PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — General manager Sandy Alderson disputed reports that the Mets are in the market for a new backup catcher should Kevin Plawecki begin the season in the minor leagues.
Alderson said the Mets’ interest in a catcher stems strictly from a desire to bolster the club’s depth in the minors.
“We’re not looking for anybody outside the organization,” Alderson said. “That’s been speculated. If we’re looking for anybody outside the organization, it would be more for a Triple-A role than it would be for the major league level.”
The Mets view Plawecki as a potential frontline catcher. And for much of the winter, they appeared ready to begin the season with Plawecki on the Opening Day roster. Though d’Arnaud would get the majority of the playing time — assuming he stays healthy — Plawecki looked to be in line for more playing time than a typical backup.
However, there is a growing thought within the organization that Plawecki might benefit more from regular playing time, even if it means sending him to Triple-A Las Vegas.
“There are a number of considerations,” Alderson said. “Is a guy like Plawecki better off getting more at-bats more consistently or as a backup? Are we sort of locking him into a backup role going forward into his career? That’s one issue. Second is, again, flexibility, versatility, right versus left, that’s all a consideration. There are a variety of things going on but we want the best overall mix. Kevin does a very good job behind the plate. We’ll see what happens.”
If Plawecki is sent to the minors, the Mets would be left without a proven major league backup.
The lefty-hitting Johnny Monell, 29, would be first in line. But he hit just .167 in 27 appearances with the Mets last season. It is his only big league experience, along with an eight-game stint with the Giants in 2013.
Nevin Ashley, 31, was cut Thursday. His only major league time came last season in 12 games with the Brewers. He hit .100 in 20 at-bats.
For Monell, experience is an issue, though apparently not enough for the Mets to push for an upgrade.
“We’re not looking for anybody else,” Alderson said. “If anything, we’re looking for a backup for the Triple-A starter.”