Mets Don’t View Kevin Plawecki As A Trade Chip

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According to Mike Puma of the New York Post, the Mets do not view rookie catcher Kevin Plawecki as a potential trade chip this season, preferring instead to hang onto him as insurance for regular catcher Travis d’Arnaud.

Last week, William Li made a strong case for hanging onto Plawecki, which you can read below. – Joe D.

June 2 – Why Kevin Plawecki Should Not Be Traded

With Travis d’Arnaud set to return to the big league club shortly after as he wraps up his rehab assignment, the Mets appear to be set on sending Kevin Plawecki back to Las Vegas as playing time and service time are both factors in this decision.

On the big league club, Plawecki will likely be sitting on the bench 5 out of 6 games, doing him no good. And considering that sending him down for a few months will ensure that he does not accumulate a year of service or reach super two status, Plawecki is almost certain to return to Triple-A.

Catching Depth

Looking forward to 2016, one of the biggest questions will be whether both d’Arnaud and Plawecki should be kept. If both remain with the Mets, how will playing time be divided? Before we look at playing time scenarios, I think we should anticipate what the upside and downside are to trading away one of the two.

Assuming the less established Plawecki is traded and TDA ends up on the disabled list as he did this year, the Mets take a significant hit to their production at the catcher position. Could you imagine seeing Anthony Recker penciled into our lineup for two months? This is one dreadful scenario that the Mets absolutely cannot afford.

On the flipside, if the Mets keep both, they should continue to see above average production out of their backstop, no matter who is starting.

Plawecki/D’Arnaud As A Trade Chip

Common sense will tell us that you should trade abundance at one position for dearth at another when constructing a roster. Teams who have many holes will need every trade chip they can use to fill their other needs. However, the Mets have the luxury of having a very deep farm system and one where most of the talent is in the upper minors so they have plenty of pieces to deal from without having to include Plawecki or d’Arnaud’s name.

Playing Time Distribution

Since there is not enough playing time behind the plate for both catchers, one of them will need to learn a new position or two. Plawecki has played 1B in the minors and he is the younger and slightly more athletic of the two so I propose that he spends a good part of the rest of 2015 in Vegas with a first base and/or outfield mitt.

In 2016, the Mets can distribute their playing time as follows.

Travis d’Arnaud – 110 starts at catcher, 10 starts at DH.

Lucas Duda – 140 starts at 1B

Kevin Plawecki – 50 starts at catcher, 20 starts at 1B, 10 starts in LF

At the catcher position, you see a minimal or non-existent downgrade going from D’Arnaud to Plawecki. At 1B, you would likely rest Duda for 10 games a year anyway so giving him 10 additional days off is the trade off for NOT running into a scenario where Anthony Recker starts for two months. With this setup, it will also help keep all three players fresh for a long season.

Potential DH Implementation

One final factor to consider is the potential implementation of a designated hitter in the National League. After Adam Wainwright tore his achilles running to 1B on a ground ball, there was a firestorm of discussion on the benefits and harm of requiring a pitcher to bat in the NL. With the way that the league has shifted to protect their players (home plate collision rule), there is an outside chance that major league baseball could make a change in the next year or two.

If this does indeed happen, the Mets stand to be one of the top benefactors by having two catchers who both project to be above average hitters.

All of these factors should make it very clear that dealing Kevin Plawecki would not be beneficial to the Mets. Keeping both of our above average catchers allows us to avoid possibly exposing a backup quality catcher to day in and day out pitching for an extended period of time.

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