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ESPN considering removing Jessica Mendoza from Sunday Night Baseball

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Andrew Marchand of the New York Post reports that ESPN is strongly considering removing analyst Jessica Mendoza from her role on Sunday Night Baseball. Mendoza signed a multi-year contract with ESPN last year and the company still intends to utilize her elsewhere.

Mendoza recently made headlines for criticizing pitcher Mike Fiers, a former Astro who provided details to The Athletic about the Astros’ sign-stealing scheme. It was an especially bad look because Mendoza also serves as an advisor for the Mets, who were tangentially caught up in the sign-stealing scandal until firing new manager Carlos Beltrán. Marchand stresses, though, that ESPN had been considering removing Mendoza from her role long before that and that her recent controversy had little impact on ESPN’s thought process.

Mendoza drew criticism this past season due to a potential conflict of interest given her new role with the Mets and as a national baseball analyst. The Dodgers, for example, limited Mendoza’s access last year. ESPN, however, didn’t seem to mind.

ESPN plans to keep Álex Rodríguez, entering the final year of his ESPN contract, in his current role on Sunday Night Baseball. Rodríguez had been an advisor for the Yankees until last season as well, though he managed not to provide reason to doubt his impartiality.

Play-by-play man Matt Vasgersian could be replaced by Jon Sciambi or Karl Ravech, per Marchand. Vasgersian, like Rodríguez, is entering the final year of his contract with ESPN.

ESPN has been considering David Cone, currently of the YES Network, and Chipper Jones for potential analyst roles on Sunday Night Baseball, Marchand notes. It sounds like big changes could be coming for the most prestigious regular season baseball broadcast.

Michael Kopech has opted out of the 2020 season

Kopech has opted out
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Michael Kopech has opted out of the 2020 season. The White Sox starter informed the team of his decision today, and the team issued a press release to that affect a few minutes ago.

The statement from general manager Rick Hahn. said “we recognize that reaching this decision is incredibly difficult for any competitive athlete, and our organization is understanding and supportive. We will work with Michael to assure his development continues throughout 2020, and we look forward to welcoming him back into our clubhouse for the 2021 season.”

Kopech, 24, has only four big league starts under his belt, all coming in late August and early September of 2018, but after a strong spring training he was likely to make Chicago’s rotation at some point in the 2020 season after sitting out all of 2019 following Tommy John surgery. Kopech was among the players sent to Chicago from the Red Sox in the Chris Sale trade back in December 2016. Others involved in the deal included Yoán Moncada, Victor Diaz, and Luis Alexander Basabe.

Now, however, Kopech has opted out.