You have to have a catcher or you’ll have all passed balls. -Casey Stengel
The GM of the Mets, Sandy Alderson spoke with Adam Rubin of ESPN-NY and had this to say about the Mets catching situation heading into 2013.
“Right now we have three catchers on the [40-man] roster, (Travis d’Arnaud, John Buck and Anthony Recker) and we don’t have a tremendous amount of depth at Triple-A or Double-A. So it’s conceivable we’ll add a catcher or two. I can’t tell you what quality they might be because I can’t tell you who is going to be left on the market over the next couple of weeks. It’s not something we’re highly concerned about. I would say it’s likely that some combination of those three will start the season for us.”
Now, Sandy has been consistent in his thoughts about the catching depth of the Mets since he became GM. It’s pretty much been, for lack of a better phrase, “an empty cupboard”.
The Mets catching situation last year was one that at best could be best put as “Crappy” and Sandy did a pretty good job about getting it to be at least a little better with the additions of Buck, d’Arnaud and Recker.
Now the Mets are going to have Buck be the placeholder, or as I will call him, the “Rey Sanchez memorial placeholder” as d’Arnuad gets a little bit more seasoning in AAA, (For those who don’t know, Rey Sanchez was the Mets SS in 2003 before Jose Reyes was called up) while Recker will be the backup.
The great unknown lies with Recker who was a wavier claim from the Chicago Cubs. Recker, who is 29, has hit a combined .152 with one home run and four RBIs in 66 career major league at-bats, with the A’s and Cubs. With Recker, who from the same college as Zach Lutz, Alvernia College, the Mets are hoping he can be a capable back-up before Buck assumes the duties when d’Arnaud is called up.
Now Sandy mentions adding catching depth before Spring Training starts, but it’s pretty much a lock that the players signed will not blow your socks off. With the loss of the four catchers that were in the Majors with the Mets last season, everyone will be new behind the plate no matter who it is.
If offense from these guys is going to be average at best until proven otherwise, their defense will be the key. The Mets with Josh Thole, Mike Nickeas, Kelly Shoppach and Rob Johnson were not exactly a great group defensively.
For a Mets pitching staff that will be asked to keep mistakes to the bare minimum, the catchers they work with will have to do the same. The way that the Mets could be the most successful is pitching well and playing great defense. The responsibility the catchers have to see those goals succeed is important to the success of the Mets. If they can help the pitchers be successful it can be a trickle down effect for the rest of the ballclub.
At the end of the day, the Mets catching situation is on better ground than it has been since Paul LoDuca was behind the plate. The present with Buck isn’t bad and the future with d’Arnaud can be even better.
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