Back before spring training began, we ran a piece saying that the Mets’ catching duo of Travis d’Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki would probably be fine. Given the way that things have gone for those two players, with d’Arnaud having season ending surgery and Plawecki out for several weeks with a broken hand, we won’t know how that duo would have played out over the course of 162 games. But the difference between what they provided offensively and what the Mets are getting out of Jose Lobaton and Tomas Nido is noticeable.
Neither d’Arnaud nor Plawecki were going to make the All-Star game or anything, but the duo were competent at the plate. After hitting above league average in his brief playing time in the majors last year, Plawecki was off to a reasonably good start this year with a .150/.393/.200 line, good for a 99 wRC+. It’s a bit of a weird line, but you’ll take decent offense from a catcher however you can get it. d’Arnaud hadn’t matched Plawecki in that mark, but he hit .200/.250/.400 in 16 plate appearances. That put him at an 81 wRC+, roughly in line with the way he had hit over the past two seasons.
When it’s come to hitting, Lobaton and Nido have struggled mightily. Lobaton has been the better of the two, but his 56 wRC+ ranks 43rd among the 68 major league catchers who have made at least ten plate appearances this year. Nido’s -26 wRC+ ranks 66th.
The good news here is that Plawecki won’t be out forever. But his offensive track record is brief, to say the least, and there’s at least some chance that he, too, winds up struggling offensively. And clearly catcher defense, particularly framing, matters a lot when it comes to the overall value of a major league catcher. But the Mets need to acquire at least one player who can handle the position and provide some type of offense.
We took a look at some of the potential options out there for the team shortly after the aforementioned injuries. The team has hit a bit of a skid, going 3-6 in its last nine games, but the Mets are still in first place with a 15-8 record. They shouldn’t waste the opportunity that they now have, and they should find help behind the plate—regardless of Plawecki’s timeline.