Mets Release Omar Narvaez, Jorge Lopez

Mets Release Omar Narvaez, Jorge Lopez - MLB Trade Rumors

The Mets announced Wednesday that they’ve released veteran catcher Omar Narvaez and right-hander Jorge Lopez. Both were designated for assignment last week, and both are now free agents. New York also selected the contract of catcher Joe Hudson from Triple-A Syracuse, moving righty Shintaro Fujinami to the 60-day injured list to open a roster spot. Hudson is a candidate to serve as an extra player for the Mets’ London Series against the Phillies, where each team will be granted a 27th player.

The 32-year-old Narvaez is playing out the second season of a two-year, $15MM contract he signed in the 2022-23 offseason. He had the right to opt out of said contract following the 2023 season, but after a .211/.283/.297 showing in his first year with the club, he unsurprisingly passed on that opportunity. He’s struggled even more in 2024, hitting just .154/.191/.185 in 69 trips to the plate.

Though his run with the Mets was dismal, Narvaez was a quality regular for several years leading up to that deal. From 2018-22, he slashed .254/.337/.397 between the White Sox, Mariners and Brewers — even landing an All-Star nod with the ’21 Brewers. Milwaukee also worked with Narvaez to dramatically improve his glovework — specifically his framing skills — improving upon the below-average grades he drew during his time with Seattle and Chicago.

Any team in need of some catching help could take a flier on Narvaez and would owe him only the prorated league minimum for any time spent on the MLB roster. That sum would be subtracted from what the Mets still owe him, but they’re on the hook for the bulk of his $8MM salary regardless. The Marlins and Cubs have had the game’s worst production behind the plate this season, and while Narvaez himself has had an extremely rough go of it, his track record might be appealing to them or another club with suspect backstops.

Lopez’s time with the Mets ended in controversial fashion. The right-hander, showing ample frustration after a poor outing, angrily lobbed his glove into the stands as he walked off the field. After the game, when asked about his actions, the Puerto Rican-born righty said he did not regret his actions and offered a candid assessment. Lopez, speaking his second language without an interpreter by his side, has stressed that he intended to state that he had been “the worst —-ing teammate” in MLB (presumably due to that outburst). But it was difficult in the moment to discern whether he’d said “worst teammate” or called the Mets the “worst team,” and when asked to clarify, he suggested both (again, without an interpreter/translator at his side).

The situation was further muddied by Lopez telling the media that he hadn’t spoken to Mets management about the issue, when he in fact had discussed it with manager Carlos Mendoza. The Mets wound up designating Lopez for assignment. In the hours after the incident, it came to light that he’s also been dealing with significant personal distress. His young son is on a transplant list and awaiting a donor. Add in that Lopez has previously spent time on the injured list due to anxiety issues, and it becomes clear that there’s far more at play than simply losing his temper and some mistaken words.

As with Narvaez, any club can now sign Lopez and owe him only the prorated minimum for any time spent on the big league roster. The manner in which his Mets tenure drew to a close will likely impact his market, but while not excusing his actions, it’s also easy to look at the situation from personal/human standpoint and understand why things may have unraveled for the 31-year-old righty.

Lopez pitched fairly well with the Mets, logging 26 1/3 innings of 3.76 ERA ball. A sub-par 17.1% strikeout rate and 9.9% walk rate both lead fielding-independent metrics to take a more bearish view of his work, however (4.65 FIP, 4.46 SIERA). Lopez had a breakout 2022 showing with the Orioles and Twins but followed that up with a sub-par 2023 campaign spent mostly in Minnesota.

After a brilliant start to the season in which he was unscored upon into May, Lopez hit a rough patch and wound up taking some time away from the Twins due to his anxiety. He expressed gratitude to the team for allowing him to focus on his mental health upon his return to the club. Unfortunately, his results following the break were still sub-par, and the Twins wound up flipping him to the Marlins in a deadline deal sending Dylan Floro back to Minnesota.

Taken in totality, the last three seasons from Lopez have yielded solid, if inconsistent results. He’s pitched 156 1/3 innings and logged a 4.03 ERA with a 20.7% strikeout rate, 9.5% walk rate and 51.2% grounder rate. Lopez’s strikeouts and ground-ball tendencies have trended downward since 2022, however, as has the velocity on his power sinker — which at at 97.8 mph in ’22 but averaged 95.4 mph with the Mets this season. Whatever comes next for the right-hander, the hope beyond the baseball field is that his son finds the donor he needs and that Lopez continues to prioritize his mental health.

Turning to the journeyman Hudson, this will be the 33-year-old’s first time on a big league roster since the 2020 season. He’s appeared in 18 big league games and taken 33 plate appearances, going 5-for-30 with a double, two walks, six strikeouts and a sacrifice in that time. The former sixth-round pick has been with nine organizations in his professional career, including brief MLB stints with the Mariners, Angels and Cardinals. In 19 games with the Syracuse Mets this season, he’s hitting .222/.364/.444 with three home runs and three doubles.


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