11/16/09 6:58 PM EST
Inbox: How long till Thole's a regular?
Mets beat reporter Marty Noble tackles fans' questions
By Marty Noble / MLB.com
Reading your Inbox about Adrian Gonzalez got me wondering. If you were the Mets' GM, and the Padres offered you Gonzalez for John Maine, Fernando Martinez and Ike Davis, would you do it? And more importantly, would Omar Minaya do it?
-- Alan G., Margaret, N.Y.
I certainly wouldn't dismiss the offer, and I'm sure Minaya wouldn't, either. The doubt factor in the exchange you propose lies with the Padres. I doubt they would make such an offer. Maine has definite value, but he comes with some question about his ability to make 34 starts in a season. At this juncture, Davis is what Martinez was two years ago -- an unqualified prospect, though the nature of every prospect is that he hasn't done it yet.
And right now, Martinez is closer to becoming another Alex Escobar than an Alex Rodriguez.
Many folks within and outside the Mets organization believe Davis is the real deal, providing power, left-handed run production and smooth defense. The sense of Martinez isn't so positive. He is merely 21, but the injuries that have interrupted his development and his unremarkable performance in his first big league tour have raised questions.
If the Padres were to make that offer, they would have to be confident in one and probably two of the three. I'm not sure they could have that confidence. Legitimate left-handed power is a rare commodity, and its makes a difference -- see Ryan Howard, Hideki Matsui, Carlos Delgado, Darryl Strawberry, et al. And imagine how much David Wright would benefit from seeing more left-handed pitchers. Moreover, Gonzalez would bring soft hands, two Gold Gloves and a resume that includes 130 home runs -- the sixth most by a left-handed hitter in the past four years -- and 400 RBIs.
From the Mets' standpoint, their concerns seemingly would involve Gonzalez's comfort playing somewhere other than his home town. He did play parts of two seasons, 2004 and '05, with the Rangers. But San Diego has great appeal. It would be difficult to feel as comfortable in Queens as in San Diego for almost anyone. See Tony Gwynn. How Gonzalez's power might play at Citi Field seemingly wouldn't be a concern. He had two hits in 10 at-bats at Citi -- they came in the first series played there, in April -- and both were home runs. And he hit more at PETCO Park, 12, than any Mets player hit in any park. And PETCO hardly is a home run haven.
The Mets might have a preference for developing their own talent, and I wouldn't quarrel with that. There is a beneficial aspect to that. But if the organization intends to be contender in 2010, a trade for Gonzalez with those three players and perhaps more would be one to consider seriously.
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There seems to be a prevailing attitude among Mets fans that just because Josh Thole can average 33 hits per 100 at-bats at Double-A, he can be ready for the big leagues by the end of next season, even though we saw his receiving skills were clearly lacking. Is this reasonable? How much time for improvement do you think his defense needs? When do you think he should be brought up (either an estimate or what you would look at to know)? When do you think the Mets will actually call him up?
-- Brian P., Setauket, N.Y.
I'd be surprised if Thole were not returned to the big leagues in September, but not before then unless a desperate need develops. A left-handed-hitting catcher who makes contact has some appeal. But receiving and overall defense are his primary duties. If I made the decisions, he would catch as often as physically possible at Double-A or Triple-A next season after spending Spring Training in big league camp. And he should essentially live with Sandy Alomar Jr. and make himself a sponge.
Assessment would be made after the 2010 season. But I believe catchers, in particular, ought to be over-ready to play in the big leagues.
What do you think about this trade? Jose Reyes, Luis Castillo, Oliver Perez and Omir Santos to the Angels for Erik Aybar, Gary Mathews Jr., Ervin Santana and Jeff Mathis?
- Gary L., New York, N.Y.
How about Perez for the rights to Albie Peason?
What do you think the chances of the Mets going after Jason Marquis, Joel Pineiro, Marcus Thames, Brad Penny and Bengie Molina? The signings look like a good and not-too-expensive way for the Mets to go. By the way I am a Yankees fan, but I want the Mets also to do well in the future.
-- Joe H., Jersey City, N.J.
I'm glad you disclosed your real allegiance. I like Pineiro and Marquis in that order, and I know the Mets are interested in Molina. Any one of the three would be an upgrade, especially either pitcher if he were to displace Perez in the rotation.
Do you think it would be a good idea to bring in Mark DeRosa as a super-sub type? He plays pretty much anywhere. He can hit, plays smart and is just an all around really good player.
- Josh N., Prattville, Ala.
DeRosa would be a beneficial addition. But I believe the club first must fill the vacancies among its first 15 players -- eight regulars, five starters, a closer and a setup man. That means a power-hitter, probably for left field; a catcher, a No. 2 starter and a setup reliever. If they can't bring back Alex Cora, De Rosa would an even better fit.
I understand annoying Yankees fans like Arnold T. (previous Inbox) are like a splinter in your foot. But to imply that the fans have no part in a championship is absurd. While we may not be on the roster, we shell our hard earned money to go to the games, buy merchandise to support our teams. If we all turned our backs on the game MLB would turn into the XFL.
No fans equals no revenue. Without the fans there is no championship. I understand as a beat reporter that you have to be somewhat impartial but to suggest that fans have no share in a championship is ridiculous. Maybe you have forgotten what it's like to be a fan, a fan who loves his team, a diehard. It's insulting to hear such a dismissive attitude to a fan enjoying a championship of a team he spends his time and money on.
Well, without us paying, none of you guys would be anything either.
-- Mark V., Flushing, N.Y.
Mark, you make some good points. In my position, impartiality is required, and as a result, I have no first-hand exposure to fans other than occasional conversations in Spring Training, at the ballpark or where I get my car serviced. And whether, as you say, the Mets are out of touch with their fans, has no bearing on me.
Just the same, my remarks were intended for Arnold T., whose "we kicked the Phillies butts" was a tad over the top to me. I feel about what he wrote last week -- and the week before -- how I felt when Cole Hamels shot his mouth off last December. Enjoy winning with some class, the way Joe Girardi did and Joe Torre before him.
What I wrote to Arnold was not intended to say fans have no place or bearing in the game, but rather that the Yankees' disposal of the Phillies ought not be included on his personal resume. Some civility instead of chest-beating would be appreciated. Arnold needs to be a little kinder, gentler and happier about his team's success and lose some of the sore-winner attitude.
And I do find it odd that he wrote to me with such vitriol when other recent e-mails I've received have characterized me as a Yankees fan and others have chastized me for not being pro-Mets.