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NEW YORK – Having to make a difficult decision at catcher, the New York Mets Light hit pieces Thomas Nido Monday when they brought back fellow backing mates Omar Narvaez From the injured list for 60 days.
Nido is set to set in a pitch that keeps the catcher Francisco Alvarez in majors. The 21-year-old rookie blossomed in May and climbed to the first string, benefiting from consistent playing time while Narváez and Nido were on IL.
Nido was activated on May 25 but has only made two starts since then, going 1-for-5 with two strikeouts. He was a Gold Glove finalist last season and is signed through 2024 after essentially taking over the starting job from a slack James McCann last year by the time the Mets entered the playoffs.
This season, however, Nido is hitting a paltry 0.25 (7-for-56) without an extra base hit.
New York has seven days to trade or release him. Nido can also be claimed by another team – or accept an outright assignment to the minors with the Mets if he clears waivers.
With the 31-year-old Narváez poised to return from a strained left calf, New York could have selected Alvarez to return to Triple-A Syracuse and keep all three catchers on the 40-man roster. More likely, there was a belief that the Mets might carry them all to the big leagues and give the at-bats to Alvarez in the designated hitter. That would have killed off the playing time of many a veteran, along with his young teammate Mark Ventus.
With the situation a little more complicated, it’s a bit unclear now what Nido can offer offensively. He was never a serious hitter, compiling a . 213 batting average and . 557 OPS primarily in the backup job. But he was on the injured list from May 7-24, suffering from dry eye syndrome which has apparently affected his eyesight, and may explain – at least in part – his dismal start to the plate this season.
He had tampons in both eyes that helped them stay lubricated and improved his eyesight. But Nido is a right-handed hitter like Alvarez. Narváez, a 2021 All-Star with Milwaukee, bats left-handed, which makes him a natural complement to Alvarez.
Álvarez was expected to spice up more at Triple-A while Narváez and Nido shared playing time in the big leagues, becoming one of the highest-ranked prospects in baseball when he started the season in the minors.
But then Alvarez was quickly called out in early April when Narváez strained his left calf during the second series of the season in Milwaukee.
Álvarez got off to a slow start, then took off in May—hitting . 292 with seven homers, 17 RBI, and 1.029 OPS, including several clutch swings late in the games. He’s unable to hit in his last 16 games, but Alvarez’s raw power is an element the Brawlers desperately need as they try to generate more runs.
His defense was said to be a work in progress when he arrived, but Alvarez also impressed behind the plate, earning praise from coaches and veteran pitchers — especially the three-time Cy Young Award winner. Max Scherzer — for his instincts and work ethic.
Nido signed a $3.7 million contract for two years in the offseason. Narváez was signed to a two-year, $15 million deal as a free agent in December.
Despite a record $355 million payroll, the Mets are on their way to a disappointing 30-30 start. They were off Monday before opening a three-game series on Tuesday night in Atlanta. New York is third in the NL East, 5 1/2 games behind the first-place Braves.
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