John Buck was a mentor to Travis d’Arnaud, mostly teaching him about the mental part of the game, the young catcher explained last night on SNY’s Mets Hot Stove.
“John was always there for me for any little question I had,” d’Arnaud said. “He was a tremendous help to me in the short amount of time we were together.”
Buck, 33, hit .219 with 15 HR (14 before the All-Star break) and 62 RBI between the Mets and Pirates in 2013. He is still a free agent, reportedly looking for a guaranteed deal.
Matthew Cerrone, Lead Writer
I found this quote intriguing, because d’Arnaud’s and Buck’s relationship dates back to Toronto in 2010, then resumed with the Mets. I wonder, if by breaking them up, will Travis now feel more ownership of the pitching staff, to the extent that maybe it gives him added confidence and responsibility and propels him to be the player everyone (including himself) believes he can be? If so, I wonder if this factored in to the team’s decision to let Buck go, while letting Anthony Recker, Juan Centeno and Taylor Teagarden compete for the back-up catcher role.
By the way, the Mets had interest in reacquiring Buck. However, from what I could gather, the Mets didn’t want to lock up a roster spot with a back-up catcher, knowing the top spot would go to d’Arnaud. Instead, with Recker and Centeno in the mix, they preferred to sign a veteran back-up to a minor-league deal, like Teagarden. Teagarden has six years in the big leagues, albeit just 500 or so at bats. Nevertheless, he’s young, but enough of a veteran that he could help Travis without overshadowing him.
To see a few minutes of d’Arnaud’s talk last night with SNY, during which he also discusses his admiration for Mike Piazza, and how he’ll approach the plate in 2014, watch this: