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New York Mets most underrated transactions of the winter

NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 24: New York Mets General Manager Brodie Van Wagenen gets set to introduce new manager Luis Rojas to the media at Citi Field on January 24, 2020 in New York City. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 24: New York Mets General Manager Brodie Van Wagenen gets set to introduce new manager Luis Rojas to the media at Citi Field on January 24, 2020 in New York City. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
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WASHINGTON, DC – SEPTEMBER 02: Rene Rivera #44 of the New York Mets throws the ball to first base against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on September 2, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)

A minor league deal with Rene Rivera

One of multiple minor league signings the Mets made this offseason included the reunion with Rene Rivera. Bringing him back for 2020 seemed even more important than ever. Unlike last year when the Mets were able to begin the year with two veterans behind the plate—Wilson Ramos and Travis d’Arnaud—this year’s depth chart included only The Buffalo and Tomas Nido.

Nido’s big league performance thus far has left a lot to be desired. His catching game is okay, but his bat doesn’t seem major league level just yet.

Rivera, on the other hand, has proven that he can hit at the big league level. Although he’ll turn 37 in late July, I think he’s a solid backup option for at least a part of the season. At the very least, he gives the Mets an insurance policy in case Nido struggles.

The catching situation for this club is quite interesting heading into 2020. Ramos has an option for 2021 so there’s a good chance we see him stick around for another year after this coming campaign.

Beyond 2021, there are multiple minor leagues who could be vying for regular playing time. I don’t see Nido as a realistic option for anything more than a backup role. This year, however, we could see one of the possible catchers of the future take over.

Ali Sanchez is nearing his MLB debut and coming off a productive year on the farm in 2019. While he’s not the top catching prospect for the organization—a title belonging to Francisco Alvarez—I think he could at least get regular playing time in the interim.

Rivera’s familiarity with Noah Syndergaard and even Jacob deGrom makes him a valuable piece to the Mets. We already know the pair prefer not to pitch to Ramos. If they haven’t gotten on the same page and Nido doesn’t look like the best choice, Rivera is a good option to have. The fact that he’s on a minor league deal makes it even more important because there’s no rush for a change.

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