Francisco Alvarez is feeling more comfortable heading into his second year as a Met with the starting catcher position secured and because he will have someone from home guiding him along the way.
The 21-year-old was smiling ear-to-ear when asked how it feels to have a fellow Venezuelan, Carlos Mendoza, managing the Mets next season.
“It feels really good. I’m super proud of the story, of his background, [and] what it’s taken him to get to this point. It feels really good and I’m really proud of it,” Alvarez said through an interpreter on Friday at the Mets’ Ninth Annual Turkey Giveaway in The Bronx. “It brings me a lot of pride and joy that he’s been given this opportunity. I think he’s one of those people that can open the doors for other Venezuelan potential managers in the future because of the skill sets that he has.”
Alvarez has yet to meet Mendoza. The two have only shared an introductory phone call to further learn about each other. Nevertheless, the catcher from Guatire, Venezuela, doesn’t need to have met him face-to-face in order to realize the impact that he will have in their shared home country.
“It’s pretty much the talk of the country right now. Everyone’s now turning into Mets fans over there,” Alvarez said. “That’s all everyone talks about and they’re honestly solely fans of the Mets now because we have a Venezuelan manager. So, it’s obviously something that’s really big in the country.”
Aside from the new manager, this has been a different offseason for Alvarez, who entered his rookie season as a player expected to make an impact with the Mets.
He did from the start, holding an .810 OPS across 66 games in the first half of the season.
Nevertheless, his production fell off in the second half, slumping deeply in August when he had a slashline of .139/.262/.194 in 23 games.
Alvarez described his rookie season as a solid season with nothing “extraordinary” but one that “there was a lot to improve upon.”
Looking ahead toward his second season, Alvarez will be carrying more responsibility and he hopes to take on a heavier workload after he was limited in the second half of the 2022 season — playing 57 games against 66 in the first half of the season.
“Last year, it was a different situation just because of the ankle injury that I had leading into the season, so I wasn’t able to work out the same way,” Alvarez said. “But this offseason, I’ve had a full offseason to continue to work and I hope that the front office gives me the opportunity to play every day if I’ve earned it.”
More than 7,500 turkeys were donated at the Mets Turkey Giveaway, helping to feed over 61,000 people in need across all five boroughs for Thanksgiving.
It was Alvarez’s first experience with the Thanksgiving season in New York and he explained that he will not be the cook come next week, though he said that his teammates enjoyed his lasagna a couple months ago.
“My mom cooks better than I do. So, I prefer for her to,” Alvarez said with a laugh.
“It feels good because you know that they’re gonna spend days with their families with the things that they need,” he added about the event. “To be able to be out here with the Mets, and to be able to help them, it feels good.”