The New York Mets have decided to tender a contract to catcher Travis d’Arnaud but not utility man Wilmer Flores, reports Mike Puma (across two tweets). The team will head into arbitration with d’Arnaud, while Flores is now free to sign elsewhere.
The decision to tender d’Arnaud is a bit of a surprise, as he missed all but four games of last season following Tommy John surgery. The former top catching prospect has had an up-and-down six seasons in the majors, hitting .245/.306/.406 with 47 home runs and has a career wRC+ of 97.. The torn UCL was the latest—and most severe—in a string on injuries over his career, which has limited him to just 397 games, or about 66 per season. According to MLB Trade Rumor’s arbitration projections, d’Arnaud should get a deal worth $3.7 million, a slight raise from his $3.5 million last season.
While the Mets have lit the hot stove with talks of a blockbuster trade with the Mariners, they have not made any additions at catcher, with Kevin Plawecki and Tomas Nido the only other catchers on the 40-man roster.
Flores’ non-tendering was mostly likely a sad surprise to many Mets fans, as he has become a favorite ever since the non-trade in 2015. This season, he hit .267/.319/.417 with 11 home runs in 126 games while playing primarily first base, but also some second and third. He had a 103 wRC+ and led baseball with four walk off RBIs.
According to the same arbitration projections, Flores was expected to make $4.7 million for next season.
Assuming he does not return on a lighter deal, Flores will end his Mets career after six seasons in the majors having hit .262/.303/.424 with 68 home runs. His 10 walk off RBIs are a Met record.
If the rumored Mets-Mariners trade goes through, the only player on the 40-man roster with more than three appearances at first last season will be Dominic Smith, though Peter Alonso could soon rise to the majors as well. Flores led the team in games played at first last season with 83.
The Mets have six other players entering arbitration—Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Zack Wheeler, Steven Matz, Michael Conforto and Plawecki—all of whom are expected to be tendered.