New Mets skipper Carlos Beltran made an appearance at the Winter Meetings in San Diego Tuesday evening, discussing the upcoming season for his new ball club and what he's done in the first month of being named manager.
"It's been a lot of work trying to catch up with all the information, all the details, trying to reach out to all the players," Beltran said in his opening statement. "But it's been fun, it's been a learning experience, there is no doubt that, you know, being in the job a lot of times from the outside you think that being a manager is something that happens from one day to another, but really it takes time to catch up with all the information. The good thing is that I have a good group of guys around me that are being supportive and they've been guiding me through the process."
The Mets made additional changes to their coaching staff aside from Beltran this offseason, adding the likes of Hensley Meulens as their bench coach and Jeremy Hefner as the new pitching coach.
Beltran noted that it was a 'team effort" in picking and finalizing this new coaching staff.
"There's no doubt that Brodie (Van Wagenen) was there. Being the GM there, for sure he's going to be part of those meetings. At the end of the day, we felt that we did a pretty good job picking the guys based on the needs that I have being a first time manager. ... At the end of the day I feel that we hired good people that are going to be a good influence in the clubhouse."
Beltran then turned his focus towards discussing the players on his roster, starting with the bullpen and specifically on who the Mets will turn to as their closer in 2020.
"Right now, the way that our bullpen is setup, the guy that we brought was Edwin Diaz to be the closer," Beltran said. "There's no doubt that last year he had a down year. this year he's been working really hard, he's in great shape, so we expect Edwin to be in that position."
"It's a process," Beltran said on becoming accustomed to a big market team like the Mets. "People a lot of times don't understand, but when you come from a low market team to a team that is in New York and you're going to get all this attention, there's no doubt that you want to prove yourself and a lot of times when things don't go right, you put extra pressure on yourself. ...So I think Diaz went through a process last year that he needed to go through. ...I think he's going to be ready for it this year."
Diaz pitched 58 innings for the Mets last season and went 2-7 with a 5.59 ERA in those outings after coming to New York from Seattle.
Beltran added that he has a good relationship with Diaz--the two were teammates on the Puerto Rican WBC team.
"There were some mechanical issues last year," Beltran said on Diaz. "I do feel very, very confident with Jeremy Hefner on board that we will be able to be on top of those and hopefully limit those bad moments in baseball."
Beltran also discussed the progress Jeurys Familia has made this offseason, after he regressed a bit in 2019.
"Since he's got to the big leagues until now, his velocity is there," Beltran said. "So I had a conversation with him. He's working extremely hard, he has lost almost 20 pounds, so he's lighter. So to me, that shows me that he wants to prove himself this year...He wants to get back to the Familia we all know."
As for third base, Beltran said that he sees Jeff McNeil being the man for the job and is excited for him that he is recovering well from a fractured right wrist and will be ready for spring training.
Beltran also noted that J.D. Davis could see time at third base and left field, similar to the role he had with the team last year.
Beltran said that he had reached out to Yoenis Cespedes and gave an update on the outfielders progress.
"He's hitting, he's making progress. We don't know when he's going to get back, but that's something that when I get back to spring training, we will see where he is," Beltran said.
"I don't know," Beltran said when asked if he expects Cespedes to play next season. "I would hope that he's looking forward to playing. there's no doubt that rehabbing and he's putting all this effort to get back."
Robinson Cano had a rough start to his career with the Mets, as he spent a large chunk of the season dealing with quad and hamstring issues that seemed to hurt his offensive output. He also played his second fewest games in a season since he debuted in 2005.
Beltran knows that his return to form will be key to this team's success.
"We're counting on Cano," Beltran said. "Cano is also another guy that had a bad year last year and knowing him, knowing his preparation, I have no doubt that he will show up to spring training ready to go."