Barajas on comeback trail – now what?

Posted on August 13, 2010 by

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On Thursday, Rod Barajas began his rehab assignment from a strained oblique in the Gulf Coast League (while hitting a three-run home run) and once he is fully healthy to return to the Mets the team will have a difficult decision.

Will the Mets again roster three catchers and have Barajas, Josh Thole and Henry Blanco coexist? Or will they send the future in Thole back to Buffalo? Or will they release Blanco, or Barajas himself?

My feeling is that they will initially have all three on the roster when Barajas comes back, but soon after they will make a decision based upon on how the season is progressing.

While the Mets have broken fans hearts time and time again this year, and amid unflattering off-the field issues popping up (K-Rod’s assault issue with his father-in-law and Johan Santana’s pending civil suit against a woman who claimed he raped her), the Mets are not quite out of it.

It’s hard to fathom, but there is still a lot of baseball to be played and the Mets can make a push, with the operative word being can. If the Mets can make a push, and if Barajas, once activated, can give this team a lift he’ll stick around. His overall numbers are still mediocre (.227 AVG, 12 HR’s and 34 RBI’s) but don’t forget the fact that he carried the team in April and May delivering many clutch hits. Maybe he has one or two good months left in him.

However, by the time Barajas can come back, and they will take it slowly with the way Thole is playing, the Mets will most likely be out of it. If the season is a lost cause and the playoffs are far beyond reach, then I expect the Mets to either try and trade Barajas through waivers or outright release him after giving him a shot to see how he plays after the injury.

Blanco is really not in danger of losing his job as he is a true backup and a good defensive catcher who the staff feels comfortable with.

Thole has impressed the Mets with his hitting approach and sports a nifty .325 AVG and .417 OBP. Thole is certainly the future at catcher and, barring unforeseen circumstances in the off-season, will be the everyday catcher in 2011.

So, if the season goes south with the Mets out of it by the time Barajas is ready to contribute then there is absolutely no need to keep him on the roster as he will certainly not be with the team in 2011.

I like Barajas, who doesn’t? He’s a very likeable guy who plays hard and is a good clubhouse influence. My heart says the Mets will have something to play for and Barajas can have an impact, but my head says the Mets will be out of it and thus it’s time to go with Thole full-time.

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Posted in: Perspectives