The Mets signed former Rockies catcher Yorvit Torrealba to a three-year, $14.4 million contract yesterday. Paul LoDuca, the Mets' (now former) catcher, Brooklyn native, and fan favorite, was not even offered a deal.
Am I the only one who feels like the Mets are suddenly a very mediocre team? I mean, in July, August of 2006, we were watching the development of Wright and Reyes, a cornerstone of the franchise for the next ten to fifteen years, and giddy with anticipation for the playoff run. That was only fifteen months ago. When 2006 fell short (swing at the fucking curveball you idiot! what? oh, sorry. flashback), they played uninspired baseball for virtually all of 2007 (after going 32-17 to start the year, they were a .496 club for the rest of the season), folded in September, and the only noteworthy off-season move that has followed was to dismiss the lone inspiring player on the team.
LoDuca catches flack from management for being too outspoken, for criticizing Willie, and for being too "surly" (he does get thrown out of too many games, but that's why people love him . . . . that's why he is an inspiring guy to have on the team), and I don't understand it. The Mets have always been too focused on this kind of thing, and it haunts them (see, e.g., David Cone, Jeff Kent, Carl Everett (who, in fairness, was a complete lunatic), etc.).
I usually bristle when people criticize Minaya for signing players with a Hispanic background, because I think the vast majority of his deals have been for the best player, period. I am struggling with this one, though. Torrealba is a bit younger, yes, but he is no improvement on offense (arguably a downgrade), and he is certainly nothing special behind the plate. He does have a reputation for being a "gritty" guy, but we already have one of those. I am really baffled by this move.
I hope I am wrong, and maybe this is just lingering malaise from a dreadful collapse, but this team does not excite me yet for 2008.