NY Mets Starting Lineup: Brewing catcher controversy is good for James McCann and Tomas Nido
By Tim Boyle
Tomas Nido had an incredible serious against the Atlanta Braves this week. On Monday, he went 3 for 4 then followed it up with a game-winning home run in the top of the ninth on Tuesday. Nido didn’t get the start behind the plate for the New York Mets in the finale. However, as a pinch-hitter in the seventh, he drove home the tying and lead run with a single.
Nido came into this season as the backup catcher without minor league options left. He may be leaving it with a lot more playing time on his belt.
Despite signing James McCann to a lucrative four-year deal this offseason, the Mets need to start rethinking their catcher plans—at least for the time being. Call it a catcher controversy if you must. The hottest hitter on the Mets right now is the second-string catcher, Tomas Nido.
Why this may actually be good news for the Mets
When the Mets signed McCann this offseason, there were two concerns I had. One was how poorly he hit in his career prior to the 2019 season with the Chicago White Sox. You know—the season with the juiced baseballs.
The other was how sparingly he had played throughout his career. McCann has not been a workhorse catcher in his career. His 118 games played in 2018 and 2019 are the most of any season. The 476 plate appearances he received in 2019 are a personal record.
McCann has routinely shared time behind the plate with another catcher. While not quite a full platoon at times, he hasn’t been the kind of guy you could expect to start six games every week. If Nido can provide him with a little extra rest and no shortage of defense or offense when he does start, the Mets suddenly have a fantastic catching tandem.
I know it’s far too soon for the Mets to hand Nido a starting gig and I’m not about to name my first child after him. The former light-hitting catcher appears to have found his swing and is well on his way to showing his brief performance in 2020 might not have been a bit of luck and not enough time to see it run out.
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McCann has struggled this year and an extra off-day each week could do him some good. I’d like to see the Mets toy with the idea. With as down and out as their starting lineup is currently because of all of the injuries, I’m willing to try just about anything to score runs. Right now, the smartest thing to do would be to ride the deadly wooden stake Nido brings to the plate.