Edgardo Alfonzo, no longer wanted by the Mets in an on-field role, would rather work in uniform for another organization than stay with the Mets as a team ambassador, he said Thursday.
He made that preference clear in an Instagram post in which he also defended himself against criticism from general manager Brodie Van Wagenen. This week, Van Wagenen said the Mets not retaining Alfonzo as the manager for short-season Class A Brooklyn was “a player development decision.”
The Mets opted not to renew Alfonzo’s contract when it expired this fall. He had managed Brooklyn, which won the New York-Penn League title this past season, for three years.
“I did my best to teach the youngsters how to be a professional and to develop their physical and mental skills and how to play together as a TEAM,” Alfonzo wrote. “My coaches & I are very proud of the championship we won and I think that says a lot about my leadership as manager.
“The many changes in (managers and coaches) in the Mets system reflect that the new regime simply wants their own people in the system so I am not taking this personally.”
Alfonzo added that he met with Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon, and the team wants to keep him as a team ambassador who makes community appearances and such.
“But my preference is to remain in uniform on the field,” Alfonzo said.
View this post on Instagram
I had a great career as a player for the NY Mets and I enjoyed my 7 years in player development with the Mets as an instructor, coach and for the past 3 years as Mgr. of the Brooklyn Cyclones -- culminating in a Championship this year. I did my best to teach the youngsters how to be a professional and to develop their physical & mental skills and how to play together as a TEAM. My coaches & I are very proud of the championship we won and I think that says a lot about my leadership as manager. The many changes in mgrs./coaches in the Mets system reflect that the new regime simply wants their own people in the system so I am not taking this personally. I met with Jeff Wilpon, and they would like to retain me as an Ambassador, which I may do, but my preference is to remain in uniform on the field. Edgardo Alfonzo.Tuve una gran carrera como jugador para los Mets de Nueva York y disfruté de mis 7 años en la parte de desarrollo de jugadores con los Mets como instructor, coach y durante los últimos 3 años como mánager de los Ciclones de Brooklyn, que culminó con un campeonato este año. Hice mi mejor esfuerzo para enseñar a los jóvenes a cómo ser profesionales, a desarrollar sus habilidades físicas y mentales y cómo jugar juntos como un EQUIPO. Mis coaches y yo estamos muy orgullosos del campeonato que ganamos y creo que eso dice mucho sobre mi liderazgo como mánager. Los muchos cambios de mgrs./coaches en el sistema de los Mets reflejan que la nuevo gerencia simplemente quiere a su propia gente en el sistema, por lo que no lo estoy tomando como algo personal. Me reuní con Jeff Wilpon, y al club le gustaría retenerme como Embajador de los Mets, lo que puedo hacer, pero mi preferencia es permanecer en uniforme en el terreno de juego. Edgardo Alfonzo
Alfonzo’s social media statement Thursday was his first public comment on the Mets’ decision. He chose to say nothing when the news came out last month, but spoke up this week after Van Wagenen’s comments.
Van Wagenen, speaking at Citi Field on Monday after the team introduced Carlos Beltran as manager, indicated that Alfonzo’s ambassador role was set in stone.
“Edgardo is going to remain with the organization as an ambassador and continue to do his community work and actually will increase that,” Van Wagenen said. “We felt like there was an opportunity for him to do more of it. Our decision not to bring him back to Brooklyn was a player development decision. We want to keep ourselves on a path of putting our players in the best situation.”
A fan favorite from a generation ago, Alfonzo played for the Mets from 1995-2002, eight of his 12 major-league seasons. He made the All-Star Game in 2000 and ranks eighth on the Mets’ all-time WAR leaderboard with 29.7 Wins Above Replacement, according to Baseball Reference.
Van Wagenen refused to get into the why of Alfonzo, who still lives in Queens, wouldn’t return as Brooklyn manager.
“It wasn’t a specific thing,” Van Wagenen said. “Edgardo has been a good soldier for the organization and will continue to be going forward.”
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