As the deadline to tender contracts approached, most thought both Travis d’Arnaud and Wilmer Flores would be let go. While fan-favorite Flores rode off into the sunset, d’Arnaud stayed. Now, we know one of the big reasons he’s stuck around.
Per Anthony DiComo of MLB.com, Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen said that if the Mets acquire another catcher this offseason, he considers d’Arnaud athletic enough to be an option at first base, third base and left field, in addition to behind the plate.
Not to mention, third base, second base, third base, second base, third base, etc.
As of now, d’Arnaud, Tomas Nido, and Kevin Plawecki are the options behind the plate. The Mets had checked in on Yan Gomes before he was traded to the Nationals, and they are still reportedly pursuing a J.T. Realmuto trade. The front office seems to know as well as we do that an upgrade at catcher is imperative, while keeping d’Arnaud around as something of an insurance policy.
After appearing in 112 games in 2017, d’Arnaud was down for the count almost immediately in 2018, appearing in only four games before undergoing Tommy John surgery in April. He hit .244/.293/.443 in 376 plate appearances in 2017, but his caught-stealing percentage was a career-low 17% (55 stolen bases, 11 caught-stealing). In the four games before he hit the DL in 2018, he allowed seven stolen bases while nabbing just one.
The injury he’s coming back from shouldn’t help those numbers much, so it’s good to see the Mets are open to having him try new positions. I agree with BVW that d’Arnaud could be athletic enough to play positions over than catcher, but if it doesn’t work 0ut, worst-case scenario is that he’s a decent right-handed bat off the bench. That will be important considering the lefty-heavy starting line-up.
D’Arnaud will make around $3.7 million through arbitration in 2019 and will hit the free agent market after the season concludes.