As the non-tender deadline approaches, the Mets have made a decision regarding two of their veteran players.
Utility man and fan favorite Wilmer Flores has been non-tendered, and will test free agency. This move may come as a shock to many, but with the early stages of arthritis lingering, and with a clogged infield, it will be hard to find him playing time. During his time in the orange and blue, Flores hit at a .262/.319/.424 clip with 68 home runs and 253 RBIs. He has seen a substantial amount of time at first base, but with star prospect Peter Alonso waiting in the wings, Flores will not play every day.
Flores will always be remembered for his on-field crying episode when a trade rumor swirled around the dugout back in 2015. That trade never came to fruition, and we know how the rest of the Mets season went from there.
Catcher Travis d’Arnaud on the other hand, has been tendered a contract. The catcher has had a rocky first six seasons in the big leagues, always hitting the disabled list for an extensive period of time each year. His 2018 season ended after just four games, as he required season-ending Tommy John surgery.
Keeping d’Arnaud in the organization is an insurance move. Other than big free agent catchers Wilson Ramos and Yasmani Grandal, as well as Cleveland’s Yan Gomes and Miami’s J.T. Realmuto being the trade pieces, the market for catchers is scarce. Although the Mets are rumored to be in the market for another backstop, having d’Arnaud as an option if all else fails is a big reason why he is back.
d’Arnaud’s familiarity with the pitching staff is also a big reason to bring him back. If they do acquire another catcher, look for the Mets to either deal d’Arnaud to a team desperate for a catcher, or make him the backup. His knowledge of the Mets staff makes it too difficult to let him walk.
Both moves are small, but help give the Mets a game plan heading into the Winter Meetings next week. With Brodie Van Wagenen now running the show, and the team presumably in “win now mode”, the Mets are putting their best foot forward in order to get back to their recent winning ways.