New Mets catching prospect Travis d’Arnaud wants to remove the word “prospect” from his title — he wants to start the season in the big leagues.
The Mets apparently made d’Arnaud available to the media this week, because both the Daily News and the New York Post sent writers to Lakewood, California and ran feature stories on Thursday (they could have saved the airfare and hired me. I live a half an hour away!).
Anyway, d’Arnaud told the Post that when he reports to Spring Training next month, he will do so with the intention of winning the starting catching job.
“I believe in myself, that’s pretty much it. I can’t wait. I am going to play as hard as I can every day, do everything I can to help the team win. Hopefully, I can make it.’”
Of course d’Arnaud should start the season with the Mets, unless he just completely flames out in at training camp. The Mets traded a Cy Young Award winner for him — if he’s that good and proves he is ready, then just do it.
But of course, the Mets will not allow Travis d’Arnaud to break camp with them. That’s because they can push back his eventual free agency by a year if they bring him up in late April, like they did with Ike Davis in 2010. Plus, they could delay his arbitration for a year if they bring him up mid season, like they did last year with Matt Harvey. Both moves could save the team millions of dollars.
We all know how the Mets operate, so don’t be shocked if we don’t see Travis d’Arnaud until June. I predict, though, that d’Arnaud gets the late April call up because by that time, it will be clear that d’Arnaud is ready and that John Buck is not the answer behind the plate. Zack Wheeler will likely get the mid season treatment.