Source: Mets handle catching from within

December, 6, 2011
12/06/11
5:47
PM ET
Rather than pursue a righty-hitting free-agent catcher, the Mets resolved Tuesday to handle that position from within and use the money that might be devoted to that position to add to the pot available for pitching.

Josh Thole would be the lefty-hitting starter, which is straightforward.

Defensive-oriented Mike Nickeas very well could be the righty-hitting complement. Still, a team insider insisted the organization has not resolved to non-tender Ronny Paulino at the Dec. 12 deadline.

There is widespread organization disappointment with Paulino's lack of following of pitching game plans, but team officials nonetheless aren't yet committed to tossing him aside, a team official said, partly out of concern for whether Nickeas can hit at the level to be a full-season major leaguer.

Paulino made $1.35 million last season and is eligible for arbitation.

Free-agent catchers include Josh Bard, Ramon Castro, Ivan Rodriguez, Kelly Shoppach and Jason Varitek.

The Mets presumably would employ catchers with at least limited major league experience at Triple-A Buffalo as a hedge.
Adam Rubin has covered the Mets since 2003. He's a graduate of Mepham High School on Long Island and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He joined ESPNNewYork after spending 10 years at the New York Daily News.
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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Bartolo Colon
WINS ERA SO IP
14 4.02 143 190
OTHER LEADERS
BAD. Murphy .298
HRL. Duda 28
RBIL. Duda 86
RD. Murphy 76
OPSL. Duda .827
ERAZ. Wheeler 3.49
SOZ. Wheeler 180