In what feels like a million years ago, the 2022-2023 Mets offseason was one of relative excess. The Mets were operating like a team with a hole in their pocket, stockpiling players and building depth, sometimes in surprising ways. None of the signings was more surprising than Omar Narváez , a former All-Star who would seemingly jump the depth chart and be the Mets’ #1 catcher. The deal was a one-year deal worth $8 million, with a player option for 2024 worth $7 million.
There was just one problem: The Mets’ top prospect, who had a cup of coffee in the majors at the end of the 2022 season, was a catcher. Francisco Álvarez, although not especially effective in his brief big league debut, was clearly being set up as a big part of the Mets’ future.
But that’s not it; not a month after his signing, the Mets signed another catcher, Tomás Nido, to a two-year, $3.7 million contract, avoiding his final two years of arbitration. And so, the Mets had two catchers signed to big league deals and one of the top prospects in all of baseball waiting in the wings.
So how did all three catchers find playing time? Early on in the season, injuries created opportunities. A left-calf strain put Narváez on the injured list just a few days into the season, keeping him out for almost two months. In his absence, Álvarez thrived and Nido struggled, leading to Nido being designated for assignment on June 5th and rendering Narváez the backup catcher for the rest of the season.
In that role, Narváez started 34 games for the Mets, and his 49 games played were the fewest of his career since his rookie season (and not counting the shortened 2020 season). His power - Narváez once hit 22 home runs and slugged .460 - continued to dry up, with Narváez hitting just two home runs and five doubles.
In addition, Narváez put up just a 12% caught stealing percentage, easily his worst over a full season. He is rated as an average framer and blocker with a poor pop time.
And so, while his .211/.283/.297 slash line and poor defensive metrics are certainly not cause for celebration, they looked much better than Nido’s .125./153/.125 in his two months of MLB playing time.
While $7 million is a lot to pay for a backup catcher, the Mets can afford it, and Narváez is a fine backup who can spell Álvarez, both when he needs a day off and when Álvarez gets reps as designated hitter.