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Mets Should Be Looking To Bring Back Kevin Plawecki

The New York Mets are in a position where they need to build depth and improve the team, but they do not have the budget to make significant additions. This means they are in a position where they need to make smart decisions to help them improve their roster.

Specifically, the Mets have been looking for an upgrade over Tomas Nido as the backup catcher. One of the reasons why is Nido had a woeful 40 wRC+. Given his approach at the plate, there is a real debate as to how much better he could be as a hitter.

As a defensive minded backup, that’s not the worst thing in the world. However, when you break it down, while Nido does have good framing numbers, they do not appear to be strong enough to justify not looking to upgrade from him especially with him hitting like a pitcher.

When you look at the framing numbers from Baseball Savant, Nido had a strong season, but it was not as good of a year as the season Kevin Plawecki had with the Cleveland Indians. Specifically, Plawecki was stronger on the lower half of the plate where Noah Syndergaard and some of the other pitchers on the staff like Marcus Stroman, Jeurys Familia, and Edwin Diaz like to get outs.

While Plawecki has frustrated Mets fans, he has shown an ability to work with this Mets pitching staff. With the Mets, he never quite fulfilled his offensive promise, but he still walked 10.8% of the time in his last three years with the Mets, and he had a manageable 96 OPS+.

Of course, he fell apart last year with the Indians putting up his worse offensive season since his 2015 rookie year when he was rushed to the majors. Still, even if he is now a 63 wRC+ level player, that is still a considerably better hitter than Nido with better framing numbers, especially in the zones where key Mets pitchers need help.

Breaking it down, Plawecki is a considerable upgrade over Nido, and with him likely coming cheap, a reunion with the Mets makes a lot of sense.

0 thoughts on “Mets Should Be Looking To Bring Back Kevin Plawecki”

  1. Oldbackstop says:

    I’ll bet you organize your high school reunion, because you are obsessed with them.

    For some reason that eludes me, maybe some key RBIs, Plawecki got a rep with Mets fans that he was a potent bat. It doesn’t show up in his career numbers.

    Personally, I really liked the way Mesoraco ran a game. I was sorry the way it wound up for him. I guess he is done?

    1. metsdaddy says:

      As usual, a fact based argument is presented, and you counter with unsubstantiated feelings.

    2. Thomas Sangiorgi says:

      Intrigued by your comment, I looked up Mesoraco’s stats to see what he did last year only to find out that he did not play in the majors at all in 2019. He did not have stellar offensive stats with the Mets but they were better than both Nido and PLaw and I too liked the way he handled the pitchers.

      1. Oldbackstop says:

        Thanks. I think the Mets basically forced him into retirement when they wouldn’t let him shoot his way out.

  2. oldbackstop says:

    Plawecki’s “framin”defensive numbers were mediocre here in 17 and 18. They go better in
    Cleveland. Ramos numbers got worse when he came here. Yan Gomes numbers got worse when he left the Indians.

    Get it? Time and again it is shown the framing numbers are hugely staff dependent.

    Plawecki’s career slashes: Plawecki’s career slashes: .218 .304 .332 .636

    We need to add a better catcher. It is not Plawecki, that would be a false fix.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      You keep creating false framing narratives.

      In terms of what happened with the Mets, Sherlock was a terrible catching coach. When Plawecki left, he got back to the framer he was prior to Sherlock being hired.

  3. oldbackstop says:

    This might be the silliest thing you have ever getting too cute will get a bad reputation and see a vicious backlash. This is exectly what happened to the Framing God Jonathan Lucroy.. A veteran catcher’s number aren’t going to rollercoaster because one coach tells him to do this and another one subsequently says that.

    To the extent framing is at all accurate, which I highly question due to the volatility year to year, the pitching staff is huge. Maybe the farm system has an effect if it is a priority. Now you say catching coaches at the major league level can sprinkle pixie dust year to year.

    The reality is, “fooling” umps is so 2010. They all get reviewed now, and any catcher who gets too cute will get a vicious payback from the umpiring fraternity. See Jonathan Lucroy.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      From your logic, batting average, OBP, SLG, and basically every offensive star is meaningless because Lucroy’s numbers completely fell off the map the same time his framing numbers nosedived.

      1. oldbackstop says:

        And they are related how?

        At last, someone hast to reveal the framing magic!

        I was a catcher my whole life, and my son caught into college. Eight year olds know how to set up and bring the ball in to get the best calls.

        1. metsdaddy says:

          Yes, MLB is just like Little League

          1. oldbackstop says:

            Framing is BS, a hand grenade metric slapped out by Big Stat desperate for a new product. It is all over the place year to year.

            But I feel better now that you have explained that the wild swings are due to good and bad catching coaches giving pointers, and subsequently poor advice the next year, to veterans who have been squatting for 20 years.

            That makes sense.

            A coach telling Jonathan Locroy how to give a target would probably get his teeth punched out.

          2. metsdaddy says:

            You still haven’t explained why framing metrics are bs because Lucroy had a fall off, but the same principle doesn’t apply to hitting stats.

  4. Blair M. Schirmer says:

    Dealing Plawecki away right after the New Year was an early portent of how the bumbler, Wags, would run the club.

    Bad GMs are afraid of their judgment, are usually at least somewhat aware they’re in over their heads, and bag bits and pieces here and there so they can say they covered their arses. Good GMs bet on their judgment, target good players and good prospects, and have the confidence that they’ll be able to fill in around their good players. In Plawecki the Mets had a solid backup catcher who wouldn’t embarrass you if he had to start for a few weeks, and Wags dealt him away for a punchless, minor leaguer who didn’t get out of A ball until he was 24, and who couldn’t play SS, meaning… what would you possibly use him for if you brought him up? While Walker Lockett was a guy giving up more than a hit an inning in the minors, didn’t K anyone–in the minors!–and had trouble keeping the ball in the yard. But at least Wags got to make check marks on his checklist.

    Wags keeps doing this, dealing away useful talent for bits and bobs that do nothing to move the needle. He did it when he got Keon Broxton. He did it again this offseason for Marisnick. He was so bad at it in the 2018-19 offseason that he had to do it again as early as May 2019 when he had to deal away an interesting prospect for Wilmer Font, of all people.

    Plawecki. Now add in Adam Hill, Felix Valerio, Bobby Wahl, Kenedy Corona, Blake Taylor, Neraldo Catalina… and those are just some of the minor leaguers van Wagenen dealt away for filler, for backups, all of which would have been available for nothing but trivial amounts of cash in FA. Imagine all the talent the Mets have dealt away just for filler since the end of the 2018 season, and imagine it instead being packaged for, say, the best young players available in CF and at 3B.

    1. Oldbackstop says:

      Well…..I think he viewed Ramos, Diaz and Cano as impact additions, and he hit the lottery with JD. Besides, Ramos was just bad at catching because of the catching coach, I recently learned.

      I think Brodie is getting just a bit too much cr@p here. He had an 8 game improvement and we went to the brink of the WC in a very tough division and he had no budget boost to play with.

      And Wacha seems fine as a number 5. Within reason. Metsdaddy will eviscerate him in a second, of course.

      1. metsdaddy says:

        Wacha missed the postseason with a shoulder injury, his second season ending shoulder injury in four years.

        Really, there’s no basis to defend BVW

      2. Blair M. Schirmer says:

        @Oldbackstop Well, between the salary commitments + the average value of the minor league talent dealt away Wags spent a literal fortune, and overall he added 0 wins in 2019 (I counted it up. Most of the improvement was Alonso, and a full season of McNeil)–so a fair amount of crap is probably due.

        But at the same time I wouldn’t hang him just because something went wrong.
        The Broxton deal wasn’t terrible, for example. A 4 win part-timer in 800 PAs across his career? That’s not a bad pickup. The problem was that Broxton wasn’t actually backing anyone up, ie the Mets lacked a starting CFer, meaning Broxton was likely to be overexposed. And so he was. The problem, really, was (and still is) that Wags doesn’t appear to understand team construction, and that moves aren’t made in a vacuum.

        Take Wacha–if you only have 3m to spend (plus up to 7m in incentives), then sure. Why not? He might be worth it and you don’t really have much in the way of choices in that price range. But Wags now appears to have had at least 10m to spend this offseason, which brings me back to team construction. He spent 4-5m and some minor league talent on Marisnick, a backup OFer. He spent 850k+ on Brad Brach. None of those, in isolation, is a bad move, but in my view a good GM spends his 10m on one starting pitcher (which takes care of some of the innings at the back end of the pen), then fills in the backup and back of the pen slots for the minimum with good scouting and evaluation.

        For a 10m base you can get a significantly better starter than Wacha–YMMV, but that’s the route I would have gone.

        1. Oldbackstop says:

          I also had high Hope’s for Broxton. Marisnick seems like a similar trade. Defensively, I saw someplace he was rated as the 8th best centerfielder last year. And he has 30 Hrs in his last 700 ABs.

          And he was a fan favorite there. I’m hopeful he is a more impactful Lagares.

  5. oldbackstop says:

    Wacha was almost aqctivated for the playoffs because he was throwing well again.

    He has 39 starts the last two years, it isn’t like he has been Cespedes.

    We are committed to three lousy million.

    He is young than Matx. He is younger than Wheeler.

    He is a former All Star with a CAREER ERA of 3.91 (Wheeler 2019 3.96)

    What I can’t understand is how he was available at these terms.

    I mean….what the hell. I think this is an all upside deal.

    And we haven’t blown the whole budget so we can add some other pieces.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      He’s not good when he pitches, and he doesn’t pitch often because he’s injured.

      I don’t know how anyone defends this.

      1. Oldbackstop says:

        In 2018 he made 15 starts, admittedly, but he was 8-2 with a 3.20 ERA. How can you say he is not good when he pitches.

        And he had four relief appearances in the second half of 2019, so maybe he is a swingman if that is the way it breaks.

        1. metsdaddy says:

          4.22 FIP, 1.97 K/BB.

  6. oldbackstop says:

    “Brodie Van Wagenen spoke with reporters on Wednesday night at the Winter Meetings and said that the plan is to still have Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman work as starters this offseason.

    Both have been mostly used as relievers since the start of the 2018 season, with Lugo’s five starts that year being the only outliers.

    This comes after news of Michael Wacha signing with the team, which he refused to admit they had signed and even said that they hadn’t finished a deal with him at one point.

    Nonetheless, Van Wagenen went on to talk about Wacha and referred to him as a “depth starter” when talking with reporters, but said that he ideally will take the fifth spot in the rotation.”
    =============================

    So that assuaged my concern that they were just writing in Wacha and dismissing any rotation concerns. I think if they find a strong reliever, the scenario of Wacha backed by Lugo/Gsellman is not a bad place to try to get a number 5 level production there, and possibly even better.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      Wacha is the fifth starter

  7. Oldbackstop says:

    BTW, I just saw that Wacha was represented by CAA, Mets GM Brodie’s former agency. Maybe that connection finally paid off, because this was certainly on the low side of what Wacha was forecasted to get.

    If he turns out to ge valuable at the 3 mil plus incentives, at some point you will have to acknowledge that all the CAA incest chatter may have an upside too.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      Every CAA client they brought in last year was a failure

  8. Oldbackstop says:

    Wacha’s outgoing manager:

    “What you’re doing to help grow others around you in the clubhouse is important, and Michael Wacha does that in spades,” Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said. “He does it in a professional setting. He’s a manager’s dream. Because he’s a free agent, somebody is going to get a steal with this guy. This guy is a good pitcher.”

    1. metsdaddy says:

      Good, make him a coach

  9. Oldbackstop says:

    Now if they could just get Porcello.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      That would be a bad decision, so of course, the Mets did it.

  10. Oldbackstop says:

    Rather than continue to hammer you that outside influences skew framing stats, I’ll let Lucroy do it:

    ““When you look at the best framers in the game, look at the pitchers they have,” Lucroy said. “When you look at my best years look at who I had on the staff… Look at all that stuff… You’re only as good as the pitches. Being able to hold the baseball, to have strong hands, it is important. But if they [pitchers] don’t know where it’s going…”
    To emphasize the point before his locker, Lucroy reached across his body to grasp an imaginary, off-target pitch,
    “I will guarantee you whoever catches Dallas Keuchel has the best framing numbers,” Lucroy said.
    ===========

    So quit with the obsessive framing cr@p. If you want to tout Plawecki over Nido, compare their CS ratio.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      I’ll note you’re again ducking my question

      1. Oldbackstop says:

        Lucroy answered it himself!

        1. metsdaddy says:

          He answered about the offensive stats? I completely missed that.

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