Preface: I’m going to hopefully put out more Mets-based content. It could get old really fast, so I’ll try to keep them short and succinct. They’ll be microblogs, if you will, though this one may be a bit lengthier. Thank you.
News broke this morning that Kevin Plawecki did, in fact, fracture his hand. He took a high fastball to his left (catching) hand in an at bat in Wednesday’s win. You could hear the contact and knew it was going to be bad. He stayed in the game, briefly, and was soon replaced by recent call up Tomas Nido. By the time the trainers were done examining Plawecki’s hand, it had already swelled up into what looked like a ripe plum. Initial X-rays were negative for Plaw on Wednesday night, but now the word is the opposite and that he’ll be out around 3 weeks. Good news is the Mets feel it’s a minor fracture that won’t keep Plawecki sidelined for too long. Bad news is the Mets are naked at the catcher position.
The combination of Travis d’Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki was hardly anything to get excited about. The consensus amongst Mets fans was that hopefully the two of them could avoid being awful so that as the trade deadline approached we could make a move for a better catcher. Jonathan Lucroy was the guy everyone clamored for last season. Early Wednesday the news surfaced that d’Arnaud has a slight tear in his UCL and may be headed for Tommy John surgery, effectively ending his season. As of this moment, the decision hasn’t been made yet but it’s expected that he’ll decide, reluctantly I would imagine, to go under the knife. It’s another blemish on d’Arnaud’s injury-ridden career. He hasn’t proven to be the player the Mets flipped Cy Young-winner RA Dickey for (plus Noah Syndergaard lol). When healthy, he’s been nothing special offensively and a major negative defensively. Baserunners swipe second and third base at will with d’Arnaud behind the dish. But the injuries have really been a black cloud for d’Arnaud, this one being the most serious yet.
Tomas Nido was called up from AA on Wednesday to fill d’Arnaud’s spot and land a place on the 40-man roster. The expectation was that he may get sent back down and Jose Lobaton would make his way up to the majors from AAA. With Plawecki being sidelined for at least a few weeks, we’ll probably be seeing Nido and Lobaton. Not that Kevin Plawecki is any good as we’ve seen over the years, but losing your two rostered catchers in the matter of 48 hours is a shitty circumstance nonetheless. So now we look forward. In the short, it’ll be Nido and Lobaton. The question remains what’s the answer? Tomas Nido was being groomed to be our next catcher, but it looks like his career is being jump started ahead of schedule. Hopefully he’ll respond well to the promotion and immediate playing time. His defense is supposed to be legit with a questionable bat. Jose Lobaton has had glimpses of success with the Nationals, but the expectations from the 33-year old aren’t all that high. Personally, I would have preferred him to Plawecki on the Opening Day roster anyway. Obviously personal preferences are immaterial at this point.
I’m sure the Mets are praying that they can tread water with Nido and Lobaton until Plawecki returns. Even then though, there needs to be a plan in place. Assuming the Mets play competitive baseball through the spring and into the summer, they’ll be in the market for a catcher as the standings start to solidify. This would be the case with or without Travis d’Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki. It’s unusual that this early in a season, we’re talking about filling a hole with a trade, but it’s a dire situation. The Mets have been desperate for an every day catcher since Paul Lo Duca. I’d like to think that Sandy Alderson and the front office have at the very least made a few phone calls or plan on doing it. Call the Rays and ask about Wilson Ramos. The Reds stink, go get Devin Mesoraco. The Red Sox are carrying three catchers I think; can’t hurt to ask about Sandy Leon and/or Blake Swihart. Jonathan Lucroy remains a serious candidate. JT Realmuto is currently banged up but Derek Jeter will probably trade him for nothing. I’ve even heard Cameron Rupp’s name getting thrown around; no thanks on that one.
The Mets remain desperate for a catcher and now are forced to show some urgency in filling that. Again, it’s unusual to fire up the trade conversations, but such is life with the New York Mets. Whoever is catching doesn’t need to be the next Mike Piazza. We just need someone who can call a game and throw out a runner here and there. The bar has been set remarkably low by Travis d’Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki. SNY’s Steve Gelbs can play about as good as defense as those two, so any upgrade defensively would be a great start. In the meantime, the Mets should continue to rack up as many wins as they can. Winning solves all. LGM.