The Mets are looking to be active in the catching market, and have identified Chirinos and Butera as early targets.
According to Ken Davidoff of the New York Post, the Mets are targeting Robinson Chirinos and Drew Butera as backup catcher options.
The Mets were expected to be buyers in the catcher market, so that doesn’t come as a surprise. What does come as a surprise is who they have chosen to target. Chirinos is going to be 36-years old in 2020 and is coming off the best season in his career. Those things don’t usually mix well. Chirinos is also a poor defensive catcher, he ranks below average in both pitch framing and pop time. Though, he did put up 3 DRS in 2019, the highest in his career. He put up a staggering -11 DRS in 2018.
For a Mets team that has been awful defensively targeting a poor defensive catcher would be a huge mistake. The upside is that Chirinos has been a consistently good offensive catcher. Over each of the last four seasons, Chirinos has put up a wRC+ over 100 in every year. Last season he put up a wRC+ of 113 for the Astros.
He does this despite a poor batting average and an incredibly high strikeout rate. He excels with his power and his ability to take a walk. He had a .790 OPS last season, and he has never had an OPS under .750 in his career. If the Mets are looking for a bat off the bench at catcher Chirinos would fit the bill.
However, it’s more likely that Chirinos would be able to find a starting job somewhere else coming off the year he had last season. Even if he did take a backup job, his poor defense would make him a poor choice for a Mets team desperate for defense.
Drew Butera is likely more of a depth option. Butera put up -0.4 fWAR in 2019. He hasn’t posted a positive fWAR since 2016. He’s not an MLB caliber player by any stretch. He’s especially poor defensively where he hasn’t put up a positive DRS since 2014.
He’s a player who shouldn’t even be on the Mets radar. Yet, for some reason he is. signing Butera to anything other than a minor league deal would be a massive mistake.
Whatever, the Mets end up doing it does look like they will be bringing in a new backup catcher this winter.