Apr 28, 2012; Toronto, ON, Canada; Fans of the Toronto Blue Jays display a Canadian flag with a Blue Jays logo during their game against the Seattle Mariners at the Rogers Centre. The Blue Jays beat the Mariners 7-0. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-US PRESSWIRE

Mets Potential Trade Target: Travis d'Arnaud

Well, here we are; a day after looking at how J.P. Arencibia could be a fit for the Mets in 2013 and beyond at catcher, today we’ll see what prospect Travis d’Arnaud could do for teams looking to add catcher depth this winter. Although he hasn’t made his MLB debut, d’Arnaud has already made plenty of headlines in his professional career, as he was one of the players swapped between the Phillies and Blue Jays when Toronto decided to deal Roy Halladay. Now, the soon-to-be 24-year-old looks ready to contribute at the highest level, and with one too many catchers on the Blue Jays roster, opposing teams are chomping at the bit to acquire a talent like this.

Selected 37th overall by the Phillies in the 2007 first-year amateur draft, the young catcher didn’t start making a name for himself until he hit .305/.367/.464 with 6 homers and 30 RBI in 64 games played between low and high Class-A ball in 2008. Despite seeing his average dip the next season to .255, d’Arnaud did drive in 71 runs in a career-high 126 games played, which landed him the honor of being ranked #81 on Baseball America’s top prospect list. He’s continued to increase his value each season, jumping to #36 prior to 2011, and was sitting at #17 before this past season.

Before tearing his PCL this past June, ending his Triple-A season prematurely, he was enjoying the best overall year of his career, posting a .333/.380/.595 line with 16 homers and 52 RBI. This was done in the Pacific Coast League, notorious for being a league dominated by hitters, but he did more of the same the year prior in Double-A, hitting .311/.371/.542 with 21 homers and 78 RBI.

d’Arnaud has had his ups and downs throughout the minor leagues, which is bound to happen, especially for a young player drafted straight out of high school; however, it looks as though he has the right amount of seasoning before getting his chance in the Majors. He’s enjoyed three seasons of hitting over .300, three seasons of 10+ homers, and three seasons of 50+ RBI, with all three of these statistical milestones happening in his last two seasons.

When I look at power potential for a young player moving forward, the most important statistic for me is the amount of doubles they hit from year-to-year. If they’re able to be consistently hitting pitches for extra bases, then there is a good chance they will develop legitimate home run power as they become fully developed as a Major Leaguer. How has d’Arnaud done in this department? He’s hit 20 or more doubles four times in his professional career, with them all coming within the last four seasons, consecutively.

The best part is, he’s not just all about the offense; although his career caught-stealing percentage is only 25%, he’s posted 30%-27%-30% rates within his last three seasons, while sporting a career fielding percentage of .990. He’s highly regarded not only in the Blue Jays organization, but in all of baseball, as it’s not often a catcher with his kind of talent makes his way through the minors, ready to make his big splash.

So, could he be a fit on the Mets? If New York couldn’t fit him into their plans, then there would be something wrong here. He’s yet another right-handed hitting catcher who can hit for power, and is under team control for the better part of the decade. However, since he has such raw talent and his ceiling for success is so high, I wouldn’t be surprised Toronto does everything they can to hold onto him and let him grow while sharing time with John Buck at the Major League level in a Blue Jay uniform, especially now that the team has a solid offensive core after the mega-deal they recently finalized.

I wouldn’t expect d’Arnaud’s name being brought up often when it comes to trade rumors because of that. Also, although he’s a highly touted prospect, he’s still an unknown commodity against MLB competition, so teams may not be as willing to give up top shelf talent for him as they would for Arencibia, who has already begun establishing himself in Toronto. When it comes down to everything, the Mets wouldn’t want to part with the types of players the Blue Jays would want in order to land d’Arnaud, but Arencibia’s price could be right for New York to make a deal. They’re rumored to be looking for a back-of-the-rotation starter for next season, and an Arencibia-for-Dillon Gee swap makes a lot of sense. That would add power to a lineup starving for some (without trading any of it away), while not depleting their starting pitching much, allowing them to explore other options for an outfield bat.

It would be nice to dream about Travis d’Arnaud, but I think that’s all us fans will get to do, as the Blue Jays should be trying to hold onto him for as long as possible.

Which catcher do you think has a better chance of being a Met next season, Travis d’Arnaud or J.P. Arencibia?


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Tags: J.P. Arencibia MLB Trade Rumors New York Mets Travis D'Arnaud

  • http://twitter.com/B0mer1c Eric Medrano

    If it had to be one of them it would be J.P. Arencibia. As mentioned Travis is yet to play at the major league level and the Mets won’t give up talent for a player who can still be called an unknown. As for J.P. it would pain me to give up Gee, but its a move I can live with. I guess it would also depend on if Toronto was asking for Gee and another player

    • vilifyingforce

      As a Jays fan I’d deal JPA for Gee. I’m happier with John Buck hitting until TDA is ready.

  • Dennis

    Um as a Jays fan, have you actually seen JPA play? Sub .280 OBP with power can be found easily. John Buck can be had for nothing in a salary dump and he is comparable to JPA… TDA legit All-Star caliber C and he tore up AA and AAA relative to JPA and he did it when he was 2 years younger too.

    • Lunchbox45

      people who don’t understand baseball would mention a catchers OBP.

      JPA is the slowest guy on the team and hits at the bottom of the order. His OBP is a useless stat because its going to take atleast 2 more hits, from your worst hitters, to bring him around.

      He’s young, made really good strides defensively and has power. . Look around the league, guys like Jeff Mathis and Ross are TERRIBLE yet are coveted because the current crop of catchers is terrible.

      half the teams in the league would love a guy like JPA to start 100 games for them

    • Steve R

      Based on this comment, I’m pretty sure it’s not Dennis who doesn’t understand baseball.

    • Lunchbox45

      tu es maricon

    • Dennis

      Yes OBP is not important at all. Sabermetrics is also a phony science made up by nerds with nothing else to do.

    • Lunchbox45

      did i say OBP doesnt matter??

      if thats you’re rebuttal to my post then you are even stupider than I originally thought.

      OBP is an important stat depending on your role within a team, leading off, batting second, OBP is the MOST important stat. If Reyes/Cabrera can get on base, you have Bautista and EE to knock them in

      But batting 8th, and being slow as molasses, OBP isnt important.

      FYI, the average OBP for a starting catcher last year was .301.. but I bet you knew that already right?

    • Dennis

      K you are an idiot and quite annoying. You can’t just disregard OBP because he bats 8th and he is slow… You know why he has a low OBP? Yes he is slow but Miggy had the highest OBP and he is slower than JP and not an “explosive athlete” like the Trouts of the world. JP has a low OBP because of his 28% K rate and 7% walk rate. Both abysmal marks regardless of position.

      JPA has a career .222 BA and .275 OBP. He has regressed from year 1 to year 2 offensively. He is “improving on D” but he is still below average. Yes he has a high SLG% of around .430 but still that puts his OPS at sub .700 which is not good. He is a below average hitter as his wRC+ of 97 is below average. Below average hitter + below average defender = slightly above replacement level. He has been worth 1.3 ffWAR annually over his career. Guess what… John Buck, who had an awful season in 2012, was worth 1.2 ffWAR. But but but JP ARENCIBIA IS THE SECOND COMING OF MIKE PIAZZA RIGHT RIGHT RIGHT?

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Josh-Winninger/508319455 Josh Winninger

      Where did Lunchbox say JP=MIke Piazza? you had me until you had invent shit to make your point sound better. You realize that below average hitter, and below average hitters who play catcher are different things right? I believe the average wrc for catchers last year was around a 93 wrc,which means JP is certainly an above average bat at the catchers position. Lunchbox is definitely painting JP asa bit mroethan he is, but to call JP replacement level and below average both defensiely and offensively as a catcher isjust plain wrong. Below aerage defensively, maybe yes, scouting reports, UZR and DRS differ on his defense quite a bit so I won’targue that point. But to say JPis below average offensively shows your lazy dim-witted analysis.

    • Dennis

      The Mike Piazza reference was simply a joke. If you get what the point I’m trying to get across, don’t be an ignorant asshole.

      Where did I say he is a below average hitting catcher? He is known as an offensively oriented catcher so if he was a below average at hitting for a catcher too he wouldn’t be starting let alone in the majors. Please learn to read. I said he is a below average hitter which means his bat won’t play anywhere except catcher (look at his wRC+ relative to starting 1B and DH) and he is not a good defensive catcher. Statistically, he is a slightly above replacement level player…why are you PMSing over that label? (he’s been worth approximately 1-1.5 WAR annually, 0 WAR is replacement level so I coined him “slightly above replacement level” which is completely fair). I referenced his value according to WAR over his career was the same as John Buck’s abysmal 2012 season. That tells you 2 things: JPA is severely overrated and John Buck if his BABIP stabilizes would be an upgrade over JPA.

      As a Jays fan, by all means trade us Wheeler or Harvey for JPA. Why would I undercut a player on my favourite team unless I’m calling it as it is?

    • vilifyingforce

      Of catchers with 300PA+ in 2012. JPA ranked 26th in OBP, 15th in SLG and 27th in WAR. And he’s below average behind the plate. He’s not even average all around, but, you knew that already didn’t you?

      And there was 19 guys who had over a 300OBP (300+PA) last season.

    • http://twitter.com/KennedyMLB KD Kennedy

      You are just an idiot…please just stop talking….OBP has nothing to do with the position you play. But nice try.> Bless Your Heart… GO put your special helmet back on

    • vilifyingforce

      The same David Ross who has a higher career OPS then JPA in either of his seasons? Mathis is at least good behind the plate and Ross has shown he can hit in limited viewings. JPA is a young John Buck.

  • Jason Potter

    The Jays already have a Dillon Gee, his name is Brett Cecil and he throws out of the pen now. come to think about it, we have a whole staff in Buffalo just like Gee. How would that trade make sense for anyone who isn’t a Mets fan?

    You don’t know AA and you don’t know the Jays if you honestly think trading essentially a ‘depth’ pitcher would result in landing JPA. This guy is the core of the pitching staff. He is a solid clubhouse leader. Do you really think that AA would go out and spend more than 26 other teams in the MLB only to trade away one of their biggest strengths? Not to mention d’Arnaud is still rehabbing the PCL and would have to spend the first 1/3 of the season in Buffalo.

    John Buck is available though. But I wouldn’t even trade him for Dillon Gee. JPA isn’t being moved until d’Arnaud is healthy and can prove his worth to the big league club.

    • Dennis

      Brett Cecil is clear bullpen arm… lit up at the major league level in 2011 and 2012. Jon Niese is superior considerably; a legitimate 3/4 SP. Given the dearth of SP available via trade, Niese will fetch MUCH MORE than Buck. In fact, an offer of Buck for Niese might be more ludicrous than a Mets’ offer of a bag of tennis balls for JPA.

  • marc114

    As Mets fan, I take either catcher although it bothers me to add a guy who can’t hit .250 to an MLB roster (J.P. Arencibia) but we do see it more and more. Not giving Niese for him as we need that lefty arm but, Gee you can have,

  • mozelpuffski

    lol Gee for JPA – that is kind of funny. Jays have a 5h starter named Happ. there is no way anyone can believe Gee is an upgrade over Happ. However Rasmus for Dickey now were talking.