Although it seems the New York Mets do need an upgrade at the catcher position, J.T Realmuto is not the way to go.
Realmuto did bat .277 with 21 home runs and 74 RBIs during the 2018 season, but it will take way too much to take him off the Marlins hands. According to Jon Heyman, Miami is said to be looking for a combination of Amed Rosario paired with Brandon Nimmo or Michael Conforto.
If you are the Mets, that type of deal just can’t happen. All three of Rosario, Nimmo, and Conforto should be seen as key young talent that moves this roster towards their goal of a World Series.
All three young stars have taken key strides in their careers during the 2018 season. Nimmo broke out in a huge way by putting up All-Star numbers, while both Conforto and Rosario enjoyed an excellent second-half of the season.
Trading away any two of these key pieces will put the Mets in a position where they would have to replace them in free agency. Signing a guy like A.J. Pollock, which has been rumored, becomes counterproductive when trading away young stars in Nimmo or Conforto.
An easy and efficient route for the Mets to upgrade behind the plate is to spend money in free agency, thus enabling to keep their young assets. Young, controllable players that actually pan out and become productive players are the ones who are the most valuable.
They give you the flexibility to use money in free agency to improve your team, which is what the Mets should do. So why not open up the wallets in free agency and take the easier route?
Yasmani Grandal, who batted .240 and showed some pop in his bat with 24 home runs, seems to be the perfect match for the Mets. Grandal sported a career-high 68 RBIs while also coming just short of a career-high home run mark. While it’s clear to see what Grandal would be a suitable offensive catcher in the Mets’ lineup, the Mets are looking for an upgrade at defense.
Grandal is still a fit when talking about defense, as his caught stealing percentage was 28% in 2018 which is equal to the league average. That percentage is higher than Travis d’Arnaud’s, which was 21%. His fielding percentage for the catcher position was also higher, (.994) than the league average (.993)
By signing someone like Yasmani Grandal in free agency, the Mets get to upgrade at catcher while also having the luxury of keeping three young pieces of the core of their ball club.
Another name worth considering is Martin Maldonado, who split time between the Los Angeles Angels and the Houston Astros. He batted a lowly .225 hitting 9 home runs and 44 RBIs. However, the reason he is a fit is due to his excellent defense behind the plate.
A Gold Glove winner in 2017, Maldonado has shown that he is an above average defender, and the numbers back it up.
Maldonado showed off a .996 fielding percentage in 2018, while also having a career-high caught stealing percentage of 49%.
Those are some astounding defensive numbers that the Mets could really use after years of defensive troubles at the position.
Again, by signing someone like Maldonado who will be cheap, they do not have to break down the core of their team. This is very important to both the teams immediate 2019 success, and the success they plan on having in the future.
With the 2019 New York Mets being a team that could contend, if the right moves are made, the room for error is thin. The Mets need to focus on adding to their team rather than subtracting, and Grandal is the way to do that.
Signing Pollock, a catcher like Grandal or Maldonado, and adding two relievers is an offseason that should be called a success. Hopefully, the Mets will realize the importance of their three young pieces in Nimmo, Rosario, and Conforto and will not trade them for Realmuto.