The Mets signing of Wilson Ramos has put the Mets in a position where the team has three catchers on the MLB roster that cannot be optioned to the minor leagues before Opening Day.
While Brodie Van Wagenen has cited Travis d’Arnaud‘s versatility as a reason that the team could carry all three catchers on the roster, it is unlikely to happen and probably not really a feasible task for the entirety of a season.
Reports have indicated that between the two catchers, the Mets would rather keep d’Arnaud, thereby making Kevin Plawecki available on the trade market.
According to Mike Puma of the New York Post, the team has gotten a lot of hits on both of them and might either acquire a backup infielder or outfielder in return.
Plawecki, 27, hit .210/.315/.370 with seven home runs and 30 RBI last season to give himself a 93 wRC+ and 0.6 WAR. The catcher ranked 90th out of 117 qualifying catchers in framing runs above average (FRAA) in 2018.
However, Plawecki was better on the offensive side of things in 2017, albeit in a smaller sample size. In 37 games, he hit .260/.364/.400 with three home runs and 13 RBI to give himself a 107 wRC+ and 0.7 WAR.
Without further to explain, here are the two best fits for Plawecki in a trade.
Phegley, 30, had a .599 OPS last season in 39 games played which is unquestionably bad and cannot be relied upon in a lineup every day.
While Herrmann, 31, had a .743 OPS in 36 games last year, he has not been able to be relied upon regularly in his career. He hit .181/.273/.345 (.619 OPS) when he played 106 games in 2017 with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The team happens to have players that the Mets could use on their major league roster with Mark Canha, in my opinion, serving as the perfect trade piece to come back to the Mets.
Canha, 29, currently is the A’s backup first baseman and a reserve outfielder. With no clear role on the team, the Athletics could view him as expendable in this sort of trade. That being said, he would actually have a role on the Mets, potentially playing every day until Yoenis Cespedes returns midseason.
The former first-round pick hit .249/.328/.449 with 17 home runs and 52 RBI to give himself a 113 wRC+ and 2.0 WAR last season. While his best spot defensively is in left field (one defensive run saved), he is capable of playing all three outfield spots as well as first and third base.
That would give the Mets a right-handed bat they could plug into the lineup regularly and his splits suggest he would crush left-handers with ease as he hit .282 against them with 13 home runs in 163 plate appearances last season.
Given his rank on the depth chart and his age, the Athletics probably would not have much of an issue with moving him for their 2019 starting catcher.
Meanwhile, the Mets would get a solid right-handed bat that they would have under control through the 2021 season.
Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers also could serve as a solid fit for the Plawecki as the team is looking for someone with a little more offensive production than current starter, Austin Barnes, who hit .205/.329/.290 (.619 OPS) last season.
While the team could simply bring back Yasmani Grandal, they benched him in the postseason while he struggled which likely created some tension between the Dodgers and the backstop.
As of now, Rocky Gale would be the team’s backup catcher, though, who has only 22 at-bats at the MLB level spread across three seasons.
If the teams were to agree on a deal, it would make some sense for Chris Taylor to be the return for Plawecki.
Taylor, 28, broke out in a big way in 2017 when he hit .288/.354/.496 with 21 home runs and 72 RBI for the Dodgers. He was not as successful in 2018 and is now listed as a reserve infielder/outfielder for the team because of that.
The Virginia native hit .254/.331/.444 with 17 home runs and 63 RBI in 2018 which is respectable, but not spectacular by any stretch. His ability to play all over the diamond would be valuable to the Mets which, similar to the Canha, would help fill a need on the team.