Posted by Reese Kaplan at 8:00 AM
Back when the Mets executed the trade that rescued Mike Piazza from his banishment to south Florida people were ecstatic to have someone of his offensive prowess available to help the club win. However, that adulation quickly turned negative because he was not particularly adept at throwing baserunners out trying to steal.
I don’t know…if I get a guy who hits well enough to make the Hall of Fame, I was willing to overlook his defensive shortcomings. The Mets even dabbled with trying him at 1st base to relieve the strain of catching every day and to bring in a backstop with a better arm. That experiment was about as successful as was the Todd Hundley to the outfield decision.
Anyway, fast forward several years and there was a promising young catcher who racked up multiple 20 HR seasons for the Colorado Rockies before the age of 25. His name is Wilin Rosario. While no one is suggesting Rosario will ever be mistaken for Mike Piazza, the fact remains he was an offense-first catcher who was pushed off the position and had to endure the constant catcalls about his defensive game.
His career in Colorado came to a rather quick end and by age 26 he was cut loose by the Rockies who didn’t think what the arbiters wanted to pay him was good value. He wound up signing with a Korean team and in his 2016 season there all he did was hit .321 with 33 HRs and 120 RBIs. Granted, Korean baseball is not the major leagues but as many transplanted players have shown us it’s probably somewhere between AAA and the majors in terms of relative talent.
So here’s a WAY outside-the-box idea to consider…should the Mets inquire about bringing Rosario back to the majors? He earned just $1.3 million last year in Korea. He can play catcher or 1st base. He’s a right handed hitter who could help balance out a lefty-heavy lineup. He could also be an insurance policy should Travis d’Arnaud once again falter or make his annual trip to the DL. He could form part of a lefty/righty platoon at 1st base with Lucas Duda (or Jay Bruce or even Michael Conforto). He could also provide right handed power off the bench which the Mets currently don’t have unless Wilmer Flores returns to that role.
I think for less than you’ll likely pay bench pieces like Alejandro De Aza or Kelly Johnson or even Justin Ruggiano, it’s an option worth considering.