Late last night, the New York Mets signed catcher Omar Narvaez to a one-year, $8 million contract with a $7 million player option in 2024. Narvaez has seven years of MLB experience and turns 31 in February.
Narvaez does not perhaps provide the Mets lineup with the big-time presence it needs. The left-handed bat is coming off a year in which he hit .206. In five of his seven years, though, Narvaez has batted over .265 (2016-19, 2021).
He does, however, offer loads to the Mets defensively behind the plate. In particular, Narvaez is well-known for his exceptional framing.
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Does the signing of Omar Narvaez incentivize the Mets to move James McCann?
With the surprise signing of a catcher, it has raised some questions for Mets fans. Will top-prospect Francisco Álvarez be ready for 2023 opening day? Is Narvaez just here to give the Mets defensive depth if Álvarez cannot yet take on the role? Or, could the Mets, with their massive payroll, look to unload one of the disappointing higher-priced players, James McCann?
Assessing the catcher position of the Mets, four are on the roster at the moment. Álvarez, Narvaez, McCann, and Tomas Nido. Currently, Nido and Narvaez are the two presumed locks to be on this baseball team. From there, one would have to assume the Mets will keep a third. Andy Martino of SNY reported that the Mets are indeed considering so.
The main question is whether that third catcher will be Álvarez or McCann. As stated above, if the Mets maybe feel Álvarez is not quite ready for the start of 2023, they can go with McCann as their third. On the other hand, Álvarez is an immensely talented young player who, in all likelihood, should be ready for the start of next year. If the Mets are comfortable with him, it leads to the inevitable of trading McCann.
The two years in Queens for McCann have been nothing short of disastrous. With the Mets’ aggressive spending this offseason skyrocketing their payroll and McCann still being on the books for the next two years at $24 million (AAV $12 million), he is expendable. The issue is getting a team to trade for him.
Ultimately, with two defensive catchers in Nido and Narvaez locked in on this team, the value is there for the Mets to keep the better bat in Álvarez over McCann. In the end, the Mets would be better served if Álvarez was ready and they could move McCann.