With Noah Syndergaard going down with Tommy John, suddenly the question isn’t who among Steven Matz, Rick Porcello, and Michael Wacha will make the rotation. No, the question now is who is up next in the event there is another pitcher injury or the need for a spot starter in the case of fatigue or other complication.
On the bright side, the Mets appear better poised than they did in 2019. On that note, that Mets team didn’t have to go that deep into their rotation as Mickey Callaway had a knack for keeping his starting pitchers healthy. He’s now gone, and now, there is the challenge of keeping pitchers healthy in an environment where pitchers ramped up to start the season, were shut down, and now have to revamp it up to pitch a season.
The first pitcher who may be up in the event of an injury is Walker Lockett. Lockett has a step up on the competition because he is out of options meaning the Mets either put him on the Opening Day roster or risk losing him off waivers.
The downside he presents is that is if he is in the bullpen, he will not be stretched out enough to pitch as a starter. The other complication is he has not fared well as a Major League pitcher. In seven starts and six relief appearances, he has an 8.84 ERA and a 1.885 WHIP.
Another Mets pitcher who has struggled in his brief Major League appearances is Corey Oswalt. Of course, the biggest issue with him is how haphazardly the Mets have handled him. One minute, he is pitching in relief on two days rest after a cross country flight, and the next, he’s not being used for over a week.
If you want hope for him, he pitches much better when on regular rest and used normally. Still, in 12 starts and seven relief appearances, he has a 6.43 ERA and 1.458 WHIP. That’s not great, but it is much better than Lockett.
Similar to Lockett and Oswalt, Stephen Gonsalves struggled in his limited Major League appearances. In four starts and three relief appearances for the Twins in 2018, he was 2-2 with a 6.57 ERA, 2.027 WHIP, and a 0.73 K/BB. After that, he had arm issues leading to his release from the Twins, and the Mets claiming him.
Gonsalves is a former Top 100 prospect who Baseball America once described as a future middle of the rotation starter who ” reads hitters well and works effectively at the top of the zone.” When healthy, he can get his fastball near the mid 90s to couple with a very good change.
The issue with him now is health, getting his stuff back, and developing a third pitch. With this being a new organization and Jeremy Hefner having familiarity with him, it is possible.
On the topic of potential, there is also former first round pick David Peterson. He has reached the Top 100 just once in his career, but he has progressed through the Mets system, and he has had a strong Spring Training.
While his stats the past two years do not appear strong with an ERA of over 4.00 in St. Lucie and Binghamton, there are other stats which show he has pitched better than his ERA. First and foremost, his FIP the past two years was respectively 2.98 and 3.19.
He has also maintained a very good strikeout-to-walk ratio while keeping walks to just 2.5 per nine in his minor league career. When looking at him, he is not a pitcher who is going to beat himself when he gets the chance to pitch for the Mets.
When he does pitch, fans will see what MLB Pipeline says is “Solid bat-missing ability and a knack for inducing weak, ground-ball contact points to more of a floor than ceiling for Peterson, but it might not take him that long to reach that potential.
Finally, there is Kevin Smith, who appears further away than Peterson after making just six starts in Double-A last year. Still, the 2018 seventh round draft pick has far outperformed what was expected of him, and with another strong showing in the minors this year, he may find himself on the radar.
Overall, the Mets have interesting options in the minors, and that is before we take into account pitchers like Franklyn Kilome, who is returning from Tommy John. In the end, the Mets are likely going to have to go to the minors for at least a spot start or two, especially with baseball likely having scheduled doubleheaders in 2020.
The hope for the Mets is these talented pitchers can put it together and put some very strong starts together when the Mets need them. Time will tell.
To a certain extent, the New York Mets and Houston Astros are tied together. Their respective stories began in 1962 when both teams broke through as expansion teams. Up until a point they had some parallels in their history.
In 1969, while Tom Seaver and the Mets we’re making a miracle run in Flushing, the Astros were surprisingly game. They got as close as 2.0 games back in late August before fizzling. Like the Mets, 1969 would be the first year the Astros didn’t have a losing record or a 90 loss season for that matter.
The Mets next World Series run would come in 1986, and they’d have to go through Houston to do it. Interestingly enough, that Astros team would have two former Mets maddening young hurlers, Nolan Ryan and Mike Scott, standing in their way.
When the Wild Card Era was ushered in, the story of the two teams diverged, and their tenuous link splintered. If that splintered it, the Astros move to the AL almost fractured it.
Still, there were some links through the years. Mike Hampton was the 2000 NLCS MVP. There was falling short of the pennant due to Albert Pujols led Cardinals teams ripping your heart out. There was also Carlos Beltran.
Beltran was a future Hall of Famer who played for both franchises. Initially, he fell short of going to the World Series with both teams losing in seven games to the Cardinals. Jeff Suppan was the Game 7 starter in both series.
Finally, Beltran broke through and won the World Series with the 2017 Astros. With that, his return proved fortuitous. The Mets were hoping they’d have a similar experience when they hired him to succeed Mickey Callaway as their manager. That isn’t going to happen.
With the release of MLB’s findings on the Astros sign stealing scandal, the Mets fired Beltran, and the Astros are dealing with the knowledge their World Series title is now tainted.
For Mets fans, we have to accept the role Beltran played. More than that, we know the ties between the Mets and Beltran are probably forever severed, and his Hall of Fame inevitability is now in question. To put it succinctly, we have to deal with the fall of an all-time Mets great.
It’s worse for Astros fans. MUCH worse.
Those fans had to wait 55 years for a World Series. They finally got one, and it was all the sweeter because of home-grown and back-then very well regarded players like Jose Altuve and George Springer.
This is a complete and utter nightmare for any fanbase, and the Astros fans are left to somehow process something which brought them so much joy. This is a sport and team they love, and this was a championship they waited a lifetime to see.
This is likely why we’ll see lashing out and rationalizing of what their team did. That doesn’t make them remotely unique.
Look at Yankees fans glossing over Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte, and other players. The Red Sox do the same with David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez. There are others, but this also shows whether you’ve won 27 times or had to wait 86 years, your fans are going to be protective of those titles and players.
The same is going to be the case with the Astros. Don’t blame them. This is the circumstance they were put in by their favorite team.
They’re left rationalizing and trying to hold onto their only title. That’s the absolute worst position to be in as a fan. As a fanbase, they deserve our sympathy. Of course, it’s difficult to give them that if they choose to be obnoxious about it.
Still, no one wants to be in their shoes, and the fans of the other 29 teams should be happy they’re not them. They should also hope to the extent the Astros weren’t the only ones doing it, their team isn’t found out thereby leaving them to have to do the same rationalizing.
In Mickey Callaway fashion, Rob Manfred had to go back out and speak again about Major League Baseball’s handling of the Astros sign stealing scandal. That was necessary because of how poorly the first interview went. To highlight just how bad it went, he referred to the Commissioner’s Trophy awarded to the team who wins the World Series as just a piece of metal.
While that was a big misstep, the biggest complaint remains the Astros players themselves, aside from Carlos Beltran, have faced no repercussions for their actions. On that point, Manfred reiterated the need for immunity saying, “We would not have gotten where we got, in terms of understanding the facts, learning the facts, disclosing the facts if we hadn’t reached that agreement.”
That agreement was between MLB and the MLBPA wherein it was promised if players were upfront about the scandal they would not face fines or suspensions.
When you actually look at it, Manfred did not need to give the players immunity at all. In fact, it was completely unnecessary to conduct the investigation, and by granting the immunity, he really just created a whole host of other problems.
Starting at the beginning, Manfred acknowledged there were complaints from other organizations. While he knew there were other teams, the one which came to mind was the Oakland Athletics. So there were allegations present which could have led to his office conducting an investigation of the Astros front office.
Keep in mind, MLB did not need to offer the Red Sox players immunity to determine the team was illegally using an Apple watch, and they did not need to grant Yankees players immunity to determine they were improperly using the dugout phone.
In order to prepare the report, MLB interviewed 45 individuals who were not Astros players, and they “reviewed tens of thousands of emails, Slack communications, text messages, video clips, and photographs.”
Within that information, MLB would have been able to ascertain information like the setting up of the center field camera, the texting of the sign data to Alex Cora in the dugout, and all the ways the front office used to steal the signs electronically and relay those signs in some way to the dugout.
While not included in the report, the Wall Street Journal noted MLB found evidence of the front office’s full extent of the involvement in the scandal. That included PowerPoint presentations and other data. While this gives what the Astros front office knew and did, including but not limited to the emails identifying players like Beltran, you could still argue there was further cooperation needed to find out what the players did.
Again, that did not require immunity of the entire Astros roster.
Remember, this began when Mike Fiers went public with the allegations. In the article from The Athletic, Fiers came forward with how the Astros players were banging trash cans to relay the signals. Right there, MLB had the information they needed, and they had a key witness who wanted to share the information.
MLB also had the opportunity to speak with AJ Hinch as well as other members of that coaching staff. There were players from 29 other teams they could have asked to come forward to share information they knew. Certainly, seeing comments from players like Cody Bellinger, Justin Turner, Aaron Judge, Seth Lugo, Michael Conforto, and Mike Trout, it seems players were chomping at the bit to get back at the Astros for cheating.
Overall, MLB could have discovered all they did without giving one Astros player immunity. The main reason is Fiers already came forward, and MLB had the ability to put the squeeze on the Astros coaching staff, which they did with Hinch.
In fact, given the implication that this was a player driven system, it would have been more effective to give Hinch and others immunity to divulge everything they knew. You could say the same for Cora, who was implicated in two scandals.
When you break it down, MLB did not need to give the Astros players immunity to undertake this investigation. Not in the least. It’s a red herring.
As an aside, unlike the Mitchell Report, it created more problems. In fact, with Beltran being the only one named, it created more drama and speculation. Right now, instead of feeling like the matter is completely handled there is rampant speculation about buzzers, Jose Altuve‘s tattoos, and other nonsense.
The real reason Manfred gave the players immunity is he didn’t have the stomach for a fight. Certainly, there was going to be one as the MLBPA said in a published statement, “the applicable rules did not allow for player discipline, because even if they did players were never notified of the rules to begin with, and because cases involving electronic sign stealing MLB had stated that Club personnel were responsible for ensuring compliance with the rules.”
In the end, the players weren’t granted immunity for investigative purposes. Instead, it was to avoid a fight. There are good reasons for that. By not having the drag out fight over the suspensions, you are shortening the cycle of the story. Additionally, with the CBA expiring next year, Manfred is effectively keeping some peace with the MLBPA while also fracturing the union a bit.
Of course, there are other unknown reasons to grant the players immunity. No matter what those reasons, MLB didn’t need to grant the immunity to players to conduct an investigation. Not in the least. Knowing that, there needs to be a further inquiry into what the real reason was as to why the players were granted immunity.
The following people were mentioned: Curtis Granderson, J.D. Davis, Seth Lugo, Jake Marisnick, Marcus Stroman, Noah Syndergaard, Jeremy Hefner, Luis Rojas, Carlos Beltran, Mickey Callaway, Phil Regan, Jeremy Accardo, Steven Matz, Dellin Betances, Edwin Diaz, Justin Wilson, Jeurys Familia, Mo Vaughn, Jared Kelenic, Justin Dunn, Andres Gimenez, Mark Vientos, Rick Porcello, Jason Vargas, Bartolo Colon, R.A. Dickey, Asdrubal Cabrera, Devin Mesoraco, and others.
While Major League Baseball underwent an investigation, it was a Houston Astros fan who really did the research into the extent of the Astros sign stealing.
Tony Adams set up a website named Sign Stealing Scandal. On his website and on Twitter, he released the results of his investigation into the extent of the Astros sign stealing. It also detailed how often there was the now infamous banging sound during an Astros’ batter’s plate appearance:
Astros players trashcan bangs.
— Tony Adams (@adams_at) January 29, 2020
However, in 2017, they were Houston Astros, and they squared off against pitchers who are currently on the Mets pitching staff.
On September 2, 2017, Davis played in both ends of a doubleheader going 2-for-8 with a double, homer, and two RBI. Both of those hits came against Tommy Milone and Jamie Callahan, neither of whom are with the Mets.
On that day, the only pitcher he faced who is still with the Mets is Seth Lugo. While he went 0-for-2, he was in a lineup which handed Lugo the loss.
Lugo, who wants to be a starter, has only started five games after that losing effort.
Marisnick was not in the lineup for either game. It should also be noted Sign Stealing Scandal denotes there was no video from those games. As such, we are not 100% sure the Astros used the banging those days, but it’s reasonable to assume it happened.
It should be noted this wasn’t the only time Davis and Marisnick squared off against current Mets pitchers.
On June 3, 2018, Davis was 0-for-3 against Rick Porcello in a game Porcello picked up the win.
Essentially, Davis’ full extent of facing current Mets pitchers as a member of the Astros was those five at-bats against Lugo and Porcello.
Given his going hitless in those at-bats and how popular he appears among those players from last year’s Mets roster, it appears he may not have to do much, if anything, to smooth things over with his teammates.
Marisnick might be a different story.
If we expand the time period to include 2018 and 2019, Marisnick has faced six of the pitchers currently on the Mets pitching staff. In addition to doubling off Stroman, he has also doubled against Porcello and Brad Brach. He didn’t record a hit against Diaz, Wilson, or Dellin Betances.
With respect to Stroman, he’s been very outspoken about what the Astros did, and like many, he isn’t happy about it.
Shit makes sense now. I remember wondering how these guys were laying off some of my nasty pitches. Relaying all my signs in live speed to the batter. Ruining the integrity of the game. These dudes were all about the camera and social media. Now, they’re all quiet! Lol 😂 https://t.co/DuknUCQaRb
— Marcus Stroman (@STR0) January 20, 2020
In that tweet, he specifically addresses the game Marisnick doubled off of him. Clearly, Stroman was baffled by this game, and he’s justifiably upset about the whole sign stealing scandal.
The Mets were actually one of the more vocal teams about this last year. Kevin Kernan of the New York Post wrote about how much the Dodgers were on top of Diaz’s pitches. While cautioning they didn’t believe it to be illegal, Mickey Callaway and the Mets spoke about how they believed the Dodgers were stealing signs.
Right now, we know Davis and Marisnick cheated, and we’re starting to learn the extent to which they cheated. We also know their cheating has affected Mets new and old. Finally, we know at least some of the Mets pitchers are upset about the Astros sign stealing.
What we don’t know is what, if any, impact Davis’ and Marisnick’s part in the sign stealing will have on the 2020 Mets.
One of the reasons Carlos Beltran was fired was the difficulty in carrying on his managerial duties after discovering his involvement in the scandal. That may or may not have included his ability to handle pitchers like Stroman who he cheated against.
Now, the conversation shifts to those same pitchers reactions to their teammates, how Davis and Marisnick respond, and ultimately how Luis Rojas can manage the situation.
Of course, that presupposes there is going to be an issue. Maybe there won’t be one at all.
In the end, all we know is Davis and Marisnick cheated against former and current Mets pitchers, and at least some of the Mets pitchers are upset about what happened in Houston. Where the Mets go from here could very well be a factor in how the Mets clubhouse holds together and the team performs in 2020.
Rojas has been a minor league manager in the Mets system for seven years, and he was the quality control manager this past season. He has the respect of everyone in the organization, the deepest of roots in the game, and he has had a hand in the success of the core of this Mets roster.
He’s also managed prospects like Andres Gimenez who could debut this upcoming season. Overall, this speaks not just to Rojas’ knowledge of the personnel, but also his ability to get the most out of these players.
This is why it’s being widely reported this is a very popular hire in the Mets clubhouse. It should be a popular hire with everyone.
This is a manager from the Alou family tree. That’s important with his father Felipe Alou being a longtime manager, and his brother, Moises Alou, having played for the Mets. With them, he not only had someone to lean on in terms of managing a team, but also, on the unique challenges of New York. Of course, Rojas can lean on his own experiences for that as well.
As the Quality Control Coach, he’s well versed in analytics, and he’s had communication with the front office about using them, and also, what the front office expectations are. He’s also spent the past year further developing and strengthening relations with everyone in the clubhouse, and really, the entire organization.
Lost in the shuffle last year was Rojas working with McNeil to become an everyday outfielder. In 2019, McNeil was an All-Star, and he had a 2 DRS in the outfield.
When you break it down, this is a hard working individual who is able to get the most out of the players on this team. With his being bilingual, he can talk baseball in any language. No matter what angle you look at this from, Rojas was the perfect hire for this team. That goes double when you consider he’s one of the few holdovers from Callaway’s staff at a time the Mets desperately need some continuity.
Overall, the Mets took a terrible situation, and they made the most of it hiring the person who very likely should have been hired in November. Rojas is the best man for this job, and the 2020 Mets will be better for having him at the helm.
How can it be the New York Mets still have not named a replacement for Carlos Beltran?
Keep in mind, the Mets are in a completely different situation here than than the Houston Astros and the Boston Red Sox.
The Astros knew the hammer was going to come down from Major League Baseball, but they presumably did not know or could be quite sure they’d lose AJ Hinch for the year.
Seeing the rulings, the Astros moved quickly, and they fired Hinch to not just attempt to turn the page on the scandal, but to also figure out who was going to be their manager in 2020 and beyond.
The Red Sox seeing Alex Cora‘s level of involvement and knowing he was likely going to face harsher penalties than Hinch fired Cora the day after the report, and they immediately began their search for a new manager.
The Mets waited a few days, and they yielded to what was really a vocal demand from a minority to fire Beltran. Keep in mind, the Mets fired Beltran despite his not being suspended for the 2020 season.
The Astros and Red Sox knew they were going to be without their managers, and they acted accordingly. The Mets did something they did not have to do, and worse yet, they didn’t have a replacement immediately in mind.
Consider, unlike the Astros and Red Sox, the Mets had undertaken a search this offseason to hire a new manager to replace Mickey Callaway.
The Mets know or should know who can be a manager of the Mets. They also know or should know who could handle this situation. And yes, with this being New York and the Mets, this is something which should have been contemplated.
Herein lies the problem.
They’re also not going back into their candidate pool. Eduardo Perez was one of the finalists, and he has not been contacted again. The Milwaukee Brewers see their bench coach Pat Murphy as an ideal fit, but the Mets aren’t repursuing him.
After reading Mike Puma’s report in the New York Post, the Mets are essentially paralyzed “as team executives try to deduce the best way to please the prospective new boss.”
While the Mets are scared about what Cohen will think about a new hire, they’ve failed to realize he’s watching them fumbling through this process.
Like all of us, Cohen sees the Mets being completely reactionary and not remotely proactive in their handling of Beltran. We all see the Mets fire Beltran without a plan in place.
The Mets could’ve fired Beltran, and they could’ve held up Rojas as their new manager showing us all their complete faith in him. We could’ve heard why DeFrancesco has the skills to lead the Mets starting in 2020. We could’ve heard about Meulen’s championship pedigree, and why they knew in the short time he’s been with the organization why he was the man for the job.
Of course, that’s not happening because the Mets fired Beltran without a plan. In fact, they fired him without having a clue what direction they’d like to go. The only thing they knew was Cohen was lurking on the horizon, and he was judging them.
When you break it all down, Brodie Van Wagenen’s and Jeff Wilpon’s entire handling of this situation has been inept, and with each passing day, they’re showing Cohen and the whole baseball world, they should not be entrusted with running a baseball organization.
On Thursday, the New York Mets took the nearly unprecedented decision of firing Carlos Beltran before he met with his roster let alone managed one game. It was not only an embarrassing day for the organization, but It also overshadowed Mike Piazza being honored with 31 Piazza Drive in St. Lucie.
Somehow, Mets General Manager Brodie Van Wagenen would make things worse, much worse.
During the ensuing conference call confirming the firing of Beltran, and yes, he clarified it was a firing discrediting the “mutually agreed” press releases, he showed how haphazardly he has handled the entire process of hiring a manager.
First and foremost, Van Wagenen claimed no previous knowledge of widespread information about the allegations about the Houston Astros cheating.
There were reports about the Astros getting caught during the 2018 ALCS. There were rumors throughout the game long before that. However, Van Wagenen who represented players like Nori Aoki, who was on that Astros team says he knew nothing.
Taking him at face value, he eventually knew about it because of Mike Fiers statements confirming the sign stealing. Subsequently, there was a report in The Athletic specifically implicating Beltran. Knowing that, Van Wagenen said he still did not inquire further with Beltran.
More than that, after Fiers public statements, the MLB investigation, and various reports, Van Wagenen traded for Beltran’s former teammate Jake Marisnick.
Van Wagenen said in the conference call he did not speak with Beltran or Marisnick about the investigation, and he did nothing to brace the organization for the potential situation where he may have to fire his manager.
Taking Van Wagenen at face value, he ignored prevalent information, and he purposefully left the organization ill prepared for what they eventually did in firing Beltran.
Of course, much of this does not pass the smell test. That goes double when you consider he is good friends with former Astros manager AJ Hinch.
As an aside, during the conference call, Van Wagenen admitted to speaking with Hinch, which based on when it happened, may have been in violation of Major League Baseball’s rulings.
Van Wagenen has painted himself as someone who either didn’t know or didn’t want to know. That is something entirely unacceptable from a team’s general manager. That goes double when it happens in the course of the hiring of your manager who is a team’s most public representative.
Simply put, what happened with the Mets can’t happen.
They can’t have a GM unaware of widely held information. They can’t have a GM who does nothing to be proactive. It’s even worse when he has the means and connections to do it.
Thursday was as bad a day as it got for the Mets. In addition to the embarrassment of firing Beltran and overshadowing the team honoring Piazza, their employee, Jessica Mendoza, attacked Fiers for being a whistleblower. It should be noted Mendoza was hired by Van Wagenen.
Keep in mind, this was the latest embarrassing day under Van Wagenen’s tenure, and it was another day when Van Wagenen seemed incapable of handling bad situations.
When Mickey Callaway screamed at a reporter and Jason Vargas threatened the reporter, no team suspensions were issued. It took multiple times to get Callaway to apologize, and Vargas’ apology was never forthcoming.
While some have tried to paint the picture as it was an isolated incident with Jacob deGrom, it wasn’t. It happened on multiple occasions. When you look at Van Wagenen’s tenure, he’s already broken MLB rules, and he hired a manager who had broken rules.
Even putting aside what suspicion could arise from that, he has shown he’s not up to the job of being the general manager of the Mets.
In his short tenure, he got the Mets wrapped up into a scandal where his team was not being investigated or implicated in any wrongdoing. He has been ill prepared to handle problems which have arisen with his team, has broken MLB rules, and behind closed doors, he is throwing chairs.
Before you even address his poor player decisions, Van Wagenen has shown himself to be unaware of what has been happening in baseball and has made the Mets ill equipped and ill prepared to handle situations which the team should have seen coming.
Remember, Beltran was purportedly Van Wagenen’s hire, and his failure to conduct the NEEDED vetting before, during, and after embarrassed the organization and led to Beltran’s firing. Seeing Van Wagenen’s tenure and conduct, he should have followed Beltran out the door.
For better or worse, the Mets felt compelled to fire Carlos Beltran before he even managed a game. Accepting the Mets at face value, they were blindsided by this, and they believed this was the best thing to do for the organization.
Hanging over the organization right now is who is going to be the next manager? The longer that question lingers, the worse the Mets look, so it would behoove them to act quickly.
On the one hand, the Mets already did their homework. Beltran was one of several candidates they interviewed, and in the case of Eduardo Perez, some of the very good candidates considered are still available.
However, with all due respect to those candidates, including Perez who could be a good manager, the Mets put their vetting of external candidates for the position when they said in their conference call they were unaware of the widely reported sign stealing reports and rumors, and they did not investigate it nor ask candidates like Beltran about it.
Regardless of the quality of their vetting, the Mets went out and built an entire MLB staff under the presumption Beltran was going to be the manager. More than that, this is a group who has already been working together and formulating plans for Spring Training and the regular season.
It would at least seem an external hire would be counter-productive. This late in the game you would not want anyone reinventing the wheel. Furthermore, a new hire would like some say about a staff which has already been completely filled.
To that end, the Mets best course of action is to hire someone already on the staff. Looking at the staff as it is assembled, the best candidate by far is Luis Rojas.
First and foremost, Rojas has already managed the Mets core. In his time in the minors, he served as a minor league manager for Pete Alonso, Michael Conforto, Jeff McNeil, Brandon Nimmo, Amed Rosario, and others.
Rojas has had a hand in their development and success. Moreover, they respect him.
Looking at the complete roster, Rojas was one of the holdovers from Mickey Callaway‘s staff. In his role as quality control coach, he was a liaison between the front office and the clubhouse handling strategy, preparation, and utilization of analytics.
Rojas is already aware of the front office expectations are, has dealt with them on a daily basis, and he’s developed relationships with the Mets players.
On the latter point, Tim Healey of Newsday reports, “The Mets promoting Luis Rojas to manager would go over very well in the clubhouse.”
Overall, when looking at Rojas, it’s the smoothest possible transition. He’s respected by the front office and clubhouse, and he’s seen my many to be someone who could be a very good manager one day. Looking at it from that perspective, he’s the natural choice.
That said we should all be keenly aware the Mets didn’t hire him. In fact, he wasn’t even a finalist for the managerial position.
Presumably, whatever issues led the Mets to believe Rojas was not the best candidate for the job still exist. To that extent, it would not be the best decision to name Rojas the manager when the team had some reservations about his being the manager in 2020.
Taking that and everything into consideration, the Mets should name Rojas as the interim manager.
After all, anyone who is named now should be named as an interim. As noted, the Mets vetting had its issues, and they’re going to hire someone to lead a staff they had no input in its choosing.
Moreover, this is late in the game. In many ways, this is not much different than Beltran having been fired mid-season. In those circumstances, teams routinely name an interim manager so they can conduct a full scale search for a manager in the offseason.
Perhaps, the Mets should be doing that anyway as they will have a new majority owner at some point during the 2020 season.
As it pertains to Rojas, the decision has its benefits. It allows him to prove himself with some of the heat taken off. There will be fewer articles about the Mets rushing the process to hire someone who might not have been ready, and instead, there will be more of a focus on how he improves. Ideally, at some point, there will be articles about how the Mets should remove the interim tag.
Ultimately, the Mets firing Beltran has had them lose who they thought was the best man for the job. Other candidates like Derek Shelton have accepted positions elsewhere. This is a bad situation which can be made worse by rushing the process and hiring the wrong guy.
Accordingly, the best course of action is the smoothest transition possible with Rojas at the helm with an opportunity to prove he’s truly the man for the job.
There has been this prevailing notion the fate of Carlos Beltran should be determined by how honest he was with the Mets during his interviews for the managerial position.
The premise is if he lied they can’t trust him, and he should be fired. If he was honest, they really have no basis to fire him.
For a typical managerial hire, this would be true. After all, many managers are hired from outside the organization. As we saw with Mickey Callaway, you only really speak to a candidate once or twice, and then you vet that candidate.
But that’s not Beltran.
Carlos Beltran spent seven years with the Mets. During that time, Beltran and the team had a tumultuous relationship.
Fred Wilpon based Beltran in an interview with the New Yorker. The Mets fought with Beltran over his opting for knee surgery. Overall, Beltran was there for good times and bad times. In fact, with two collapses, the Madoff scandal, firing Willie Randolph one game into a west coast trip, and Francisco Rodriguez attacking his children’s grandfather in the family room, he was there for some of the worst times in team history.
Beltran is close with Omar Minaya and Allard Baird, both of whom are assistant general managers. He played for Terry Collins, who is a special assistant. He also played for AJ Hinch, who is a close personal friend of Mets General Manager Brodie Van Wagenen.
When you throw in Beltran’s personal relationships with other members of the front office like David Wright, and his playing for the Wilpons in all the seven years he played in Flushing, you realize the Mets know Beltran extremely well.
Based on that relationship, the Mets believed Beltran was the best person to lead the franchise in 2020 and into the future. A report where he was not explicitly found of any wrongdoing should do nothing at all to change that.
What happened with the Astros is a red herring as it pertains to the Mets. They know exactly the person who Beltran is, and they thought so highly of that person, they made him their manager. Right now, Beltran is the same person who interviewed for the job, was hired, and has been preparing for his first Spring Training as manager.
Don’t be fooled by moving narratives. Beltran is exactly the person they know him to be, and he’s not facing any punishment from baseball. As such, short of being instructed to do so by the commissioner, the Mets have zero basis to fire him for a supposed inability to trust a person with whom they have a long standing relationship.