Sources told the New York Daily News that former Red Sox catcher Kelly Shoppach, who has since been traded to the Mets, used Adrian Gonzalez’s phone to express the team’s displeasure with Bobby Valentine last month, leading to the meeting that has caused such a stir this week.
Three sources suggested to the paper that Shoppach sent the message, a charge that Shoppach denied when asked. Gonzalez refused to answer questions on the subject Saturday.
The Daily News suggests that Shoppach’s message came with Gonzalez’s consent:
A small group of players that has been unhappy with Valentine this season — a group that included Shoppach, according to a source familiar with the circumstances — was complaining about the manager in late July and engaged Gonzalez in the conversation. A member of the group suggested that the only way to bring about action would be to voice their problems to ownership. Gonzalez was tired of hearing the constant grumbling and agreed with them that a message from him — the team’s highest-paid player — would get management’s attention.
If that’s the truth, Gonzalez comes off worse than had he sent the message himself. For a nine-year veteran and one of the game’s highest-paid players to let a journeyman backup catcher speak for him reflects terribly on him.
Then again, we’ll probably never know the truth about how exactly the sequence of events went down.
Mike Puma of the New York Post reports that Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen has been issuing managerial orders from home. Citing an anonymous industry source, Van Wagenen made the call to remove Jacob deGrom from his June 1 start against the Diamondbacks in the seventh inning due to a hip cramp. deGrom was visibly frustrated with his removal.
According to Puma’s source, Van Wagenen was watching the game on TV at home. He communicated with a member of the team support staff that deGrom should be removed from the game. Word got to Callaway, who went to the mound and took out his starter. Furthermore, some in the Mets’ clubhouse were miffed that Van Wagenen didn’t take credit for the decision because it looked like deGrom and Callaway were at odds with each other.
Puma also notes that the decision to limit closer Edwin Díaz’s innings is also Van Wagenen’s. Díaz was not used in Sunday’s loss against the Cubs. Javier Báez ended up hitting a go-ahead three-run home run off of Seth Lugo. Callaway was questioned for choice not to use Díaz after the game, which resulted in a brouhaha in the clubhouse.
A veteran executive of another team said that a GM issuing managerial directives would be “unusual” and “crossing the line.” He added, “I have never seen that done, personally.”
Van Wagenen insisted, “Mickey has control of baseball decisions.”
In a season marked by dysfunction, things may be even more dysfunctional within the Mets organization than we knew.