As bad as Omar Narváez is behind the dish, he put on the best offensive season of any Mariners catcher in recent memory. In fact, he and Tom Murphy may have combined to be the best catching duo in team history, at least from an offensive standpoint, which makes it all the more sad that it only lasted a single season.
But Narváez’s defense is a problem because he doesn’t have an alternative home to shift to on the field. Some have speculated an eventual move to first base for him, but that hasn’t been acted on as of yet. For now, Narváez’s abilities would be best suited for a full-time designated hitter with opportunities to catch here and there in a backup role, severely downgrading his value to many teams, which ultimately led to a lack of interest on the trade market this offseason before he was finally shipped off to Milwaukee.
Still, the bat is too good to simply leave Narváez off the roster entirely. He wouldn’t have a chance to play absolutely everyday with the presence of Encarnación and Murphy, even though that was the case in the real world last season. Knowing what we know now, the defense is just too much of a liability for us to comfortably say that Narváez is an everyday player for this team.
Honestly, this decision was less based on who would be the team’s backup catcher and more so Narváez vs. Vogelbach as the team’s de facto pinch hitter. While Vogelbach certainly carries more firepower in his bat, Narváez is the overall better hitter and still can put one over the wall if you need him to. This isn’t to say Narváez would never catch for this team, but with the next player on this list, it makes it all the more unlikely.