How a bad Mets contract decision is helping the team right now

Thanks to a bad contract, the Mets were able to keep a player they desperately need right now.
Apr 24, 2024; San Francisco, California, USA; New York Mets catcher Tomas Nido (3) between plays
Apr 24, 2024; San Francisco, California, USA; New York Mets catcher Tomas Nido (3) between plays / Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The decision to award Tomas Nido with a contract extension was a mistake by the New York Mets. It wasn’t too costly. The longtime Mets catcher earned $1.6 million last year to spend most of the season in Triple-A. His contract is worth $2.1 million this year to hopefully offer the Mets much more.

Nido began last season as the Mets backup catcher behind Omar Narvaez. An early injury to Narvaez had the Mets summoning Francisco Alvarez early. Nido’s failures at the plate and Alvarez’s early success had them bring in Gary Sanchez for a quick look before eventually going with a Narvaez and Alvarez tandem.

Nido successfully passed through waivers and why wouldn’t he? A .125/.153/.125 slash line and history of not offering much at all at the plate made him an easy pass for 29 other ball clubs. His survival as a member of the Mets now has its pro after a year with a major con. As poor as Nido has continued to hit, at least he can help reduce the number of bases stolen against them. There's a good chance if he was still making arbitration-level money with no guaranteed contract for 2024 that someone would've picked him up. Billy Eppler, you sly fox!

The Mets clearly favor Tomas Nido at the catcher spot over Omar Narvaez

It’s not an easy circumstance to accept with the Mets catcher spot at the moment. Nido is as close to a zero offensively as one can unwillingly accept. Narvaez, only mildly better at least in terms of a ceiling, is far too much of a burden on defense for him to do anything more than work as the backup. The Mets have intentionally planned around pinch hitting for either one each game while working both into the games on a regular basis as the replacement. 

This should continue with Nido hopefully getting the majority of innings. Having a catcher who can’t throw out runners is like having a designated hitter who can’t hit left-handed pitchers, play a defensive position, or run. Find a weakness and it’ll get exposed. It’s a good thing the Mets never tried that to an exhaustive level.

In just over half as many plate appearances this season, Nido has already secured the same number of hits as he had all of last year. An unglamorous 7, all were singles in 2023. This year he has a double and a home run. The .226/.250/.355 slash line aided by two singles on Monday versus the St. Louis Cardinals is good enough when his ability to throw out runners is at 20% which is right there at the league average.

Monday’s game was exemplary of Nido’s skills. Two singles, a run scored, a sacrifice bunt, and no attempted steals against the Mets. It helped to have lefty Sean Manaea on the mound, but let’s hand some credit to Nido. He has stopped the bleeding.