PORT ST. LUCIE – As the Mets prepare for Opening Day a few questions remain but one has climbed to the surface recently. Who will be the Mets Opening Day Catcher? With Noah Syndergaard on the hill it makes you stop and think will Rene Rivera be behind the dish instead of Travis d’arnaud because it seems Noah works better with Rivera?
The problem is the running game which was an issue with d’arnaud last year and continues to be a question this spring. My sense is I think his release point has vastly improved over last year but he needs to be less mechanical with it which will get his throws to the base much faster. Terry Collins seems to agree with that but did leave open the possibility we might see Rivera on Opening Day.
To the credit of d’arnaud, he works very hard at improving his skills each day and Syndergaard contends they have a great rapport. Remember they have known each other a long time going back to their time in the Toronto Blue Jay system. And to be totally fair, Travis has been an offensive force this spring which could make this throwing issue less of a factor in the decision making of Terry Collins.
My sense is even if Rivera starts on Opening Day, d’arnaud will be given every opportunity to be the everyday catcher because his offensive potential could be very important to making this Met lineup deep and dangerous right to the bottom of the order. The running issue will continue to be there but my sense is Travis is headed in the right direction and is handling this in a very mature fashion. As much as he wants to play, he knows the team’s goals should be paramount in his mind.
In many ways, situations like this is what makes this Met team so special. They care as much about the name on the front of the uniform as they do about the name on the back of uniform. That is how championship teams act.