The LA Dodgers (63-62) and the New York Mets (62-62) are not going anywhere this year, but that didn’t stop the Dodgers from claiming catcher Rod Barajas, whom the Mets had put on waivers. The Mets got cash in the deal and called up outfielder Jesus Feliciano from AAA Buffalo to take Barajas’s place on the roster.
The deal makes sense for LA because Russell Martin is out for the season with a hip injury. Manager Joe Torre had been using veteran Brad Ausmus
and rookie A.J. Ellis behind the plate in Martin’s absence, but this move indicates how well that was working out.
This Mets fan is sorry to see Barajas go. He got off to a really good start with the Mets this season, but his bat turned cold and then he went on the 15-day DL at the end of July. Since returning, he has looked sluggish at the plate and in the field, but the big positive with Barajas is his fantastic presence and team spirit.
As he said goodbye in the clubhouse yesterday, it was obvious that he was well liked by manager Jerry Manuel and his fellow players. No doubt a few Mets players were wishing they were going with him. Since the All-Star break, the Mets are 14-22, and moves like this one – and the release of Alex Cora, another extremely popular player in the clubhouse, on August 7 – must be seen as a message that 2010 is another lost season for the Mets.
Barajas is an overall good guy and deserves a shot at playing every day, which it seems he will get to do in LA. Barajas brings 12 homers and a .225 batting average with him to the Dodgers, but the most important thing is his winning attitude. Torre certainly got lucky to get Barajas, who will become a free agent at the end of this season.
The Mets seem very intent on letting rookie Josh Thole spend the bulk of the time behind the plate. All along, it looked like next season would have been his turn, but now he gets his shot at being the everyday catcher.
Thole looks very good thus far in the limited opportunities he has had (1 homer, 9 RBI, and .292 average), and his defense and handling of pitchers has greatly improved since spring training. It’s no surprise the Mets resisted using him for any flashy trades at the July 31 trading deadline. It would seem that Thole is the Mets’ catcher of the future.
And that future starts right now.