Danny Abriano, SNY.tv | Twitter |
With Rays catcher Travis d'Arnaud belting three homers on Monday night against the Yankees in the Bronx, it gave the Mets' self-loathing fan base (of which I am a member) an excuse to launch another "woe-is-us" campaign. To chalk this up as another "LOLMets" moment. But it wasn't one.
Were the Mets wrong to tender d'Arnaud a contract in the offseason only to DFA him after only 10 games and 25 plate appearnaces as he returned from Tommy John surgery? Yes. The smart move would've been to non-tender him in order to not waste that money.
Most expected the Mets to move on from d'Arnaud after they signed Wilson Ramos to be their starting catcher and added Devin Mesoraco on a minor league deal. For some reason, they didn't.
That the Mets bungled the roster construction when it came to Ramos' backup isn't really up for debate. But their choice to move on from "Travis d'Arnaud, starting catcher" was made long before then. And it was a sound choice.
D'Arnaud, who was the headliner in the R.A. Dickey trade (not Noah Syndergaard), struggled in his first taste of the majors in 2013, showed flashes in 2014, and hit really well in 2015, when he slashed .268/.340/.485 with 12 homers. But that breakout in 2015 happened in just 67 regular season games as d'Arnaud was limited due to injury.
After d'Arnaud's injury-riddled breakout in 2015, he hit .244/.297/.393 with the Mets from 2016 to 2018, battling injuries the entire time as he played a total of 191 games those three seasons -- including only four games in 2018 before undergoing Tommy John surgery.
The Mets waited five seasons for d'Arnaud to take the starting catcher job and run with it. That he was unable to was due to a number of factors, including the many injuries that sidelined him. And once the 2019 season started, his chance at excelling in a regular role with the Mets had come and gone.
The very fans that are bashing the Mets and snickering now that d'Arnaud is playing well with the Rays are the same ones who had been screaming for years for the Mets to replace him. You can't have it both ways.
That d'Arnaud has been given a chance to start with the Rays and is slashing .282/.342/.542 with nine homers in 39 games should simply be viewed as a very talented player and good guy getting healthy and hitting his stride with a new team. Good for him. He deserves it.
Want to get on the Mets for trading a prospect for Wilmer Font before DFA'ing him in lightning-quick fashion? That's fair. Want to question why they signed Jed Lowrie to a two-year deal instead of allocating that money elsewhere when there was no actual need for him? Do it. There are a host of other recent moves they deserve to be taken to task for, too.
But the chance for d'Arnaud to make any kind of impact again with the Mets evaporated before this season even started. And there were plenty of valid reasons why. Had they kept him, he'd be a backup right now. And he would've been gone after the season as a free agent anyway.
At 30 years old, d'Arnaud -- for 39 games -- has tapped into the potential the Mets waited six years for. He'll probably come back to earth soon, and everyone will move on to another topic to obsess over. Until then, some perspective is warranted.