Eno Sarris of Amazin’ Avenue reported last night that the New York Mets have hired a consulting firm called CRG Partners. The significance? That’s the same consulting firm Tom Hicks and the Texas Rangers hired in 2010 (a) to put them into and help them through bankruptcy and; (b) to eventually help sell the team to Chuck Greenberg and Nolan Ryan.
A little after Eno’s report came out the Mets confirmed that they hired CRG. But they disputed any suggestion that this has anything to do with a bankruptcy or a sale. Rather, it was “to provide services in connection with financial reporting and budgeting processes.”
Could be. There are a lot of reasons to hire a turnaround firm and if the Wilpons don’t plan to sell they can’t be forced to unless everything completely crashes. But as Eno points out in his report, such firms make the biggest money when they help orchestrate something big, not when they come in and help a business optimize their TPS reports.
It strikes me that the thing to watch here is when and if the Mets finally manage to sell off those minority interests they’ve been trying to sell in order to raise cash. Sandy Alderson said yesterday that he believes that’s going well and deals could close this month, but it’s been taking a while and nothing has been announced.
Know who else tried to sell minority shares to save themselves and couldn’t? The Texas Rangers. Then they hired CRG. So, you know.
Rob Biertempfel of The Athletic reports that the Pirates have decided to convert outfielder JB Shuck into a two-way player. Recent comments relayed from the club’s director of player development, Larry Broadway, indicated that the outfielder would be coached in developing his pitching skills while working at Triple-A Indianapolis.
Per Broadway, the change would be enacted to help the veteran outfielder develop some much-needed versatility in the majors, where he’s only ever been limited to outfield and DH responsibilities. Well, except for the two games in which he pitched an inning of relief: once, against the Nationals in a blowout 11-4 loss in 2016, then in a similarly painful loss to the Diamondbacks this past April. During the latter outing, he finished the game with a 13-pitch ninth inning after allowing just one hit and one walk.
Add to that one minor-league outing in 2012, and the 31-year-old Shuck has pitched just three times over the course of his 12-season career in pro ball. While he has three years of experience on the mound from his college days, he’ll need quite a bit of preparation to handle the kind of workload expected from a two-way outfielder/reliever: 20+ innings pitched over a season and 20+ games played as a designated hitter or position player.
Still, his lack of experience doesn’t seem to faze Broadway, at least not this early in the process. There’s no word yet on how soon Shuck would be expected to debut his new skillset on a major-league level.