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.