Noah Syndergaard is extremely happy the Mets re-signed C Rene Rivera, he told WOR's Pete McCarthy during an interview this week on WOR 710 AM radio.
"That's huge, because he really helped me last year with his veteran leadership and the amount of knowledge that he has," Syndergaard explained.
The Mets avoided arbitration with Rivera in late-November, signing him to a one-year, $1.75 million deal. He joined them last season on a minor-league deal.
In early-November, Mets GM Sandy Alderson said he's less interested in acquiring a new catcher from outside the organization and more focused on finding ways to help Travis d'Arnaud, Rivera and Kevin Plawecki play better in 2017.
For instance, in early-December, Alderson hired former D-backs coach Glenn Sherlock to be his team's new third base coach and catching instructor.
Travis d'Arnaud catches at Chase Field (Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)
"We've got to get him back on track on both sides of the ball," Mets manager Terry Collins said, when asked during the Baseball Winter Meetings how Sherlock may be able to help d'Arnaud. "I've talked to a number of people around (Sherlock) and I have yet to hear anything bad. He's a tremendous coach, people relate to him. You look at the job he did with Wellington Castillo in Arizona. I liked his theories on catching, what he had to say about getting guys to get a better release, get in better positions. I think he's going to be a good addition."
Castillo was non-tendered by the D-backs after hitting .264 with a .423 SLG in 2016. He later signed a one-year, $6 million deal with the Orioles and was reportedly never considered by the Mets.
Similarly, to date, according to multiple reports, the Mets have not (and are unlikely to) talked to Matt Wieters, who is is seeking a multi-year deal and considered the premier catcher on the free-agent market.
I can live with Rivera being Syndergaard's personal catcher and playing day games after night games, with d'Arnaud getting the rest of the team's starts. If everyone else in the lineup is mostly healthy and hitting, a Travis-Rivera platoon will be more than fine.
The fact is, with just a few more home runs and a slightly better combined batting average, Mets catching would have been more or less middle of the pack in baseball last season -- just as they were in 2015, when d'Arnaud hit .268 with 12 home runs as opposed to the .247 and four home runs he produced last year.
More importantly, if Syndergaard feels more confident and comfortable and likes throwing to Rivera then Syndergaard should throw to Rivera.