“I think we’re comfortable for the very short term,” General Manager Sandy Alderson said. “We’ll see how things go. We’re going to be certainly aware of what else may be out there.”
An obvious trade fit could be J.T. Realmuto, who has not yet been dealt by the Marlins, who are gutting their roster. A strong hitter, Realmuto is close to returning from a back injury. Trades rarely happen this early in the season, but with the everything-must-go Marlins, that might not matter.
“As we’ve noted in baseball over the off-season and early in the season, there’s some teams that probably aren’t trying that hard,” Alderson said, without citing a particular team. “So I’m not sure the calendar’s even relevant in those cases. But we’ll have to see.”
You have to feel for Plawecki, who never played a postseason inning during the World Series run of 2015, and spent the last two years shuffling between the minors and the Mets. This could have been his best chance to be an everyday player, and he thought he had avoided serious injury when initial tests came back negative.
“I’d like to think the opportunity isn’t going away,” Plawecki said. “It’s only a couple of weeks of a very long season. It could have been a lot worse.”
The Mets estimate a three- to four-week absence, but in any case, as injuries go, these seem tolerable. D’Arnaud and Plawecki have combined to hit .171 this season, with one home run and four runs batted in.
The Mets cannot go back in time and sign Jonathan Lucroy, the two-time All-Star catcher who lingered on the market until taking a one-year, $6.5 million deal from Oakland on March 12. But these injuries might motivate them to find a more reliable everyday option than d’Arnaud, who has a .306 career on-base percentage.
Or maybe Lobaton and Nido will be strong enough defensively that the Mets will just live with their bats. Both worked with the pitchers in spring training, and Lobaton, at least, can claim a highlight few have experienced: a game-ending postseason home run. He connected in a division series for Tampa Bay in 2013, and did so with a flourish, the ball splashing into a tank of live rays beyond center field.
Lobaton later reached the playoffs twice with Washington, so he is used to game-planning for elite starting pitchers and familiar with a winning atmosphere.
“When you come in with a team that’s 1-10, it’s way different than 10-1,” he said. “So I know the energy, I know what it’s like when the clubhouse feels good. Coming in, I asked Nido, ‘How did it feel when you got here?’ He said, ‘It’s way different than last year.’ We’ve got to keep winning, and everything will be great.”
Of course, no team can sustain a 10-1 pace for very long, and the Mets’ pitching staff would be deeper with Jason Vargas (broken nonpitching hand) and Anthony Swarzak (strained left oblique). But for now, all of these carefully nurtured arms are actually healthy and contributing in the rotation or the bullpen: Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, Steven Matz, Zack Wheeler, Robert Gsellman, Seth Lugo and Jeurys Familia.
History suggests that will not hold up. But as long as it does, the Mets have every reason to believe this could be the special season Callaway imagined. He’s new here, with no scars of seasons past, and his optimism is endearing. Lucky guy.