One of the more intriguing stories for the New York Mets this spring is whether catcher Kevin Plawecki will be the backup to Travis d’Arnaud come Opening Day. It is clear that Plawecki is the second-best catcher on the roster, but the Mets are seriously considering having him start the season in Las Vegas. If Plawecki is on the Triple-A roster, Johnny Monell would most likely serve as d’Arnaud’s backup.
Plawecki, 25, was the Mets’ first-round draft pick back in 2012. He batted .219 with three home runs and 21 RBIs in 73 games last season. The ongoing dispute is that the team wants him to start the season in Triple-A while Plawecki has made it known he wants to be in the big leagues. That also could be because then he’s making big-league money and will have more service time so he would become a free agent quicker. Plawecki would be the starter in Las Vegas, and the Mets want him to get as much time playing as possible rather than sit on the bench. Starting Plawecki with the Triple-A team would be the right move for the Mets.
Plawecki started the season in Triple-A last year but still found a way to play in 73 games for the Mets. The team lost backup catcher Anthony Recker last winter when Recker signed a deal with the Cleveland Indians. Monell would be d’Arnaud’s backup, but if Monell struggles early it could put pressure on the Mets to call up Plawecki.
In d’Arnaud’s brief three-year career, he has been injury prone. He appeared in 67 games last season and was placed on the disabled list twice. Unfortunately for Mets fans, the possibility of another stint on the disabled list for d’Arnaud is legitimate. So if the Mets do have to play Plawecki due to an injury, it would be better if he had already been playing as a full-time starting catcher in Triple-A.
It’s understandable why Plawecki and his agent are thinking business first. But for the Mets to win games and have Plawecki ready to go, the team should be patient with him and have him in Las Vegas, rather than Kansas City, on Opening Day.