Can we stop talking about Carlos Beltran’s knee surgery for just a minute? Bengie Molina is far from the best catcher in baseball, but he was clearly the best on the free agent market. And with 20 home runs and 80 RBIs last season, he was a significant upgrade from anyone the Mets had or were likely to get.
For weeks now, it’s practically been assumed that Bengie was going to be a Met. Now he’s re-signed with his old team, the San Francisco Giants, who flat out said just a few short months ago that they didn’t want him back. (“That ship has sailed,” Giants GM Brian Sabean told reporters during the winter meetings.)
Now, there are contradictory reports going around, the first that the Mets were “reluctant” to offer Molina a two-year contract, and the second that Molina rejected the Mets two-year offer and may have gone back to his old team for less money.
The only report that really matters, though, is the one that will explain to us how Omar Minaya could have let this debacle happen. Molina was dissatisfied with the Giants and was there to be had. How is it possible that the Mets, so desperate to acquire first rate free agents, would not have given a potential starting catcher a multi-year contract and a significant pay raise? Actually, there is one more significant question to be asked: does the failure to land Molina halt the momentum the Mets gained by signing Jason Bay? Only if they fail to come up with someone else as good or better as Molina, and right now there’s no indication of where such a catcher will come from.