Lost in the fray of numerous trade rumors is that the New York Mets face a legitimate issue at the catcher position.The past several weeks for the New York Mets have been dominated by speculation about who gets traded and how the team can make an immediate turnaround towards contending in 2018. However, lost in the trade rumor hysteria, is the issue of catcher. If the Mets want to contend next season, getting better behind the plate is an area of much-needed improvement.
Let’s be honest–Travis d’Arnaud has not become the player the Mets envisioned. He’s been injury prone, inconsistent offensively and has less than impressed defensively. At age 28 and in his fourth full season, he simply hasn’t shown signs of progression.
He has not played more than 108 games in a single season and also has not posted a WAR higher than replacement level (2.0) in any of his five total professional seasons. A WAR over 1.0 has been achieved just once while he has thrown out just 28% of would be base stealers for his career.
Playing devil’s advocate for a minute, he has handled himself in a professional manner and has never (at least publicly) made any controversial comments about a teammate, coach, etc. Still, baseball is a business and there’s a chance that in his second year of arbitration eligibility, the Mets could non-tender him and purse other options.
Tomas Nido is the Mets best catching prospect, appearing in the Future’s Game earlier this month. Already having advanced to AA Binghamton, he could be ready for big league action by 2019.
There are plenty of stop gap options the Mets could pursue over the winter. Alex Avila, Nick Hundley, Miguel Montero and Kurt Suzuki are some several names that could be had inexpensively and provide a veteran presence until Nido is deemed ready. There are other options, though.
It’s entirely possible that the Mets find themselves as contenders next season which means the Amazins’ could pursue the best catcher on the free agent market in Jonathan Lucroy. He comes with his risks, entering his age 32 season next year and showing signs of decline.
After a strong 2016 campaign, in which he slashed .292 with 24 homers and 81 RBIs, he’s batted a mere .241 in hitter friendly Texas this season. A multi year contract given to an aging catcher would be as classic a Mets move as one could think of, but the risk could pay off should he regain his 2016 form.
Though current conversation mostly involves what will happen to Addison Reed, Lucas Duda, Asdrubal Cabrera and Jay Bruce, it won’t be long before the New York Mets have to address their catching situation.