Jon Heyman of Fancred Sports reports that the Mets will offer catcher Travis d’Arnaud a contract for the 2019 season, affirming Joel Sherman of the New York Post‘s earlier claim that the team had been “planning” to do so.
D’Arnaud is projected to make $3.7 million in 2019, but can be cut in spring training and only owed one-sixth of that.
At one point in 2013 considered the Mets’ best prospect and perhaps one of the best catching prospects in baseball, d’Arnaud’s career with the Mets up to this point has been defined by injuries, with his 2018 campaign ending two weeks in after he tore his UCL and underwent Tommy John surgery. General manager Brodie Van Wagenen expects d’Arnaud to be ready by the start of spring training, as of a few weeks ago.
The year prior, d’Arnaud set a career high with 112 games played, swatting 16 homers and driving in 57 runs with a .243/.293/.443 line. Through his career, the numbers have generally disappointed: .245/.306/.406 with just 47 home runs and 162 RBI across six years. Relative to most catchers in baseball, one could argue that d’Arnaud’s career figures hold up fine. The organization clearly sees upside given his success in 2017, and is hoping the 29-year old can contribute with a clean slate of sorts.
Alongside the physical inconsistencies, d’Arnaud’s issues controlling the running game have been apparent for some time, as his 17% caught-stealing rate in 2017 ranked second-to-last among catchers with at least 700 innings, though falling in line with his career rate of 21%. As a matter of fact, Travis’ overall defensive value has often been a question only answered by his career -13 DRS and -0.9 dWAR. However, his ability to work with pitchers has been lauded, and for good reason. His 27.1 career framing runs above average likely played a huge role in the Mets’ decision to pick up the tab.