The Mets’ decision to cut Travis d’Arnaud so early in the season calls into question the decision to ever tender him a contract in the first place, Joel Sherman of the New York Post opines in a lengthy look at the process. The team’s stance is that it has spent the past two months — Spring Training included — evaluating d’Arnaud, though he’s received only 25 big league plate appearances in part due to a stint on the IL. General manager Brodie Van Wagenen simply stated a belief that Tomas Nido, recalled to replace d’Arnaud, “makes us better.” The defensive-minded Nido does give the team a glove-first backup to a more bat-first primary catcher in Wilson Ramos, though that much was always apparent — even from the time the Mets tendered d’Arnaud a $3.52MM contract while he worked his way back from Tommy John surgery. Van Wagenen asserted that he has no regrets about tendering d’Arnaud and added that he couldn’t let “a few dollars shortchange” the team or d’Arnaud from an opportunity to get a look at him this season, though as Sherman points out, those “few dollars” seem all the more costly given ownership’s track record of spending at a lesser level than one would expect from a team in the game’s largest market. More broadly, the column looks at whether d’Arnaud was a scapegoat of sorts and whether any reactionary moves might follow.
More out of the NL East…
- Just a month into the season, the Marlins have “at least temporarily” moved Brian Anderson from third base back to right field, Jordan McPherson of the Miami Sun-Sentinel reports. The organization’s stance heading into the season was that Anderson would move back to his natural position, but manager Don Mattingly acknowledged that right field “turned into kind of a mess,” thus prompting the switch. Miami entered the season hoping that a combination of Garrett Cooper, Peter O’Brien, Austin Dean and Rosell Herrera could hold down the fort in right, however, so it’s hardly a surprise that the club ran into troubles there. The 28-year-old, 6’6″, 230-pound Cooper entered the season with all of 125 professional innings in right field and profiles better at first base, while O’Brien (also 28) is years removed from being an interesting power prospect with substantial defensive question marks. Mattingly wouldn’t comment on how long Anderson will be in the outfield, but the lack of solid in-house alternatives suggests that Anderson’s full-time move back to the hot corner won’t be anything close to “full-time” after all.
- Jesse Dougherty of the Washington Post looks at the timing of Carter Kieboom’s promotion in an attempt to determine what prompted the Nationals to make the move when they did. While Kieboom’s promotion ensures that he won’t be able to tally the 172 days of MLB service needed to reach one full year of service, Dougherty points out that service time considerations haven’t been a factor in the past when the Nats promoted star prospects like Bryce Harper, Victor Robles and Juan Soto. Rather, he speculates that perhaps Trea Turner’s timeline is closer to the eight-week time period than originally hoped, and the lack of offense from shortstop proved glaring. As for what’ll become of Kieboom, who has already homered twice, when Turner returns from his broken index finger, GM Mike Rizzo didn’t out keeping the 21-year-old Kieboom around. While Rizzo stated that Turner would return to shortstop once healed, he also indicated that the club could find a way to keep Kieboom on the big league roster at that point. The Nats kept Soto at the MLB level last year when he was initially promoted as an injury replacement, so there’s some recent precedent for that type of path. Turner is also still weeks away from a return, and it’s possible that other injuries on the roster will create a clearer opening for Kieboom to stick at the big league level even with Turner at shortstop.