The Mets have been reported to be seeking a new option at catcher. This Spring Training, they have showcased last year’s primary contenders for the position in Travis D'Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki. D’Arnaud maintained the role as starting catcher in 2015, until he went down with an injury, giving the go-ahead for Plawecki to make his major league debut against the Atlanta Braves on April 21, 2015.
Until d’Arnaud returned, Plawecki held the starting position and was considered one of the top prospects in Mets system. In 285 at-bats last season, Plawecki hit a .219 average, 3 HR, and 28 RBI. What the Mets are concerned about is Plawecki getting playing time and continuing his development. This strategy may end up having Plawecki sent down to start in AAA, while d’Arnaud holds the starting spot. But this leaves the question of who will back-up d’Arnaud who has experienced issues with maintain his health during his last 3 years with the Mets.
The Mets could attempt to snag a veteran in free agency, but it is also possible they will wait until Spring Training is almost finished, in an attempt to snatch up players that operated under minor league deals and could not stick with their teams. Current players signed to minor league deals that could end up being available are J.P. Arencibia from the Philadelphia Phillies, Miguel Olivo from the San Francisco Giants, or Jordan Pacheco from the Cincinnati Reds. There is also the option of picking the New York Yankees Austin Romine, who is behind the a few players on the depth chart.
The current catching situation for the Mets looks shaky given their current options. While Plawecki could be a promising prospect for the future, he needs more time in the minors to develop. D’Arnaud is a health concern, but it is worth noticing that in 146 less at bats compared to 2014, he had just one less HR (12), the same amount of RBI (41), and a batting average that was 26 points higher (.268) in 2015. If d’Arnaud could maintain these better stats, he could assist the Mets in making another playoff run in 2016. But with so many looming questions about his health, the Mets need to find other options to work as a safety net. And if their new option is less than capable of maintaining the starting job if d’Arnaud goes down, Plawecki could always be called up into action yet again.