"We expect to get a good, long look at him over most of February and the games in March," Alderson said of d'Arnaud. "What happens at the beginning of the season will atl least depend in part on how he performs in Spring Training. ... It would be unfair, given his situation, his level of development to say 'he can't make the team out of Spring Training.' ... I just don't want to rule anything out. At the same time, I don't want to create false expectations on the part of our fans or any sense of pressure on Travis himself."
Alderson said if d'Arnaud makes the team, he will be their regular catcher and not serve as a backup.
However, if d'Arnaud instead starts the year in Triple-A, Alderson said John Buck is more than capable of being the team's starting catcher until d'Arnaud is ready later in the year.
In 67 games with Triple-A Las Vegas last season, d'Arnaud hit .333 with a .380 OBP, .975 OPS, 16 home runs and 52 RBI in 279 at-bats.
If d'Arnaud stays at Triple-A for the first 20 days of the season, he will be unable to accrue a full year of Major League service time - meaning the team would control d'Arnaud through the 2019 instead of just 2018. As was the case with Ike Davis in 2010, I'm sure the Mets will jeopardize that year of control for d'Arnaud over a matter of 20 days, even if he is ready. It's also worth noting d'Arnaud saw limited action last season thanks to a PCL injury in his knee, and so a little extra work in Triple-A wouldn't hurt his development.