2) Billy Eppler is guilty of negligence at the catcher spot in 2023
It’s not discussed enough how much the Mets had no clue what they were doing at the catcher spot in 2023. Whether Francisco Alvarez was ready or not at the start of the season can be debated. A little more seasoning in Triple-A would’ve helped but an injury to Omar Narvaez forced him to the majors a little faster than expected. He clearly was ready, but this isn’t the negligent baseball crime Eppler committed. It’s everything else.
The Mets signed Tomas Nido to a modest extension before the year began only to DFA him a few months later. Nido managed to pass through waivers and ride out the rest of the year in the minor leagues after hitting .125 for the MLB club in 22 games. The $1.6 million he made in 2023 and the $2.1 million he’ll earn in 2024 won’t have Steve Cohen buying off-brand medication. It just comes across poorly.
Furthermore, the Mets signed Narvaez to a deal with a player option for the 2024 season. Signing him in the first place was okay because the thought was Alvarez wouldn’t be ready in 2023. But with Nido signed to an extension as well, there was already little wiggle room for the Mets to ever get their prized catching prospect to the majors. Someone dropped the ball on evaluating Alvarez’s readiness.
Finally, there was the whole Gary Sanchez situation. Remember him on the 2023 Mets? He’d play in only three games and pick up a single hit. He was DFA’d then signed by the San Diego Padres where he put up some good numbers. The Mets ended up having to DFA two catchers in a short period of time only to add Narvaez back from the injured list to go on and be an overpriced backup. Worst of all, Narvaez picked up his option for 2024 and now the team will look to dump him in a trade only to promote Nido back to the majors.
What a mess this was. Thankfully, Alvarez stood out and helped this crime of negligence go a little more unnoticed.