What the latest free agent signing means for Francisco Alvarez

Wild Card Series - San Diego Padres v New York Mets - Game One
Wild Card Series - San Diego Padres v New York Mets - Game One / Jim McIsaac/GettyImages

The New York Mets might be too timid to sign Zack Britton or Andrew Chafin. On Thursday, they weren’t scared off from signing catcher Michael Perez to a minor league deal. We saw him with the Mets for a half-dozen games last season. Perez was the new Patrick Mazeika after the team lost him on waivers.

Perez will have the same role for the Mets this season. A strong defender with a third-string catcher’s bat, he’s a good companion for Francisco Alvarez down in Syracuse.

More importantly, it tells us how the Mets will handle the position in case Omar Narvaez or Tomas Nido gets injured.

The Mets signed Michael Perez to avoid having to promote Francisco Alvarez too soon

Before signing Perez, Alvarez was the obvious candidate to get promoted to the big leagues in case of an injury to one of their catchers. That’s no longer the case. Although Perez will rest outside of the 40-man roster until needed, the team’s obvious preference for reliability behind the plate will be called into action over the offensive promise of Alvarez.

This may only delay the inevitable. Early in the year, with one of the big league catchers on the IL, Perez is the guy the team would promote. He does have a minor league option left on him, too, making him an ideal fit for keeping around for more than just a short stint if needed.

Alvarez is going to need to show the organization he’s truly ready for regular MLB action before he gets recalled. It makes sense. It’s messy to call him up to share time behind the plate and not get enough at-bats. While it’s his defense talked about most in terms of needing to develop, he did hit only .234 in his 199 plate appearances last season in Syracuse.

This has been a constant theme throughout his professional career. Alvarez struggles at first then figures things out. It wouldn’t be a shock to see him explode early on in Triple-A this season. A slump in April wouldn’t be out of the question either.

Alvarez’s time will come. Perez’s presence will make sure he’s ready.

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