NL East Notes: Phillies, Zauzmer, Mets, Lefkowitz, Braves

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Earlier this offseason, the Mets denied the Phillies’ request to interview baseball analytics director Ben Zauzmer about Philadelphia’s assistant GM opening, SNY’s Andy Martino writes.  The Phillies instead went with another young executive for the role, hiring 27-year-old Anirudh Kilambi away from the Rays.

Like Kilambi, Zauzmer is also young (29), has a background in analytics, and already has amassed an impressive resume early in his career in baseball.  Zauzmer joined the Mets only last year after a six-year stint in the Dodgers’ analytics department, but quickly established himself as an important figure in New York’s front office.  This resulted in Zauzmer getting an assistant GM job with the Mets themselves, as the team announced the promotion in late December.

More from around the NL East…

  • Also from the Mets, Jason Lefkowitz had been a candidate for an assistant hitting coach position, but Joel Sherman of The New York Post tweets that the Mets are instead “going in another direction.”  A former scout for the Mariners and Astros, Lefkowitz runs a high performance baseball training facility.  Back in August, the NY Post’s Greg Joyce wrote about Lefkowitz’s work with Yankees prospect Anthony Volpe prior to the 2021 season, and Volpe delivered a huge year at A-ball that has put him in the conversation as one of baseball’s top prospects.  The Mets are still in the process of finalizing Buck Showalter’s coaching staff, though the lead hitting coach role was filled by Eric Chavez earlier this month.
  • When the Braves signed Manny Pina in November to share catching duties with Travis d’Arnaud, it immediately created speculation that either William Contreras and Shea Langeliers could be used as trade chips.  In the opinion of both The Athletic’s David O’Brien and an overwhelming 85.3% of respondents to a poll of Braves-related topics, Contreras seems the likelier of the two to be moved.  Both catchers are 24 years old and Langeliers has yet to debut in the majors, though he is a higher-rated prospect, garnering top-100 attention in each of the last two seasons.  Contreras has hit .225/.308/.405 in a small sample of 195 plate appearances at the big league level, though as O’Brien notes, defense is Contreras’ bigger issue.  There is no guarantee, of course, that Atlanta might deal any of its catchers, as d’Arnaud’s long injury history would seemingly require the team to have a bit more extra depth behind the plate.  The Contreras family are no strangers to trade buzz at this point, since William’s older brother Willson Contreras may also be available for teams in need of more established catching help.

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