Indians Acquire Catching Help, Mets Add A Starting Option
A busy offseason for the Mets got busier on Sunday with a pair of trades. Just two hours after swinging a five-player trade, the Mets sent backup catcher Kevin Plawecki to the Indians for righthander Walker Lockett and infielder Sam Haggerty.
Kevin Plawecki, C
The Mets' first-round pick in 2012 out of Purdue, Plawecki has backup catcher tools. He would be stretched in an everyday role and struggles to produce even a below-average hit tool, but over 200 or 300 at-bats he can draw some walks, provide fringe-average defense (pitch framing metrics have him as slightly below-average) and hit the occasional home run. While he was likely out of a job in New York, he will have a much larger role in Cleveland, where he will compete with Roberto Perez and Eric Haase on a suddenly thin Indians depth chart at catcher.
Walker Lockett, RHP
Lockett has now been traded twice this offseason. Facing a 40-man roster crunch, the Padres traded Lockett to the Indians in advance of the Rule 5 draft. Now, Lockett is heading to yet another team which can use him as a back-of-the-rotation starter/swingman who will likely spend much of the year in Triple-A if everyone in the Mets' rotation remains healthy. But he is a solid depth option thanks to an average fastball, changeup and curveball. Lockett lacks a plus pitch, but he has above-average control, which makes it all work. His recent minor league numbers are a little inflated because he was pitching in a variety of hitter-friendly stadiums.
Sam Haggerty, 2B/3B
Haggerty was a productive shortstop at New Mexico, but his lack of above-average tools—other than his plus speed—led him to slide to the 24th round in the 2015 draft. Since then, he has shown defensive versatility and leadoff skills although his physical limitations are still apparent as well. Haggerty works counts, gets on base and is a constant threat to steal whenever he reaches—he’s stolen 75 bases in 95 attempts the past two seasons. His lack of power may limit his on-base ability in the big leagues, as pitchers have little reason not to challenge him if they fall behind in the count. Defensively, he can play almost anywhere, but he is stretched defensively at shortstop. His solid arm can handle second or third base, and he’s played some left and center field as well. He’s likely a solid Triple-A player, but his on-base skills and speed give him a shot to exceed expectations.