As a prospect, Mets catcher Travis d’Arnaud was initially very highly regarded.
Originally, d’Arnaud was drafted by the NL East rival Phillies who went on to include him in a trade to the Toronto Blue Jays in a deal for Cy Young winner Roy Halladay, and a few seasons later, the Blue Jays traded to the Mets along with Noah Syndergaard in a deal for 2012 Cy Young winner RA Dickey.
Mets fans, had high hopes for d’Arnaud when he first joined the team, myself included. Some expected him to be the second coming of Mike Piazza, and would finally supply the Mets with offense at catcher, a position the team had struggled with in recent years.
However, d’Arnaud suffered an injury in 2013 before his initial call up, delaying it until August of that year, and limiting his rookie season to just 31 games, where he batted .202 with a .286 OBP with 1 home run and 5 RBI.
While many still held out that he would eventually develop into the player the Mets envisioned when they first drafted him, as his rookie year foreshadowed, injuries and inconsistent wound up being a trend for the majority of his major league career.
Since 2014, d’Arnaud has only played in 366 out of 810 potential games with the Mets, including missing all but four games last season due to undergoing Tommy John Surgery, and his lifetime major league batting average is only .245.
This past offseason, the Mets signed free agent catcher Wilson Ramos to a two-year contract, signaling that the Mets are finally ready to move on from d’Arnaud as the starting catcher.
The Mets also have Devin Mesoraco returning to the team on a minor league deal as insurance in case New York does part ways with d’Arnaud, or if he was not ready in time for opening day.
Despite his struggles, d’Arnaud still has some value and could be a tempting option for another team still in need of a catcher. As for potential buyers, the Marlins and Orioles both lack depth and experience at the position of catcher and be interesting in acquiring d’Arnaud’s services.
For the 2019 season, d’Arnaud will be owed $3.52 million and will be a free agent after this season. His salary isn’t terrible, but it could be worthwhile for the Mets to unload it and free up the money for any future acquisitions.
Personally, I think moving him might be best for both sides. If would give Travis a fresh start with a new team where he once again has a chance to be a starter, and for the Mets, it frees up some salary and allows them more flexibility to improve the team in other areas.
The Mets were able to get two minor leagues in a trade for Kevin Plawecki with Cleveland earlier this offseason, so I imagine they would be able to get a similar return for d’Arnaud as well, in which case they should definitely move him.