Mets catcher Travis d’Arnaud, who’d previously been diagnosed with a partial tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, will undergo Tommy John surgery next week, the team announced on Friday.
Additionally, the Mets placed Kevin Plawecki on the 10-day DL due to a hairline fracture in his left hand, selected the contract of Jose Lobaton from Triple-A Las Vegas and optioned out righty Jacob Rhame in place of outfielder Brandon Nimmo.
To make room on the 40-man roster for Lobaton, d’Arnaud was placed on the 60-day DL. Plawecki is expected to be out three to four weeks, the team told reporters (Twitter link via Mike Puma of the New York Post).
Suffice it to say, it’s been a devastating 48 hours for the Mets, who just days ago were counting on d’Arnaud and Plawecki to shoulder the entirety of their catching work in 2018. Now, they’ll be without Plawecki for perhaps a month’s time, while d’Arnaud will be lost for the whole season. In their stead, the Mets will turn to Lobaton and Double-A backstop Tomas Nido to handle immediate catching duties. Lobaton is in tonight’s lineup.
However, for a club that started 10-1, the Mets understandably aren’t keen on merely relying on depth pieces and journeyman stopgaps as they await the return of Plawecki, who, while he has shown promise in the past, is no sure bet for a productive campaign.
To that end, the Mets are already on the lookout for catching help, per multiple reports. Anthony DiComo of MLB.com tweets that a small-scale move — something along the lines of a pickup of recently designated veteran Miguel Montero — could be in play for the Mets. FanRag’s Jon Heyman, meanwhile, tweets that the Mets are “seriously” looking at adding a catcher, though GM Sandy Alderson, at least publicly, spoke to the contrary (Twitter links via DiComo and Puma).
Alderson indicated that his club will “be aware” of what is available on the catching market but is not actively pursuing a Major League catching addition. Puma notes that Alderson did suggest that trades are more plausible early this season than in other years because of the number of teams that “aren’t trying that hard.”
One move that seems decidedly unlikely is a swap for J.T. Realmuto. DiComo and Newsday’s Tim Healey have both thrown significant cold water on the possibility, downplaying the notion that the Mets would be able to put together a sufficient package and also downplaying the Marlins’ willingness to move him. Healey notes that the Mets and Marlins haven’t spoken about Realmuto at all this week, noting that offseason talks for the star catcher failed to gain any traction.
More emphatically, Joe Frisaro of MLB.com tweets that the Marlins don’t have any intention of dealing Realmuto while he’s rehabbing from injury and, in the grander scope of things, don’t even plan on making him available at all this season. It seems that the Fish would prefer to hold Realmuto through the end of the 2018 season and market him again next winter when a wider base of clubs could likely inquire about his services. Of course, such plans can always change at the deadline if a few contenders find themselves with an acute need, thus creating the basis for a bidding war, but for the time being it doesn’t sound as if a Realmuto trade is even worth speculating upon.
As far as depth options go, the Mets have already acted quickly to pursue one such addition. Former Mets backstop Johnny Monell announced today on Instagram that he’s signed a new minor league deal with the team and will return to the club. The 32-year-old logged 57 plate appearances for the 2015 Mets and is a lifetime .278/.350/.460 hitter in parts of five seasons in Triple-A, which is where he’ll be headed.