Mets catchers not named Travis d'Arnaud are currently batting .197 with a .291 OBP and .283 slugging, which ranks 27th in MLB. They've combined for just nine extra base hits and, while they're drawing walks at a slightly above average rate, it's not enough to overcome their awful batting averages.
For a team ranked 13th in the National League in runs per game, this is a significant concern. Deeper lineups can bury bad catchers in the 8-hole, but there are arguably four other batters on the Mets that should be hitting there too...
Defense is a bit more of a mixed bag. Mets catchers have always been excellent pitch-framers -- the skill most closely correlated with reducing opponent runs scored -- and this year is no different. Additionally, they have allowed just one passed ball, best in MLB, and just 18 wild pitches.
However, the focus is generally on throwing out baserunners because it's the most easily identified and easily quantified piece of a catcher's job. But it can also be misleading because so much depends on the pitcher.
Overall, the team is slightly below league average (though not alarmingly so), but the results vary greatly between pitchers. When Bartolo Colon is on the mound, Mets catchers have a 57 percent caught-stealing rate. Jacob deGrom's rate is 75 percent.
On the other end of the spectrum, a dismal 12 percent of Noah Syndergaard's attempted stealers have been caught, resulting in an ugly 22 stolen bases on the year. The range of successful steals varies much more from pitcher-to-pitcher than from catcher-to-catcher.
In three games for St. Lucie, d'Arnaud has allowed three stolen bases and thrown out one would-be stealer. That is a very small sample to even think about, but it has some fans concerned he will be a liability when he returns to the majors.
Given the incredibly wide range of factors at play in the minors, with even greater variability than what we see between major league pitchers above, scouting the stat line in this case is an exceptionally bad idea. That said, rotator cuff injuries are no joke and even a grade 1 strain means there is some degree of tear in a muscle essential to throwing.
The Mets have wisely been very conservative with d'Arnaud's rehab, giving him more than the usual period of time to rest and strengthen the area. If he has not healed, which is unlikely but not impossible, then one indication would certainly be difficulty throwing. It's too early to have any real indication if this is the case; the only way we'll know is when he returns and his throwing can be watched more closely.
D'Arnaud's return will undoubtedly boost the offense and allow Kevin Plawecki to work on his swing in the minors, but if he is still injured, the next step would likely be surgery and the Mets would need to look outside of the organization to stay in contention.
The name that is going around most (and will continue to go around until the trade deadline) is Milwaukee's Jonathan Lucroy, who is signed through next season. However, the market will be crowded with no fewer than six contending teams, as well as the Mets, in need of significant improvement from that position. So, start with Zack Wheeler and add your very favorite prospect and that's probably not enough to get him.
The front office has shown they are willing to make a big splash in the trade market, but getting into a bidding war for a catcher is unlikely. If they do upgrade, a veteran target like Carlos Ruiz is a more probable scenario with the big bat coming elsewhere in the infield.
It's been a rough stretch for all Mets hitters and the catchers are no exception, but d'Arnaud's imminent return will provide a valuable bump. As for the defense, it's too soon to know what he will bring, but the spotlight will certainly be on him until he demonstrates he is healthy.