Mets will work both Travis d’Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki at other positions in spring training
For the last couple of years, Mets brass has maintained their stance that neither Travis d’Arnaud or Kevin Plawecki would change positions at any point in the near-term.
Presumably, the Mets didn’t want to devalue either player by moving them from a premium position and installing them at a new position where their defense could suffer and their bats might not be as valuable.
But the club will carry both Plawecki and d’Arnaud on the roster in 2016, meaning if they’re both going to be catchers, it will be difficult to find adequate playing time for each.
As such, the club’s stance has changed to a degree, as assistant GM John Ricco said on Friday at Citi Field they will have both of their catchers work at other positions during spring training in an effort to have both of their bats in the lineup as much as possible while keeping them fresh as well.
“We have two players that we like a lot, and think will be good hitters,” Ricco explained. “We’d love to have both of them on the field.”
Ricco said he wasn’t sure what position or positions either of their catchers might work at during camp, but said the club will talk to Terry Collins and the players to try and formulate a plan.
“Ultimately, that will be [Collins’] decision as to where he plays those guys,” Ricco said. “But we like both of them, and we’re going to want to try to get them both as much playing time as possible.”
Such a move would certainly help keep both players fresh, but in the case of d’Arnaud, such a move – even if it’s on a part-time basis – might help to simply keep him on the field, something he’s struggled to do consistently due to a lot of bad luck. Of course, the Mets don’t want to fix one problem and create another at the same time in terms of having liabilities on the field, but they wouldn’t be the first catchers to play other positions at the big league level.
It’s worth mentioning Plawecki has played first base in the minor leagues over the course of his professional career. However, d’Arnaud has never played another position.
D’Arnaud missed much of the 2015 season due to a broken bone in his left hand he sustained when he was hit by a pitch against the Marlins in mid-April, and after a collision at the plate in late June against the Braves in Atlanta. That allowed for significant playing time for Plawecki, who hit .219/.280/.296 in 258 plate appearances over 73 games in his first big league season.