Catcher Travis d’Arnaud may have played his last game with the New York Mets. Facing Tommy John Surgery, the once-promising backstop is a likely non-tender candidate at season’s end.
Things didn’t work out too well for Travis d’Arnaud during his time with the New York Mets. Originally acquired in the R.A. Dickey trade which also landed them Noah Syndergaard, expectations were through the roof for him early on.
Inconsistent hitting and consistently poor defense limited him throughout his time with the Mets. Sadly, he may never get a chance to redeem himself.
A torn UCL could mean the end of the road for d’Arnaud in Queens. The road back from his Tommy John Surgery is a long one. Based on his performance, I don’t see the Mets waiting it out.
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Through 1469 plate appearances with the Mets, d’Arnaud hit only .245/.306/.406. His best season came in 2015 when he played in only 67 games. That year, d’Arnaud hit 12 home runs and drove in 41 runs in the limited action he saw. Most impressive was the .268/.340/.485 slash line which demolishes what he did in any season before or after.
A career hampered by injuries, d’Arnaud has become best known for his inability to throw out base runners. This was never more apparent than in 2017 when he was successful only 17% of the time. For his career, he’s at only 21% compared to the rest of the league’s average at 28%.
If not for the bad play behind the plate, the Mets may have overlooked his below-average offensive totals. After all, a catcher hitting slightly below .250 with an OBP hovering around .300 isn’t so bad if he can save his pitchers some aggravation. d’Arnaud did anything but. The lack of defensive abilities has hurt the Mets far more than his bat ever helped them.
When d’Arnaud does return to action, someone will surely take a chance on him. Catchers of his caliber are still rare, as weak as he may seem at times. Whether he has to sign a minor league deal first before reaching the majors is too far out into the future.
Who becomes the Mets catcher of the future?
This does set up for an interesting scenario for the Mets moving forward. Kevin Plawecki and Jose Lobaton are the two veterans they have in the organization. The former could have a resurgence and blossom late. However, this is highly unlikely.
Prospect Tomas Nido looks at best to help the Mets out as an old-school defense-first type catcher. His bat has a lot of catching up to do.
If the Mets do choose to non-tender d’Arnaud, they will have options in free agency next year as well as trades. The trade market is tougher to predict, but free agency will offer them a chance to sign noted catchers like Yasmani Grandal, Jonathan Lucroy, Wilson Ramos, or Matt Wieters. Interestingly enough, Wieters has gone through his own Tommy John Surgery in the past. Though not the same player he once was, he has played well at times since.
The d’Arnaud era in New York possibly over, the Mets need to prepare for the next phase behind the plate.
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As for d’Arnaud, let’s wish him the best in his recovery and hope he doesn’t sign with a rival and hurt the Mets regularly.