Notes: Sandy's '22 role; Nimmo set to return
NEW YORK -- Sandy Alderson will remain the boss in Flushing next season, in the role he thought he was signing up for in the first place.
A source on Wednesday confirmed a Newsday report that Mets owner Steve Cohen expects Alderson to return as team president. That’s the role Cohen originally hired him to fulfill in November 2020, before circumstances forced Alderson to shift more fully to baseball operations. The organization hasn't officially confirmed the report.
Alderson’s move to the baseball side began when he was unable to find a president of baseball operations last offseason, resulting in Jared Porter’s hire to the lesser role of general manager. Alderson retained a hand in baseball ops even before Porter was dismissed over allegations of sexual misconduct, before becoming more heavily involved as a matter of necessity.
Eight months later, acting GM Zack Scott was arrested for DWI, prompting the Mets to place him on administrative leave. As a result, Alderson currently sits alone atop the Mets’ baseball-operations hierarchy.
That should change this offseason, as sources said that Alderson intends once again to hire a president of baseball operations -- ideally one who will operate with full autonomy and make additional hires underneath him. Doing so will allow Alderson to shift back into the role for which Cohen hired him: team president, overseeing all facets of the organization.
Despite the fact that Alderson personally hired both Porter and Scott, as well as ex-Mets manager Mickey Callaway, who became embroiled in sexual-misconduct allegations after leaving the Mets, Cohen has decided to keep the longtime baseball man on his staff. (Alderson has not said whether he intends to retain Scott.)
“It’s incredibly unfortunate and I am personally chagrined by the whole thing,” Alderson told reporters last week, “but to a large extent, [those hires] are unrelated, each one of them, and I am not sure it points to a single flaw in our hiring process. But it’s obviously caused us to take a hard look at it, which we continue to do.”
Alderson originally served as GM from 2010-18 under the Wilpon family, before returning last autumn after Cohen purchased the team.
The Mets intend to activate outfielder Brandon Nimmo from the injured list before Friday’s series opener against the Phillies, less than two weeks after he strained his right hamstring.
The rapid recovery came as a surprise even to Nimmo, whom Mets officials feared potentially lost for the season when he hurt his leg. Instead, Nimmo ramped up quickly enough that he should be back atop the Mets’ lineup on Friday.
“I think this is the fastest that our training staff has experienced,” Nimmo said. “They were always a little cautious along the way of how well I was doing, but then they were like, ‘We’re not going to hold you back. We just want to make sure you get back and stay back.’”
Noah Syndergaard threw live batting practice to Nimmo on Wednesday, marking the first time he’s faced hitters since a COVID-19 diagnosis forced him to shut down his Tommy John rehab in early September. Syndergaard threw around 15-20 pitches during the session, topping out in the low 90s.
The relatively low velocity is not currently a concern for Mets officials.
“He’s a guy that’s thrown hard his whole life,” pitching coach Jeremy Hefner said. “He knows how to throw hard. I think intensity, competition drives some velo. So as the intensity and the competition increases, we’ll start to see it come back.”
The tentative plan is for Syndergaard to throw one more live BP session later this week before advancing to a Minor League rehab assignment and, if all goes well, returning to the Majors for a few outings down the stretch.
Second baseman Javier Báez was coy when asked Wednesday about the possibility of a long-term deal to stay in New York. Báez, who has endeared himself to Mets fans with several significant homers to highlight a .310/.385/.603 slash line over his first 33 games, said that’s a choice he’ll make after the season.
“We’ll see,” Báez said. “I don’t have that decision right now. I’m just trying to put up my numbers. I mean, my numbers are there, but we’ll see what happens in the offseason.”
Báez on Wednesday hosted a group of patients from the Centro Médico hospital in his native Puerto Rico, flying them to New York for a pair of games.
The Mets on Wednesday renamed their Spanish-language radio booth in honor of Juan Alicea, who has spent 53 years in the organization as a scout, executive and broadcaster. In the latter role, Alicea has called more than 4,000 Mets games since 1982.
“I’m incredibly humbled and honored,” said Alicea. “The Mets have been my family for over 50 years. It’s very special to be remembered forever.”