The Mets have made the necessary moves to remain a legitimate playoff contender, but there is one glaring hole in their lineup, and that’s at the catcher position.
It seems like the Mets are intent on going into the regular season with Travis d’Arnaud and Rene Rivera as their primary options behind the plate. We can all agree that there aren’t many upgrade options available, but there are still a few players that the team should inquire about. Of course, Kevin Plawecki will serve as the team’s 3rd catcher and primarily be the starter in Triple-A Las Vegas.
I will list below a few names the Mets could look at and detail what makes them a fit.
Matt Wieters is one of the more intriguing names still unsigned at this stage of the offseason.
One reason why he is intriguing is due to the fact Wieters is a switch-hitter. It would allow manager Terry Collins to balance a lineup so the opposing manager can’t just use a specialist reliever for a whole inning. In 2016, Wieters played 124 games and posted a .243 batting average with 17 home runs and 66 runs batted in. Wieters has a source of power that has been dearly lacking at the position for the Mets since Mike Piazza left. Considering it’s taken close to 2 months for Wieters to sign, it’s likely he can be signed to a 1 or 2-year deal. According to Spotrac, Matt Wieters’ market value is around $13 million, the same amount the Mets will be paying Jay Bruce in 2016 if he remains on the team.
The next name to know is Dioner Navarro.
Navarro is not the offensive player Wieters is but he could be useful in a catching timeshare with d’Arnaud. He would also be a significantly cheaper option and would definitely be available on a 1-year deal. Last season Navarro hit just .210, but hit 6 home runs and drove in 32 runs. He appeared in 101 games, 85 with the White Sox and 16 games with the Blue Jays. Clearly a lesser option offensively but if he split games with d’Arnaud he may be a cheap and valuable addition. While cheaper, the Mets are less likely to sign Navarro than Wieters, as the Mets have a defensive catcher in Rene Rivera.
The final name that makes this list is actually an internal candidate. Kevin Plawecki, whom was mentioned earlier as the projected 3rd catcher on the Mets depth chart and Triple-A starter.
Plawecki was once regarded as a top prospect who had the skills to be a future starting catcher, but has not panned out in his brief time in the majors. Plawecki was the Mets 1st round pick (35th overall) in 2012 and many believed his skillset would lead him to become the everyday backstop for the Mets. Over the past 2 seasons, Plawecki has appeared in 121 games batting .211 with 4 home runs and 32 runs batted in. Those numbers have led to skepticism from team brass as to whether or not he can be the guy behind the dish.
The feeling around the Mets is that they will not address the position externally during the final stages of the off season, but could look at options around the July 31 trade deadline. The team’s lineup looks to be in pretty good shape if all pieces are healthy, but d’Arnaud’s defensive issues may lead to changes if he does not show any improvement, whether it’s at the plate or in the field.
#IMWTPoll: Should the Mets sign Matt Wieters?
— In Mets We Trust (@InMetsWeTrust) January 24, 2017