The Mets announced on Monday morning that they are bringing in two of the best pitchers in their history to work in the baseball operations department.
Al Leiter has been named a baseball operations advisor for the club and that John Franco will expand his role as club ambassador and serve as a baseball operations advisor.
“Al is one of the most memorable pitchers in club history and we are thrilled to welcome him back into the organization,” Executive Vice President & General Manager Brodie Van Wagenen said. “Al’s passion for the game is infectious. His unique ability to communicate his knowledge to players, coaches and the front office will immediately make us better.”
In his new role, Leiter will focus on scouting and player development with an emphasis on mental preparation for pitchers. He will work with players at every level of the organization, from newly drafted players to major leaguers.
“We are fortunate to now have two Mets legends, Al and John, in these roles,” said Vice President, Assistant GM, Scouting and Player Development Allard Baird. “We expect them to have a positive impact throughout our entire system. Both pitchers have had terrific major league careers and are invaluable sources of knowledge.”
Leiter spent 19 years in the major leagues with the New York Yankees, Toronto Blue Jays, Florida Marlins and New York Mets. He finished his career going 162-132 with a 3.80 ERA (1010 earned runs/2391.0 innings) with 1163 walks and 1974 strikeouts in 419 appearances. Leiter was a part of two World Series Championship teams, the 1993 Blue Jays and the 1997 Marlins. Additionally, he was twice selected as an All-Star in 1996 with the Marlins and again in 2000 with the Mets. Leiter became the first pitcher in Marlins history to throw a no-hitter when he did so on May 11, 1996 against the Colorado Rockies. He also became the first pitcher in MLB history to earn a victory against all 30 major league teams. Off the field, Leiter received the Roberto Clemente Award in 2000 for his community service and philanthropic efforts.
“I am thrilled to be reunited with the Mets organization, which I hold so near and dear to my heart,” said Leiter. “I grew up a fan of the team and then was fortunate enough to realize my childhood dream of pitching for the Mets. Now, thanks to the Wilpon family and to Brodie, I’m privileged to have the opportunity to make a positive impact on the future of the organization. I couldn’t be more appreciative or more excited.”
After retiring from playing, Leiter has since worked as analyst for ESPN, FOX Sports, MLB Network and YES Network. He has earned several Sports Emmy Award nominations in the Outstanding Sports Personality - Studio Analyst category in 2016, 2014, 2012 and 2010 for his work on MLB Network.
Franco will take on new responsibilities as a baseball operations advisor. This comes in addition to his role as a club ambassador for the Mets, a position he has held since 2010. The Brooklyn native pitched in the major leagues for nearly 22 years (1984-2005) with the Cincinnati Reds, Mets and Houston Astros and fashioned a 2.89 ERA (400 earned runs/1,245.2 innings) with 495 walks and 975 strikeouts. He ranks fifth all-time on the major league career saves list with 424 and has more saves than any left-handed pitcher in history. Franco was selected to a total of four All-Star Games (1986, 1987, 1989 with the Reds and 1990 with the Mets). This is in addition to winning two Rolaids Relief Man Awards (1988 and 1990). Franco was named the third Mets captain on May 4, 2001. Overall, he spent 14 years with team and was inducted to the Mets Hall of Fame on June 3, 2012. Off the field, he was presented a distinguished service award from the Fire Department of New York for his efforts assisting the FDNY and their families after 9-11.
“John’s on and off field contributions to this franchise cannot be overstated,” added Van Wagenen. “Like Al, John is a winner. We are confident that both will be instrumental in reinforcing our winning culture and mindset.”
“I love being a Met and I’m grateful for this opportunity for a larger role within the organization,” Franco said. “In addition to meeting fans and engaging with our community, I am eager to get working with our players. I have learned a lot from the game, and I look forward to being able to share that with our players.”
As a club ambassador, Franco makes appearances for the club’s Community Relations, Marketing and Media Relations Departments. In his expanded role, he will work with baseball operations department to help scout and develop talent. He will assist with pitchers at every level of the organization to help prepare them to achieve their full potential.