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Kevin Plawecki Rumors
The Mets shut out the Rockies last night by a 4-0 score, while the Nationals got shut out themselves, dropping a 5-0 result to Zack Greinke and the Dodgers. Thanks to that pair of blankings, the Mets now hold a 2.5-game lead over Washington for first place in the NL East. Here’s the latest from Citi Field…
- Matt Harvey‘s eight shutout innings fueled Tuesday’s victory, though now that the ace righty has 148 IP for the season, his innings limit is beginning to loom large. The Mets have frequently stated that Harvey will be capped at around 185-190 innings this season, his first since undergoing Tommy John surgery in October 2013. “I will tell you this: We are going to do everything in our power to keep from shutting this guy down — any of those guys down,” Mets manager Terry Collins said, told reporters, including MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo. “He’s on pace to get to his [limit] fast….If we get into September to where we’ve got to have the game Matt Harvey pitches, he’s going to pitch it. But that’s why we’ve got to make sure he’s OK to do that.” The Mets will revisit a six-man rotation once Steven Matz returns from the DL in September.
- Michael Cuddyer has gone from key offseason acquisition to only a part-time player, Newsday’s David Lennon writes, as the Mets are committed to giving Michael Conforto regular at-bats. Cuddyer’s season-long struggles at the plate and his recent DL stint have opened the door for Conforto to take playing time, at least against right-handed pitching.
- The Mets optioned catcher Kevin Plawecki to Triple-A, calling up Anthony Recker in a corresponding move. Now that Travis d’Arnaud is fully healthy, Plawecki is going back to the minors to receive everyday playing time until the rosters expand on September 1. As ESPN New York’s Adam Rubin calculates, Plawecki should amass 147 days of Major League service time for 2015 (his rookie season). Assuming Plawecki is back on the roster in 2016 and beyond, he could receive an extra year of arbitration eligibility as a Super Two player in two seasons’ time, given how two years and 147 days is beyond any of the last seven Super Two cutoffs.
- Jose Reyes tells Tim Rohan of the New York Times that he would like to eventually return to the Mets to wind up his career. “I’d love to — not now, because I have two more years on my deal. But I’d love to finish my career here in New York. I have some great memories here,” Reyes said. The Rockies shortstop makes his offseason home in Long Island.
Here’s the latest out of the National League:
- Cardinals outfielder Matt Holliday left last night’s game with what looked to be a fairly significant quadriceps strain, as Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. The severity of the injury is not yet known, but we can expect more information today. While the team does have options in left — Randal Grichuk, Peter Bourjos, and Jon Jay are all available on the MLB roster, and top prospect Stephen Piscotty is waiting at Triple-A — any lengthy loss would be a huge blow. Holliday, 35, has put up a typically strong (although atypically low-power) .303/.417/.421 batting line thus far. And St. Louis is already dealing with the loss of first baseman Matt Adams to a severe quad injury, leaving some questions in the middle of the order.
- The Mets are in an interesting spot as the trade deadline approaches, with some useful trade chips that are also somewhat redundant assets. Among the young, big league level players who the team could conceivably deal, catcher Kevin Plawecki is not really an option to be moved, reports Mike Puma of the New York Post (Twitter links). Though he’ll likely be replaced soon by Travis d’Arnaud, the Mets don’t want to sacrifice depth behind the plate. But righty Rafael Montero could well be moved, says Puma, though he’ll need to get over his shoulder issues and back on track to carry the kind of value the team would hope.
- While the Mets continue to receive strong results from their rotation, the club’s handling of the staff has been problematic, writes Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Top lefty prospect Steven Matz is being held down until Super Two avoidance can be assured, says Sherman, while the club struggles to figure out what to do with Jon Niese and Dillon Gee.
- Sherman adds that the club “may have been able” to get Juan Uribe from the Dodgers in exchange for Gee, but passed on the opportunity because the team did not yet appreciate the severity of David Wright‘s back problems. The club is now struggling to fill in at the hot corner, particularly with Daniel Murphy joining Wright on the DL.
Mets manager Terry Collins would like to remain with the team beyond the 2015 season but isn’t worried that he has to contractual guarantee that he’ll be back, writes Steven Marcus of Newsday. Collins, whose contract contains a club option for the 2016 season, tells Marcus that he’s better equipped to handle the uncertainty at the age of 65 than he would have been earlier in his career, and he’s used to receiving short-term renewals from the team. “They know I want to be here,” says Collins. “They know I like it here. But I also understand the business as good as anybody. Hey, look, my job is to go out [and help them] do the best we can do to have a big year. If we do, the rest of it takes care of itself.”
Here’s more on the division-leading Mets…
- Travis d’Arnaud‘s fractured hand will sideline him for six to eight weeks, per Newsday’s David Lennon, but the team had already discussed the idea of eventually having d’Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki split time at catcher once the latter forced his way onto the MLB roster (All Twitter links). Plawecki has some experience at first base as well, but the Mets wanted him to focus solely on catching this spring in advance of him getting some big league reps. Lennon adds that the Mets considered Plawecki virtually untouchable in trade discussions this offseason, because they were concerned about d’Arnaud’s injury history. While d’Arnaud’s injury was a fluke occurrence as opposed to the flaring up of a prior injury, the decision to hold onto Plawecki certainly looks to have paid off.
- Alex Torres will step into more high-leverage situations against lefties following Jerry Blevins‘ injury yesterday, Collins told reporters, including MLB.com’s Joe Trezza. While there’s no specific timetable for Blevins’ return from a broken forearm yet, Collins implied that the team won’t necessarily look outside the organization for help. “We have a couple of lefties still at Las Vegas that are potential replacements,” said Collins. “Although we lost Jerry, we still have far more depth than we had in, say, mid-Spring Training, because the development of a couple of guys and the fact that we still have Alex Torres.”
- Fangraphs’ Dave Cameron examines his site’s playoff projections, noting that the top three teams — the Nationals, Cardinals and Dodgers — were all widely expected to occupy those slots, and the fourth-ranked team, the Padres, entered the season with similarly high expectations. The Mets currently rank as the fifth-most likely club to earn a playoff berth, per Fangraphs, and while they’ll be tested due to the losses of d’Arnaud and Wright, Cameron notes that it’s not hard to envision them getting there. With 10 wins already in the bank, the Mets have an edge over other Wild Card contenders that have better rosters, such as the Cubs and the Pirates. And if the team upgrades its rotation sooner rather than later by swapping out Rafael Montero or Noah Syndergaard for Dillon Gee, or if a superior fourth outfielder to John Mayberry is acquired, the .500 outlook for the rest of the season could trend upwards a bit and push them into the postseason, he concludes.
The Mets suffered a pair of bad breaks as they extended their winning streak to eight games. Catcher Travis d’Arnaud and left-hander Jerry Blevins both suffered fractures in the 7th inning of the Mets’ 7-6 win over the Marlins: d’Arnaud’s right hand after being hit by a A.J. Ramos pitch and Blevins’ left forearm when struck by a liner off the bat of Dee Gordon. Mets GM Sandy Alderson announced the contract of catching prospect Kevin Plawecki will be purchased from Triple-A Las Vegas and right-hander Hansel Robles will be recalled from Vegas. A 40-man roster move is required to add Plawecki.
Plawecki is ranked 40th overall by FanGraphs’ Kiley McDaniel, 63rd by both Baseball America and MLB.com, and 80th by Baseball Prospectus. Manager Terry Collins told reporters after the game (as tweeted by ESPNNewYork.com’s Adam Rubin) Plawecki will become the Mets’ number one catcher in d’Arnaud’s absence. D’Arnaud told reporters, including Rubin, Plawecki is ready for his MLB debut. “He’s a great catcher, a great player, a really smart player. He can swing the bat really well. And he knows how to work with the pitching staff as well.”
Drafted with the 35th selection in the 2012 draft (a free agent compensation pick obtained when the Marlins signed Jose Reyes), Plawecki is viewed as an offensive-minded catcher. MLB.com’s scouting report on Plawecki, however, gives him credit for having good hands and enough agility to block balls well, but believes the 24-year-old will never be the kind of backstop who can shut down a running game because of his average arm. Plawecki was hitting .229/.250/.343 in 36 plate appearance for Vegas before his call-up, though he hit a much more impressive .309/.365/.460 in 419 PA between Double-A and Triple-A in 2014.
The loss of both d’Arnaud and Blevins figure to test the Mets’ depth. While early, d’Arnaud had the makings of a breakout season with his line of .317/.356/.537 at the time of his injury. Defensively, d’Arnaud also stepped up his game throwing out three of the seven runners attempting to steal after catching just five all of last year. Blevins, meanwhile, has been death on left-handed hitters this season retiring all 14 he has faced. Alderson said a timetable for how long d’Arnaud and Blevins will be out will not be known until both are examined by hand specialists Monday.
Daisuke Matsuzaka picked up his first Major League save last night, though it probably isn’t going to be the start of a new career path for the veteran right-hander. Matsuzaka only got the call since Kyle Farnsworth had pitched in three of the Mets’ previous four games and was being rested, and as Fangraphs’ Paul Swydan points out, Dice-K doesn’t fit the traditional closer profile. Anything is possible given the Mets’ unsettled closing situation, however, so be sure to keep following @CloserNews, MLBTR’s sister Twitter feed, for the very latest on ninth-inning personnel changes.
Here’s some news from Citi Field…
- The Mets still haven’t decided whether or not to pursue free agent reliever Joel Hanrahan, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News reports. The team has been weighing its options for several days now since watching Hanrahan throw at a showcase last week. Almost 20 teams watched Hanrahan throw, so the Mets may face competition if they do decide to make the righty an offer, though an evaluator tells Martino that Hanrahan is still roughly a month away from being able to contribute.
- Also from Martino, there still isn’t anything brewing between the Mets and Stephen Drew, as “there is no momentum” between the two sides.
- Matthew Cerrone of Metsblog.com agrees that a Drew signing looks like a major longshot, and the Mets are more likely to promote Wilmer Flores from Triple-A than acquire a shortstop like Drew or the Mariners’ Nick Franklin.
- If the Mets do deal for a shortstop, Cerrone believes the Diamondbacks are New York’s best option as a trade partner. The two clubs at least discussed a trade during Spring Training and scouted each other’s prospects. According to Cerrone, the D’Backs liked right-hander Rafael Montero and catchers Travis d’Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki, though Plawecki alone wouldn’t have been enough to secure a deal. All three are ranked amongst the Mets’ top prospects by Baseball America, though Montero and d’Arnaud in particular would take major offers for the Mets to consider a trade.
The Diamondbacks have a good deal of depth at shortstop, as they feel that both Didi Gregorius and Chris Owings are capable Major League shortstops. In addition, three more names on Baseball America's list of Top 30 Diamonsbacks prospects — Nick Ahmed, Sergio Alcantara and Jose Munoz — are shortstops. This has led to some speculation that the Diamondbacks could trade a shortstop in order to address other needs in the organization, and Marc Carig of Newsday now reports (via Twitter) that the Diamondbacks have targeted young catchers in discussing shortstop trades with the Mets.
However, Carig adds that the Mets aren't a good fit for a trade with the D-Backs. Arizona is said to be seeking a Travis d'Arnaud type of talent in exchange for one of their shortstops and doesn't deem fellow catcher Kevin Plawecki a good enough return. As such, the Mets and D-Backs haven't had recent trade discussions about Arizona's shorstops (Twitter links).
For some context, Plawecki ranked fifth on BA's Top 30 Mets prospects heading into the 2014 season. BA calls him a safe bet to bat around .280 and hit somewhere in the range of a dozen homers at his peak level, and his bat is good enough to profile as a starting catcher, according to their scouting report. He has an average arm and is solid when it comes to blocking pitches, per BA.
The Diamondbacks currently have Miguel Montero installed as their everyday catcher, but the 30-year-old's offense slipped in 2013. After batting .283/.361/.457 from 2009-12, Montero slashed just .230/.318/.344 in 475 plate appearances last season. The decline was rapid and clearly unexpected, as it came in the first season of a five-year, $60MM extension that Montero inked in May 2012. He's set to earn $10MM this coming season, $12MM in 2015 and $14MM in 2016-17.