Sandy Alderson Weighs In On Blocking Home Plate and Travis D’Arnaud

An article by posted on February 28, 2013
San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey suffers a broken left ankle and torn knee following a devastating collision at home plate.

San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey suffers a broken left ankle and torn knee ligaments following a devastating collision at home plate that wiped out his 2011 season.

Updated by Joe D. on 2/28

Interestingly enough, the topic of Travis D’Arnaud blocking the plate came up last night during our conference call with Sandy Alderson. Matthew Artus broached the subject with Sandy and asked him to elaborate on his feelings about catchers blocking the plate and if D’Arnaud’s injury history played a factor in the team’s decision.

“This particular issue has gotten some coverage in recent days,” the Mets GM said. “I think that Mike Matheny with St. Louis was suggesting there should be a rule change about collisions at home plate.”

“I think that you have to be sensible with this, catchers themselves have to be sensible about this. At this point the rule is what it is, and it’s really something we’ve only begun to address publicly over the last couple of days.”

“With the concern that all sports have concerning concussions, putting aside how valuable a catcher can be and whether he can be lost for the season, just general physiological well being is something that has to be taken into account. But as far as d’Arnaud is concerned, we also had to take into account his injury history and his value to us going forward for the future.”

I know some of you would disagree with me, but I’m totally on board with Sandy on this one.

From the standpoint regarding the seriousness of concussions and how much more we know about the longterm effects today, that we didn’t know ten years ago…

The potential for losing a valuable member of your team for perhaps the entire season or longer…

The investment and costs associated with developing a major league catcher….

And in D’Arnaud’s case specifically, he’s already suffered one concussion in his pro career, and we have to take every precaution to safeguard his health and think about his longevity.

That image of Buster Posey still troubles me and besides being a Mets fan, I’m a baseball fan first and I’m a huge Posey fan. We should make sure something like that never happens again.

* * * * * * * *

Amazin Avenue transcribed the entire conference call and I would encourage all of you to check it out. You’ll get a good sense of where we stand as an organization today and what the future might look like, from the general manager’s perspective.

I usually don’t get too much out of these conference calls that I already didn’t know, to be quite honest with you. But this one was very insightful thanks to some great questions and what I felt were some genuinely thoughtful, intuitive, and responsive answers by Sandy.

Great job by Sandy Alderson, Shannon Forde, all those who participated, and Amazin Avenue for giving us a written account that we can all draw from.

Original Post 2/27

Adam Rubin of ESPN recently posted a quote from Terry Collins regarding young catching phenom Travis d’Arnaud. The Mets manager had some very interesting thoughts on how he wants his catcher of the future to play behind the dish.

Here is the comment from Collins.

“I told him, ‘Trav, I know you’re a tough guy. I know it’s baseball. But if you want to play for the next 15 years, the last thing we need is to have you re-injure your knee. Just get in front of that plate and let them have the plate. And if you receive the ball early, get yourself in a good position. But I’m not going to let you stick that left leg out there and have somebody who is just a reckless guy come charging in and have you shorten your career. I’m not going to allow that to happen right now.’

This comment by Collins struck me as odd, but I kind of understand it at the same time.

The 24-year old backstop has a history of knee injuries, and when you think about what happened to Buster Posey back in 2011, you can kind of understand why the Mets might have some reservations with their prized prospect.

Posey was lost for the season with a broken leg while trying to block home plate. D’Aranud was lost for the remainder of the 2012 season after attempting a takeout slide as a runner at second base, and suffered a partially torn posterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.

What are your thoughts on this? Do you want a catcher who is forced to play conservative at home plate, or do you want a gamer who is going to put his body in harms way to make a play? Does the Mets thinking in this situation make sense to you, or do you think they are being overly cautious? Do you agree or disagree with Terry Collins?

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