Mets Like Pudge but Need to Trim the Fat

Pedro Martinez isn't the only unemployed World Baseball Classic participant who is on the Mets radar screen. Pudge Rodriguez, currently catching for the Puerto Rican nine, has also been linked to the team. Assistant general manager Tony Bernazard made a public admission of the team's interest while speaking to Puerto Rican newspaper El Nuevo Dia, but said that the team had a logjam at the catching spot already.

"Some of us wished we could have him with us, but the truth is that we have two catchers under contract," Bernazard said.

Bernazard is also Puerto Rican, so he may have just been doing his countryman a good turn by giving an answer that doesn't make much sense. If the Mets thought that Rodriguez gave them a better chance to win than Ramon Castro or Brian Schneider, they'd find a way to get him on the roster. We're not talking about a pair of average catchers here, not the second coming of Johnny Bench.

The better question would be why anyone would think that Rodriguez would be a better choice than either of the guys they already have. He's a bigger name, certainly, but he hasn't been a decent player offensively since 2005 and his defense has been going downhill even longer than that. It's an open secret in baseball that Rodriguez's much lauded strong throwing arm is a byproduct of his refusal to call anything but fastballs with runners on base. That gives him a better chance of throwing out runners, even if it doesn't do much for the pitchers he's catching.

Those issues mean you aren't going to play him over Schneider without hurting your club, and his bat doesn't have anything on Castro's. The caveat there is that Castro needs to be healthy, but that's just as true of any player on any team. Rodriguez doesn't add anything except name value to the Mets, and they should be looking elsewhere for upgrades that will actually help them win ballgames. 

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to and in addition to his duties for

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