PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Jessica Mendoza, among those whose dual jobs as team employee and member of the media made for an awkward conflict of interest, is no longer a baseball operations adviser for the Mets.
General manager Brodie Van Wagenen announced that Friday as Mendoza’s other employer, ESPN, made official her new role with the network. Instead of serving as an analyst for the high-profile “Sunday Night Baseball” broadcasts, Mendoza will work weekday games and appear on ESPN’s studio shows.
So ends Mendoza’s 11 months with the Mets. In a statement, Van Wagenen said he “appreciated all her contributions and insight over the past year.” He framed it as an issue of time management and having nothing to do with Mendoza’s conflicting roles or her controversial comments about Astros whistleblower Mike Fiers last month.
“We have such respect, and value her baseball insight and know her impact on the game of baseball is just beginning,” said Van Wagenen, a longtime friend of Mendoza, his fellow Stanford graduate.
It’s not clear what Mendoza’s duties as a special operations adviser included. She visited spring training one day last year, and on at least one separate occasion spoke to minor-leaguers. She was also part of the Mets’ front-office contingent at the winter meetings in December. On several occasions last season, she attended Mets games in preparation for ESPN broadcasts.
Last month, Mendoza drew criticism for her criticism of Fiers, the former Astros pitcher whose on-the-record comments to The Athletic about the team’s sign-stealing scheme led to Major League Baseball’s investigation and the fallout since.
“To go public with it and call them out and start all of this, it’s hard to swallow,” Mendoza said Jan. 16 on ESPN.
She was the first Mets employee to comment on the scandal. Later that day, the Mets announced that Carlos Beltran was no longer their manager because of his involvement in the scandal.
Van Wagenen at the time said, “Jessica was speaking as an ESPN analyst, not as a spokesperson for the Mets when she made her comments.”
Among those who still work for a team and a media outlet simultaneously: Al Leiter (Mets, MLB Network) and Pedro Martinez (Red Sox, MLB Network). MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said Thursday that he is “not all that comfortable with” those arrangements.
Schneider promoted already
The Mets promoted Brian Schneider, who had been set to manage Triple-A Syracuse, to quality control coach for the major-league team Friday. He replaces Luis Rojas, who was promoted to manager two weeks ago.
Schneider will be a conduit between the front office and players and coaches on game preparation and analytics. He will also be the catching instructor. In recent years, he worked a similar job for the Marlins.
During a 13-year career in the majors, Schneider played for the Mets in 2008-09. Van Wagenen was his agent.