WASHINGTON — In nearly every way, this has been a season of turbulence for Mets catcher Travis d’Arnaud.
First, he waited through what has become a customary stint on the disabled list. Then, he heard his name in trade rumors, a sign that the Mets are willing to move in a different direction.
Through it all, d’Arnaud’s bat has remained silent. He has not approached anything close to the production he enjoyed a year ago. That has led to yet another setback for the player once regarded as the Mets’ catcher of the future.
In essence, d’Arnaud, 27, has been supplanted as the starting catcher by Rene Rivera, the 33-year-old veteran who had been brought in to serve as the backup. Rivera started for the third time in four games on Wednesday against the Nationals.
“Guys who are producing runs are the guys who are going to get in there because this is how we’re going to win,” manager Terry Collins said.
In 66 games, d’Arnaud is hitting just .253 with four homers and 14 RBIs; Rivera is batting .229 with five homers and 24 RBIs. But the difference comes down to defense. Rivera has thrown out 33 percent of basestealers, including two on Wednesday, and d’Arnaud has caught just 22 percent.
“This is my, what, 10th year in pro ball? So I’ve experienced quite a few ups and downs during that time,” d’Arnaud said on Wednesday, before the Mets’ 1-0 loss to the Nationals. “Having that experience reminds me that anything can happen.”
When making lineup decisions, the Mets generally emphasize offense over defense. But d’Arnaud has not hit his stride all season.
Said Collins: “I know he’s frustrated by it and so are we.”
Steven Matz “felt fine,” according to Collins, after a 20-pitch throwing session during which he threw fastballs and changeups. Jacob deGrom also threw in the bullpen on Wednesday.
The Mets are hoping that both will be ready to rejoin the rotation soon. The Mets will need a starter as early as Sunday, with Rafael Montero bumped from the rotation.