The New York Mets decided earlier this week that Dan Warthen will not return as the pitching coach in 2018. Warthen was the Mets pitching coach since he took over for Rick Peterson in June 2008.
The Mets will need to find a pitching coach and that may ultimately come down to who the manager will be.
Dave Eiland was a former pitcher for the Yankees and Devil Rays. He had a 5.74 ERA over 373 innings pitched. He became a pitching coach in the minors shortly after and worked his way up to pitching coach in 2008. Eiland won a ring with the Yankees in 2009 but was let go the next season.
He served as Royals pitching coach from 2011-2017 winning a World Series championship there as well. Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star refers to Eiland as “one of the most respected pitching coaches in the game.” Royals manager, Ned Yost, said “Dave is a great mechanical pitching coach.”
Joel Sherman of the NY Post speculates a fit between the Mets and Eiland. He also notes a strong relationship with Kevin Long who will return to the Mets staff in 2018 in some capacity, whether it’s manager or hitting coach.
Jim Hickey was a career minor leaguer before transitioning to the coaching aspect of the game. Hickey worked the ranks in the Houston organization and finally got the job at the big league level in the middle of 2004. Hickey and the Astros were a very vaunted pitching staff thanks to Roger Clemens , Andy Pettitte and Roy Oswalt. Hickey eventually moved to Tampa Bay to become their pitching coach in 2006 and has stayed there until this season.
Hickey survived several managerial changes. Under Hickey, the Rays produced many quality pitchers such as James Shields, David Price, Chris Archer and Alex Cobb to name a few. Rays pitchers were very praising of Hickey.
“Hickey is one of the most intellectual people I know. He’s also one of the best people persons I know,” Archer said.
Hickey’s departure came as a surprise but he should catch on to another team if he still intends to coach.
Curt Young was a pitcher for the Oakland Athletics from 1983-93. He also had a stint with Kansas City and the Yankees. Young had a 4.31 ERA in 1,107 innings pitched.
Young left for Boston after 2010 to join Terry Francona and his staff. The 2011 Red Sox had the worst collapse in MLB history.
Young left after Francona did and rejoined the Athletics staff, where he has served until this year. Jane Lee of MLB.com writes about his dismissal.
Bob Melvin referred to him as “maybe my closest confidant,” while GM David Forst said “Curt is, above all else, a great guy, a good man, and has been with the organization for a long time.”
Former A’s closer, Sean Doolittle said “I just feel for Curt. It caught me really off guard.” Judging by the outside, Young seemed like a popular guy who had to fall on the sword for being in a tough spot.
Young does have ties to Bob Geren and Sandy Alderson. He pitched for several of Alderson’s Athletics teams while serving alongside Geren.
Ricky Bones is the Mets current bullpen coach and has held that position since 2012. He was a major leaguer and had a 4.85 ERA in 1,278.1 innings pitched. He was an all-star in 1994 with the Marlins.
He is popular among the players but Sandy Alderson gave him permission to speak to teams elsewhere due to the staff shakeup. Mets closer, Jeurys Familia, often refers to Bones as a mentor.
Bones could get the job if Kevin Long is promoted to the position of Mets manager. Long has ties to both Bones and Dave Eiland as mentioned above.
Glenn Abbot had a 4.39 ERA in 1,286 innings pitched at the major league level. He has been a minor league pitching coach since 1990 and has spent the last seven years in the Mets organization. He was the Binghamton Rumble Ponies pitching coach this past season, who just had their lowest ERA ever in a single year.
Brian Bannister was a former Met before being traded around. He is one of those who was a coach in the making while playing.
He became known for a sharp mind in sabermetrics while playing and cited advanced stats to helps pitchers according to the Boston Herald. Bannister enjoys using FIP and UZR to measure a players value and also believes in a strong defense.
“To me, defense is the cheapest way to build a good team,” Bannister said in 2010.
His current position title is Vice President of Pitching Development and Assistant Pitching Coach with the Red Sox.
He seems like a nice fit for the Mets especially if they commit to heading into the route of sabermetrics and advanced stats.
Ron Romanick was a former pitcher who had a 4.24 ERA in 531 innings pitched. He served as the Oakland Athletics bullpen coach from 2007-10. He became their pitching coach during the 2011 season when Curt Young left for Boston.
He was let go after the 2011 season and became the Mets pitching coordinator. He has served in that role since 2012 and has overseen the rise of many top level arms.
Romanick was the one who signed Josh Smoker while he was out of baseball. Romanick worked with the Oakland Athletics big three of Barry Zito, Tim Hudson and Mark Mulder when they were younger and helped them out while also coaching pitchers like Michael Fulmer. Fulmer credits Romanick for teaching him his change-up.
Derek Lilliquist had a 4.13 ERA in 483.2 innings pitched in the big leagues. He was the Cardinals pitching coach from 2012-17 and served as their bullpen coach prior to that.
The Cardinals missed the playoffs for the second straight year which likely led to Lilliquist losing his job. Dan Buffa of KDSK was dumbfounded by this firing, claiming that Lilliquist had to fall on the sword for Mike Matheny. The Cardinals team ERA has always been middle of the pack or one of the best since Lilliquist took over. His big philosophy is to induce ground balls.
Cardinals GM, John Mozeliak, cited a more modern and advanced pitching coach than Lilliquist.
“When you’re looking at pitch strategy and the modernization of the tools we have available to us, we need somebody who understands it, has interest in it, can communicate it and who can teach it,” Mozeliak said.
Definitely not the most glowing endorsement from the GM regarding Lilliquist.
Jason Bere currently serves as the Cleveland Indians bullpen coach. The 1994 all-star had a 5.14 ERA over 1111 innings pitched in the majors.
Bere worked in the front office after his playing days and replaced Kevin Cash following his departure for the Tampa Bay Rays.
Bere is a candidate for this job because of his work with the Indians bullpen and his connection to managerial candidates, Mikey Callaway (Indians pitching coach) and Sandy Alomar,Jr. (first base coach).
Craig Bjornson was a career minor leaguer before becoming a coach. He served as a pitching coach in the minors from 2002-2011 with the Astros organization. He became the Astros pitching coach in 2012 and the Astros have been one of the better bullpens in baseball each of the last two years.
Bjronson has connections with Alex Cora who is strongly rumored for the Mets managerial job.
What say you, Mets fans? Who would you like to see be the next Mets pitching coach?