Is Josh Thole the No. 1 catcher in 2011, with the Mets only in the market for an inexpensive, righty-hitting backup catcher? Sandy Alderson was noncommittal on that subject Tuesday at the GM meetings.
New York Mets
“Well, we’re looking for more catching help,” Alderson said. “It would be a little bit premature for me to make a judgment about his ability never having actually seen him play. So I’ll reserve that judgment. We’re thin there, both at the major league level and at Triple-A. So I think we will be looking for help. But I’ve heard nothing but good things about Josh. So I expect that he’s going to be a very important piece for us.”
As a follow-up, Alderson was asked if uncertainty about whether Thole is the No. 1 rules out re-signing free agent Henry Blanco as the backup, since Blanco turns 40 next season and almost assuredly would have to be a backup.
“Look, I’m not making a judgment about Thole as the No. 1 or No. 2,” Alderson replied. “Whether he plays the majority of games or not, we’re going to need additional catching help. So I think in part it’s going to depend on what I hear and what others think of Thole. And the second is going to depend on what’s available out there otherwise. But we’re very happy that we have him. Exactly what his role will be is a little undetermined. Whatever it is, we're going to need some backup.”
As for the free-agent catching market, John Buck appeared to go off the board Tuesday, with the Florida Marlins nearing a three-year, $18 million deal, according to the Associated Press.
The original free-agent list of catchers also included: Rod Barajas, Josh Bard, Gerald Laird, Jason LaRue, Victor Martinez, Chad Moeller, Bengie Molina, Miguel Olivo, A.J. Pierzynski, Yorvit Torreala, Matt Treanor, Jason Varitek and Gregg Zaun.