February 7, 2020 | 12:56pm | Updated February 7, 2020 | 3:14pm
Trailblazing analyst Jessica Mendoza is out of ESPN’s top booth on “Sunday Night Baseball” and has resigned her position as a special adviser to the Mets.
Mendoza had teamed with Alex Rodriguez and play-by-player Matt Vasgersian on what is baseball’s second-most prestigious booth after Fox’s World Series spot.
ESPN has yet to finalize its “Sunday Night” booth. A-Rod is safe, while the network is considering keeping Vasgersian at play-by-play or switching to Jon Sciambi or Karl Ravech. ESPN has spoken with David Cone about replacing Mendoza. It could go with a two-man booth with A-Rod or consider an alternative to Cone as a second analyst.
Mendoza, an Olympic softball gold medalist, will continue as a weekday analyst and on “SportsCenter” and “Baseball Tonight.” She will call the World Series as a radio analyst, though there is no word if she will replace or join the well-respected Chris Singleton on the broadcast with Dan Shulman.
As part of her demotion, Mendoza received a contract extension. ESPN had just signed her to a new deal last year.
Mendoza’s dual role as a TV analyst and a special advisor to Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen raised issues among MLB clubs. The Dodgers, for one, have restricted Mendoza’s clubhouse access because of her team role. MLB commissioner Rob Manfred expressed discomfort with the arrangement. Pedro Martinez, who works for MLB Network and TBS, is also a special advisor for the Red Sox.
Mendoza’s role gained more scrutiny recently when she called out whistleblower Mike Fiers for talking to The Athletic in the story that broke the Astros cheating scandal wide open. ESPN executives have been torn in how to handle the dual roles, but now, though they demoted Mendoza off of SNB, they do not have to worry about it any longer.
Van Wagenen sent out a tweet thanking Mendoza for her service.