PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (CBSNewYork/AP) — The Mets are hiring a lot of famous people to serve as advisers.
Not long after installing former player agent Brodie Van Wagenen as general manager, they hired team legend David Wright. Then on Monday, they announced the hiring of retired pitchers Al Leiter and John Franco.
On Tuesday, the Van Wagenen and the Mets surprised everyone by bringing ESPN’s Jessica Mendoza.
“I was an outside-the-box hire and I have been a believer in getting new voices and fresh perspectives in the room, especially when you are making decisions,” Van Wagenen said at the team’s spring training home in Port St. Lucie. “And Jessica has a very high baseball IQ. She has aptitude to learn anything. And she knows the game. Like Al Leiter, like David Wright, like John Franco she’s a winner. … She has clearly has elevated herself to show she knows baseball inside and out.”
Mendoza, a former gold medal-winning softball player for the U.S., has quietly become one of the better MLB analysts on the air, and, needless to say, the move breaks some barriers.
“I am excited to work with Brodie and his team and am thrilled to be associated with the Mets and their storied history,” said Mendoza, who is represented by CAA, Van Wagenen’s former agency. “I’ve known Brodie and Jeff Wilpon for years now and I’m honored to be a small part of the organization. I would also like to thank ESPN and Disney for their understanding and confidence as I balance both tasks moving forward. Baseball is a passion of mine and I look forward to expanding on my love for the game.”
It will be interesting to see how Mendoza, 38, handles the rigors of working for the Mets and her duties with ESPN, as she will be staying with the network.
With the Mets, Mendoza’s responsibilities will include working in “areas of player evaluation, roster construction, technological advancement and health and performance,” the Mets said in a statement.
Leiter, a broadcaster since his last season in 2005, will be involved with scouting, player development and pitchers’ mental preparation.
“Al’s passion for the game is infectious,” Van Wagenen said Monday. “His unique ability to communicate his knowledge to players, coaches and the front office will immediately make us better.”
Franco will scout and assist pitchers. The Mets said he will also continue in the club ambassador role he has held since 2010.
NOTES: SS Amed Rosario was hit on the left hand by a pitch from Boston RHP Mike Shawaryn in the fifth inning of a Mets’ split squad’s 9-3 loss to Boston. X-rays following the game were negative, manager Mickey Callaway said. … Adeiny Hechavarria, one option for the Mets at shortstop, went 0 for 3 in the other squad’s 7-4 win over Houston in West Palm Beach. He is hitting .077. Veteran Danny Espinosa and 24-year-old prospect Luis Guillorme, who is hitting .429, also provide depth at shortstop. …1B Dominic Smith went 2 for 4 against the Red Sox and raised his average to .500 (10 for 20 with a home run and six RBIs) as he competes with J.D. Davis and Pete Alonso for playing time. . LF Tim Tebow (.222) recorded his first two hits, and 2B Robinson Cano had two hits, raising his average to .400. … LHP Steven Matz gave up four runs, five hits and two walks in two-plus innings against Boston.
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