Next up in our player year in review series is catcher Anthony Recker. Recker, a career minor leaguer, was plucked off waivers by the Mets last October after a brief, 9 game stint with the Cubs. With John Buck set to start the season behind the dish, and Travis D’Arnaud waiting in the wings, the 30 year old Recker was only expected to be on the team until Travis D’Arnaud was promoted at the end of April or May.
How He Handled The Bat:
Thanks to yet another injury by D’arnaud, Recker actually spent virtually the entire season in the majors and performed adequately for a backup catcher. His .215 average and .280 OBP were nothing to write home about, but he provided a modicum of power of power to this slap hitting lineup. He slugged .400, leading to a .175 ISO (Isolated Power) and his six home runs in 135 at bats was one more than all Mets catchers hit in 2012, in 561 combined at bats. Sabemetricly, his 0.6 offensive WAR was decent for a backup catcher, but it was more than any Mets catcher had last year.
How He Handled The Glove:
Recker was a passable receiver behind the plate, providing little positive or negative value there in 2013. His caught stealing percentage was 21%, lower than the 28% league average, but considering he caught only 38 games, the sample size is rather small. Pitchers didn’t seem to have any difficulty throwing to him and fangraphs rated him as being worth 1.3 runs on defense.
Projected Role in 2014
With Travis D’arnaud having such a lengthy injury history, GM Sandy Alderson has stated his intention to acquire an established veteran starter to serve as backup. In that likely event, Recker will likely serve as the third string catcher next year and play most of the season in AAA. If Alderson fails to sign or acquire a veteran, Recker is the best available backup currently under team control for 2014.
Contract Status and Trade Rumors
A thirty year old journeyman catcher with only 201 career at bats, Recker has just about as little trade value as any player in New York. With just over a year of service time, he can be retained for 2014 at just over the league minimum, but its possible he could fall victim to a 40 man roster crunch come next week. The Mets currently have 8 men on the 60 day disabled list who have to be re-added to the 40 man roster, but the team only has 4 spots available, meaning at least 4 players will have to be designated for assignment come the end of the World Series. Recker is a possible candidate, and its unclear if he would clear waivers once designated.