Bring us catchers. That’s right. All of the catchers you can! That seems to be how Billy Eppler interpreted our disgust at the situation behind the plate last season for the New York Mets.
Instead of riding or dying with Francisco Alvarez and Tomas Nido, the team signed Omar Narvaez to a one-year deal with a player option for 2024. That’s a pretty important note about his contract. With as much time as Narvaez has missed already, it’s looking like he may need to stay to rebuild value. Upon Alvarez’s call-up and success, the Mets immediately put themselves into a pickle as to what they’d do when Narvaez returns. Nido doesn’t have minor league options and they just extended him through 2024.
Adding to the crowded room was the minor league signing of Michael Perez which has an easy resolution: demote him. He has a minor league option left. Use it. However, that’s not the end of it. Gary Sanchez signed a short-term deal with the Mets and he was called up Thursday night prior to getting a chance to use an opt out of his deal after putting up some mammoth numbers in Triple-A.
Five catchers. Only two spots on the MLB roster. Not a whole lot of flexibility. How does this resolve itself?
The two NY Mets catchers who will stay with the organization
Alvarez and Narvaez aren’t going anywhere. That’s an easy prediction. Narvaez also won’t be headed to the minors, but Alvarez could. How Alvarez is performing at and behind the plate by the time Nido or Narvaez are ready to return will have the largest factor into the decision-making process. Any excuse to send Alvarez back to the minors is something this front office has shown they’ll flex. Unfortunately, I think Alvarez will receive rave reviews and get sent back to Triple-A while the Mets organize the rest of the catchers.
The NY Mets catcher we’ll see cut
Sanchez will be the first catcher cut by the Mets. He’s not going to get enough playing time to justify keeping him around. His own defensive shortcomings won’t even be the biggest issue as much as infrequent play. The Mets took a chance on him and it was successful. Time ran out and after some limited action I’m predicting they’re forced into DFA’ing and releasing him following a couple of starts.
The NY Mets catcher we’ll see stashed on the farm
As long as Perez isn’t DFA’d, he’ll be stashed on the farm for the whole year. He’s not such a bad third or even fourth catcher to have. The Mets don’t need to press hard to find a roster spot for him, though. Somewhere out there is another similar player they could always pick up. This is the least interesting of predictions. The most fascinating is what happens with Nido.
What will the NY Mets do with Tomas Nido?
Nido is going to get a chance to play in the majors again this year. If his vision problem is behind him and the results on the field change, he becomes a far more reasonable trade piece. Exactly what they’d get back is the great unknown. The “flip him for a reliever” camp needs to realize the type of relief pitcher they’d get back would be an underwhelming choice. Someone in the Dennis Santana class of talent with a minor league option might be the best to hope for. Nido is a backup catcher and those aren’t something you break your shoulder knocking down doors to acquire. Barring injury to another backstop that makes Nido a necessity to keep, a 28-year-old in Triple-A with a minor league option remaining is what the Mets will get for him at this point.
The abundance of catchers is what we could consider a “good problem” to have, as long as the correct choices are made. The “bad problem” is whether or not we trust the Mets to make those right moves.