Catcher Travis d'Arnaud was the centerpiece in the return package the Mets got when they shipped R.A. Dickey out of town following a 20 win, Cy Young Award season in 2012. The top prospect in the Blue Jays system, he made his Met debut this season to a reasonable amount of fanfare, and is slated to be the battery mate of Matt Harvey, Zach Wheeler, and all of the other young Met pitching stars for years to come. In his 31 games in the bigs, he has looked like a solid defensive backstop. His offense, however, looked lacking, posting just a .202 average and a .286 on-base percentage.
Photo by Michael Baron
If this year's Mets team plans to contend, it will need consistency and production from the catcher position. With the young starter penned into the lineup, his roster spot appeared to be one of the very few that was not under review and slated for improvement during the Winter Meetings. d'Arnaud needs to reward team management for their confidence in him by having a big, breakout type year. He may not be a serious power threat, but he could fall into a 20 home run per year category, making him especially effective if he returns to the .280 to over .300 batting averages he was sporting in his years at AA and AAA. That type of stat line would make him a terrific steal from Toronto, especially with Dickey's 2013 in hindsight.
The Mets say they plan to contend this season. If they wish to do so, d'Arnaud will have to be a big part of it.