With the signing of Rod Barajas, it appears the Mets have a new starter set behind the plate for the 2010 season. Rumor has it that Barajas will make $1MM guaranteed with another $1MM in easily obtained incentives. Earlier this winter Bengie Molina signed a 1 year, $4.5MM contract with the San Francisco Giants. The Mets were praised by some (fans) and blasted by others (media) for not upping their offer to obtain the veteran backstop.
I thought it might be fun (/statistics junkie) to compare and rank Barajas and Molina as well as Brian Schneider, whom the Mets are replacing at the position. The comparisons are solely of an offensive nature and do not take into account fielding or running like molasses (except perhaps in runs scored). Barajas is supposed to be an excellent fielding catcher, but then again – the same was rumored about Schneider, and we all know how that turned out.
The comparison/ranking chart is featured below, but I’ll quickly run through the basics first. I only used the last three seasons, then took a total of the three using weighted averages for OBP, SLG, and OPS, while calculating the average number of HR/RBI/R/SO per 135 games played. I don’t know how many games Barajas will start this season, but 135 seems reasonable. I would risk to the lower side (110-120?), but it doesn’t really matter in this instance. Anyway, in most of the categories Molina came out first and Schneider came out last, with Barajas in the middle. Considering that Barajas will get paid less than half of what Molina makes this season, this move just makes sense for the Mets. Schneider signed for two seasons with the Phillies, as a backup, and will most likely make a bit less than Bajaras per year. Adding in Barajas’ supposedly solid defense, it just seems like the Mets were far better off paying him $1-2MM than paying Molina $5MM. But please make your own judgment and post it in the comments!