In 2013, Callaway and Niebla swapped roles for the Indians. With Callaway being promoted to big league pitching coach, Niebla became the minor league pitching coordinator after serving as the Indians interim pitching coach. As a tandem, the two have helped build the impressive Cleveland pitching staff.
With respect to Callaway, Niebla is ultimately the one who is responsible for taking the pitcher to the next level. The moment began when Niebla one day told Kluber to begin throwing a two-seamer.
From that point forward, Kluber’s stock rose, and he’s now a perennial Cy Young contender. Niebla not only made the suggestion, but also showed Kluber his preferred grip.
In fact, if you look at the Indians staff, many throw Niebla’s two-seamer. That pitch has helped the Indians post the best team ERA in the majors.
If this pitch is truly responsible for part of the success of these pitchers, we may soon hear the Niebla two-seamer in the same breath of the “Warthen slider.” For that to happen, he needs a chance.
As reported by the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Niebla has drawn interest in a major league coaching position. While the Mets have not been linked to him, they very well might be soon with the hiring of Callaway.
Certainly, there’s already a level of rapport between Callaway and Niebla. The question is whether it’s enough for the former to want to bring him aboard. It’s also a question if the Mets want to give him that job.
Overall, it seems like Niebla may very well get a job as a pitching coach this offseason. With the Mets hiring Callaway, presumably in large part due to his work with Indians pitchers, the Mets should take a long look at the coach who helped the new Mets skipper make those pitchers so successful.
Now that Callaway has been named the next man to mind the store in Queens, the rest of the staff needs to be rounded out. Niebla is an appealing name for sure, but it’s also worth noting that the aforementioned Bere could be an option for New York as well.
Additionally, the Mets will likely be keeping tabs on other names such as Chris Bosio who was recently let go by the Cubs, Dave Eiland who most recently coached with the Royals and Jim Hickey who served as the pitching coach of the Rays from 2006-17.