Paul Lo Duca‘s contract is up after this season. As you may recall, Lo Duca’s reps brought up the idea of an extension at the Winter Meetings in January, but the Mets didn’t want to discuss it yet. Lo Duca, 35, makes $6.25MM this season.
We know catchers don’t age well; there’s a decent chance Lo Duca tanks in 2008 (if not this year). PECOTA might throw him another $5-6MM for ’08, but that’s about it. The Mets are right to hesitate.
Assuming they cut him loose, they could look internally for their new backstop. Ramon Castro might be able to start, or at least serve in a platoon. Castro, 31, has hit a respectable .247/.328/.440 with 15 HR as a Met in 352 ABs. But while Lo Duca has gotten a lot of grief in the New York papers, it’s Castro with the true blemish on his record. It didn’t stop the Mets from signing him initially though; such offenses are often ignored by teams.
Interestingly, Castro could back up Ivan Rodriguez for a second time if the Mets sign him this offseason. Castro was behind Pudge in ’03 for the Marlins. Earlier this week, though, I predicted that the Tigers will exercise Pudge’s $13MM option, if not extend him even further.
The two legitimate free agent options for the Mets appear to be Michael Barrett and Jorge Posada. Barrett is five years younger, and could post his best season in 2007. Plus, the Cubs haven’t really made any effort to extend his contract. Jason Kendall will be out there as well, and he’d probably take a shorter-term deal.