Mets Prioritize Vogelbach Over Álvarez With Nido DFA

With Omar Narváez set to come off the IL, the New York Mets were going to have to make a move., While it seemed like sending Mark Vientos down was the obvious move since he’s not playing, the Mets instead opted to designate Tomás Nido for assignment.

On the surface, it makes sense. After all, Francisco Álvarez has played so well the Mets were not going to send him back down to Triple-A Syracuse. As such, Narváez is really just taking over Nido’s spot on the roster. However, that is such a grossly over simplistic view it needs to be disregarded outright.

With the catching situation, the first caveat is Álvarez has not caught more than 81 games in a season. That presents a challenge for the Mets to get him through a full season healthy and without mental or physical fatigue. As a result, the team will have to look to buy Álvarez time here or there.

Honestly, that is something the Mets did with Álvarez in Syracuse by having him DH on occasion. It’s at least one of the reasons why the Mets assigned three catchers to Triple-A Syracuse to start the season.

However, for that to work, Buck Showalter has to show a willingness to DH one of his catchers. You can hear him saying you can’t take the risk of a catcher getting injured and having your team lose the DH for the game. More to the point, Showalter very infrequently did it with Matt Wieters. Going through each of his stops, it is something he would do far less than 20 times a season.

Put another way, the odds are Álvarez isn’t going to DH. In fact, so far this season, we have not seen Álvarez DH in any games.

Instead, we are likely going to see Daniel Vogelbach be the primary DH for the Mets. Anytime there is a right-handed pitcher, we should expect to see Vogelbach. That is the case even with Vogelbach hitting Vogelbach is hitting .158/.284/.246 since May 3. On the season, Vogelbach has a 99 wRC+. In essence, he’s a below average hitter at a position where the only job is to hit.

Now, those Vogelbach at-bats could have gone to Álvarez on the days he’s not catching. Again, Álvarez will need time off here and there. Also, we should not expect Showalter to just allow Álvarez to get the vast majority of starts over Narváez.

Remember, this is the same Showalter who continues to bat Álvarez ninth and is still somewhat of the belief Álvarez is a platoon bat. That is to say the left-handed hitting Narváez is going to get his starts and his plate appearances. Showalter’s default is to appease the veterans. That should lead us to see more Narváez than we originally contemplated.

Again, this could have been a good thing because it would permit Álvarez to DH. However, that role isn’t open with Vogelbach still on the team. The odds of Showalter doing it without Nido as a third catcher are diminished. Because of the totality of the circumstances, we see the Mets opted to DH Vogelbach over creating more opportunities to have Álvarez in the lineup.