Tomas Nido’s return from IL setting up Mets’ 3-man catching system

Tomas Nido Mets
Tomas NIdo (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

New York Mets catcher Tomas Nido was in a race against the clock.

No, it had nothing to do with baseball. He just wanted to see if he could beat the estimated time of arrival displayed by his GPS during his 12-hour drive from Atlanta to New York.

The veteran backstop was placed on the COVID IL on Aug. 15 — forced to go through the motions of catching while quarantined in his hotel room or throwing a ball against the wall or just taking what he described as “dry swings.”

Once he got the clear to emerge from his quarters, he got right in the car to make his way back to the Big Apple. 

“Honestly, it wasn’t that bad. I couldn’t do anything anyway,” Nido reasoned. “So, rather than sitting and doing nothing, might as well get in the car. I caught up with family, kind of grinded it out, and did whatever I could to make this go by quicker. 

That included racing his GPS back home and waiting for his club to get back to the area to rejoin them in the Bronx for the Subway Series.

Rather than demote Michael Perez to the minors, the Mets designated reliever and feel-good story Nate Fisher for assignment — meaning the Mets are carrying three catchers for the time being.

“You can do some things earlier in the game,” manager Buck Showalter said. “Basically you can do some things to take advantage of some situations you normally couldn’t.”

That included pinch-hitting for James McCann in the eighth inning after he stepped awkwardly on first base while legging out an infield single in the sixth inning.

But the decision to carry three catchers also ensures that the Mets have options at a position that they haven’t gotten consistent production out of. 

McCann is batting just .181 with a .503 OPS this season in what is the second season of a four-year, $40.6 million pact. He also had a significant mix-up with Max Scherzer during the fifth inning of Monday night’s loss to the Yankees that nearly resulted in Aaron Judge parking his second home run of the night into the seats of Yankee Stadium.

Perez has only had 14 at-bats with the Mets since being acquired from the Pittsburgh Pirates, but he has three RBI. He’s also thrown out three of five base stealers while in New York.

While Nido is batting just .224, he was swinging the hotter bat before his run-in with COVID. Over a 15-game stretch from July 23 to Aug. 13, he was batting .277 with a .716 OPS. 

He also has a better rapport with some big names of the pitching staff. For example, Scherzer’s ERA in starts with Nido behind the plate is 1.91. With McCann, it’s 3.60.

For Jacob deGrom, his ERA with Nido is a 1.62. It’s a 4.05 with McCann this season.

“We’re going to make use of all of their skills and try to pass the note around a little bit,” Showalter said. “Unless somebody really gets it going. We’re lucky to have that depth… We’ll pass it around… Whoever’s catching that night is our No. 1. I don’t get into the numbers. It’s such a demanding position in today’s game.”

For more on the Mets, Tomas Nido, and the catching situation, visit AMNY.com