Mets, Omar Narváez agree to two-year, $15 million contract
Narváez will become the fourth catcher on the 40-man roster for the Mets, for now
The Mets added another catcher to the mix on Thursday, agreeing to a two-year, $15 million contract with Omar Narváez.
The second year of the deal is a $7 million player option, according to the New York Post.
Narváez, 30, played in 84 games for the Brewers in 2022, hitting .206/.292/.305 with 12 doubles, a triple, four home runs and 23 RBI in 296 plate appearances. He is a left-handed bat and a defense-first catcher who was in the 89th percentile in pitch framing in 2022, according to Statcast.
He was an All-Star in 2021 when he hit .266/.342/.402 with 11 home runs and 49 RBI with three defensive runs saved over 123 games with Milwaukee. His best season came in 2019 while with the Mariners when he hit .278/.353/.460 with a career-high 22 home runs in 132 games, also a career-high.
Once the deal becomes official, Narváez will become the fourth catcher on the 40-man roster for the Mets along with James McCann, Tomás Nido and Francisco Álvarez, suggesting the Mets could trade one of McCann or Nido before Spring Training.McCann endured a lost season due to injury and under-performance in 2022 while earning $8.15 million, hitting just .195/.257/.282 in 61 games last season. He is set to earn $12.15 million in 2023 in the third year of a four-year, $40 million contract he signed before the 2021 season.
Like Narváez, Nido is a defense-first catcher who was in the 93rd percentile in pitch framing while producing eight defensive runs saved over 98 games for the Mets in 2022. He hit .239/.276/.324 last season although he hit .280/.307/.449 in the second half.
All of this points to the Mets looking to find a taker for McCann and the remaining $24.25 million on his contract, although given how McCann has underperformed the contract to-date, it will be difficult for the Mets to find a trade partner willing to take on a significant portion of the money owed to McCann.
If the Mets decide to trade McCann or Nido, they could opt to carry Narváez, Nido/McCann and Álvarez on the active roster with Álvarez - the game’s highest-ranked prospect according to MLB.com - splitting his time as a right-handed designated hitter while learning to catch at the Major League level.