Mets Should Keep d’Arnaud And Plawecki

With Wilson Ramos in the fold, the Mets lineup should prove to be much improved. After all, Ramos has a 120 wRC+ since 2016, and he is coming off a year where he hit .306/.358/.487. Right away, that makes him the best right-handed bat in the Mets lineup. That caveat is he needs to be in the lineup to be that.

As we saw with Ramos last year, he is an injury prone player. Part of that comes with the position, and part of that is just being Ramos. In his career, he has dealt with a number of injuries including a torn ACL. His career high in games caught is 131, and generally speaking, he has been under that.

Based upon early reports, the Mets appear set to go with Travis d’Arnaud as his backup catcher. On the one hand you can understand the rationale. When healthy, d’Arnaud is a productive player, and he has shown more in the Major Leagues than Kevin Plawecki. However, d’Arnaud is never healthy.

With Ramos and d’Arnaud as your catching tandem, you could very well have a repeat of last season where the Mets leaned far too heavily upon Jose Lobaton and Tomas Nido than they ever should. The team was actually better for the very poor production they received from Devin Mesoraco. Accordingly, the Mets are going to need more depth than just Nido in Triple-A.

As a result, the Mets should really consider carrying all three catchers on their Major League roster next season.

For starters, it makes sense because you cannot quite be sure when d’Arnaud will be fully ready to resume catching duties. After all, he did have Tommy John surgery last year, and he has not had a full season to recover. Even if you believe he is the much better backup option, keeping Plawecki allows you to have d’Arnaud return when he’s ready.

It also allows the Mets to use one of the three catchers as a pinch hitter in any game. As we have seen time and again, managers are loathe to go to their backup catcher to pinch hit even in those instances when they are the best pinch hitter available. If you have a rally going, you would now feel more free to allow Ramos, d’Arnaud, or even Plawecki pinch hit when needed in a game. There is real value in that.

Carrying the three catchers also permits the Mets to really go forward with their idea of using d’Arnaud at more than just catcher. As Anthony DiComo of reported, the Mets believe d’Arnaud has the athleticism to play first, third, and left. He certainly has the athleticism, and we have seem glimpses of his bat. Certainly, if he returns to his 2015 form at the plate, you are going to want to find more at-bats for him.

Quite possibly, d’Arnaud can be some kind of super utility player and key bat off the bench. You allow him to be that by carrying Plawecki on the roster.

More than that, you have an opportunity to cycle three catchers behind the plate to keep them all fresh and healthy. You don’t have to go to the depths of Patrick Mazeika or worse if there is an injury. By keeping all three, you are building depth and opening up more options for how to handle both your roster and late game situations.

Mostly, you are insulating yourself from the known risk of injury from your top two catchers. When that is a known risk, and you are an organization with the injury track record the Mets have, you need to insulate yourself from as much of that risk as possible. Keeping Plawecki does that.

3 thoughts on “Mets Should Keep d’Arnaud And Plawecki”

  1. oldbackstop says:

    Let’s whiteboard this, ignoring our personal love of these guys. Let’s call them Dagwood and Paulie.

    Dagwood in entering his Age 30 season. He is only about 4 months younger than Ramos. If he is on the roster Opening Day we owe him $3.7 mil. If we cut him in spring training we owe him next to nothing. He has never played first, third or OF in the majors, not one game. He is one of the most notorious injury-prone players in franchise history. In six seasons he has grand totaled 2.1 WAR at a .712 OPS. He has declined in his CS% the past six years, to a career of 21% against a league average of 28%, and is coming off major surgery on his throwing arm.

    Paulie batted .210 in 2018. His career average is .218. He is .179 pinch hitting in his career. He has been below league average in CS% every year of his career, He was ranked 101 out of 117 in 2018 among qualifying catchers in pitch framing. He has never played the outfield or any infield position except five games at first base.

    If we signed one of these guys to be Ramos backup, everybody would say we were out of our minds.

    Hell, I’d rather give Mesoraco a minor league contract. I like the way he took charge on the field last year. He’s only 30, a former All Star, has better slashes than D’Arnaud, better CS%…..what are you going to say, he’s injury prone? lol…

    1. metsdaddy says:

      Mesoraco is terrible

      1. oldbackstop says:

        Well, nice three word retort, but D’Arnaud and Plawecki are terriblER, by literally every offensive and defensive stat.

        The Mets gave up 134 stolen bases last year. The second most team in the NL gave up 102. If you’ll recall 2017, Rene Rivera was made Syndergaard’s personal catcher because Travis and Plawecki were getting stomped all over. Off the bench as second string? Mesoraco hit 10 HRs in 203 at bats, a percentage exceeded by the following Mets:

        Okay, forget Mesoraco, throw a rock, a dozen catchers are out there that can hit .225 with pop and throw out 25%. Lucroy, Maldonado, Rivera, Hundley, there are a dozen or more available last time I looked. Spotrac has the most valuable as Grandal. Second? Mesoraco.

        The simple reality is exactly what I said….if the Mets didn’t have T&P, and picked up some noodle armed guys with Travis’ injury and Plawecki’s .210 ba offense and rock bottom framing ranking, we’d say they were nuts.

        These guys are what Parcell’s called “coach killers”….good enough to hang around, but not good enough to win. Realmuto is a champion catcher, but we all know you can depend on catchers today for maybe 75 percent of a teams starts.

        Want more proof? You couldn’t give them away for a full soda machine, that’s what the league thinks of them.

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