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Justin Birnbaum

If The Mets Don’t Upgrade At Catcher, They’re Fools

Earlier this week, Matthew Cerrone posted a column on MetsBlog about why he would prefer the Mets to stick with Travis d’Arnaud at catcher as opposed to taking a flyer on Matt Wieters. I’m a pretty loyal MetsBlog reader, it’s been a excellent way to follow the team since it was founded 14 years ago. However, for all the good that comes out of this website, you’re going to get a few contentious opinions here and there. I don’t think I could disagree with anything more and full disclosure I read a piece yesterday entitled, “10 Reasons Migos is better than the Beatles”.

The market for Matt Wieters is dead. The time for a multi-year deal has come and gone for the 30-year-old catcher. The skepticism to commit to Wieters is warranted as his recent injury history outweighs his four All-Star appearances and other accolades.

But now that the big money has passed, Wieters has become a major opportunity for those looking to upgrade behind the plate. He’ll probably land a one-year deal in the neighborhood of $8-12 million. Matt Wieters for $8 million is an absolute bargain.

I understand Sandy Alderson being hesitant to go shopping after resigning Cespedes and saving whatever room they have left to sign a reliever, but are you really that comfortable sticking out another full season of Travis d’Arnaud?

Wieters may have dealt with the injury bug over the last two seasons, but d’Arnaud has profiled as injury prone his whole career. He’s been consistently injured in the minors and throughout his time in the Majors. You also have to consider that Wieters was sidelined by Tommy John Surgery. Whereas Travis d’Arnaud finds a new body part to injure every other week (not literally), Wieters was rehabbing a freak injury that we all see pitchers come back stronger from.

To make matters worse, the Nationals are now considering Wieters as a bargain option to offset the loss of Wilson Ramos to free agency this past Winter. That alone should be reason enough to get involved.

The idea of adding Wieters at that price is extremely attractive for a few reasons, one of which being that he’s a switch hitter. The ability to bat from both sides is a much welcomed commodity for Terry Collins who certainly embraced the versatility of his lineup in 2016. With that being said, Wieters also offsets a major issue plaguing Mets catchers the past two seasons: nobody can throw a baserunner out. Wieters arm is considerably stronger than d’Arnaud’s and a defensive upgrade behind the plate would be welcomed considering how slow the Mets pitching staff works.

To be completely honest, I’ve watched enough Mets baseball over the last three years to say confidently that Travis d’Arnaud sucks. He’s barely on the field and when he is, he provides little or no impact on the game. It’s painful to watch him try to throw out runners and if you’re not going to hit as a catcher then you better be Gold Glove caliber if you expect some job security. What really hurts me the most is that d’Arnaud’s most redeeming quality as a top prospect was his bat. He absolutely raked in AAA but can’t seem to manage anything more than a .245 batting average in the Major Leagues? Not good enough for me. It’s kind of sad for the Mets to continue to hold out hope that he’ll morph into offensive machine of our dreams.

Yeah, he’s only set to make $1.8 million in 2017 and being that he’s cheap you don’t really have to expect much from him. The Mets are locked into a championship window right now and any chance to upgrade consequence free should be embraced. Matt Wieters comes with no strings attached and you might even prevent Washington from getting just a little bit better.

Matt Wieters is not the savior we’ve all been looking for, but adding him to the roster makes the Mets look like a championship team a little more than they actually do right now.

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