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Mets to hire Carlos Beltrán as their new manager

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Anthony DiComo of MLB.com hears from a source that the New York Mets plan to make Carlos Beltrán their new manager.

Earlier today we heard that the job was either going to to him or to Eduardo Pérez, but apparent Fred Wilpon — the final decision maker — gave the nod to the man who played center field for the Mets between 2005 and 2011.

Beltrán has spent the past two seasons since he retired as a special assistant for the Yankees. He has made no secret of his desire to manage, however, and was interviewed by the Yankees before they hired Aaron Boone following the 2017 season. Beltrán had just retired as a player then, however, so it seemed like both he and the Yankees felt like he needed a little time first. Now he’s had that time and now, it seems, he’s going to lead the Mets into the 2020 season.

The Mets fired Mickey Callaway following a strange but, ultimately, promising 2019 season. The club struggled mightily in the first half but then caught fire in July and August, thrusting themselves into the playoff picture. Though they fell short, the emergence of young talents like sure-thing Rookie of the Year Pete Alonso, Jeff McNeil and Michael Conforto and the continued excellent pitching of Jacob deGrom pushed the Mets to 86 wins on the season. The team would appear to be but a few moves away from true contention with this current core. And, given that Callaway often seemed more than a bit befuddled at the helm in his first big league manager job, a new skipper will obviously help.

Beltrán obviously has no managerial experience, but he has long been spoken of by those inside the game as future managerial material. The future, it seems, is now.

Japanese Baseball to begin June 19

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Japanese League commissioner Atsushi Saito announced that Japan’s professional baseball season will open on June 19. Teams can being practice games on June 2. There will be no fans. Indeed, the league has not yet even begun to seriously discuss a plan for fans to begin attending games, though that may happen eventually.

The season will begin three months after its originally scheduled opening day of March 20. It will be 120 games long. Teams in each six-team league — the Central League and Pacific League — will play 24 games against each league opponent. There will be no interleague play and no all-star game.

The announcement came in the wake of a national state of emergency being lifted for both Tokyo and the island of Hokkaido. The rest of the country emerged from the state of emergency earlier this month. This will allow the Japanese leagues to follow leagues in South Korea and Taiwan which have been playing for several weeks.

In the United States, Major League Baseball is hoping to resume spring training in mid June before launching a shortened regular season in early July. That plan is contingent on the league and the players’ union coming to an agreement on both financial arrangements and safety protocols for a 2020 season. Negotiations on both are ongoing. Major League Baseball will, reportedly, make a formal proposal about player compensation tomorrow.