Travis d’Arnaud

Mets 2019 Starting Lineup As It Stands Today

With Brodie Van Wagenen being announced as the new Mets General Manager tomorrow, his work begins immediately.  Right now, Jose Reyes, Devin Mesoraco, Jerry Blevins, Austin Jackson, and Jose Lobaton are free agents.  With eight more players listed on the 60 day disabled list (Eric Hanhold, Rafael Montero, Bobby Wahl, Travis d’Arnaud, Phillip Evans, T.J. Rivera, Yoenis Cespedes, and Juan Lagares), the team needs to cut at least three players by Friday.

More than that, Van Wagenen will be entasked in improving the roster into a 2019 World Series contender.  Here is Van Wagenen’s starting point:

C – Kevin Plawecki
1B – Jay Bruce
2B – Jeff McNeil
3B – Todd Frazier
SS – Amed Rosario
LF – Michael Conforto
CF – Juan Lagares
RF – Brandon Nimmo

Certainly, the Mets are set in the middle infield and the corner outfield spots.  Obviously, Yasmani Grandal would be a significant addition to both the lineup and in the pitch framing department.  Even if not Grandal, the catching position seems to be a real target to upgrade either on the free agent market, where real upgrades are limited, or on the trade front, where there are a number of rebuilding teams who could move a catcher (Buster Posey?).

As for the other positions, the Mets are going to have to move a player/contract.  If the Mets really want to significantly upgrade this roster, the team is going to have to find a way to move Bruce, Frazier, or both.  That not only opens room for a significant addition, but it also means the team will have some extra money on the budget to improve the roster.

In the end, there is real talent here, but talent which needs to be surrounded by the right players.  Ideally, that is at least one right-handed power bat to balance out a lineup which already balances out Conforto, Nimmo, and McNeil.  When doing that, Van Wagenen will need to buttress this group by building a strong bench, which is something which has not been done since the trade deadline maneuvers in the 2015 season.

Dodgers Won 2015 NLDS War

Back in 2015, the Mets somehow held onto a Game 5 and series clinching win against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Despite having nothing, Jacob deGrom kept the Dodgers to two runs over six innings. That was more than enough as Daniel Murphy took over that game in what was one of the truly great postseason games a player has ever had.

He’d double home the first run of the game in the first off Zack Greinke. On a fourth inning walk to Lucas Duda, Murphy went first to third against a shifted and lackadaisical Dodgers infield allowing him to score the tying run on a Travis d’Arnaud sacrifice fly.

The big blow came in the sixth when Murphy hit the go-ahead homer putting the Mets up 3-2.

After a scoreless sixth, it was Noah Syndergaard with a scoreless seventh followed by Jeurys Familia recording the six out save to send the Mets to the NLCS and eventually the World Series.

At the time, the Mets seemed to be the young team on the rise. In addition to deGrom, Syndergaard, and Familia, the team had Matt Harvey, Michael Conforto, Steven Matz, and eventually Zack Wheeler again.

The team also had a highly rated farm system, albeit one they raided for this one with a myriad of trades including Michael Fulmer and Luis Cessa for Yoenis Cespedes.

In 2016, both teams returned to the postseason. The Mets captured the top Wild Card spot only to be shut out by Madison Bumgarner and the San Francisco Giants. That year, the Dodgers would lose in the NLCS to the eventual World Series winning Chicago Cubs (two years later and that sentence still seems bizarre).

After that, the Mets have had consecutive losing seasons while the Dodgers have gone to back-to-back World Series. Why?

Well, for starters, the Dodgers build a deep team with a deep bench. They do not have top heavy rosters which crumble when there is one injury. For example, Clayton Kershaw has not thrown over 175.0 innings in a season since that NLDS, and yet, the Dodgers remain a great team.

Also, while the Mets are off purging the Murphys and Justin Turners of the world, the Dodgers are finding them. In addition to Turner, we have also seen Chris Taylor and Max Muncy figure things out in Los Angeles.

The Dodgers are also not afraid to take risks or trust their young players. Gone from the 2015 team are Howie Kendrick, Adrian Gonzalez, Andre Ethier, and Jimmy Rollins. Instead, the Dodgers have players like Cody Bellinger.

For the Mets part, well, Adrian Gonzalez was their Opening Day first baseman.

Mostly, the separation has been financial. The Dodgers ownership has been willing and motivated to keep this championship window as open as possible, and they have with the largest payroll in baseball.

Looking between the 2015 NLDS and 2018 NLCS, Turner, Joc Pederson, and Yasmani Grandal were the only players in both starting lineups. Pederson and Grandal are still under 30.

On the pitching front, Kershaw, Pedro Baez, Alex Wood, and Kenley Jansen were the only pitchers to pitch in both series.

The Dodgers are not just a financial juggernaut, but they are also a supremely well run organization. This is a complete opposite of what the Mets have been, and judging from their current GM search, will continue to be.

This is all why the Dodgers are competing for World Series while the Mets are once again also-rans.

2018 Mets Season Ends On A Sad Note

Perhaps more than any season, there is a sense of sadness which washed upon me when the 2018 season ended.  Perhaps, it was because my father is another year older, and I have yet to truly experience the Mets winning the World Series with him.  Maybe it is because my son follows the game a little bit more and he is starting to become attached to some players, and those players are up in limbo.

There is the sadness with David Wright leaving.  He was the most beloved Mets player in history, and he was arguably the best position player this organization has ever produced.  He was a Met for his entire career, and he ended his career the right way – on the field.  Unfortunately, that career did not end with him winning a World Series.

Past Wright, there are question marks about some other players.  Is this the last time Wilmer Flores ever wore a Mets uniform?  Are we just waiting for him to shed tears when he is wearing another team’s uniform?  Could we have already seen the last of Travis d’Arnaud?  How about Juan Lagares?  With him in the last year of his deal, he is certainly more tradeable, and there should be savvy teams lining up to acquire his defense.  Is he just destined to go somewhere else where the will be able to finally put it all together?  Will a new General Manager come in and opt to start a rebuild that would likely begin with trading Jacob deGrom?

Honestly, will Yoenis Cespedes ever be able to play again?  He has only had one of the two heel surgeries he needed.  Whenever you see a report on him, no one seems to be able to pinpoint a date he can play next year.  At some point, you have to question if he will ever really be able to play.  That seems like such a big departure from the larger than life figure he has been since joining the Mets.

Really, when you look around the 2015 Mets team we loved so dearly has been slowly trickling away.  Matt Harvey and Jeurys Familia were traded away this year.  Addison Reed, Lucas Dudaand Curtis Granderson were traded away last season.  Juan Uribe, Kelly Johnson, and Daniel Murphy are distant memories.  Bartolo Colon is off making goofy barbecue ads in Texas.  Sandy Alderson, the man who orchestrated it all, “took a leave of absence” because he is battling cancer.

What we have left is good, really good.  We have seen Brandon Nimmo be the player the Mets hoped he would be when he was drafted.  After concerns about his shoulder, Michael Conforto was once again Michael Conforto in the second half.  Amed Rosario figured things out in the second half of the season, and Jeff McNeil seemingly came out of nowhere.

We watched deGrom reach a level we never thought possible making him a sure Cy Young award winner.  Zack Wheeler went from enigma to ace.  Steven Matz actually made 30 starts.  Finally, Noah Syndergaard seemed to return to form as the season drew to a close.  This is reminiscent of the pitching of 2015, pitching which led the Mets to a World Series.

Looking at it, the Mets had the best ERA in the majors in the second half (2.97), and they had the best record in the division in the second half (38-30).  When you combine the finish with the start, you can see there is a World Series contender somewhere in the fabric of that clubhouse.  In order for that to happen, the Wilpons are going to have to go out there and get the pieces necessary to put this team over the top.  If they were to do so, it would be the first time since they signed Pedro Martinez and Carlos Beltran in 2005, and added Billy Wagner and Carlos Delgado the subsequent offseason.

Making bold moves like that to this core WILL put this team over the top, especially since Mickey Callaway and his staff grew during the season and showed they can be a coaching staff who can win you a World Series.

There’s a hesitation there.  After Madoff, no Mets fan can really be assured this team is going to make the bold moves they need to take this roster over the top.  Whatever hope you had was dashed when Jeff Wilpon told us all it was really Sandy Alderson who refused to spend and limited the size of the analytics department.

Thinking back, you realize this is partially why Wright retired without a ring.  Sure, the Shea Stadium days were different.  The Mets did add the aforementioned players, and they did make the Johan Santana trade.  But after that?  Well, it was Madoff and always finding themselves one or two players short.  After all, the Mets traded for Kelly Johnson in consecutive seasons partially because the team believed Eric Campbell, and his major league minimum salary, was part of the solution.

In the end, this is a really likeable team.  Watching Nimmo, Conforto, Rosario, deGrom, Syndergaard, Seth Lugo, and the rest of this Mets team, you can’t help but like and root for these guys.  They are what makes being a Mets fan great.  We don’t want to see deGrom, who looks to take up Wright’s mantle as the next great Mets player, leave Flushing without a ring.  That can’t happen.

In the end, the ending of the 2018 season was a sad one.  Hopefully, that sadness will quickly subside as the Mets go forth and seize the opportunity that is here.  Hopefully, the 2019 season is going to be the year we finally see the Mets win another World Series.  I hope so because I don’t know how many more opportunities I’ll have to celebrate it with all of my loved ones.

deGrom Can’t Beat Giants, Umpire, and His Catcher

With each start he makes, it becomes readily apparent if Jacob deGrom wins the Cy Young this season, he is going to do so with the lowest win total ever compiled by a starting pitcher.  Looking at his stats, you really have no idea how he could be just 8-8.  However, if you watched yesterday’s game, you know exactly why his record is that poor.

To no one’s surprise, deGrom began the game matching zeros with Madison Bumgarner in the first two innings.  However, the Giants would break through in the third.

After Steven Duggar earned a leadoff walk, he would steal second.  Devin Mesoraco would get out of his croutch slower than an old man reaching for a walker, and he would make a lollipop throw to second Travis d’Arnaud thought was bad.  Duggar found himself on third after a Joe Panik groundout, and he would score when Mesoraco just missed a pitch, which would go back to the backstop.

Now, Home Plate Umpire Tony Randazzo was horrendous on the day, but despite Mesoraco’s complaints otherwise, Evan Longoria did not foul tip that ball.  No, Mesoraco, who is showing himself to be a really poor catcher, flat out missed it.  Mesoraco also failed to frame any number of pitches which would aid Randazzo in being a horrendous umpire.

The key call came in the fourth inning.  With two outs and a runner on, deGrom threw an 0-2 pitch which led everyone in the ballpark to believe Nick Hundley just struck out looking:

Perhaps because he was frustrated, deGrom would walk Hundley, and then he would allow an RBI double to Bumgarner.  At that point, it was 2-0 Giants, and with Bumgarner pitching, there was little to no hope the Mets would win this one.

Overall, this was an off-day for deGrom as he needed 108 pitches to get through six innings, and he would have a season high four walks.  Of course, these struggles are indicative of just how great deGrom has been all season.  In fact, a struggling deGrom limited the Giants to two runs (one earned) on four hits while he striking out 10.

As good as he was, Bumgarner was more dominant against a Mets lineup which featured Jeff McNeil batting sixth and Michael Conforto batting eighth.

The Mets would not even threaten Bumgarner until the fourth.  There were two and two out, and McNeil hit a hard liner, but it was right at Panik.

It seemed as if the Mets may finally break through and get deGrom off the hook in the seventh.  Todd Frazier led off the inning with a homer making him the first ever Met to homer off Bumgarner at Citi Field.  Jose Bautista would get hit by a pitch, and McNeil would single.  The rally would sputter as Kevin Plawecki, who had come on for an injured Mesoarco in the sixth, hit into a 6-4-3 double play.

That brought up Conforto.  He battled back from 1-2 to draw a full count in a nine pitch at-bat.  On the ninth pitch, Bumgarner beat Conforto inside with a well placed fastball to end the rally. Given how Gary Cohen, Keith Hernandez, and Ron Darling were harping on the false narrative Bumgarner ruined Conforto’s 2016 season, we should see more of the same for any poor play Conforto makes the rest of the year.

In the bottom of the ninth, the Mets had a chance to rally back from 3-1 against Tony Watson, who they had already gotten to in the series.  The only problem was Tony Randazzo wasn’t going to have any of it.

It appeared Wilmer Flores drew a four pitch walk to start the ninth.  Instead, Randazzo called an obvious ball a strike.  Flores then went the other way as he has been doing so well lately only to line it directly at Panik.  Like with deGrom earlier in the game, Flores had some choice remarks for Randazzo, who, again, was terrible.

The game would come down to McNeil, who both Randazzo and the third base umpire ruled did not check his swing leading the Mets and perhaps more importantly deGrom to a loss.  Looking at this game, you really see just how much deGrom has working against him as he tries to win games.  Ultimately, if he does not win the Cy Young, there should be a line of people offering apologies.  On that line, we should see Mesoraco and Randazzo.

Game Notes: Dominic Smith sat against Bumgarner the day after hitting a home run.  The Mets are now 19-41 in games Mesoraco has played.

Mets Players Weekend Nickname Alternates

Last year, Player’s weekend was a hit as fans got to see their favorite players wear fun jerseys featuring their nicknames on the back of their jerseys.  Believe it or not, some of those were nicknames were rejected for various reasons.

For example, Brandon Nimmo wanted to use his Twitter handle, You Found Nimmo, but MLB was afraid of copyright issues.  When it came to Kyle Seager, he wanted to go with “Corey’s Better.”  With that rejected, he paid homage to his brother Corey Seager by merely noting on his jersey he was “Corey’s Brother.”

Well, the Mets officially approved Player’s Weekend nicknames and jerseys have been released.  However, as noted with Nimmo, there were other names the players wanted which were rejected by MLB:

Tyler BashlorMickey, I’m Available To Pitch

Jose BautistaTrade Value Going, Going, Gone!

Jerry BlevinsOne Magic LOOGY

Jay BruceJason Bay

Michael Conforto – Shouldering The Load

Travis d’Arnaud – d’L

Jacob deGromFewest Wins 4 Cy Young Winner

Phillip EvansDFA TBA

Wilmer Flores – 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻

Todd Frazier Regrets, I’ve Joined The Mets

Robert GsellmanDon’t Care What You Think

Luis GuillormeAssistant to the Regional Manager

Austin Jackson2019 Opening Day CF

Juan LagaresOut For The Season

Seth Lugo – Quarterrican (That’s perfection; you don’t mess with that)

Steven MatzNot So Strong Island

Jeff McNeil2B/3B/OF

Devin Mesoraco – Harvey’s Better

Brandon Nimmo – Don’t Worry, Be Happy

Corey OswaltVargas (figured it was the only way he would get a start)

Kevin Plawecki – Plawful

Jose ReyesMelaza Virus

Jacob RhameStay (Refers to his roster spot and glasses)

Amed Rosario – Mentor Wanted

Paul Sewald AAAAll Star

Dominic SmithWaist And Future Gone

Drew SmithMickey, I’m Available To Pitch (Yes, it’s a repeat of Bashlor.  They’re trying to prove a point.)

Anthony SwarzakStill Just One Good Season

Noah Syndergaard 60’6″ Away

Jason Vargas$16 Million Dollar Man

Bobby Wahl After All, I’m Your . . .

Zack WheelerFinally Good

David Wright – Hurts Here Doc

Thank You Jeurys Familia

When looking at the 2015 Mets, none of it was possible, none of it, without Jeurys Familia.

After an impressive rookie campaign, Familia was pressed into closer duty because Jenrry Mejia got hurt in his first appearance of the season (he’d get suspended later). Familia was great in the role at a time the Mets desperately needed it.

With injuries to players like David Wright, Travis d’Arnaud, and Michael Cuddyer injured or on the DL, the Mets offense was horrendous. Complicating matters was the lack of a bridge to Familia.

This led to Familia going to the whip more than any other closer. He pitched more innings and finished more games more than any other closer. It proved to be good practice for the postseason.

In that epic five game series, Familia cane up huge.

He went 1.1 innings to preserve the Jacob deGrom Game One gem. He would join deGrom and Daniel Murphy as a Game 5 hero by sending the Mets to the NLCS with a six out save.

He once again helped the Mets set the tone in Game One of the NLCS. He took over for Matt Harvey in the eighth, and he would pitch the final 1.1 innings to earn the save.

Familia would not just save three of the four games of the Mets sweep of the Cubs, he would save five of the Mets seven postseason victories leading up to the World Series.

In doing so, Familia had a 0.00 ERA, 0.414 WHIP, and batters were hitting just .065/.121/.065 against him.

Like the regular season, the Mets handed him zero margin of error, and he was dominant carrying the Mets to the precipice of the promised land.

Unfortunately, Alex Gordon guessed right, Daniel Murphy had one go under his glove, and Lucas Duda threw one away.

Coupled with Conor Gillaspie in next year’s National League Wild Card Game, a narrative was born. It was a narrative not befitting a closer with a 2.30 ERA with a and a 0.638 WHIP.

Lost in all of that is just how dominant Familia was as a Met.

In 2015-2016, no closer pitched more than Familia. He was the leader in appearances, innings, games finished, and saves. Stretching back to 2014, there was only one other reliever with more innings pitched than him.

Looking at it, it’s flat out bizarre Familia’s name never really was mentioned as among the elite closers in the game. Fact is, Familia not only belonged in that group, but considering his workload and ability to navigate through that margin of error, you could make an argument he was the best closer in the game.

In his time with the Mets, he set the single season saves record. Despite closing for fewer seasons than anyone else in the top 5, Familia is third all-time in Mets history in saves.

Even with Familia being unfairly blamed for the Mets coming up short in 2015 and 2016, the Mets come nowhere near either postseason without Familia. Certainly, 2015, seemingly the one nice thing Mets fans seemed to have since Citi Field opened, isn’t even a figment in anyone’s imagination without Familia.

Over the past couple of years, we saw cracks in Familia from workload and hone issues. His absence was felt in a bullpen that has largely been a disaster in his absence.

Looking back at it, Familia was a great Met who helped deliver some of the best moments in Mets history in nearly three decades. His dominance in the back end of the pen will be missed.

Overall, thank you to Familia for the run and best of luck to you in Oakland.

Kevin Plawecki Better Than You Think

For some reasons, Mets fans become fixated on players from other teams, and there is a constant call for the team to acquire those players at all cost. In recent years, one of those players has been Jonathan Lucroy.

Last night, Lucroy made Luis Castillo‘s gaffe not even worth mentioning. In the bottom of the 11th with one out and runners at first and second, Alex Bregman hit a ball right in front of home plate. Lucroy pouned on it, missed the tag, dropped the ball, and then threw it into Bregman’s back. As the ball rolled into right field, Kyle Tucker scored the winning run.

No, it’s not fair to judge Lucroy from one play, but it does merit looking a little deeper into his stats. On the season, Lucroy is hitting .245/.298/.318. Since 2017, he’s hitting .257/.328/.352 with a 79 wRC+.

Simply put, Lucroy isn’t the player Mets fans think he is, not anymore. The same rings true for Kevin Plawecki.

In 2015 and 2016, Plawecki just was not a good baseball player. Rushed to the majors due to Travis d’Arnaud injuries, Plawecki hit .211/.287/.285 in the two year stretch which equated to a 59 wRC+.

If you want to expand it further to the first two months of the 2017 season where he was again thrown into the majors due to a d’Arnaud injury, Plawecki started his career hitting .206/.282/.272 with a 55 wRC+.

At 26 years old, Mets fans had seen more than enough, and they were not only too happy to label him a bust, but they have also been quite upfront about being done with him.

Well, after being sent down in May 2017, Plawecki FINALLY received consistent playing time, and he got to put the work in at Triple-A he needed to do for the past two-and-a-half years. The guy who couldn’t hit was suddenly hitting .338/.386/.529 since his demotion. With Rene Rivera being released, it was as good a time as ever to see if Plawecki was for real.

Well, since August 19, 2017, his first game since being recalled again, Plawecki has been hitting .256/.378/.417. Really, this is much improved from his play to start his career. Digging deeper into the numbers, he’s been much more impressive than you could actually believe.

In this time frame, Plawecki ranks third in wRC+ among catchers. That puts him ahead of catchers like Buster Posey, J.T. Realmuto, and Gary Sanchez.

Now, you may believe each one of the aforementioned catchers are better than Plawecki, and when you assert that belief, there are going to be very few if anyone who dares contradict you. However, making this argument completely misses the point.

The point is Plawecki is continually showing himself to no longer the catcher from 2015 to the first few months of 2017 who had no business being in the Major Leagues. Regardless of where you want to rank him among MLB catchers, one thing is increasingly clear – Plawecki has the bat to play the position.

Also, given his historical pitch framing numbers, he has the ability to be an everyday catcher at the Major League level. Saying differently ignores the progress he has made over the past year and asserts personal biases built up after the terrible start to his career.

 

Cabrera Fell Back to Earth

After his epic run at the end of the 2015 season, it is understandable how many view Yoenis Cespedes as the driving force of this Mets team.  However, if you look at the past few seasons, the person who has really been at the forefront of the Mets peaks and valleys has been Asdrubal Cabrera.

Looking over the past few seasons, Cabrera never really did get the credit Cespedes received for his propelling the Mets to the postseason in 2016.  Consider from August 19th until the end of the 2016 season, he hit .345/.406/.635 with 11 doubles, a triple, 10 homers, and 29 RBI.  Really, looking at that decimated team who was looking for an everyday second baseman at they entered September, it was Cabrera who carried that team to the postseason.

As the 2018 season began, it was once again Cabrera who was the driving force of this Mets team.

In April, Cabrera hit .340/.393/.580 with nine doubles, five homers, and 17 RBI.  For a Mets team who was in first place, Cabrera was in the all too early conversation for National League MVP.

That’s not a stretch either as Cabrera’s hot bat masked much of what was wrong with the Mets.  The Mets were winning despite Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard being the only Mets starters who would give the team credible starts.  Amed Rosario was struggling along with Cespedes, Jay Bruce, and countless other Mets.  The teams two catchers, Travis d’Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki went down with injuries, and they were replaced by an underwhelming duo of Jose Lobaton and Tomas Nido.

Through all of it, Cabrera got big hit after big hit after big hit, and the Mets were 17-9, and they led the Braves by 1.5 games in the National League East, and they lead the Nationals by 4.5 games.

Since that time, we have seen Cabrera get nicked up on more than one occasion, have seen his play fall off of a cliff, and we have seen the Mets go 10-21 while plummeting to fourth in the standings.

Since May 1st, Cabrera is hitting .252/.282/.445 with six doubles, a triple, five homers, and 17 RBI.  These are more befitting a hitter towards the end of the lineup than the second place hitter Cabrera has been for this team.

Cabrera isn’t just struggling at the plate.  He’s struggling mightily in the field as well.  In fact, with a -11 DRS, Cabrera is the worst defensive second baseman in all of baseball.  Expanding the worldview a bit more, Cabrera’s -11 DRS ranks worst among all Major League infielders.

Simply put, Cabrera is not hitting or fielding right now.  In a season where the was the driving force who bailed the Mets out of a number of situations, he has become one of the many liabilities on this team.

No, the current state of the Mets cannot be pinned on Cabrera. There are far more issues than his recent play.  However, when he struggles like this, with Cespedes on the disabled list, and Michael Conforto still trying to get back to form, you no longer have a bat in the lineup who can carry this Mets team and help mask some of those other issues.

The Mets Hate The Irish

Well, maybe hate isn’t the right word, but it could be fair to say that Irish Mets fans do not get the same amount of respect that other Mets fans of different nationalities receive.  Certainly, there is enough evidence to suggest this is the case.  For example, there is the Mets Irish Heritage Night at Citi Field on Friday, August 3rd, which comes complete with this t-shirt:

Well, there is a lot wrong with this.  First and foremost, that’s a four leaf clover, not a shamrock.  Really, it takes a simple Google search to realize the four leaf clover is not an Irish symbol.  The shamrock, which has deeper religious meanings to Irish Catholics is an official symbol of Ireland.

But don’t worry, you won’t see a lot of these t-shirts strewn about Citi Field that day because this is a special giveaway you can only obtain if you purchase a ticket through the website and get a special voucher.  Otherwise, you and everyone else parading through the ballpark will be donning your 70s style New York Mets t-shirt.

This goes much further than just their refusal to get a basic symbol of Ireland correct.

Are you one of the many Irish Mets fans who have an apostrophe in your name?  Do you want to get a personalized jersey for you or your kids?  Not happening as the Mets and MLB will not personalize jerseys with an apostrophe, which is really bizarre when you consider the Mets have a Travis d’Arnaud, who is a player with an apostrophe in his name.

If you want to dig deeper, you will remember the Mets outright refusal to bring back 2015 NLCS MVP Daniel Murphy, and their choosing to DFA Irish born P.J. Conlon instead of Jose Reyes, who has been the worst player in baseball this year, or Marcos Molina, who has regressed in every areas of his game this year and has just one option remaining after this season.

Overall, you can be sure the Mets will say they don’t hate the Irish.  That may be true, but on the same hand, they treat them with such little regard that they get their symbols wrong, and they don’t produce fan gear with apostrophes.  For some reason, because this is against the Irish, it will be okay and overlooked.

Catching Competition Begins Anew

As the Mets opened the 2018 season, there was supposed to be a catching competition, or at least a time sharing between Kevin Plawecki and Travis d’Arnaud.  This situation was created because both catchers had failed to do anything to truly claim the job as their own, but they had shown flashes which gave your confidence either or both could figure it out this year.

Then, in one week, both players would suffer injuries.  With respect to d’Arnaud, it was a season ending injury requiring Tommy John surgery.  For Plawecki, it was a broken hand resulting from getting hit by a Tayron Guerrero fastball.

From there, the Mets had to turn to the tandem of Tomas Nido and Jose Lobaton.  Neither one of these players would Wally Pipp Plawecki as they and the Mets struggled.  With their play behind the plate, and with Plawecki not healing as quick as the team hoped, it was time to do something drastic.

That drastic move came from Matt Harvey being designated for assignment.  Now, Harvey was not designated for assignment as a means to get a catcher.  However, when he was designated, and the Mets having a small window to get a deal done, the team did all they could do to land a catcher.

The end result was Reds backup catcher and former All Star Devin Mesoraco.

After the injuries and hitting .195/.291/.318 in 316 plate attempts between 2015 and the trade, Mesoraco and the remainder of his $13.1 million salary was more than expendable for the Reds.  In many ways, getting a broken down player who could no replicate his prior success due to extensive injuries was the perfect return for Harvey.

In some ways,. Mesoraco has revitalized the Mets.  He has worked well with the pitching staff, and he has hit again.  In 15 games with the Mets, Mesoraco is hiting .261/.358/.630 with two doubles, five homers, and 10 RBI.  During telecasts, we hear Keith Hernandez dropping Mike Piazza comparisons on him.  Yes, it’s related to his back swing, but the way he has slugged in a Mets uniform, the comparisons are apt.

With Mesoraco’s emergence, things are murky again for Plawecki.  While he has not hit for power so far his year, he was handling the staff quite well before his injury, and he was getting on base with a .455 OBP.

Certainly, both catchers have made a case for why they should be the primary or starting catcher with Mesoraco likely ahead.  Yesterday, in both games of the doubleheader, both catchers made their claim for the spot.

In the first game, Mesoraco was 2-3 with two runs, a homer, and two RBI.  His homer should have proven to be a go-ahead game winning homer in the top of the ninth.

In the second game, Plawecki was 3-4 with two runs, an RBI, and a walk.  He also reached on an error meaning he reached safely in all five of his plate appearances.

There are many other factors at play including how comfortable the pitching staff is with each catcher and certainly Noah Syndergaard‘s seeming need to have a personal catcher.  Through all the stats, there is one interesting consideration.  In games Mesoraco starts, the Mets are 6-6 as opposed to being 7-1 in games Plawecki starts.

Right now, with the Mets trying to figure out the infield, bench, and back end of the starting rotation, the catching situation presents a welcome “problem” for Mickey Callaway and his staff.  Fortunately, the Mets have two good options back there – two options who have raised their game with the prospect of competition.

Let the best catcher win.