Reese Kaplan -- Can't Catch a Break


Welcome to part 5 of the 11 part series on the 2017 New York Mets roster (assuming the choices exist among the existing personnel in the majors and minors).  Today we'll take a look at who shall don the tools of ignorance, a position which has been pretty much in flux ever since Mike Piazza departed Shea Stadium.

How bad has it been?  Let me read you a roster of catchers who have been the primary starters for the Mets since the Hall of Famer left:

  • Paul Lo Duca
  • Brian Schneider
  • Omir Santos
  • Rod Barajas
  • Josh Thole
  • John Buck
  • Travis d'Arnaud
  • Kevin Plawecki

This list doesn't even consider the myriad of second, third and nth string catchers paid by the Mets:

  • Ramon Castro
  • Mike DeFelice
  • Kelly Stinnett
  • Eli Marrero
  • Sandy Alomar
  • Robinson Cancel
  • Raul Casonova
  • Gustavo Molina
  • Henry Blanco
  • Mike Nickeas
  • Kelly Shoppach
  • Rob Johnson
  • Anthony Recker
  • Juan Centeno
  • Taylor Teagarden
  • Johnny Monell
  • Rene Rivera

None of them have the substance of a John Stearns or Gary Carter or Todd Hundley, to say nothing of a Mike Piazza.  Apparently the club toyed with the idea of obtaining former Milwaukee backstop Jonathan Lucroy, so dissatisfied they were with the health and productivity from Travis d'Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki.

Rene Rivera

There is a school of thought that suggests catching is purely a defensive position.  Anything you get offensively is a cherry on top.  Rene Rivera is a good example of this approach.  He is hitting a pedestrian .221 but has provided 5 HRs and 24 RBIs in only 164 ABs.  If there was sufficient offense from the rest of the team, you could live with that kind of production given his greater success handling various members of the starting rotation.  Unfortunately the club is facing question marks at 1B, 2B, 3B and CF, so unless addressed it would seem they don't necessarily have that luxury.

Travis d'Arnaud

It's understandable why the club would be frustrated with d'Arnaud.  He's had injuries throughout his minor league and major league career that curtailed his ability to play regularly.  He's shown flashes of offensive productivity with line drive and home run power.  However, he's been up for over 950 ABs already.  His 162 game average is intriguing -- .246/18/60 -- but not overwhelming.  From a catcher it would put him in the upper echelon of offense.  It's not Buster Posey but it's far better than most others provide.  Given the potential for what he could do in a full 162 game season with strong health it may be premature to bail on the 27 year old.

Kevin Plawecki

After two dismal major league stints, Kevin was banished to Las Vegas where he turned back into the type of hitter that progressed steadily up the ladder.  He finished the year strongly, with a stat line of .300/8/40 in just 190 ABs.  Granted, these numbers are PCL-inflated, but perhaps he's over the sinus condition that affected his breathing and equilibrium.  He doesn't seem like an ideal solution either as his track record has been spotty in the majors but, like d'Arnaud, it may have been impacted by his health.

My Prediction

The Mets will take a serious look at Wilson Ramos assuming he departs at the season's end as a free agent.  He eclipses d'Arnaud's production but to some extent you may be robbing Peter to pay Paul.  Ramos has had his own injury issues but has remained productive despite them.  One of Plawecki or d'Arnaud is likely on the move.


Thomas Brennan said...

A very sad state of affairs for the Mets boys wearing masks. Things brightened considerably last night when Travis picked up his 15th RBI in his quest to have as many RBI as Gary Sanchez has homers...early morning sarcasm.

Too bad batting champ fro the FSL Tomas Nido wasn't a year further along, but he is not.

Can't spend $$ on everything...Cespedes first, and I do not have an issue with keeping TDA, Plawecki, and Rivera for the start of next year if we keep Cespy. Maybe TDA or Plaw rebound, and Rivera can remain the back up. If not, fix this mid-2017.

Thomas Brennan said...

Enjoy your tip, Mr. Kaplan.

Mack's Mets © 2012