As a 24-year old, Tomas Nido appeared in 34 games for the Mets in 2018 thanks in large part to injuries to Travis d’Arnaud, Kevin Plawecki and—later in the season—Devin Mesoraco. Considered a promising defensive prospect, Nido’s bat was clearly not ready for the majors, as he recorded a .438 OPS and 23 OPS+ in his 90 plate appearances in 2018.
Last offseason saw the Mets aggressively try to upgrade their catching situation. After flirting with emptying the cupboard of more young talent for J.T. Realmuto, then unsuccessfully attempting to lure Yasmani Grandal to Queens, the team ultimately signed Wilson Ramos to a 2 year, $19 million contract, then somewhat surprisingly brought d’Arnaud back for depth.
However, the team’s abrupt April release of d’Arnaud quickly thrust Nido back to second on the team’s depth chart, from whence his bat once again fizzled to such a degree that any benefits of his receiving skills failed to adequately compensate.
There was a route to a larger 2019 role for Nido, as early in the season both Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard expressed a preference to pitch to the young backstop over the more offensively-minded Ramos. Following his season highlight—a walk-off homer in the 13th inning on May 25 against the Tigers, Nido hit .300 over the next six weeks, bringing his average up to .257 as late in the season as June 28.
However Nido slumped terribly thereafter—recording only seven more hits over his final 68 at bats through the rest of the year. While deGrom eventually got comfortable pitching to Ramos, the lack of faith in the team’s catching depth became an issue for a Mets team fighting to contend, as the organization was reluctant to accede to Syndergaard’s continued preference to pitch to Nido—or the equally offensively-challenged Rene Rivera—in the heat of a playoff race.
Overall, Nido finished the year with a .191 average, .231 on-base percentage and a .547 OPS over 50 games and 144 plate appearances. A hitter who doesn’t take many walks or work the count, his ability to pop an occasional home run represents his only real offensive contribution during the season. Obviously pitchers are comfortable throwing to him, though his defensive metrics have been average at best, and didn’t help his overall season, as the young catcher recorded a -0.7 bWAR for 2019.
With Ramos never known for his durability, the Mets were quite fortunate to see their primary catcher start 113 games—his most since 2016. While Nido is certainly still young enough to improve, his porous offense doesn’t make him a palatable option to enter the 2020 season as the clear primary backup catcher for a team with playoff aspirations. While one can hope that role would be a reasonable floor for Nido, the Mets would be well-served building more depth behind Ramos this offseason.