Russell: The Mets Solution At Catcher Is Right In Front Of Them

The Mets lost 5-4 to the Braves in 10 innings on Sunday. Nick Markakis homered off rookie pitcher Tyler Bashlor to put Atlanta ahead in the 10th.

With the Mets out of contention, Mickey Callaway realizes these games can be useful got the young guys in his bullpen to get accustomed to pitching in high leverage spots.
“This is a good evaluation time,” Callaway said.

There’s someone in plain sight that the Mets should be looking to keep for next season.
When the Mets construct the 2019 roster, Devin Mesoraco should be the number one catcher.

His solo home run off A.J. Minter in the ninth inning tied Sunday’s game, another clutch home run from the man traded for Matt Harvey.

Seven of his eight home runs as a Met have come in the eight or ninth innings. He tied a game against Arizona in late May with a two-run homer, and hit a solo homer in Atlanta to give the Mets the lead nine days later.

It’s somewhat reminiscent of Anthony Recker, who would find late inning situations to hit his home runs. Mesoraco was an All-Star with the Reds in 2014, and finished the season with 25 home runs in only 114 games. Injuries derailed him, and he only played 95 games over the next three seasons.

But he has shown occasional power with the Mets and the ability to handle this pitching staff from behind the plate. Keith Hernandez said during a telecast that he would like to see Mesoraco with the Mets next season.

Kevin Plawecki is batting .224 after striking out looking to end the ninth with the potential winning run on second. And he doesn’t have the pop to pose a threat at the plate like Mesosco can. Jose Lobaton is in the minors, although he won’t be taking much playing time away from anybody after batting .152 in 19 games with the Mets earlier this season. And Tomas Nido hit .159 in 21 games.

Travis d’Arnaud only played four games this season before undergoing Tommy John surgery. Last season, he hit a career high 16 home runs in 112 games but only time will tell how productive he is when he returns.

There is always the chance Mesoraco will be traded this month in a waiver deal. He is in the final season of a four-year, $28 million contact he signed after his All-Star season in Cincinnati. It would be tough to blame the Mets if they saved some money in a lost season and sent him to a contender.

But barring a move for a star catcher this offseason, their best bet behind the plate is right in front of them.

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