11:53am: The Mets are hopeful of working out a trade involving Nido before his DFA window expires, tweets Mike Puma of the New York Post. They’ll have five days to do so before Nido must be placed on either outright or release waivers.
11:35am: The Mets have formally announced Nido’s DFA. Narvaez has been reinstated from the injured list in a corresponding move.
11:15am: The Mets are expected to designate catcher Tomas Nido for assignment and move to a catching tandem of young Francisco Alvarez and veteran Omar Narvaez, tweets Andy Martino of SNY. Narvaez, who’s been out since early April due to a calf strain, has played six minor league rehab games and has been trending toward a return to the big league roster.
Nido, 29, inked a two-year deal to buy out his final two arbitration seasons this offseason. That contract guaranteed him a total of $3.7MM. He’s now just 15 days shy of reaching five years of MLB service time, at which point he’d have been able to reject an outright assignment in favor of free agency while still retaining the entirety of that guaranteed salary. However, because he’ll fall shy of five years of service if placed on outright waivers, he’d forfeit the remainder of that salary upon rejecting an assignment to the minors.
The timing of Narvaez’s return likely played a larger role in the decision to DFA Nido, but the fact that the Mets can make this move now and quite likely retain Nido because of that contractual situation was surely a consideration. It’s unlikely that another club would pick up the remainder of this year’s $1.6MM salary and all of next year’s $2.1MM salary when Nido has struggled to a .125/.153/.125 batting line through 61 plate appearances this season.
The Mets would’ve been on the hook for the majority of that money regardless, but if they can’t work out a trade, they’ll now be able to stash Nido in Triple-A as a depth option in hopes that he can get back on track. Given that Narvaez has an opt-out in his two-year contract following the current season, the possibility of retaining Nido at an affordable rate through the 2024 campaign likely holds some additional appeal.
Prior to this season — one in which he was on the injured list due to vision-related issues — Nido has been a solid, albeit glove-first backup option behind the plate in Queens. From 2020-22, the former eighth-round pick tallied an even 500 plate appearances while posting a .236/.275/.338 batting line. That was about 26% worse than the league-average hitter and about 15% worse than the average catcher, by measure of wRC+.
On the other side of the ball, Nido ranked among the game’s best. He piled up a huge 18 Defensive Runs Saved in that stretch despite logging just 1192 innings behind the plate, and he rated among the game’s top backstops in terms of pitch framing as well. After struggling with throwing out runners early in his career, Nido posted a sensational 57% caught-stealing rate in 2021 and sat at 29.8% from 2021-22. He’s just 2-for-13 in 2023 under the new rules and while dealing with his reported vision troubles. Statcast’s new Blocking Runs Above Average metric pegs Nido 22nd in MLB dating back to 2018 despite having far fewer chances than many of the names ahead of him in that cumulative metric. On a per-game basis, he’s tied for 19th in the Majors among qualified catchers (since 2018).
All told, Nido is a light-hitting, quality defensive catcher who’s signed at a generally reasonable rate. Teams tend to bypass taking on even modest sums — particularly multi-year commitments — via waivers, so the likelihood remains that if things get to that point, Nido could stick in the Mets organization. In the days leading up to when he’ll have to be placed on waivers, however, the Mets can discuss trade scenarios and perhaps offer to kick in some cash to sweeten the pot. If he hasn’t been traded within five days, that’ll be a sign that Nido is likely on waivers, the outcome of which would be known within 48 hours of his placement.