Giants

Hensley Meulens could be in line to manage Mets with Carlos Beltran out

Hensley Meulens could be in line to manage Mets with Carlos Beltran out

Hensley Meulens has spent nearly a decade waiting for his opportunity to run a team. He might finally get that chance thanks to a cheating scandal that has rocked the sport. 

Carlos Beltran stepped down as Mets manager Thursday morning before ever managing a game for the team, and Meulens, Beltran's bench coach, should be in consideration for the job after 10 years with the Giants. 

Meulens, 52, all of a sudden finds himself in an odd spot. He has interviewed for a half-dozen managerial jobs over the years and was among the first to speak to Farhan Zaidi and Giants management about the job that eventually went to Gabe Kapler. Meulens didn't gain much traction outside of that interview with the Giants and seemed headed for a job on Miami's staff, but the Mets called after hiring Beltran and he ended up with the No. 2 job in the country's biggest market.

That has thrown Meulens back into the spotlight, and he could find himself as a candidate in New York and Boston, where the Red Sox parted ways with Alex Cora. 

Meulens has been ready for this opportunity for years. He was Bochy's bench coach for two seasons after spending the previous eight as hitting coach, winning three titles. Meulens is fluent in five languages, is popular with players, and possesses an easy-going attitude that could help ease the transition for the Mets, who all of a sudden find themselves in the middle of the biggest scandal the sport has seen in years. 

Beltran, hired the first week of November, was named repeatedly in MLB's press release earlier this week that hammered the Astros for using electronics to steal signs. He was not punished by MLB because commissioner Rob Manfred decided not to impose penalties on players, but it still left the Mets in an awkward spot, particularly after the Astros fired manager A.J. Hinch and the Red Sox opted for a new direction with Cora facing his own suspension. 

In a statement, the Mets claimed they mutually parted ways with Beltran, a former big league star who was traded to the Giants in 2011. 

"We met with Carlos last night and again this morning and agreed to mutually part ways. This was not an easy decision," the Mets said. "Considering the circumstances, it became clear to all parties that it was not in anyone's best interest for Carlos to move forward as Manager of the New York Mets. We believe that Carlos was honest and forthcoming with us. We are confident that this will not be the final chapter in his baseball career.

"We remain excited about the talent on this team and we are committed to reaching our goals of winning now and in the future."

[RELATED: Mendoza cowardly blames A's Fiers for the Astros scandal]

Meulens was one of two former Bochy coaches to interview with the Mets this offseason. Ron Wotus also was in consideration for bench coach before joining Kapler's staff as third base coach. The bench coach traditionally is the next man up when a manager is fired, although this is certainly a different circumstance for the sport. It's extremely unusual for any team to hold a manager search a month before spring training.

Right now, the Mets, Red Sox and Astros are all scrambling.

Giants' Joey Bart named second-best catching prospect in baseball

Giants' Joey Bart named second-best catching prospect in baseball

When the Giants drafted Joey Bart second overall in 2018, they envisioned him taking the reins from Buster Posey one day and giving the organization another run with a franchise catcher. That plan still is right on track.

Bart, who is preparing for his second full professional season, was named the No. 2 catching prospect in baseball by MLB Pipeline. He is listed behind only Adley Rutschman, who was taken with the top pick in last year's draft by the Baltimore Orioles. 

Bart was a top 30 overall prospect on multiple lists last offseason and should be even higher after a strong 2019. He hit 12 homers in 57 games for the San Jose Giants and then posted a .316/.368/.544 slash line in 22 games for Double-A Richmond in the tough Eastern League.

Bart destroyed the Arizona Fall League and for much of his time there was the best prospect in a league full of good ones -- he batted .333 and hit four homers in 10 games before an injury shortened his year. 

"I'm just going in there and being competitive and being ready to hit and just trusting my eyes," Bart said on The Giants Insider Podcast earlier this offseason. "That's kind of what's gotten me to where I am now and that's where I'll move forward. Through the offseason I can make adjustments and do drills and stuff to hopefully make me lay off pitches or be on time for other pitches, but mainly it's just been coming out here, keeping a clear mind, and trying to have fun."

[RELATED: What Baseball America's new Giants top 10 prospects means]

MLB Pipeline listed Bart among three prospects with the "most power" from this group of young catchers, noting he "has huge pull-side power -- the product of bat speed, strength and leverage in his 6-foot-3 frame."

Bart, 23, will be a non-roster invitee in Giants camp and is expected to get plenty of starts behind the plate in the Cactus League. While he's not in the plans for Opening Day, the Giants expect Bart to start the season in Triple-A and make his debut during the summer.

Giants GM says team is looking for starting pitchers, more offense

Giants GM says team is looking for starting pitchers, more offense

The Giants have yet to make a splash this offseason, however, that doesn't mean they have been quiet. General manager Scott Harris is making it clear San Francisco still is looking to upgrade its roster. 

"Farhan [Zaidi] and I are just trying to acquire talent via any acquisition method possible," Harris recently said on MLB Network Radio. "I think so far this winter you've seen us pull off the Will Wilson trade, we've also been very active in minor league free agency and Rule 5 Draft." 

While stars like Gerrit Cole, Stephen Strasburg and Anthony Rendon signed lucrative long-term deals at the Winter Meetings, the Giants were busy adding to their roster in the short term and looking at the future.

San Francisco signed starting pitcher Kevin Gausman to a one-year, $9 million contract on Dec. 10. That same day, the Giants acquired infielder Zack Cozart from the Los Angeles Angels. In reality, the move was a salary dump in order to include Will Wilson, the No. 15 pick in the 2019 MLB Draft. 

Cozart was designated for assignment Monday to make room for pitcher Jake Jewell. Harris did mention that he hopes to still get Cozart in a Giants jersey, though. 

"He was a guy that we've been targeting for a few months now," Harris said regarding Jewell, who had a 6.84 ERA for the Angels in 26 1/3 innings last season. "We think he's an interesting change-of-scenery guy if we can get him out of LA, bring him to San Francisco and put him in our pitching structure." 

Moves like Jewell and Gausman won't wow fans by any means. Perhaps a bigger move is on the way. 

"We're focusing on trying to upgrade our roster in a variety of different ways right now," Harris said. "We're actively trying to add another starter to our rotation, as well as find a way to bolster our offense, both in the infield and in the outfield." 

[RELATED: Giants projected to see win total drop by six games in 2020]

Aside from Gausman, the Giants also have Johnny Cueto, Jeff Samardzija, Logan Webb, Tyler Beede and multiple other options they could use in their rotation. They also signed Drew Smyly on Thursday. Farhan Zaidi always has preferred rotation depth and clearly wants more on the Giants. 

The offense is where it gets interesting. The Giants have been linked to slugger Nicholas Castellanos, but those rumors have gone quiet in recent weeks.

Are there louder talks behind closed doors? We soon might find out.