ESPN / Mets advisor Jessica Mendoza didn't help blame the main whistle for the Astros fraud scandal on Thursday, but it won't be the reason why they are losing their place in Sunday Night Baseball game shows could.
Out of season, ESPN has considered how to build up its Sunday evening stand with a consistent thought – it will be centered around Alex Rodriguez.
They have discussed different combinations and there is still a possibility that they will stay with A-Rod, Mendoza and the player Matt Vasgersian this season.
However, the Post has learned that an interesting option has emerged: David Cone from YES Network. Cone and ESPN discussed possible roles, including the SNB, sources said.
ESPN managers and A-Rod liked how Rodriguez worked with Cone and Michael Kay last year during a five-inning stint at YES.
There is also a feeling that the stand would be better served if it had a former pitcher and batsman. Mendoza was an Olympic gold medalist in softball.
In addition to the SNB, ESPN still has some gaps to fill as David Ross was left behind as Cubs manager and Ryan Howard decided not to return in his small role. Eduardo Perez is now a Mets Manager candidate again.
The Post has previously reported that Curtis Granderson is on ESPN's radar. CC Sabathia is someone else that ESPN is interested in. However, The Post reported that he will be a special advisor to Yankees GM Brian Cashman and may be working on some YES games.
When Mendoza is replaced, ESPN managers stressed that this will not be due to her comments on Thursday television, saying, among other things, that it was "hard to swallow" that former Astros launcher Mike Fiers with The Athletic its original story spoke triggered the MLB investigation.
On Thursday, Mendoza sent a Twitter message after Thursday's riot to clarify her comments on "Golic & Wingo" and "First Take".
ESPN declined to comment officially on this story.
While Mendoza's status will be decided shortly on Sunday evening, ESPN is still very high with her. For this reason, it is expected that if removed from the SNB, it will continue to occupy a very high position in the air from ESPN.
She could be part of a game broadcast crew or expand her presence in the studio.
Earlier in the off-season, Swiss Post sources said that 70 to 30 ESPNs would keep their SNB status intact.
As spring training approached, it felt like the status quo had skyrocketed, but it hasn't continuously reached 100 percent, leaving the door open for Cone or another analyst.
ESPN is still trying to manage Mendoza's dual role in the air and as a special advisor to Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen. In many cases, the special advisory roles are rather an extension of the longstanding position of a former player in a franchise company.
At Mendoza she had no previous history with the Mets, which is why her job was more real than others from the outside. It caused some uncomfortable moments. The Post first reported in October that the Dodgers would not give her full access to the clubhouse because of her work with the Mets. Sometimes she hesitated to talk about the Mets on air.
Cone is one of the best analysts in baseball. If ESPN offered him Sunday nights, sources said YES would still want to keep him. Cone still has one year left for his YES deal.
What 57-year-old Cone could bring to the SNB's booth is a deep knowledge of the game, the use of Sabermetric, and a looseness in the air that could challenge A-Rod and possibly minimize the over-production of the television station.
Rodriguez is a little too scripted in the programs because he doesn't trust his instincts enough. A-Rod was better at Fox’s Studio, which is an excellent setting for a set plan.
This week, the decision about Mendoza has come to the fore. It's a very good story that managed to become the first major TV baseball analyst. ESPN thinks the world of her, but it could still change.
She is in the middle of a multi-year contract as A-Rod and Vasgersian begin their wandering years. Cone is a fascinating option. There could be others. ESPN is faced with a decision.