PORT ST. LUCIE — The Mets spent Friday in limbo, waiting to find out the next steps they would take after spring training was shuttered around the league.
The work stoppage caused by the coronavirus pandemic will no doubt throw every team into turmoil, and it’s just the latest part of an especially chaotic offseason for the Mets.
The uncertainty began on Oct. 3, when the Mets fired manager Mickey Callaway.
That kicked off a month-long search for a new manager, which ended on Nov. 1, when they hired Carlos Beltran.
The excitement of that move lasted less than two weeks before Beltran’s name surfaced in the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal that, until the past few days, figured to dominate much of the regular season.
Beltran denied involvement to The Post’s Joel Sherman, however, and he remained the Mets’ manager.
With Beltran still at the helm, the Wilpons entered into an agreement in December to sell 80 percent of the franchise for $2.6 billion to hedge-fund billionaire Steve Cohen, briefly leading to the notion that the team would get an influx of cash, resulting in an eventual increase in payroll.
Then came the revelation by The Post that in May of last year, Yoenis Cespedes suffered multiple fractures to his right ankle when he fell after being startled by a wild boar on his Port St. Lucie ranch.
The accident resulted in Cespedes agreeing to a significant pay cut of approximately $30 million for both last year and this one — with the opportunity to earn back roughly half of that amount by playing extensively in 2020.
He had been limited to simulated games before the Grapefruit League season was shut down Thursday.
The Cespedes news was followed by MLB singling out Beltran in its official report regarding the Astros’ 2017 scandal.
The Mets and Beltran ultimately decided to part ways, leaving the team without a manager yet again, this time with less than a month to go before pitchers and catchers reported to spring training. Houston manager A.J. Hinch and Boston manager Alex Cora were also fired for their roles in the scandal.
After Beltran’s departure, the Mets soon landed on Luis Rojas to replace him. The 38-year-old served as the team’s quality control coach last season and had worked his way up through the organization’s minor league system.
In the meantime, the potential sale of the team to Cohen fell through, keeping the Wilpons in charge indefinitely.
As for Rojas, the young manager is well-respected for his work in the game, but was still thrust into a tough situation, given his hiring came so close to spring training.
Rojas seemed to be growing more comfortable in the role when the coronavirus crisis began encroaching on the sports world, first with clubhouses being closed to non-essential personnel and then with the closing down of spring training a day after the NBA season was suspended after Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19.
Even that touched the Mets, because Gobert’s teammate Donovan Mitchell, son of Mets director of player relations and community engagement Donovan Mitchell Sr., also tested positive. The Jazz played the Knicks at Madison Square Garden on March 4, and Mitchell Sr. attended the game. He tested negative for the virus, the Mets said Friday night.
Mitchell Sr. returned to Florida the following day and had been regularly at work at the Mets’ spring training complex through Wednesday. No other team employees were scheduled for tests as of Thursday.
Whenever MLB returns to action, Rojas and the Mets figure to have even more to figure out, but this time, they will have plenty of company.