reached a preliminary agreement last week on a $14.4 million, three-year contract that was subject to a physical.

The Mets said Saturday they had ended negotiations with Torrealba, leading to speculation that a medical exam left them with concerns about his throwing shoulder. Torrealba, who helped Colorado reach the World Series this year, missed nearly three months in 2006 with a strained right shoulder.

“I’m just going to say that we couldn’t get a deal done,” Minaya said Monday.

An All-Star in 2004 with Atlanta, the slow-footed Estrada is a .280 career hitter with 42 homers and 281 RBIs in 589 games spanning seven major league seasons. He has spent his entire career in the National League, also playing for Philadelphia and Arizona.

Estrada made $3.4 million this year. Mota is guaranteed $3.2 million next season, then can become a free agent.

The Mets acquired the 6-foot-6 Mota in August 2006 after he struggled with Cleveland, but he pitched extremely well down the stretch to help New York wrap up an NL East title.

News of his positive test for a performance-enhancing substance surfaced after the season, and Mota said he felt terrible for making a mistake. Knowing he would be suspended for the first 50 games of 2007, the Mets re-signed Mota to a $5 million, two-year contract.

Mota is 28-29 with a 3.91 ERA and seven saves in nine major league seasons with Montreal, the Los Angeles Dodgers, Florida, Cleveland and the Mets. Since 2002, he ranks fourth among big league relievers with 444 1-3 innings pitched. Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

-Jonathan C. Mitchell

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Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

Glavine agrees to 1 yr $8M deal to end career with Braves Relievers cashing in: Cordero -$46M and Linebrink – $19M!

16 Comments Add your own

  • 1. MikeMcGinnis  |  November 20, 2007 at 11:39 pm

    i wouldn’t read to much into mota. that guy was absymal after getting off the juice and the mets needed to get rid of him.

    i know the knocks on estrada but, he will give you a better chance at winning a ball game then a guy expected to be a late inning reliever with an astronomical ERA.

    Reply
  • 2. Kifyttrium.Com » Mets finally get there catcher  |  November 20, 2007 at 11:40 pm

    […] Mitchell wrote an interesting post today on Mets finally get there catcherHere’s a quick […]

    Reply
  • 3. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  November 20, 2007 at 11:51 pm

    I beg to differ. I think Mota has the ability to have a good season. I just don’t get Omar Minaya’s want/need for a catcher at this point so badly. LoDuca is a better option than Estrada and Torrealba (although he’s not signed he was offered $5M over 3 years). Minaya puzzles me sometimes.

    Reply
  • 4. Aaron Boynton  |  November 20, 2007 at 11:59 pm

    So the mets trade a juiced-up pitcher for a slow, overweight catcher? Is it me or does Omar Minaya not realize the pressing needs of the Mets? Specifically dumping Lastings Milledge, Shawn Green, Aaron Heilman, and half the bullpen..

    Reply
  • 5. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  November 21, 2007 at 12:08 am

    What’s up Aaron! Glad to see you chiming in over here. I agree that Minaya doesn’t seem to be able to fix the problems they have. He just adds mediocre players that aren’t worth what they are getting paid. Shawn Green is done with the Mets. Milledge will most likely be traded (to the A’s for Joe Blanton probably) and Heilman could get them a lot in return with this watered down free agent market. But if I were Minaya I would hold onto Heilman unless I was overwhelmed. He needs help bad in the bullpen and the rotation.

    Reply
  • 6. Erik  |  November 21, 2007 at 1:46 am

    Um… I think Minaya ripped off Melvin here and did two things got a catcher who is better defensively and offensively than Yorvit Torrealba. who is probably disclosed as one of the players in the Mitchell Report. I like this trade for the Mets… They gave up virtually nothing for a guy who might be the set up man for Turnbow… cause it looks like Cordero will sign elsewhere. I like this move by Minaya. He got the catcher he was looking for… a latin player to boot.

    Reply
  • 7. Erik  |  November 21, 2007 at 2:11 am

    Latest Rumor I heard is the Mets are looking to deal Maine, Heilman, Milledge, to Minnesota for Johan Santana and an outfielder… then again just a rumor I heard via a mets radio talk show…wfan NY. Not a very reliable source in my historical view of WFAN…

    Reply
  • 8. Aaron Boynton  |  November 21, 2007 at 8:44 am

    If I am the Mets, I’d make that trade in a heartbeat.

    Reply
  • 9. Charlie Nehl  |  November 21, 2007 at 9:14 am

    Well Estrada is better than Torrealba, but I think Estrada’s All-Star days are over. He can still swing the bat, but he’s not all that good behind the plate. Decent. Not great. With the Met lineup, he can bat 7th or 8th, and not worry about providing pop unlike he did for the brewers, well before Braun was called up.

    Mota could end up closing with Cordero probably gone, and Turnbow collapsed as closer a few years back, but without his juice it’s hard to say.

    Reply
  • 10. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  November 21, 2007 at 9:21 am

    No way the Twins make that trade! That’s not nearly enough. And if Minaya trades for Santana without working out an extension then he has lost all respect from me.

    Reply
  • 11. Erik  |  November 21, 2007 at 1:13 pm

    I said the source was unreliable Jonathan… Personally I think the twins would want Martinez(not Pedro), Humber, Heilman, Milledge, Gomez and maybe Pelfrey just as a starting point for Johan Santana… I don’t believe he’d go to the Mets in any other way but free agency. Just my gut feeling… I think the mets will get a pitcher maybe Haren or Blanton because Billy Beane has a woody for Milledge and Heilman.

    Reply
  • 12. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  November 21, 2007 at 1:33 pm

    I know, I was just stating that I don’t think it’ll happen, that’s why I didn’t address it to you. If the Mets want Santana they will have to give up Fernando Martinez, Carlos Gomez, Mike Pelfrey, Mulvey, and Heilman for starters or the package you mentioned. It won’t happen like you said. The Mets will probably land Blanton for Milledge.

    Reply
  • 13. Erik  |  November 21, 2007 at 2:03 pm

    Ha and just so you know I just heard Jason Kendell agreed to terms with the Milwaukee Brewers… Clear downgrade if you ask me… Kendell hasn’t played well since 2000.

    Reply
  • 14. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  November 21, 2007 at 2:26 pm

    Bad call on Kendall! The Brewers went from one bad catcher to another. What were the terms? If it’s one year it’s not too bad. At least he takes pitches, draws walks, and can run. But he has ZERO power. He might be equal to Estrada but not much better.

    Reply
  • 15. Aaron Boynton  |  November 21, 2007 at 7:29 pm

    You would think that some of these teams would look at Red Sox Free agent catcher Kevin Cash. True, he is 29, but he has years left in him. It’s not his fault that he hasn’t gotten a chance up in the bigs with the Sox until this year (due to Tek and Mirabelli).

    Reply
  • 16. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  November 21, 2007 at 8:55 pm

    Cash is very good behind the plate. Good arm, good release, good fielding. His bat is a little soft but if your offense is strong he could fit. Plus he’d be cheap. Good call Aaron.

    Reply

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