Kevin Plawecki‘s left hand was described as red and swollen, but not broken, following Wednesday’s win against the Marlins. But on Friday, it was revealed that the hand is indeed broken, though he is expected to miss only two-to-three weeks.
The Plawecki injury happened hours after the Mets announced Travis d’Arnaud had been diagnosed with a partially torn right UCL, which could require season-ending Tommy John surgery.
Tommy John surgery for a position player is not as devastating (in terms of time lost) as it is for a pitcher’s throwing elbow. However, given the throw to second from behind the plate, the operation would certainly mean losing d’Arnaud for an extended period of time.
So, what do the Mets do now?
The Mets replaced d’Arnaud on the active roster by calling up Double-A catching prospect Tomas Nido, but with Plawecki joining d’Arnaud on the disabled list, I expect the Mets will determine how to handle their catching situation based on how long they anticipate both men being absent.
For instance, if — as expected — Plawecki only needs a short DL stint, Nido will be joined for the short-term by Triple-A Las Vegas catcher Jose Lobaton. However, if Plawecki suffers setbacks and misses an extended period of time, it will put additional pressure on the team and d’Arnaud to make a decision about his elbow. It’s certainly possible d’Arnaud and doctors could determine he’s able to play through the pain.
Lobaton, 33, is not perfect, but he’s experienced with nearly 400 games played behind the plate. He knows the job, and while he’ll strike out often, he has the potential to be productive if he gets lucky on balls in play. Otherwise, he is what he is: a Triple-A backup that I’m sure the Mets never expected to recall to Citi Field in April. But if it has to happen, he can handle it … for a little while, at least.
That said, if it turns out d’Arnaud misses the rest of the season and Plawecki doesn’t return as quickly as expected, GM Sandy Alderson will need to acquire another team’s catcher. For a team that is relying (and winning) so heavily with its pitching staff, it would be wise to have a rock behind the plate instead of an untested rookie and an over-30 journeyman.
The obvious and most exciting option is Marlins catcher J. T. Realmuto. However, he’s currently also on the DL with a back contusion. Miami put a high price tag on him this past winter and, given the Mets would operating out of desperation and are in the same division, my bet is the Marlins would ask more from the Mets now than they did a few months ago.
I wonder if the A’s would consider moving Jonathan Lucroy, whom they inked to a one-year, $6.5 million deal just 30 days ago. The Mets had interest in signing Lucroy, according to multiple reports, but never felt it necessary to overpay given having d’Arnaud and Plawecki. But if their two catchers are unavailable, could Alderson circle back on Lucroy, which would mean a trade with Alderson’s former protoge in Billy Beane?
The Nationals designated Miguel Montero for assignment earlier this week, a distinct option given Washington has the option to trade him during the next week or so. Otherwise, he can elect to be a free agent or accept an assignment to Washington’s Triple-A team. I have no idea if the Nationals would consider dealing him to the Mets given their current rivalry and New York’s hot start. At the same, if news pops that Alderson’s current catchers are out and Washington gets wind of Montero’s potential interest in joining the Mets, maybe they would consider a deal now to at least get something from their rival’s system.
In spring training, I heard a lot of quiet talk from manager Mickey Callaway about his former team’s backup, Roberto Perez, and loud praise by Callaway’s pitching coach Dave Eiland about his former catcher, Salvador Perez.
Perez, 27, is due just $8.7 million this season but then owed $39 million the following three seasons. The Royals are 3-8 and showing no signs of being much better than a bottom-feeder in 2018. Perez is not expected to return from the DL until mid-May, as he’s currently nursing a torn MCL. If Kansas City decides it is time to rebuild, though, this moment could mark a unique opportunity (given his salary) to consider talking to the Mets about Perez, who has power, a fan in Eiland and is well-known for his leadership skills and molding of a young staff. Of course, such a commitment from Alderson would mean him having major doubts about d’Arnaud and Plawecki, not just as it pertains to their return in 2018, but also how they will perform during the next few years.
Regardless, it’s hard enough to get a team to make a meaningful deal in April, let alone when one of the two teams (the Mets in this case) is clearly desperate to make a move. So if the Mets are in fact in need, and the aforementioned players can be acquired, they will not be delivered easily.
Matthew Cerrone (Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Contact) is lead writer of MetsBlog.com, which he created in 2003.He also hosts the MetsBlog Podcast, which you can subscribe to here. His new book, The New York Mets Fans’ Bucket List, details 44 things every Mets fan should experience during their lifetime. To check it out, click here!
Published at Fri, 13 Apr 2018 14:57:09 +0000