Evan Roberts fumes over Mets' handling of Francisco Alvarez: 'Why the hell is he here?'

By , Audacy Sports

Coming off a series sweep at the hands of the Brewers, the Mets got a much-needed win over the Marlins in their home opener on Friday afternoon.

The victory was a welcomed antidote to the panic that set in after the nightmare in Milwaukee, but for some Mets fans the relief was muted to some degree by concerns about the management of the roster and lineup.

Specifically, top prospect Francisco Alvarez was not in the starting lineup -- and did not appear in the game at all -- following his callup after starting catcher Omar Narvaez was ruled out for roughly two months due to a calf strain.

The development came soon after Mets manager Buck Showalter seemed to downplay Alvarez's role, likening the 21-year-old backstop to a second-string quarterback holding the clipboard behind a veteran starter.

On the Audacy Original Podcast "Rico Brogna," WFAN's Evan Roberts vented his frustration at Showalter's remarks and Alvarez riding the pine for the Citi Field opener.

"I love Buck Showalter, he had a great year last year," Roberts said. " ... When you make the decision to call up Francisco Alvarez, to me, that means you're bringing him up to play. You're not bringing him up to learn from Tomas Nido. You're not bringing him up to sit on the bench. You're bringing him up to play."

According to Roberts, the plan for Alvarez is inconsistent with the one laid out for Brett Baty, who was sent down to the minors despite an impressive spring. The team cited its desire to get Baty full-time at-bats, which he might not see in the majors owing to the presence of Eduardo Escobar and Luis Guillorme.

"So, Buck Showalter and Billy Eppler should -- I don't know -- have a freaking conversation. Because I doubt if Billy Epler has half a brain, considering he's so obsessed with Brett Baty getting playing time in Triple-A. ... You've got to explain to me why you'd call up Alvarez to not play him."

Evan suspects the disconnect on Alvarez may be his his defensive development behind the dish. While Alvarez's bat is widely heralded, managing a pitching staff and calling a game in the major leagues is a different type of proposition.

"Now I would normally say, 'It's one game, it's Opening Day. Maybe they just wanted to give it to Tomas Nido. Maybe Buck thought Nido deserves that honor -- of playing the home opener. But if you listen to Buck talk about Alvarez -- first of all, I don't know what to make of it. But it's doesn't sound like a guy who's committed to playing him all the time. And he gave some cockamamie answer about winning and developing. Are you telling me Alvarez doesn't give them a better chance to win? Because if that's what you're saying, you're also telling us this: You're telling us Alvarez has no idea what he's doing behind the plate."

But if that's the case, then the Mets need to find another way to get Alvarez's bat into the lineup, or else send him back down to work on his defense, Roberts says.

"Either stick him in Triple-A, where he can learn and play, or give up on him being a catcher and make him a DH. But to have him up here and not play, is lunacy."

So what can fans expect for Alvarez moving forward? Roberts concedes that the Mets and Showalter might be "BS'ing" the public about Alvarez's role, but he also fears the youngster will be on the short side of a platoon with Nido.

"Now, it's one game. Could Alvarez start Saturday and Sunday? He could. And I hope he does. We'll do our series recap podcast, and I'll start it off by golf clapping Buck Showalter ... Look, Buck's not the most honest guy, he's not going to tell us everything. But all I can base this on is the game we just had and trying to read Buck's comments. And the read early on is, he's not going to play a lot.

"But let's play numbers to this. ... With five games to go on this homestand, how many of those games will Francisco Alvarez start? ... I think Nido will start three of the next five games, Alvarez will start two of them. And I have a big issue with that. I think Alvarez should start four out of five games. ... That's what I would do. Because Alvarez should be treated like he's the starting catcher. ...

"It just scares me that the Mets have this kind of hesitation about him, because they must think he's awful behind the plate. They must think he's a disaster. And, if that's the case, what are we doing?"

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