How will trades impact Mets' catching roles?

Trio of newly acquired faces expected to be active on Wednesday

September 1st, 2020

NEW YORK -- Make no mistake: despite the acquisition of veteran , remains the Mets’ primary catcher.

Manager Luis Rojas confirmed as much on Tuesday, a day after the Mets traded for Chirinos, infielder Todd Frazier and reliever Miguel Castro in three separate deals. Although Ramos has struggled both offensively and defensively this season, posting a .231/.304/.330 slash line over his first 28 games, the Mets are confident he can be productive down the stretch for them.

They also believe Chirinos, who struggled even worse with a .119/.224/.143 slash line in Texas, can rebound with occasional starts as Ramos’ backup.

“Robinson definitely brings a lot of experience,” Rojas said. “We’ll see him getting some playing time as well. He brings a lot to the table. This is a guy that is a really good defensive catcher. He hits for some power for a catcher. ... Can’t wait to see him, have in uniform ready to go, and see him perform for us.”

Rather than bite into Ramos’ playing time, the Mets’ acquisition of Chirinos could have a more significant effect on , who remains on the injured list for an undisclosed reason. Batting .292/.346/.583 in seven games before departing the team, Nido had done enough to siphon a bit of playing time away from Ramos. But if the Mets want to keep him around, they’ll need to carry three catchers on their active roster.

Nido is out of Minor League options, meaning the Mets would risk losing him to a waiver claim if they designate him for assignment.

That’s a decision the team may not have to make for a while, with Nido’s short-term future unclear. Per team policy, Mets officials do not comment on players not with the team; Nido has been absent since the club returned from its five-day COVID-19 hiatus late last month.

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Prolonged good-byes
None of the Mets’ trade acquisitions joined the active roster on Tuesday because of procedural requirements they needed to complete before being activated. The Mets expect Frazier, Chirinos and Castro to be in uniform on Wednesday.

Castro, whom the Mets acquired from the Orioles for prospect Kevin Smith and a player to be named or cash, flew with his ex-teammates from Buffalo to Baltimore following the trade. He then said his final good-byes before officially joining the Mets' organization.

One too many starters
The Mets’ rotation, which was in disarray due to injuries and other issues as recently as last week, now has six pitchers for five spots. is the team’s announced starter for Wednesday’s series finale in Baltimore, with the rest of the week to be determined.

The Mets could proceed with a rotation of Wacha, , and -- all on regular rest. But that would force them to move , whom they have been stretching out as a starter, back to the bullpen. Rojas said Gsellman remains a member of the rotation for now, and was not available Tuesday out of the bullpen for that reason.

The situation should become clearer in the coming days.

But in the meantime...
made a spot start Tuesday at Camden Yards, after two doubleheaders in three days last weekend forced the Mets to employ a seventh starter. Jurado, a veteran of two big league seasons with the Rangers, had been stretching out in simulated games at the Mets’ alternate training site in Brooklyn.

Jurado went unused as the Mets’ 29th man during their doubleheader last Sunday at Yankee Stadium, but while he was on site, Rojas hinted at the possibility that he could come back up to start.

“He’s got the fastball, curveball, changeup mix,” Rojas said. “He’s got the experience of starting games at the big league level.”

From the trainer’s room
• Third baseman was out of the Mets’ lineup for a second straight day on Tuesday due to left hip soreness, but he was available off the bench. Davis was struck in the left hip by a 99-mph Aroldis Chapman fastball on Saturday and played the next day, but he has missed the two games since.

• Left-hander has been diagnosed with left shoulder bursitis. He will rest for a few days before restarting a throwing program.

“No major damage there in the shoulder,” Rojas said. “Nothing significant.”

• Also inactive is reliever , who is on the injured list due to a right lat issue. The Mets have not revealed an exact diagnosis for Betances, but Rojas called his issue “nothing major … which is good news.”