There are a handful of intriguing names in the mix to become the next Mets GM at the moment. Among them:
- White Sox assistant general manager Rick Hahn, whom ESPN Chicago is reporting will interview with the team in the near future. Hahn was named as the top GM prospect in the game by Baseball America based on, I presume, his ability to work in the same office as Kenny Williams and Ozzie Guillen and not develop a drinking problem or something;
- Former Diamondbacks GM Josh Byrnes. I tend to think he got an unfair shake in Arizona and has some promise. Plus, Byrnes is actually still on the Dbacks’ payroll, so it would be a nice costs savings move!
- Former Indians and Rangers GM John Hart said that he’d be interested, but he’s been out of the GMs chair for a long time in a vague advisor’s position, and it’s not clear that they’d be interested in him; and
- Former A’s GM and current MLB executive Sandy Alderson who, many believe anyway, was the real brains behind the Athletics’ rise to respectability in the late 90s and early 2000s, not Billy Beane.
So, three guys — Hahn, Byrnes and Alderson — who would be nice pickups are on the Mets’ radar. One guy — Hart — who probably isn’t a smart choice is showing more interest in them than they are in him. That’s not a bad setup to have as you go into the interviewing process.
Why then do I have this feeling that the Mets will still screw it up?
The Mets have begun working outfielder Jay Bruce and second baseman Neil Walker at first base as potential insurance in the event Lucas Duda continues to experience back discomfort, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. Duda has been sidelined recently due to back spasms and missed all but 47 games last season as a result of a stress fracture in his lower back.
Manager Terry Collins spoke about Bruce’s work at first base on Sunday, saying, “I liked everything I saw today. “It looks like he’s got the athleticism, he’s got the hands, he’s got the arm angle. He made some throws in our drills that you wouldn’t expect an outfielder to be able to make, but yet he does. If that’s where we have to go, I think we’ll be fine.”
Bruce has only three games’ worth of experience at first base at the major league level, but still has high expectations for himself. He said, “I am going to work at it. I want to give myself a chance and the team a chance. I am not going to go over there and be a butcher. It’s just not the way I go about my business on the baseball field and it wouldn’t be fair to the team if I wasn’t capable to do it, so I am going to work at it and we’ll see what happens.”
The Mets made Bruce available via trade over the offseason but didn’t get an offer that whet their appetite. As a result, Michael Conforto appears to be the odd man out in the Mets’ crowded outfield.
Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.
There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.
Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.