The New York Mets are off to a strong start in 2018, pacing the National League in wins with 10 so far in the young season.
New York also ranks second in the senior circuit with a +24 run differential entering play on Friday and are riding an eight-game winning streak.
However, the Mets already have a glaring hole on the team’s roster.
Travis d’Arnaud is currently on the disabled list, as is his backup, Kevin Plawecki.
MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo tweeted the following on Wednesday:
Big news from the Mets: Travis d'Arnaud has a partial tear of the UCL in his right elbow. He could need Tommy John surgery. He's on the DL, and Tomas Nido is up.
— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) April 11, 2018
Meanwhile, Newsday’s Tim Healey tweeted the following on Friday morning:
Official from the Mets: Kevin Plawecki has a fractured left hand. He will not need surgery.
An X-ray taken Wednesday night was negative. A follow-up MRI in New York Thursday revealed a hairline fracture.
— Tim Healey (@timbhealey) April 13, 2018
The Mets then announced the move to place both backstops on the disabled list in a tweet from the team’s official Twitter account on Friday afternoon.
We’ve selected the contract of catcher José Lobatón from Las Vegas, recalled OF Brandon Nimmo from Las Vegas and optioned Jacob Rhame to Las Vegas. We’ve placed Kevin Plawecki on the 10-Day DL retroactive to April 12 and transferred catcher Travis d’Arnaud to the 60-Day DL. #Mets
— New York Mets (@Mets) April 13, 2018
It’s not the most ideal news for the franchise. Despite neither d’Arnaud or Plawecki being able to establish themselves as full-time starters in the Majors, the duo gave the Mets options behind the plate.
With that in mind, adding another catching option to the mix certainly makes sense, in fact, it’s bordering on a necessity if both d’Arnaud and Plawecki miss extended time.
The Mets could opt for a short-term option to serve as a stop gap until the aforementioned duo are healthy (whenever that is) or go for a more long-term fit.
Considering neither d’Arnaud or Plawecki has overly impressed in the Majors, acquiring a younger backstop to serve as the starter for the foreseeable future shouldn’t be out of the question.
Here are the New York Mets’ two best trade options.
(All contract information via Spotrac.)
(Also, this is all speculative, mind you.)
Wilson Ramos, Tampa Bay Rays
2018 fWAR: -0.3
2018 Salary: $10.5 million
Ramos hasn’t exactly been the same catcher he was with the Nats in a Tampa Bay uniform, logging just a .692 OPS in 261 plate appearances after registering a .743 output in his time in the nation’s capital.
Despite his down offensive numbers, he did mash left-handed pitching last season, with an 111 wRC+, a .335 wOBA and an .809 OPS against southpaw with the Rays in 2017.
Defensively, he hasn’t returned to his Washington form either. With the Nationals, Ramos turned in a DRS of 10 or more in three different seasons, and routinely posted positive rSB numbers.
New York’s farm system isn’t exactly deep after promoting both Ahmed Rosario and utilizing Dominic Smith in 2017. Still, Ramos could conceivably expendable in Tampa Bay where the Rays are already 3-9 and have Jesus Sucre laying in wait to absorb the lion’s share of plate appearances.
The 22-year-old flamethrower is currently pitching for Double-A Binghamton, where he’s yet to allow a run or walk and has eight strikeouts in three innings so far in 2018.
James McCann, Detroit Tigers
2018 fWAR: -0.1
2018 Salary: $2.375 million
If the Mets prefer a slightly cheaper option from a financial standpoint to Ramos, James McCann may be the best option.
Like the ex-Nat considering he demolishes lefties.
McCann owns a lifetime 138 wRC+, a .378 wOBA and a .252 ISO versus southpaws. If you’re more into traditional stats, he’s produced the following metrics against left-handed opponents: a .351 on-base percentage, a .542 slugging percentage and an .893 OPS.
Unlike Ramos, McCann is controllable, with two more years of arbitration eligibility remaining.
He doesn’t hit righties much (career 55 wRC+), but can be a defensive asset when on form. Only Jonathan Lucroy and Wilson Contreras have a higher Def (defensive runs above average) metric among backstops than McCann’s 1.7 number early this season.
He’s more of a long-term fit than a rental, but the New York Mets could certainly use the stability behind the dish.
A hypothetical trade based around standout fielder Luis Guillorme would make sense for both sides.
Trading him for Guillorme and a lower level, lottery-ticket type prospect would give Detroit a middle-infielder to immediately replace Jose Iglesias, who himself is a trade candidate.