The New York Mets traded R.A. Dickey for Toronto Blue Jays‘ catching prospect Travis d’Arnaud’s hitting ability. However, his bat is not what the organization is focused on at the moment, its d’Arnaud’s defense that is being discussed.
New York wants to protect their young catcher and has encouraged d’Arnaud to not protect the plate on close plays at home. D’Arnaud has been classified as a catcher who enjoys collisions at the plate, but after San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey went down with a season ending injury while protecting home, the Mets are being cautious. D’Arnaud tore his posterior cruciate ligament last year, which also has the Mets concerned.
Mets’ manager Terry Collins believes that d’Arnaud has rare offensive potential for a catcher and does not want to risk further injury to his knee, at least for the time being. D’Arnaud will likely start the season with the organization’s Triple-A Last Vegas team, but could be called up if he continues to impress with his bat.
The Mets’ decision to tell their young catcher to not block home in a plate collision situation could become popular across the league. While there are not too many plate collisions in baseball the risk of injury is not worth stopping a run from scoring in the grand scheme of a season or career. MLB players and prospects are becoming too valuable to organizations for them to take that risk, and teams may encourage their young catchers to avoid plate collisions like the Mets have.