The Mets have placed Omar Narváez on the injured list with a medium to high-grade strain of his left calf. Narváez exited Wednesday’s game with discomfort in his calf. “I felt tightness,” he said after the game. “I’d rather call it for a day and be safe for the next day. I couldn’t put myself at risk for the whole season. I wasn’t going to play the hero.” It is expected that Narváez will be sidelined for approximately eight to nine weeks.
21-year-old top prospect Francisco Álvarez will take Narváez’s spot on the roster for the Mets’ home opener tomorrow. It was reported last night that Álvarez was with the team on standby in case Narváez needed an IL stint.
The Mets addressed their catching situation in the offseason by signing Narváez to a one-year, $8 million contract with a player option for 2024, buying out backup catcher Tomás Nido’s remaining arbitration years, and trading James McCann to the Orioles. This effectively blocked Álvarez, who made his major league debut on September 30, 2022 and posted a 123 wRC+ in 14 plate appearances with the Mets at the end of last season. This spring, he collected just three hits in 28 at-bats. At Triple-A Syrcause so far, Álvarez has hit .250/.368/.688 with two home runs and four RBI in 19 plate appearances.
“[Álvarez] has got a chance to be called up in September,” Buck Showalter said to SNY when Álvarez was sent to Triple-A toward the end of spring training. “Anything else I said would be promoting the failure or the health of one of the guys that we have. And we like our two guys. They’re in the top seven or eight of catching in baseball. We’re lucky to have both of them. I hope at some point Francisco is as good as they are.”
The Mets were also clear during camp that if Álvarez is to be in the majors, it will be to catch regularly and not to be a part-time DH. Unfortunately, the injury bug Showalter was alluding to has already bitten one of the Mets’ catchers, so the young catching prospect will get an opportunity to show the Mets that he is major league ready.