The centerpiece of the deal that sent National League Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey to Toronto in December will start the season in Triple-A, New York Mets general manager Sandy Alderson announced on Sunday.
The Mets had been keeping Travis d'Arnaud in big league camp to build a rapport with pitching prospects and future batterymates Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler, but he was one of six cuts confirmed after a 10-7 victory over St. Louis.
Acquired by New York in a seven-player deal in December, MLB.com's No. 6 prospect hit .333 with 16 homers and 52 RBIs in 67 Triple-A games for Las Vegas in 2012. Last season, the 51s were the Jays affiliate, so he'll be back on familiar ground.
The 24-year-old California native tore a ligament in his knee sliding into second base in a game against the Sacramento River Cats on June 25, and while he was able to avoid reconstructive surgery, he missed the rest of the season.
The move, although anticipated, means either John Buck or Anthony Recker will be the Mets' likely Opening Day backstop.
"He played very well," Alderson told MLB.com. "He met all of our expectations, which I think for the organization and Mets fans, were fairly high. He did a very nice job, and we're hopeful he'll have a long career in New York."
One of the reasons for sending d'Arnaud to Las Vegas -- now the Triple-A affiliate of the Mets -- was likely financial. By limiting the number of days d'Arnaud spends on the Major League roster this year, they can avoid him becoming arbitration-eligible a year earlier. In restricting his service time in 2013, the club could potentially save money in the future and maintain control of the backstop longer.
New York's top prospect was originally selected by the Phillies 37th overall in the supplemental first round of the 2007 Draft. The younger brother of big leaguer Chase, Travis has shone at every level. He earned midseason All-Star honors in the New York-Penn and South Atlantic leagues in 2008 and '09 respectively, and he was named to the Florida State League's mid- and postseason All-Star teams with Dunedin in 2010.
Two years ago, d'Arnaud slugged a career-high 21 homers and plated 78 RBIs en route to being named the Eastern League MVP with New Hampshire, and in 2012 he was chosen to represent Team USA in the Futures Game in Kansas City before being sidelined by injury.
In 16 Grapefruit League contests, d'Arnaud, whom Alderson called a "frontline catcher," hit .343 with eight runs scored, four doubles and four RBIs.