September 24, 2023

Buck Showalter made sure DFA Tomas Nido was “as humane as possible.”

ATLANTA — The Mets made a tough decision Monday to cut catcher Tomas Nido, and they wanted to make sure they got it right.

When the team headed to Atlanta from New York after a series against the Toronto Blue Jays, they had to act quickly to avoid taking a player to a city to tell him the hard news and send him home. So they contacted the traveling secretary to make sure his wife and kids weren’t on their way, or worse, already in Georgia. They had his equipment removed from the plane.

Buck Showalter had a spirited talk with a respected homegrown catcher before the team left. The next day, the club recovered catcher Omar Narvaez from the 60-day injured list and designated Nido for assignment, making the decision to continue this season with a catching tandem of Narvaez and rookie Francisco Alvarez.

“I’ve known him for almost two seasons now and he’s been in the organization for a long time,” Showalter said Tuesday at Truit Park before the Mets opened a three-game series against the Atlanta Braves. “It was emotional for both of us. The timing is never right, especially after a bad loss. We wanted to make sure his wife wouldn’t come here and didn’t want to wait to do it here. We’re trying to be as humane as possible to deal with, knowing that it will be difficult no matter what.

“But on the other hand, we’re glad Omar is back.”

There is still some hope that the club can keep Nido in the organization. He has been with the organization since they drafted him in 2012 and has developed into a strong defensive catcher. However, they keep the best interests of the player in mind and try to work out a trade. The club had considered swapping him in the past and it made sense given his affordability. But the Mets think Narvaez, who was once considered a bat-first catcher, and Alvarez will give them the best chance to get ahead.

“He’s either being traded, he’s being claimed on waivers, or he’s going in [Triple-A] Syracuse,” Showalter said. “For our sake, we hope he’s in Syracuse. We’d still like to have him around. He’s a major league catcher.”

Narvaez was in the line-up on Tuesday as ninth batter against righthander Bryce Elder. He gives the Mets another left-hander option from the bench on days when Alvarez gets the nod and the team considers putting their catchers in the DH spot. Showalter gave no details on his plan for playing time between Narvaez and Alvarez, saying only that Alvarez will be back in the lineup on Wednesday. Alvarez has become much more familiar with the Mets’ pitching staff with Narvaez and Nido, both on the IL in May, but the manager expects Narvaez to catch up soon.

“I’m not going to let either of them down and I’m going to make use of both of their skills,” Showalter said.

Narvaez was sidelined in Milwaukee on April 5, straining his calf while running out of the batter’s box. The Mets have guaranteed him $15 million on a two-year contract (player option for 2024).

“He’s a smart kid, knows how to call a game and he’s a good receiver,” Showalter said. “Boys like to throw at him and he’s a threat with the bat.”


The Mets sent a large contingent of core players to the WBC and the debate over whether or not it was right for them is still ongoing, and not because the club is without Edwin Diaz.

Francisco Lindor and Eduardo Escobar are having unusually bad seasons. Jeff McNeil, the 2022 NL batting title winner, is more than 100 points behind NL batting leader Luis Arraez.

“It’s good for baseball, and I’m glad they did it,” Showalter said. “But I think there’s some residue behind it [effects] at.”

The only player not affected is Pete Alonso, who led on Tuesday with 21 home runs. Alonso, the manager said, is a different race.

“I think it worked out a little bit for him,” Showalter said. “Pete starts his engine around November 2. He’s a man who has all cylinders moving 24 hours a day.”

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