What If: Mets Sign Barajas?

Mets ParadiseCorrespondent IFebruary 19, 2010

TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 06:  Rod Barajas #20 of the Toronto Blue Jays swings at a pitch during the game against the New York Yankees on September 6, 2009 at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, Canada.  (Photo by Paul Giamou/Getty Images)
Paul Giamou/Getty Images

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There have been reports out there that the Mets have offered catcher Rod Barajas a minor league contract. He has yet to accept it, but what would the Mets catching situation be if he does? Let’s take a trip in the “Mets Paradise What If” machine and take a look at what would happen:

The Mets have signed catcher Rod Barajas to a minor league contract with an invitation to Spring Training. The contract is worth $550K; he would receive $1M if he makes the major league roster, and could receive another $75K with incentives based on games played. He can also ask for his release from the team if doesn’t make the major league roster.

Rod Barajas is coming to camp expecting to take over the starting catcher position. Currently the Mets have Omir Santos, Josh Thole, and Henry Blanco competing for the position.

Mets GM Omar Minaya said, “We really like Barajas. He gives us a starting catcher with veteran presents behind the plate. That’s something we didn’t have.”

Jerry Manuel has already said that Blanco will be the team’s back up catcher. So that leaves Barajas, Santos, and Thole to fight for the starting catcher position.

All three players are signed to a minor league contract, so if they don’t make the team, they can be sent back down to the minors with no problems (except Barajas, who can ask for his release from the team).

For the most part, fans are happy to see Barajas with the Mets. In a recent poll, 65% of fans would like to see Barajas  be the starting catcher, while only 20% wanted to see Thole and 15% wanted to see Santos.

Some fans disagree with the signing. One fan said,

“Santos was rated as the fifth best defensive catcher in the league last year, albeit in a small sample size. Barajas is regarded as simply average at best and he had a .258 on-base percentage last year–that’s outrageously bad. His career OBP is not much better at .284, and his career slugging is only .408. Santos could duplicate that: he’s already in camp and wouldn’t have cost us any more money.”

Another fan, with an opposing view, said,

“Santos is very inexperienced and prior to last year, he’s done nothing. Barajas throws out more base runners and is an experienced veteran behind the plate. They sign him to a minor league contract, which doesn’t necessarily mean he would be the starting catcher. He would have to earn it, and competition is always a good thing to have. I just don’t trust Santos. Plus, besides Barajas’ awful OBP last year, he’s had above a .290 the past four seasons.”

Now heading into Opening Day, Rod Barajas has won the starting catcher position with Henry Blanco as his back-up.

Omir Santos is not happy with the decision and is asking to be traded. Mets are looking to deal him for a relief pitcher. The Cleveland Indians seem to have some interest in him.

Josh Thole has been sent to the minors to work on improving his defensive skills. “I feel like Rod was the best person for the job,” Thole said. “I’m going to try and improve my defense and try to add more power to my swing while I’m down here. I look forward to working with Chris Coste–he has a lot of knowledge he could pass onto me. As far as 2011 is concerned, I’m looking to become the New York Mets starting catcher.”

Howard Johnson is trying to work with Barajas in order to get him to take more pitches. To start the season, he will be hitting the eighth hole, behind Angel Pagan.

The NL East best pitcher, Johan Santana said, ”Rod really knows what he is doing behind the plate. He calls a great game and you really have confidence he’s not going to let any balls get by him. He’s really handling this pitching staff well.”

As far as hitting in Citi Field, Barajas said, “This is a big park, no doubt about it. But I can hit the ball out of here–I think all of us can. Last year was a fluke, in my opinion. We have potential to have four or five hitters with 20 or more homers in our line-up.”

Besides Santos, the team seems really happy to have Barajas aboard. Only time will tell if the Mets made the right decision signing Barajas and letting Santos go.