Mets catcher Travis d’Arnaud starting in Jacob deGrom’s clunker is no coincidence
By Tim Boyle
Jacob deGrom pitched his first dud in a long time on Tuesday night at Citi Field. The biggest difference that night for the New York Mets was catcher Travis d’Arnaud was behind the plate.
In his first start of 2019, New York Mets catcher Travis d’Arnaud managed to do few things well. While he did gun down an attempted base stealer, he was the man behind the dish calling Jacob deGrom’s worst start in a very long time. Many fans want to blame him for deGrom’s poor outing. In their defense, it feels way too coincidental for him to not deserve some of it.
deGrom’s Citi Field debut included just four innings and six earned runs. He struck out three, walked one, and allowed eight hits. Among them were a pair of home runs to Minnesota Twins catcher Mitch Garver and another to Eddie Rosario. The difference, as many noted, was instead of Wilson Ramos, it was d’Arnaud doing the catching.
Last year, deGrom pitched out of his mind while mainly working with Devin Mesoraco. They did bring him back for the spring but chose to begin the year with Tomas Nido on the roster until d’Arnaud’s recent return.
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One game hardly disqualifies d’Arnaud from keeping his roster spot. However, a track record of poor defense and below-average offense makes him an easy choice to dismiss. d’Arnaud even accepted some of the blame after the game. Kudos to him for catching the heat well.
As if the job he did teaming up with deGrom wasn’t poor enough, d’Arnaud went 0 for 5 with a strikeout and a late RBI. He left six runners on base including two when he went down on strikes.
There isn’t an easy solution right now as d’Arnaud is out of options as are many Mets players. They had two chances to move on from him this winter either by the non-tender deadline in November or during Spring Training when they could have cut him and get away with paying a portion of his salary. Instead, they decided to give him one more shot. Thus far, it hasn’t looked so wise.
I promised myself I would stay positive about the Mets until they at least fell to .500. Their loss to the Twins puts them at 6-4. So, to keep with what I said, let me search for a silver lining.
There hasn’t been a moment for the last 365 days where I wanted to see d’Arnaud return to this ball club. Thinking positively, the poor performance early on is one loss and a possible indication we don’t see he and the reigning Cy Young team up again. deGrom has thrown the ball to d’Arnaud plenty during his career. The one year where he didn’t do it, he has a historical season. This must mean something.
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The Mets aren’t going to move on from d’Arnaud, but they may decide it’s best to keep him out of the starting lineup when deGrom pitches. I don’t believe this is an overreaction. In a way, he’s deGrom’s non-personal catcher. Give me Ramos, Mesoraco, Nido, or Rene Rivera when Big Jake is on the mound. Anyone but d’Arnaud. It’s the least we can give him.