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Is Thole the answer?

In case you missed it, Rod Barajas was claimed by the Dodgers and Josh Thole is the Mets new full-time catcher. 

Baraja' departure is addition by subtraction, but what has Thole really done to believe he can handle the job long range? In 40 games, he is batting . 289 with one home run and nine runs battted in.

Barajas had 11 homers and 30 RBIs in his first 41 games before he fell apart.  In six minor league seasons, covering 450 games, Thole had 10 homers and 179 RBIs. That breaks down to about three homers and 59 RBIs over a big league season. That says soft hitter, regardless of his ability to handle pitchers. It is also unacceptable to hide a powerless  catcher in a largely punchless lineup. He may project to be a Paul Lo Duca-type hitter. 

The initial endorsement for Thole comes from manager Jerry Manuel, whose future with the Mets appears down to about six weeks. 

But the apparent youth movement signals a big switch from last winter, when the Mets were ready to throw big money at free agent catcher Bengie Molina.



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