The New York Mets signed Omar Narvaez to a two-year $15 million dollar deal in what could be seen as a confusing move. The Mets already had two MLB catchers in James McCann and Tomas Nido. New York also has the number one prospect in all of baseball who just so happens to be a catcher who got playing time down the stretch in Francisco Alvarez.
Simply put, the Mets will not carry four catchers on their Opening Day roster. Three could happen, four will not. A move of some kind will have to be made.
What does the Omar Narvaez signing means for Mets top prospect Francisco Alvarez?
Narvaez figures to enter the season as the catcher against right handed pitching. Despite a down year offensively in 2022, he has a career .751 OPS against righties and was an all-star in 2021. He figures to get a majority of the reps behind the plate.
The situation against lefties is less clear. They have Tomas Nido and James McCann, both right-handed hitters, on the roster. The ideal scenario would be to trade James McCann but who would realistically want him without the Mets trading a prospect of some sort of value or eating a significant portion if not all of the money?
It's possible the Mets trade away both Nido and McCann to clear up a role for Alvarez to catch but that's very unlikely.
The Mets can go two ways with Alvarez for the 2023 season after the Narvaez signing.
One option the Mets have is sending Alvarez down to AAA and get a majority of the catcher reps in Syracuse to improve on his defense. Signing Narvaez means the Mets clearly think he's not ready defensively to catch because we all know the bat is more than ready. Once they think he's ready to catch, he can get a majority of the starts behind the plate or split time with Narvaez based on how he's playing.
The other option would be to have Alvarez as the third catcher and the DH against lefties. The Mets still have not signed their platoon partner with Daniel Vogelbach at the DH spot and it's very possible they go internal there. Alvarez could get the starts at that position against southpaws in the role he played down the stretch this past season.
I personally would rather see him catch in Syracuse until the Mets deem him to be ready defensively and have the Mets sign someone like J.D. Martinez or Brandon Drury to act as that short-side DH partner. Having him only get a start or two per week while not catching at all seems counter-productive to his development.