The Mets are more interested in helping Travis d'Arnaud, Rene Rivera and Kevin Plawecki play better in 2017 than acquiring a new catcher from outside the organization, GM Sandy Alderson told reporters in Arizona on Tuesday.
"You can't go into a National League season with your eight hitter hitting what essentially your nine hitter is hitting," Alderson said, according to Newsday. "But, do we think we have the potential for improvement there? I think we do feel that way."
D'Arnaud played in just 75 games during 2016, while hitting just .247 with four home runs and 15 RBIs. He missed time early in the season with a strained rotator cuff, ending up idle for almost a month.
"We've got to keep him somewhat healthy," Collins told Adam Rubin. "You can't keep losing your mainline guys for two months. He had 250 at-bats when he should have 500. You're talking about a guy who missed half the season. We've got to get him better."
Mets catchers ranked near the bottom of every major hitting category among NL teams in 2016.
The free-agent market for catchers include switch-hitting Matt Wieters and Wilson Ramos, who had season-ending knee surgery that could sideline him through the early summer.
Sep 2, 2016; New York City, NY, USA; Washington Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos (40) at home plate during game against the New York Mets at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Despite likely missing half of next season, Ramos still plans to seek a four- or five-year contract, his agent recently told the Washington Post.
Wieters is seeking a similar long-term deal after hitting .243 with 17 home runs in 123 games.
The Yankees have reportedly talked to teams about Brian McCann, who is 32 years old, has a full no-trade clause and will earn $51 million through 2019.
The Mets had real concerns about d'Arnaud a year ago, given how much time he had missed. By summer, they were reportedly looking to trade for Jonathan Lucroy in a deal that could have sent Travis to to the Brewers. He kept on with the Mets, but eventually lost his job to Rene Rivera, who did a nice job down the stretch...
There is no denying that d'Arnaud has legit talent for a catcher. He frames pitches well, seemingly calls a good game and -- if he ever stayed healthy -- obviously has the potential to hit 25 home runs with a decent OBP as a right-handed hitting catcher, which is huge. But, he's never been able to stay healthy and put it all together -- and he's not getting younger.
I'm willing to bet the Mets might have considered Ramos had he not been set up to miss most of 2017. He's a two-way catcher who knows the NL East inside and out. He would have been a no-brainer. But, at this point, given the injury and need to win in 2017, it's hard to imagine Alderson overpaying for a guy he won't have full time until the following season.
On the other hand, if Ramos struggles to find a mega contract and he's willing to accept less money and fewer years because of his health status, I hope Sandy considers him, even if it means missing most of next season.
Mar 15, 2016; Kissimmee, FL, USA; Houston Astros catcher Jason Castro (15) hits a line drive back to the pitcher resulting in an inning ending double play with the bases loaded during the fourth inning of a spring training baseball game at Osceola County Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
In addition to Ramos and Weiters, the free-agent market will also includes a lot of less impressive options, such as Alex Avila, Nick Hundley, Jason Castro, Dioner Navarro, Kurt Suzuki, A.J. Ellis, A.J. Pierzynski, Jeff Mathis, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, David Ross, Geovany Soto and Drew Butera.