The New York Mets have two major league-ready catchers on their 40-man roster, but the team is reportedly seeking a suitable backstop for their bench, according to Adam Rubin of ESPN.
Kevin Plawecki is currently slotted as the Mets’ backup catcher to Travis d’Arnaud. However, the team does not want Plawekci to spend most of his time on the bench and is considering starting the 25-year-old at Triple-A so he can receive regular playing time. While the Mets do have some options for a catcher, including journeymen Johnny Monell and Raywilly Gomez, they are not happy with their in-house candidates.
Earlier this week, manager Terry Collins spoke about the Mets’ intentions with Plawekci.
“We haven’t had that discussion as to where he’s going to fit the best, or what we think is the best for everyone involved,” Collins told ESPN. “That has not taken place. What we’ve got to do is take what we think are the best 25 and get out of the gate and go from there.”
Entering last season, Plawecki was ranked as the Mets’ fifth-best prospect, according to Baseball America. The only names ahead of Plawecki were Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, Brandon Nimmo, and Dilson Herrera. After d’Arnaud went down with the broken hand in late-April last season, Plawecki was called up and made his debut on April 21, 2015, against the Atlanta Braves.
Plawecki received the most playing time behind the plate until d’Arnaud returned in early June. After experiencing dizziness — which later turned out to be an issue with his paranasal sinuses — Plawecki missed several games in August and was demoted to Triple-A. He was recalled in September when rosters expanded.
In 258 at-bats last season, Plawecki hit a meager.219 with three HR and 28 RBI. Baseball-Reference projects Plawecki to hit.242 with seven HR and 32 RBI in 297 at-bats this season.
Collins admits that the team will discuss what Plawecki’s best role will be and make a final decision then.
“If the conversation goes to, ‘Hey, look, we need to have this guy ready to be an everyday guy,’ he may have to go play [in Las Vegas]. If we think we’re better off being able to get him two to three games a week at times [backing up d’Arnaud], then he’s got a good chance of making the club.”
d’Arnaud has battled through a lot of injuries during his three-year stint with the Mets; missing time with a non-displaced fracture of his left foot (2013), concussion (2014), and broken right hand (2015). If d’Arnaud misses significant time in 2016, Plawecki will be first in line to take the Mets’ starting catcher position.
Rubin notes that the Mets are unsure if they will be able to find the type of catcher they are searching for. Many times, players who are signed to minor league deals become available at the tail end of Spring Training and latch on to teams that have needs at certain positions.
J.P. Arencibia (Phillies), Carlos Corporan (Yankees), Miguel Olivo (Giants), Jordan Pacheo (Reds), and a few others are currently signed to minor league deals. The Yankees’ Austin Romine — who is currently out of minor league options and behind several others on the depth chart — is another possibility for the Mets.
If any of those players fail to stick with their current teams, the Mets could become potential suitors.
[Featured Photo by Alex Trautwig/Getty Images]