Josh Thole has been the Mets’ primary catcher for almost two whole years now.
So, it begs the question: Where does Thole stand in the Mets’ long term plans at catcher moving forward?
Let’s call a spade a spade. Thole is at best an average catcher with no discernible skills that separate himself from the pack either offensively or defensively.
As of August 8, Thole was sporting a mediocre .259/.314/.321 line. His career slash mark (.271/.340/.346) is slightly better than the numbers he is posting this year, but nonetheless it is still hardly awe-inspiring.
Thole is also a feeble 5-33 in his last ten games with just two runs batted in.
By now, we all thought Thole would start to emerge as a reliable contact hitter who could go gap to gap and at least give the Mets a presence in the lineup at catcher. However, Thole has regressed and is seemingly not playing with a lot of confidence out there.
Thole has no pop, is not great behind the plate and lately he is not even hitting for contact.
Granted, his season struggles could be attributed to a concussion he suffered earlier in the season at Philadelphia. In fact, Thole has had some missteps at the plate of late, as he has been timid in covering the plate, which had direct effect on the outcome of a game in San Diego last week.
I for one was hoping for more maturation in Thole’s game this season, especially since Thole, while not old per say, will be 26 in October. The clock is ticking on him.
With that said, Thole has some ground to make up for in the final two months. If he finishes the season staying par for the course, there is every good reason the Mets’ front office should look to the free agent market to upgrade at catcher.
With Thole, Mike Nickeas and Rob Johnson (with no one else in the minors close enough to make an impact in 2013) as the only internal options going forward, the Mets have to address this problem if Thole continues to struggle.
Thole is a decent catcher, but that’s about it. He could work in a platoon. So at the minimum, the Mets should look into acquiring a right-handed catcher with a little bit of pop (say Ramon Hernandez?) in the offseason.
Whether it’s a slump or just confidence, Thole needs to figure it out in the next two months or he could be looking a drastic role reduction come next year.
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