Ouch. The Mets officially got their off-season work underway this week by re-signing veteran Alex Cora and giving free agent catcher Chris Coste a split contract and a shot at the 2010 Mets. In the meantime they saw their own catcher, Brian Schneider, sign with the Phillies, accepting the backup job he probably should have had here all this time.
Cora, it is to be assumed, will step right back into the same No. 3 jersey he wore last season, when unexpected and especially slow-healing injuries to starting shortstop Jose Reyes thrust Cora into a full-time role he was never physically up to. Playing with one and then two sprained thumbs was admirable and gritty, but it didn’t do much to help the Mets win, which raises the question why the Mets would expect a different outcome should Reyes get hurt again. Is he even healed yet? Who knows.
Looks doubtful from here that Coste comes out of his Mets experience with fodder for another inspiring true-life bestseller, but with a decent right-handed bat and some experience playing first base, it’s not out of the realm of possiblity he helps some in 2010. At worst he could be the 2010 Robinson Cancel; much may depend on who winds up with the starting assignment behind the dish: Henry Blanco? Bengie Molina? I’d prefer a trade.
Coste wore 27 with the Phillies (and 41 more recently in Houston) but with Schneider shedding 23, he might slide in there. I’ve always felt Schneider never got enough credit for playing as poorly as he did for the Mets — his defense was less than advertised and his bat was nonexistent but for stretches of both his years here — but news accompanying his signing with the Phillies that he grew up a Phillies fan I’m sure will bring the boo-birds out upon his next visit to CitiField.