Three reasons why John Buck should be a keeper

Since the trade of R.A. Dickey earlier this off season, the buzz has been about sensational prospect Travis d’Arnaud. And why not? His potential is agreed to be limitless. Even to the point of being compared to a young Johnny Bench. While time will tell, the forgotten man in all of this is John Buck. Insiders have even stated that he could be traded when D’Arnaud is promoted to the majors.

When seeing this report, one can understand the logic. After all, Buck’s $6 million contract would be easy to move as long as the Mets are willing to eat most of it in exchange for higher prospects. But when you think about it, while it could make sense, one has to ask why he should be dealt. Buck most certainly would still be valuable to the team as the backup than as trade bait. There are at least three reasons why: his experience, his rapport with Shaun Marcum and his impact on Johan Santana.

First is his experience. The remaining backup would be Anthony Recker, a 29 year old career minor-leaguer with some upside but no real experience. Buck, on the other hand, is 32 and has been a starting MLB catcher for most of his career. While he has a career .235 AVG, he does have a little pop in his bat with 118 home runs. Much more reliable and proven than Recker. What better option to give D’Arnaud rest once in a while?

Next, is his experience with Shaun Marcum. Marcum has been teammates with Buck in the past with Toronto. That friendship goes a long way. When deciding on the Mets last month, Marcum called Buck to ask his opinion. Buck sold him on Queens and Marcum signed. They are comfortable with one another. With Buck behind the plate, Marcum hurled a 3.64 ERA in 195.1 innings on his way to a 13-8 record with the Blue Jays in 2010. It was his best year in Toronto. The duo could build off of that success together. Even when D’Arnaud is promoted, the Mets could use Buck as Marcum’s catcher.

Finally, Buck has established credibility with Mets’ ace Johan Santana. Earlier this month, Buck informed Santana that he had been tipping his pitches. Buck later said the issue has been addressed. If Santana has a dominant year, one can accredit it to Buck. This may give way to Santana trusting Buck even more than the other catching options. That friendship could blossom into Santana returning to form.

In closing, think about all Buck has done as a Met already. He hasn’t even started a game yet. He has brought experience to a clubhouse that desperately needed it. He has helped the Mets sign their fifth starter. He has been instrumental in assisting the Mets’ ace. All this in just a month or two. How many other players can say that? If this is a sign of the type of person and player Buck is, then he needs to be considered a long-term answer to the catching depth of the Mets and not just a two or three month stay-and-trade option.

9 comments for “Three reasons why John Buck should be a keeper

  1. Scott
    February 19, 2013 at 11:06 am

    I agree with you that keeping Buck for the remainder of the 2013 season is a good idea, especially if he can help guys like Marcum and Santana with his friendship and knowledge.

    One very important reason why I would also want to keep an experienced catcher like Buck on the Mets is concern about injury. Travis D’Arnaud has gotten hurt in each of the past 3 seasons in the minors, and I worry about guys that are injured year after year. Until they prove they can stay healthy, I would want to have a strong backup available to replace them.

    I think D’Arnaud will be fine, but look at guys like Fernado Martinez, Reese Havens and Zach Lutz. All should have been established major leaguers already. But, none have had more than a cup of coffee because they’re always rehabbing something.

    Keep Buck, and even re-sign him for 2014 if possible.

  2. Frank
    February 19, 2013 at 11:25 am

    Well said Scott. Agreed completely. Not to mention, Buck is building a rapport with the staff and could be a reliable mainstay as they gain more success in the years to come. Thanks for the comment.

  3. Name
    February 19, 2013 at 12:10 pm

    It’s all fine and dandy that we want him to continue being a backup for us for maybe another year or two, but do you fully believes that he wants that?
    So if he plays well, then another team would most likely offer him more playing time and money and he’s gone. If he plays poorly then we don’t want him either and he’s still gone. I think there’s there is only a tiny area where he does well defensively and mentoring to keep the mets satisfied while putting up stats which other teams wouldn’t want for him to be cheap enough and willing to come back with the Mets.

    • February 19, 2013 at 12:16 pm

      Assuming they’re at all comfortable with Recker, I think the fair thing to do is trade Buck if he wants more playing time. Everyone knows he’s coming in as a placeholder for a phenom likely coming up in a few months. The least they can do is send him elsewhere to be a starter again, especially if that means adding to the farm.

      • Name
        February 19, 2013 at 12:59 pm

        It remains to be seen if that even is a possibility. I don’t think any team would want him unless they have an injury to their starter. he wouldn’t fetch much in terms of a prospect, so the best they would be able to is dump his contract

  4. February 19, 2013 at 12:18 pm

    Well said, Scott. Solid.

    I am going to Port St Lucie next week and hope to watch practice and get a feel for things. Online, there are articles to be found that talk about Buck as a team guy, and in listening to him, I find him to be very glad to be a NY Met. This is important.

    He may play an important role this year, for us, and for our young catcher as well. I am interested, believe it or not, in what Matt Harvey says about him. Harvey is a no-nonsense kid with a 30 year old head (remind you of anyone?) and it will be of value to hear what Harvey says about Buck.

    It seems that the forgotten man in the trade may pay off more than expected.

  5. February 19, 2013 at 1:58 pm

    No offense to John Buck but wasn’t anyone else listening to the Mets broadcasts last year? I believe both Keith Hernandez and Ron Darling said that Johan was tipping his pitches so why is everyone trying to say that Buck is saying something everyone didn’t already know? The reality is that Buck isn’t going to net a big return even if he has career first half of the season prior to d’Arnaud being called up so whether he stays or is traded is going to have little impact on the Mets past this year. My preference would be to keep him to be a mentor for d’Arnaud.

  6. TJ
    February 20, 2013 at 8:27 am

    Buck has more value to the Mets than on the trade market. No offense to Thole or Nickeas, but this is the first time in a while that the Mets have a “man” behind the plate, and they need this man to help the nxt boy become a man. Plus, he does bring some much needed pop from the RH side of the dish.

    • February 20, 2013 at 7:38 pm

      But for how long will that be the case? And what can Buck bring back on the trade market?

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