On the eve of their big series in Atlanta, the Mets made the difficult choice to designate catcher Tomas Nido for assignment on Monday to make room for Omar Narvaez.
Narvaez, signed to be the No. 1 catcher in the offseason, has been on the injured list since April 7 with a strained calf.
Cutting Nido and potentially having to pay him the entire $3.7 million on his contract through next season was tough for the Mets, not so much because of the money but because Nido is popular in the clubhouse.
Rookie Francisco Alvarez has grabbed at least a share of the catcher’s job with his play since getting called up when Narvaez first got hurt. His power (eight home runs and a .783 OPS) and his attention to detail on defense made Nido expendable.
Alvarez had a rough game on Sunday against Toronto, going 0-for-3 to drop his average to .237. He also committed a throwing error that allowed a run to score, but he did pick off a runner at first base earlier in the game.
“His want-to is through the roof all the time,” manager Buck Showalter said. “That’s what you love about him. For me, what happens offensively is gravy, so to speak. But it’s part of the young players, whether it be Mark [Vientos] or Brett [Baty] or him or whoever else. There’s a process. They’re going to have their ups and downs. We’re seeing that some . . . This game at this level will make you feel like you can’t hit or you can’t play or you can’t pitch. Somewhere in between there, you’ve got to chase the reality.”
Nido, 29, made his Mets debut in 2017. He missed time with a vision problem and was hitting .125 in 22 games this season. The Mets will have seven days to trade or release Nido, whom they surprisingly signed to that two-year, $3.7 million contract in the offseason.