The case for Bobby Wilson

Yeah, I can’t believe I’m making it either: Bobby Wilson is a 29-year-old backup catcher recently non-tendered by the Blue Jays. His career OPS is below the Ordonez Line. He doesn’t hit for much power and he’s never stolen a base. His offensive upside is, to put it kindly, very limited.

Here's what Bobby Wilson looks like. But unlike nearly everybody not named David Wright on the Mets’ current roster, he can hit lefties a little. Wilson’s got a .770 career OPS in the split, showing far more patience and power against southpaws — though it’s a puny sample. He’s hardly Kelly Shoppach or Ronny Paulino, but by pretty much all accounts the Mets aren’t interested in returning either of those catchers. And Wilson has been, for his career, far better against left-handed pitching than switch-hitting Jarrod Saltalamacchia and right-handed Matt Treanor, both of whom have been much better against right-handed pitchers in their careers.

Wilson also comes with a stellar defensive reputation, and the numbers — what few we have on catcher defense — back it up. Despite logging only 501 2/3 innings behind the plate in 2012, he ranked 10th of 116 catchers on the Getting Blanked Catcher Defense Ratings . And Wilson has thrown out baserunners at a slightly above average rate for his career.

It’s not optimal, obviously. But optimally the Mets would have buckets of money to throw around and could have made a run at Mike Napoli without hamstringing themselves for the long haul. And this assumes Wilson won’t cost much this offseason, what with his being a non-tendered backup catcher with a career .593 OPS.

But a platoon of Wilson and Thole, if they could both muster their career norms in the corresponding platoon splits, would give the Mets about a .720 OPS from their catchers. That’d be enough to put them right around the middle of the pack in the National League.

Naturally, that requires Thole to bounce back a bit and Wilson to maintain his small-sample split against lefties. And, again, it’s not like Bobby Wilson is going to come to Flushing and turn into an All-Star. But it seems like a way better plan than giving up anything of value for Saltalamacchia or J.P. Arencibia, or signing Treanor.

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