Should the Mets consider starting out season with Travis d’Arnaud as their starting catcher?

What a novel concept it would be if the Mets actually went with their best options to win right away and bucked (no pun meant towards John Buck) the trend and tabbed uber-catching prospect Travis d’Arnaud as their opening day and full-time catcher.

To coin a phrase made legendary by ex-Jets’ coach Herm Edwards: “Hello! You play to win the game!”

This is no fresh newsflash, but d’Arnaud is doing a tremendous job this spring. The Mets are getting what they paid for when they shipped fan-favorite and reigning NL Cy Young award-winner R.A. Dickey to the Blue Jays for the talented backstop. d’Arnaud is doing nothing to change the notion that he is all that and a bag of chips.

So far this spring, d’Arnaud is sporting an impressive .333/.417/.467 slash line to go with four doubles and two RBI’s while showing a good all-around defensive game. Buck, who is assumed to be the squad’s full-time catcher and placeholder until d’Arnaud arrives, has also done a good job in camp too, going 8-25 with two home runs and seven RBI’s while sporting a nice 1.094 OPS.

When you combine the spring Buck is having, plus his veteran leadership and that fact that the Mets will want to wait until they call up d’Arnaud before he achieves Super-2 status, it all seems but a lock that d’Arnaud will begin the year in Las Vegas.

However, just to play devil’s advocate, it would be refreshing in some ways if the Mets made a statement and say we are going to try to win right away and make d’Arnaud the starting catcher. Besides, it would be nice for d’Arnaud to get some experience right away and gel with his pitching staff-a staff which includes Matt Harvey, Jonathon Niese and eventually Zack Wheeler. d’Arnaud will be calling games for this staff for a long time and it wouldn’t be such a bad thing for him to get his timing down with them as soon as possible.

I realize the financial ramifications about bringing d’Arnaud up north with the squad, but the youthful exuberance and buzz surrounding his game could benefit the Mets and its fans as well.

This all seems moot, though, as the Mets seem intent on waiting to start the d’Arnaud era, with him all but certain to be called up sometime during the summer. The Mets are indeed built for the future with the likelihood of success this year being very minimal. Hence, this is the main  reason not to rush d’Arnaud.

That doesn’t mean it’s not a fun idea to imagine seeing our prized catching prospect making an impact in April as opposed to June or July.

Regardless, d’Arnaud is proving to be the real deal and whenever he begins his career in the orange and blue it will be a celebrated event.

12 comments for “Should the Mets consider starting out season with Travis d’Arnaud as their starting catcher?

  1. March 23, 2013 at 8:34 am

    It was interesting talking to Travis and John Buck in Florida. Standing side by side, Buck looked very much bigger and stronger than Travis, so much so, that I got on the iphone to look at their vitals, and both were listed about the same height.
    Travis is not 19 or even 21. He is 24. At the games I watched, he was all business, barely cracks a smile and appears to have the maturity to withstand New York media.
    I think they plan on calling him up the very day that pushes his free agency back one year. I wish this was not the case.

  2. March 23, 2013 at 8:38 am

    I’m with you. Excellent post.

  3. AV
    March 23, 2013 at 8:42 am

    I saw a similar post on ESPN yesterday discussing the Tampa Bay Rays and Wil Myers. The thinking was that on one-hand, where does Myers provide more value: in 2013 in his age 22 season or in 2019 in his age 28 season? The counterpoint was that the Rays are ready to compete now while they still have David Price anchoring the rotation. Sending Myers to AAA to start the season could put them in the same situation as the Angels last year, who were 6-14 when they called up Mike Trout and just missed the playoffs.

    With d’Arnaud we have a similar predicament with the converse circumstances. As a catcher, when does he provide more value to the Mets: now in his age 24 season or in that extra year in 2019 in his age 30 season? A 30-year old catcher takes a bigger beating over the years than a 28-year old outfielder. However the Mets are likely not competing this year so is it worth it to have him up to start 2013? There are no clear answers, which means there are going to be upset fans regardless of what Sandy Alderson and company decide to do.

    • Name
      March 23, 2013 at 12:45 pm

      That comparison isn’t quite right.
      It should really be whether you want a full season in 2013 at age 24 OR
      3 weeks shy of a full season in 2013 + 2019.

      I mean, it’s blatently clear that the second option is the better one, whether you are a contender or not a contender.
      A common misconception is that people think that in order to keep him for 2019, we have to forgo a good chunk of his 2013 season, which isn’t the case.

      Now the decision between whether granting him Super 2 status could be debatable.
      In that case you are choosing between
      3 weeks shy of a full season in 2013 + more expensive 2015 contract OR
      2-3 months shy of a full season in 2013 + less expensive 2014 contract.

      • AV
        March 28, 2013 at 8:33 am

        My assumption was they would try to avoid Super Two altogether and not just the service time clock. So I agree that the comparison I presented isn’t quite right.

        My feeling is they’ll do what they did with Ike Davis. The plan for Davis was to keep him in AAA and have Jacobs and Tatis platoon at 1B. When it became apparent that wasn’t going to work, they called up Ike and bit the bullet on the Super Two status. I could see the same thing with d’Arnaud. However, for all the talk about calling him up before April 20th if the need arises, I think Sandy sticks to his guns and keeps him down until that date passes.

  4. Chris F
    March 23, 2013 at 8:47 am

    I can’t see a single reason to bring him up right now to win 3 or 4 more games when winning 70 is looking like a task. Viewing d’Arnaud in isolation covers the fact that the 2013 Mets will not have a winning season, so why lose even a second of time when his value will be much greater, and the Mets have developed into contenders. I’m thrilled he is delivering, but counting his service clock now is just something that I can’t endorse given how little it will actually mean.

    • Metsense
      March 23, 2013 at 12:19 pm

      I agree Chris. Buck is also having a terrific Spring
      will be a good good trade chip this July.

      • Chris F
        March 23, 2013 at 1:01 pm


      • March 23, 2013 at 4:56 pm

        Like Hairston last year? Or Capuano the year before?

  5. March 23, 2013 at 9:31 am

    I completely agree. Everybody seems brainwashed into thinking it’s all about the money. But at some point I’d really like to see it be all about winning. Tired of the loser’s mentality.

    All to save Fred Wilpon money down the road, maybe.

    IF d’Arnaud doesn’t get hurt, IF he’s not a bust, IF we don’t extend him early, IF he doesn’t add to revenue now, IF we don’t trade him (See: Hanson, Braves), etc.

    The mindset of this organization, from the top down, is not about winning. It’s not even about competing. That must change, and it will only change by a series of small decisions, little things, details. Fielding the best team possible would be a place to start.

    I’ve been to the park for wins, I’ve been there for loses. It’s better when they win. Maybe you buy a jersey, maybe you come back again, maybe you tell the guys in the office what a terrific time you had, etc. Anyway: sigh.

  6. Frank
    March 24, 2013 at 2:39 am

    Great article. For the sake of his contract, I would keep him in AAA for a few weeks. Only for that reason. He has certainly proved he can hit big league pitching.

  7. March 24, 2013 at 9:38 am

    I can see the points for each side of the debate.

    Trying to consider everything, I’m okay with sending him to Triple-A for a little while. I’d rather risk whatever additional edge he’d provide over Buck for a couple of months than the potential damage to his psyche if he struggled in April and had to be sent down. But I have no problem with people who argue for the exact opposite.

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