Remember Mets Opening Day 2011? Mike Pelfrey was on the mound, Willie Harris started in left field, and John Buck hit a grand slam to lead the Marlins to a 6-2 win in Miami. No entity just mentioned has had a fun go of it since then; the Mets and the Marlins are the Mets and the Marlins, Big Pelf went under the knife in 2012, Harris's whereabouts are unknown, and Buck, the subject of this community projection, has now been with three different organizations this offseason alone.
The Marlins gave Buck a three-year, $18 million contract after his career-year 2010 with the Blue Jays. He posted an OPS of .802 that season while catching a majority of his team's games. His production fell off after that though, as his OPS dropped to .683 in 2011 and .644 in 2012. His slash line in 2012 of .192/.297/.347 was a career-worst. Not quite Nickeas-esque, but still solidly below-average, even for a catcher. By the end of the 2012 season, he had lost his starting job to the promising Rob Brantly. Perhaps that explains Buck's, umm, colorful pose in one of the Marlins' team photos taken last September, linked here.
Buck was one of many casualties in the Marlins' roster purge this offseason, as he was shipped to the Blue Jays along with Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, and Mark Buehrle in that massive 12-player trade. He wasn't long for Canada though; he was traded to the Mets as part of the sad-but-probably-necessary R.A. Dickey trade. Buck sits at the top of the Mets' catcher depth chart, for now, holding it down until Travis d'Arnaud can hit some bombs at Triple-A Las Vegas and prove that he's fully recovered from injury.
What can we expect from Buck? He's a 32-year-old catcher, an animal generally not known for aging well. However, his peripherals in 2012 (12.3% BB%, .155 Iso, .235 BABIP) hint that he may have been victimized by some bad luck. And he may be able to help another veteran coming off a down season, if there's any truth to this:
If Buck can hit a few home runs, continue to throw out base stealers at about a league-average clip, and get along with the pitching staff, he could have a useful 2013 season.
His name is Buck and he's here to... bat higher than .192, I hope? Post your Buck projection in the comments in the same format as below. I'll compare our projections to actual results at season's end.