Even at 10-1 and with the best record in Major League Baseball, all teams are going to have dark days that leads to a set back.
That’s the harsh reality of a long 162 game season. The Mets faced that reality when Mike Puma of the New York Post reported that Kevin Plawecki did in fact break his hand in Wednesday’s game against Miami.
Earlier Wednesday morning, the Mets announced that Travis d’Arnaud suffered a partially torn UCL and is facing the possibility of undergoing Tommy John surgery.
If your counting at home, the Mets just lost two catchers for a significant amount of time with return dates TBD.
So where does that leave them? Well, with the news today it means Tomas Nido will get the start tonight against the Brewers.
Nido, the organizations #11 prospect, had quick cup of coffee with the Mets at the end of September last season going 3-for-10, a double and 3 RBI. Nido has appeared in one game this year going 0-for-1 in his lone pinch hit appearance. In total, Nido has played 21 MLB innings behind the plate and has virtually no experience working with the Mets pitching staff apart from Spring Training.
Nido profiles as a contact hitter without much power. He did not strikeout much in the minor leagues but never played higher than AA. The 24-year-old catcher’s greatest strength is his defensive ability behind the plate. Nido has a power and accurate arm capable of cutting down the run game, which Mets pitchers struggle with. Nido threw out 41.6% of runners over the past three seasons in the minor leagues. That ability needs to continue with the promotion to the big leagues.
Plawecki’s injury certainly means the Mets will move Travis d’Arnaud to the 60-day DL to free up a roster spot on the 40 man roster to promote Jose Lobaton.
The 33-year-old veteran catcher has appeared in 391 games over the course of a 8-year career with the Padres, Rays, and Nationals. Lobaton is what he is, hes a weak hitter (.218 career average with just 21 home runs). Lobaton has thrown out 58 of 273 possible base-runners over his career. That’s a 21.2% success rate. Again, not the best but he’s a career back up and no way did the Mets plan to have him on the roster in April.
The in house candidates are not strong but it’s also April 13th and may be difficult to make a trade to get a catcher any time soon. Nido and Lobaton may be the guys for the next month before a trade can realistically happen.
Regardless, there are a few external candidates Sandy Alderson will consider.
First, is Kansas City’s star, Salvador Perez. Everyone knows the talent Perez brings and would be the ideal fit for the Mets. The Royals may consider moving him as the team is in a clear rebuild at the moment.
Perez, who is recovering from an offseason tore MCL, should be back by mid May. Perez is a top catcher in the game and already has familiarity with pitching coach Dave Eiland. His contract of 3 years and $39 million should not be a problem for the Mets to absorb.
Second option would be Marlins catcher J.T Realmuto. Sandy Alderson kicked the tires on Realmuto in the offseason but the asking price was extremely high. Realmuto, like Perez, hasn’t played all season due to a back injury, but would fit the Mets time frame of winning now and competing in the future.
Other options include A’s catcher Jonathon Lucroy and now recently designated for assignment Miguel Montero. Both don’t seem like an ideal fit and not really worth bringing in.
For now Mets fans, let’s pray Tomas Nido hits his stride early and will rapidly begin his development as a prospect and a player. Despite the injuries to both D’Arnaud and Plawecki, let’s not act like these guys are season defining players. The Mets should still be okay going forward. Who knows maybe Plawecki will return sooner than expected.