Meet the Mets
Brodie Van Wagenen addressed the media yesterday, answering a variety of questions about the Mets’ response to the COVID-19 outbreak that is delaying the start of the season. Nobody associated with the Mets, other than Donavan Mitchell Sr. (who tested negative), has been tested for coronavirus.
Right now major league players have three choices: they can stay at the spring training facility, travel to the team’s home city, or go home. The Mets are permitting each player to make their own decision and it is expected that a “high majority” of Mets players will remain in Port St. Lucie while baseball operations are suspended. For the players and personnel that remain, Van Wagenen said he would prepare a schedule for them.
“Are we concerned?” Van Wagenen said. “We’re very thoughtful and concerned right now with the well-being of our players and their families, and will continue to be, and will want to make sure we have the best information as quickly as possible so that players can make the good decisions that are best for their particular situations.” He went on to say, “This is bigger than baseball.”
Things for minor league players, who rely on per diem payments, are even more uncertain. The Mets are continuing to provide per diems for players who remain in Port St. Lucie and a meeting was held with minor leaguers yesterday. The Mets have yet to work out a full plan on how to address minor league play during this interim period. “We have met with the minor league players and we’ll continue to assess that in the coming hours and days,” he said.
Brodie Van Wagenen did not have any information on how and if the Mets will be providing funds to vendors and other Citi Field stadium staff.
Aside from all of that, there is the fact that the Wilpons were in the process of trying to sell the team before this recent public health crisis. “This is a terrible environment to sell any asset in,” said sports business reporter Daniel Kaplan.
Around the National League East
With regard to what the Phillies players have chosen to do, GM Matt Klentak said, “At this stage, it appears quite a few will stay in Clearwater for an undefined period of time. Some may stay a short period of time then leave, while others may stay longer. It’s a fluid situation. We also have quite a few who have opted to return to their families, and the staff is similarly split, some staying and some leaving.”
The Phillies have signed Venezuelan prospect Yhoswar Garcia for a $2.5M bonus.
Around Major League Baseball
Rob Manfred held a meeting with Tony Clark and other top executives to hash out the long list of emerging issues with baseball’s delayed season. A major concern on the part of players and agents had to do with compensation, should a player leave their team’s spring training facility. And with a shortened calendar all but inevitable, service time and contract incentive threshold issues arise as well.
Emily Waldon of The Athletic tweeted out a statement from an anonymous former minor league player that captures the anxiety minor leaguers are dealing with right now surrounding their financial security during this time of uncertainty.
With the possibility for a very condensed schedule with fewer days off once the season does get underway, Joel Sherman points out that a deep roster is more important than ever.
Domingo German’s domestic violence suspension is measured in games and his clock does not start ticking until the season starts, which means his return will be delayed more than the Yankees anticipated.
In an attempt to curb the spread of coronavirus, the Baseball Hall of Fame has also been closed.
This Date in Mets History
Happy birthday to a player who is no longer a Met, but whose name is still cemented in Mets history: Michael Fulmer turns 27 today.