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Kevin Plawecki Rumors
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.