Why the Mets don't win ... part (lost count)

Rod Barajas is due to join the Mets tonight. And while no official move has been made, one report already indicates Fernando Martinez is the one headed to Triple-A Buffalo.

Whether or not that materializes, the mere fact the Mets will carry three catchers is absurd. It's now essentially a 23-man team, because the third catcher probably sees as much action as Oliver Perez going forward, no?

Let's acknowledge that Barajas could not be placed on waivers until he was activated from the DL, so perhaps there's an outside chance he'll be claimed by someone in the coming days who needs another catcher down the stretch for a playoff run.

But can the Mets just acknowledge they're not in a race? Can they stop handicapping the manager in terms of in-game maneuvering by supplying all one-dimensional players on the bench? And can the Mets concentrate on prepping the young players for 2011 who actually have a chance to be with the team?

Let's not pretend Martinez was performing great. Let's also acknowledge he's no longer viewed as an elite prospect. Still, how about giving him meaningful at-bats in August so that maybe, just maybe, he's not getting his feet wet in April against major league pitching when the games presumably will count more.

If you accept that Martinez is going down, then you have a bench of two backup catchers, defensively limited Chris Carter and Mike Hessman, and Luis Castillo. (I originally listed Jeff Francoeur, but he'd move back to everyday right fielder if Martinez is gone, with Carter and Hessman the backups.)


And, of course, if you have three catchers, that has to chip into rookie Josh Thole's playing time some, unless Barajas is just going to whither on the bench.

This season is already lost. Why make it harder to succeed next season already?