JUPITER, Fla. —Jessica Mendoza, the ESPN baseball analyst and former Olympic softball gold medalist, has been named a baseball operations adviser for the Mets, the team announced Tuesday.
The announcement came one day after the Mets brought on former pitchers Al Leiter and John Franco as advisers to general manager Brodie Van Wagenen. Earlier this offseason, David Wright also was named an adviser as his playing days came to an end.
Mendoza will focus on player evaluation, roster construction, technological advancement and health and performance, the team said. She also will continue in her role as analyst on ESPN's "Sunday Night Baseball."
"I am excited to work with Brodie and his team and am thrilled to be associated with the Mets and their storied history,” Mendoza said in a statement. “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.”
Mendoza’s booth partner Alex Rodriguez is a special adviser to the Yankees, as are Reggie Jackson, Hideki Matsui, Carlos Beltran, Andy Pettitte and Nick Swisher. Pettitte was hired last month to keep him away from the Derek Jeter-owned Marlins, who recently added Jorge Posada as a special adviser.
Mendoza is a two-time Olympian in softball and played on the U.S. national team from 2001-10. She won gold in 2004 and silver in 2008. In 2006, she was named the USA Softball Athlete of the Year.
Mendoza has ties to Van Wagenen as a fellow Stanford alum and client of his former agency, CAA. She also sits on the board of the Women’s Sports Foundation along with Van Wagenen’s wife, Molly, who posted a Tweet in support of Mendoza’s hire.
"Jessica has a very high baseball IQ," Brodie Van Wagenen said Tuesday. "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 played the game at an extremely high level. She was an Olympic champion. She accomplished effectively everything a softball player can do and she clearly elevated herself to prove that she knows baseball inside and out. So from our perspective now, she’s going to help us with player evaluations. She sees baseball all day, every day, so she’ll help us evaluate players, she’ll help make recommendations for roster construction."
She will work directly with Van Wagenen and the entire baseball operations department, the team said.
“Jessica has a tremendous knowledge of the game,” said Wilpon, the Mets' chief operating officer. “She will be able to provide a different perspective to the club and help assist in a variety of roles within the Baseball Operations Department.”
So, what will happen if Mendoza has to cover the Mets for a game on ESPN?
“She has to remain professional in both jobs," Van Wagenen said. "Clearly there’s a confidentiality agreement and understanding that anything she gleans from our operation she’s not going to be sharing on her broadcast. Anything that she gleans through the normal course of her work inside other clubhouses she can’t bring to us. She’s a professional. She knows the lines that she needs to keep, and so do we. But it’s the baseball knowledge and the evaluation and understanding of players that we’re hoping that she can bring to us.”
With David Lennon