Following the 2008 season, Snyder signed a three-year, $14.25 million extension with the Diamondbacks. The then-27 year old was coming off a .237/.348/.452 season at the plate, a burgeoning reputation as a defensive catcher and life was good.
Just a year later, Snyder has been relegated to backup duty as the Diamondbacks are moving forward with prospect Miguel Montero. Snyder’s .200/.333/.352 line in 202 plate appearances has made him all but untradable, and a trade sending him to Toronto earlier this offseason fell apart when the Jays expressed concerns about Snyder’s lower back. (Snyder underwent surgery to repair an herniated disk on September 23.)
With the Mets’ assumed need for a catcher and their large market, this particular rumor was inevitable.
The Mets currently have Josh Thole, Henry Blanco, Omir Santos and Chris Coste under contract, and while these names may not be impressive, they aren’t bad enough that the Mets should be desperate to acquire a catcher. After all, they stared Bengie Molina down to the point where he ran back to San Francisco.
Blanco, entering his age-38 year, has a career .739 OPS against left-handers (.652 against right-handers). With a stellar defensive reputation, slotting him against left-handers is very conceivable, with the right-handed platoon partner being Thole. Thole is coming off a campaign that leapt him into “Mets future catcher” territory. While Snyder wouldn’t block Thole if the situation warranted it, Thole looks like an intriguing option currently. He’s coming off a .328/.395/.422 campaign for Double-A. Upon a promotion to the majors, he continued his .300 batting average, albeit in just 59 plate appearances. CHONE, Marcel and Fangraphs fan projections peg him for essentially a .285/.350/.390 line, which would be quite valuable.
While Coste and Santos are better utilized as Triple-A depth, they have enough experience at the major league level that they could contribute on the strong side of a platoon. (Both have a low-.700s career OPS against right-handers.)
Snyder was a bit unlucky in 2009, as he posted a .241 BABIP with an expected BABIP of .299, so while 2008 will likely remain his career year, Snyder remains a good bet to settle into a .250/.340/.430 line over the next several seasons. Snyder has too much risk attached to him at the moment for the Mets to entertain anything less than half the contract being covered and marginal value going back to Arizona. Anything past that, and they should move on with the catchers they already have in the organization.
Although they’ll probably sign Rod Barajas and give him 400 at-bats.