Mets: Travis d’Arnaud must become an unstoppable force to become a movable object
By Tim Boyle
If the New York Mets plan to shop Travis d’Arnaud at any point this season, the immovable object will first need to become an unstoppable force on the field.
A bigger shock than the offseason trade with the Seattle Mariners or how few dollars the New York Mets were able to pay All-Star catcher Wilson Ramos was the franchise’s decision to tender a contract to Travis d’Arnaud. It’s not uncommon to see a new regime take over in the front office and watch as they clean house. Though there were major changes with this roster, d’Arnaud managed to survive as a Met for at least a little longer.
The Mets may still decide to move on from d’Arnaud and can do so easily by releasing him this spring. It would cost them a portion of his salary. However, if you believe he’ll end up on the disabled list for a lengthy period, they’re actually saving money.
There are other ways, of course, to move on from d’Arnaud. The trade market isn’t a promising one. However, as the Mets know all too well, there are always players going down with injuries.
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Kansas City Royals catcher Salvador Perez has already suffered a potential season-ending injury. In another situation, perhaps they would consider a deal for d’Arnaud. Because no one expects them to contend and they can certainly still sign a free agent or pick up a trade candidate with a smaller salary, they aren’t a very good fit.
The only situation trade situation that would work is if d’Arnaud ends up with an organization with the belief they can contend. While I’m doubtful anyone would view him as a starter, he could help an organization overcome an unexpected injury or simply improve the backup role.
Oddly enough, one of the weakest catcher cores belongs to the Cleveland Indians. This is the organization the Mets dealt Kevin Plawecki to over the offseason. Aside from Plawecki, they have Roberto Perez and his career .205 batting average. Could they actually be honest suitors for d’Arnaud?
I would have to imagine free agent Martin Maldonado may make more sense in Cleveland. The defensive-first backstop could work well with their elite pitching staff while being surrounded by some great offensive players. I’m curious why they bothered trading Yan Gomes to the Washington Nationals if not for having a solution.
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d’Arnaud is coming off of Tommy John Surgery and will carry a career .245/.306/.406 slash line with him into the 2019 campaign. It’s nothing remarkable by any stretch. Moving him is a challenge. And unfortunately, it’s one I don’t think too many teams would be willing to take on.