Published On: Fri, Apr 13th, 2018

10 catchers the Mets can target via trade

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The New York Mets have gotten off to their best start in franchise history, but it’s also been a tumultuous week behind the dish for the league’s top team.

On Friday, a follow-up MRI on catcher Kevin Plawecki revealed a hairline fracture in his left hand that he suffered Wednesday after being hit by a pitch.

The news came two days after fellow Mets catcher Travis d’Arnaud was diagnosed with a partially torn UCL in his right elbow, which could be a precursor to Tommy John surgery.

Neither catcher is expected to return anytime soon, which has left the Mets in a tricky position behind the plate. Prospect Tomas Nido and veteran Jose Lobaton are their best options, but they could also make a move to acquire someone else.

With that in mind, here are 10 catching options the Mets could look into if they want to keep up their winnings ways:

Blake Swihart, Red Sox

It’s been more than two years since Swihart regularly caught games for the Boston Red Sox, but he proved in spring training he can still hit (three home runs, 11 RBIs). The Red Sox were flooded with calls about him last month, so the Mets may need to offer Boston something worthwhile in return, like Zack Wheeler.

Miguel Montero, Nationals

Montero was designated for assignment by the Washington Nationals on Wednesday, but he’s still their property for the time being. After winning a job out of spring, the two-time All-Star struggled at the dish, failing to record a hit in 13 plate appearances. He could provide the Mets with a low-cost fill-in until Plawecki returns.

Wilson Ramos, Rays

The Tampa Bay Rays don’t look like a team that needs a catcher who earns $8.5 million on their roster, which is exactly what Ramos is. The 30-year-old had an incredible campaign in 2016 before a brutal knee injury ended his season. If the Mets want to spend the money and pieces it takes to get him from Tampa, he has the potential to be a great piece in their lineup.

Robinson Chirinos, Rangers

In 2017, only 10 catchers in baseball swatted more home runs than Chirinos, who hit 17 in 88 games. The 33-year-old is affordable ($2.25M) and comes with a team option for 2019. Texas is off to a 4-10 start and is plagued by injuries, so they may be ready to deal.

Devin Mesoraco, Reds

It wasn’t too long ago that Mesoraco was one of the league’s top offensive catchers, hitting 25 homers and driving in 80 runs in 2014. It’s been all downhill for him since. The Reds are heavily invested in Tucker Barnhart and are surely willing to part with Mesoraco’s $13.125-million salary, but that price tag could be far too high for New York unless Cincinnati takes on a portion of the money.

Cameron Rupp, Rangers

Like Chirinos, Rupp is another power-hitting option in the Rangers organization who could fit the Mets’ needs. The 29-year-old is playing in Triple-A after two consecutive seasons of 14-plus homers with the Philadelphia Phillies.

James McCann, Tigers

The Detroit Tigers aren’t going anywhere this season except forward into their rebuild, which could make McCann available. The 27-year-old backstop is in his prime and posted the highest OPS (.733) of his career last season. He’s also under team control until 2021, with his earliest arbitration eligibility coming next year.

Max Stassi, Astros

Go figure – the Houston Astros are deep at catcher, just like everywhere else on the field. The 27-year-old Stassi is among three catchers on Houston’s big-league roster, and it’s unlikely the Astros will part with Brian McCann or Evan Gattis. Stassi may be too hot of a commodity to move right now, however. He’s hit a whopping .368/.455/.632 in seven games.

Carson Kelly, Cardinals

Being a catcher in the same organization as Yadier Molina is a tough pill to swallow. The 23-year-old Kelly is the Cardinals’ No. 3 prospect, but with Molina inked until 2021 and showing no signs of slowing down, he may be an unplayable asset in St. Louis. A trade to the Mets, however, could net them something of value and bring New York some long-term catching depth they so desperately need.

J.T. Realmuto, Marlins

The biggest fish, in this case, is a Marlin. The Mets have reportedly reached out to Miami about catcher J.T. Realmuto and it wasn’t so long ago that his agent said he wanted to be traded. Realmuto was one of baseball’s best offensive catchers last season, hitting 17 home runs and driving in 65, so he’d be a major addition to Mickey Callaway’s lineup. The injured backstop wouldn’t immediately be ready for the Mets if they were to acquire him, but he’s not far off.

(Photos courtesy: Getty Images)

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