Just yesterday, we talked about Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy and the likelihood of his ending up in places like Chicago, Tampa, or New York. Trade buzz is still in its quiet, subdued early June phase, and not the deafening roar it will be at in July, so at the moment, each rumor is easily decried or ignored.
But as one of the teams listed as having a use for Milwaukee' All-Star catcher, the Mets weren’t seen as a likely trade candidate for a couple of reasons, the primary one being they are curious enough in the Travis d’Arnaud subplot fans are currently watching unfold that they are willing to see how it plays out.
At the moment, d’Arnaud has been sidelined with a right shoulder rotator cuff strain since April 26, but according to ESPN’s Adam Rubin, he’s slated to be back in action before Free Taco Day (courtesy of the Golden State Warriors).
In his place, Kevin Plawecki and Rene Rivera have been... not ideal. Over the last month, neither has been able to scratch and claw above the .200 BA mark, hitting a combined .163 in 92 AB. Patience, it is fair to say, has run thin.
Kevin Plawecki has popped up with the bases loaded, twice.— Marc Carig (@MarcCarig) June 11, 2016
Four stolen bases against Noah Syndergaard in opening three innings, even with Rene Rivera behind the plate.— Adam Rubin (@AdamRubinESPN) June 9, 2016
As Rubin hints, Rivera’s saving grace is that he can typically gun down a base thief if he has to; this marketable skill may be why when d’Arnaud returns, it is expected to be 32-year-old Rivera who sticks around in the back-up role while Plawecki heads back to Triple-A Vegas (Rivera has thrown out seven of 21 base stealers; d’Arnaud has nailed three of 17).
Of course, d’Arnaud’s pre-injury slash line of .196/.288/.261 doesn’t exactly set the world on fire, but the Mets can stomach these numbers if they view him as their long term catcher who will presumably improve at the plate.
In his first four rehab starts, d’Arnaud served as the St. Lucie Mets’ DH, finally catching seven innings this past Saturday. Monday night, he caught game one of a doubleheader against the Tampa Yankees and threw out a runner before going back on DH duty (and going 1-for-2 with 2 BB) in St. Lucie's 10-0 game two victory. Mets manager Terry Collins is thinking that d’Arnaud will be hop to a higher affiliate prior to his rejoining the big club.