We have to give Sandy Alderson and the Wilpon’s credit at this point in the offseason.
They have plugged various holes across the roster with their additions, without having to spend extravagantly on any one player.
With a free agent market that has developed at a snails-pace, the Mets have taken advantage by pouncing on players that fill a need. With that being said, there is still one glaring hole that is being ignored.
A need for a new starting catcher.
At this point, the tandem of Travis d’Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki have been given numerous opportunities to succeed at the big league level. Still, year after year the Mets endure lackluster performances from their backstop.
Why continue this trend?
The Mets are pointing to the success of d’Arnaud and Plawecki in the last few months of the season as to why they did not need to address the position in free agency. While they both played very well, this was in meaningless baseball games.
Enter Jonathan Lucroy.
Lucroy is coming off one of the worst seasons of his career. After playing poorly for the Rangers he was traded mid-season to the Rockies where he began to flash some signs of the player he once was.
In 46 games with the Rockies, Lucroy hit .310 with a .429 OBP. While these numbers were inflated by playing in Coors Field, they still show that there is something left in the tank for the 31-year-old catcher.
Where Lucroy really brings his value though is on the defensive side of the ball. This is a veteran catcher that truly knows how to lead a pitching staff. He also is much better at controlling the running game than d’Arnaud.
Last year, both d’Arnaud and Lucroy gave up 55 stolen bases, but Lucroy played in 17 more games behind the plate and gunned down 9 more runners than d’Arnaud. Lucroy is also just a year removed from throwing out nearly 40% of runners on steal attempts.
As a catcher with eights years of experience in the National League, Lucroy would be a huge addition in terms of in-game planning with the starting pitchers as well. He also can impart his knowledge to both manager Mickey Callaway and pitching coach Dave Eiland, as they are coming from the American League.
Now to get to the real crux of the issue. Lucroy is going to come cheap at this point in free agency. He has to take a one-year deal to reestablish his value on the market. The potential upside of acquiring him is way too beneficial to let this opportunity pass them by.
It is time for Alderson to get the cherry on top for his offseason, go out and get Lucroy.