Ever since Sandy Alderson all but confirmed that Travis d’Arnaud would be coming up for a cameo when John Buck went on paternity leave, there has been obsession over when Buck’s wife (who’s now nearly two weeks overdue) would give birth. It’s taken on a life of its own on Twitter, and has been pretty entertaining. Lost in the shuffle here, is the fact that d’Arnaud should’ve already been called up, regardless of the Buck situation.
It’s been written here, there, and everywhere that d’Arnaud was big league ready during the middle of last season. He injured his knee last year sliding into second base (he didn’t require surgery), and suffered a fluke injury in the middle of April when a foul ball broke a bone in his foot while he was behind the plate.
After rehabbing from his injury, d’Arnaud has gone from the GCL to AA Binghamton to AAA Las Vegas. He’s playing nearly every day, is healthy, and is producing.
The 24 year old was one of the centerpieces (along with Noah Syndergaard) in the deal that sent R.A. Dickey to Toronto. He’s viewed by everyone in and out of the Mets organization as their catcher of the future – someone who will hit for power and average while providing solid defense behind the plate to go along with tremendous intangibles.
So, why is his arrival contingent on when John Buck’s wife goes into labor? And why would the team call him up for three days just to send him right back down? The team’s line of thinking here simply doesn’t make sense.
Barring injury, Travis d’Arnaud will break camp with the Mets as their starting catcher in 2014. It’s August 13th, and it would benefit both d’Arnaud and the Mets for his exposure to the majors to start now. Instead, he’s being held back. As of now, even when d’Arnaud comes up for Buck, it’ll only be for a brief cameo. The plan would then be for the Mets to call d’Arnaud back up when rosters expand on September 1st.
Will an additional 60 or so at bats and catching a dozen extra games at the big league level make or break d’Arnaud’s 2014 season or his career? No. However, there’s no solid reason why d’Arnaud shouldn’t be getting those at bats and additional experience with the Mets’ pitchers.
In order for the Mets to promote d’Arnaud now and keep him up for the rest of the season, they’d have to send Anthony Recker to AAA for 18 days. The current plan, is delaying d’Arnaud’s arrival while tying it to the birth of John Buck’s baby, only to send him right back to AAA once Buck returns from his three day paternity leave. The Mets should reverse course and promote d’Arnaud now. It’s time.