The New York Mets today announced that they have finalized their 2011 Major League coaching staff by naming Ken Oberkfell bench coach, Mookie Wilson first base coach, Dave Hudgens hitting coach and Jon Debus bullpen coach. Chip Hale and Dan Warthen will return as the club’s third base coach and pitching coach respectively.
Oberkfell completed his second season as the Manager for Buffalo (AAA) of the International League in 2010. He guided the club to a 76-68 record. It was his sixth year as the Mets’ Triple-A skipper, where he’s compiled a 379-409 record. Oberkfell is currently managing Escogido after leading the club to the 2009-2010 Dominican Winter League Championship and the Caribbean World Series title. He led New Orleans (AAA) of the Pacific Coast League to the 2007 Southern Division title and St. Lucie (A) to the Florida State League Championship in 2003. Oberkfell was named the Mets first base coach June 17, 2008 for the remainder of the season after beginning the campaign as the manager of New Orleans. The former infielder played 16 seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals, Atlanta Braves, Pittsburgh Pirates, San Francisco Giants, Houston Astros and California Angels. Oberkfell was a member of the 1982 World Series Champion Cardinals and led National League second basemen in fielding percentage in 1979 and NL third basemen in 1982 and 1983.
Wilson returned to the Mets organization last season as the club’s minor league outfield and baserunning coordinator after working in private business the previous four years. He was the Mets first base coach from 1997-2002. The 1996 Mets Hall of Fame inductee managed Brooklyn (A) of the New York-Penn League in 2005 and led Kingsport (R) of the Appalachian League from 2003-2004. Wilson played for the Mets from 1980-1989 and ranks among the club’s all-time leaders in stolen bases, triples, runs, hits, total bases, extra-base hits, games and at-bats.
Hudgens spent the last five years (2006-2010) as the Field Coordinator for the Cleveland Indians. He is currently managing Caracas in the Venezuelan Winter League. Hudgens was the hitting coach for the Oakland Athletics in 1999 and from 2003-2005. He managed four years in Oakland’s minor league system from 1985-1988, including three years at Medford (A) of the Northwest League. Hudgens, who was originally selected by the Mets in the first round of the January 1975 draft but did not sign, served as the Athletics’ Assistant Director of Player Development from 1996-1998 and 2000-2002. He played six minor league seasons with the Athletics and Indians and appeared in six games with Oakland in 1983.
Debus was a professional scout for the Los Angeles Dodgers from 2009-2010. He served on the coaching staff of the Orix Buffaloes in Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball League during Terry Collins’ tenure as Manager from 2007-2008. He served as the minor league catching coordinator for the Dodgers from 2002-2004 and in 2005 he was the bullpen coach for the big league squad. Debus began his coaching career in the Dodgers minor league system in 1990 and served as a coach or manager through the 1999 campaign. In 2000 and 2001 Debus was the General Manager of the Elmira Pioneers of the Independent Northern League. He played 10 seasons in the minor leagues, advancing as high as Triple-A.
Hale will enter his second season as the Mets third base coach. He was the Arizona Diamondbacks third base coach from 2007-2009 and managed Tucson (AAA) of the Pacific Coast League from 2004-2006.
Warthen took over as the Mets pitching coach on June 17, 2008 after beginning that season in the same position for New Orleans (AAA). The Mets finished seventh in the majors last year with a 3.70 team ERA. From 2006-2007, he was the bullpen coach for the Dodgers after coaching in the Mets minor league system from 2003-2005.
Original Post 12/11 8:30 AM
Last night during a Conference Call with Mets Bloggers, Mets GM Sandy Alderson said the team has identified the final coaching staff, but, due to some administrative issues, he will make the formal announcement either Monday or Tuesday of next week.
The Daily News reported that an organizational source said Dave Hudgens is expected to be named as Howard Johnson’s replacement as hitting coach, with Norfolk manager Ken Oberkfell being promoted from Triple-A to serve as new Mets skipper Terry Collins’ bench coach.
If true, than I have the coaching staff shaping up as follows:
- 1B Coach – Mookie Wilson
- 3B Coach – Chip Hale
- Bench Coach – Ken Oberkfell
- Hitting Coach – Dave Hudgens
- Pitching Coach – Dan Warthen
- Bullpen Coach – Jon Debus
Hudgens was the minor-league field coordinator in the Cleveland organization last season, and he also runs his own blog at SwingAway.com, which focuses on hitting.
Though the Mets have no plans to revamp their oft-criticized medical and training staffs, they will proceed without one member of that team.
By the way, the Mets will have dismissed strength and conditioning coach Rick Slate. The rest of the team’s medical and training staffs — including head trainer Ray Ramirez and assistant Mike Herbst — will remain intact.
Slowly, but surely everything is coming together the way Sandy Alderson wants it too. I am actually enjoying his methodical pace after years of running around and making decisions like chickens without heads. It’s refreshing to know that some thought goes into every decision they make no matter how great or small.