Travis d’Arnaud made it through 10 games this season before taking his yearly trip to the Disabled List.
This time around, that visit might be an extended stay, as he tore his UCL in his throwing elbow and may require surgery.
The news of the injury was a real blow, as Travis d’Arnaud had a strong end to the 2017 season, which he continued into spring training.
This is not uncharted territory for Travis d’Arnaud. Let’s take a quick look at his injury history over the course of his professional career.
2010: Herniated disc in his lower back
2012: Torn posterior cruciate ligament in left knee
2013: Fractured foot
2014: Concussion and bone chip
2015: Fractured hand
2015: Hyperextended elbow
2016: Shoulder strain
2017: Bone Bruise on right wrist
The Mets called up Tomas Nido, their top catching prospect, to replace Travis d’Arnaud. Nido is praised for his fantastic defense and strong throwing arm. His offense has not yet materialized since being signed with the Mets.
Nido was playing in Double A Binghamton before his call up. This won’t be his first taste of the Majors, as he was called up to the big club at the end of 2017. He had 3 hits in 10 at bats.
It looked like Nido was about to be thrust into full time action, as Kevin Plawecki took a fastball to the left hand that had him writhing in pain. Plawecki stayed in the game initially, but was eventually replaced by Nido. X-rays came back negative but Plawecki was left with a nasty bruise.
I’m intrigued by Nido’s defense, but as previously stated his bad has not shown up as of yet. I’ll be honest. It would be nice to have a catcher who has a chance of throwing out a runner. Just a chance.
It seems like Travis d’Arnaud gets hurt every year (which he does) comes back and has a strong final month. We get our hopes up, and then he gets hurt shortly after the season starts. Rinse and repeat.
Last year, Kevin Plawecki joined d’Arnaud in his strong finish. Plawecki also outplayed d’Arnaud this spring, to the point that Callaway decided a catcher platoon would be the best course of action.
We have been here before. When Travis d’Arnaud went down in 2015, Plawecki took over the full time catching duties. It didn’t go well. Plawecki quickly went from a coveted catching prospect to AAAA status, overwhelmed by major league pitching.
On the bright side, we have a much deeper team this time around. I don’t foresee John Mayberry Jr. hitting cleanup for us anytime soon. On the other hand, there aren’t any catching options to get excited about.
José Lobatón is currently in our minor league system, playing for Las Vegas. He is 34, and had an awful 2017 season. Miguel Montero was recently released, but I can’t think of anything to put in his pros column besides “available.” I know a lot of Mets fans wanted Jonathan Lucroy this off-season. I was not one of them.
Posey, Contreras, Sanchez. Molina? I’m a big Realmuto fan. Other than that, there’s a huge drop off. There are plenty of teams with comparable catcher situations to us. Let’s hope that that a Plawecki and Nido combination can be serviceable.
As I said earlier, Plawecki did end last season strong, and he did outplay d’Arnaud this spring. Unfortunately, that has not carried into the regular season.
I say all that to say this. We’ll be ok.
Yeah, Travis d’Arnaud had 16 homeruns last season. Okay. I put that in the same category as Jose Reyes’ second half last season.
In a sense, this will be a blessing in disguise. That sentence will seem ludicrous if Plawecki falters. I know that. It’s time to put a proper value on these players moving forward though. Plawecki has been a good player at Vegas, sub par player in Queens.
I shared some similar sentiments in my “Wheeler back to the rotation” article. Let’s look at every position and determine whether it’s a strength or a weakness and act accordingly. Here is Kevin Plawecki’s audition. Not some good play against September call ups. Not a good spring training. Not a hot streak in Vegas. Do it now.
It has to be said. The Mets took a gamble not addressing the catching position this off-season. Maybe their faith will pay off. Maybe not. At least we will see what we have. The problem is, this Plawecki trial has been forced on us.
Hey, maybe Nido will breakout. He might get a taste of the life and decide he is done with the minor leagues.
The news about d’Arnaud sucks. I’m aware of that. I’m also aware that clearly defining a strength or weakness is a small parting gift in a season we aim to contend.
But as the only other options are Miguel Montero or José Lobatón…