Through a league source, Mark Feinsand of the Daily News has confirmed that ousted Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long has spoken with Sandy Alderson about the Mets hitting coach position.
The source said Long has already had phone conversations with Mets general manager Sandy Alderson as well as the general managers and/or managers from the Braves and Blue Jays.
Long declined to go into specifics about who he has or has not spoken with. “I’ve gotten calls from a lot of teams,” he said. “I’ll leave it at that.”
The Red Sox are also said to be very interested in Long.
According to Matt Ehalt of The Record, Mets sources are indicating that Kevin Long could be looked at to fill the Mets vacancy at hitting coach. Long was relieved of his duties with the Yankees on Friday after ten years of service.
Long was best known for developing and implementing his ‘Home Run Drill’ during batting practice sessions and pre-game warm ups to get Yankee sluggers to take advantage of the short porch at Yankee Stadium.
He would be an interesting fit for the Mets solely because of his existing relationship with Curtis Granderson. Long helped Granderson develop into an extreme power hitter and was one of the many players he transformed into a pull home run hitter at Yankee Stadium.
“It’s been working with Kevin Long and the ability of him to throw lefthanded BP day in and day out,” Granderson told the Daily News‘ Sean Brennan in 2011 about his home run surge.
“But it’s constantly battling, trusting what we’ve been working on, the changes that we made, definitely never second-guessing what Kevin Long and myself started on last August.”
While it seems unlikely that a hitting coach would be brought in because of his relationship with a single player, fixing Granderson’s swing should be a top priority heading into 2015. Without a resurgence from Granderson and David Wright, the 2015 season could become a repeat of 2014.
Thoughts from Joe D.
I’m not sure it would be a good idea to bring in a hitting coach predominantly because he had some success with one player in the past. Especially when that one player was signed to a $60 million dollar deal to initially become the team’s cleanup hitter. When you get that kind of a contract, you usually don’t need to travel with a personal hitting coach.
The more you read the tea leaves, you get the sense that the front office is abandoning the pitching, contact, speed and defense that Citi Field was built for. The Mets are going alter their ballpark dimensions for the third time in six years.
The team has become so desperate that they have already fired two hitting coaches in the space of four months and by the looks of things, they still have no clear idea as to who the replacement will be. Among the candidates is Bobby Abreu who has recently retired and never worked as a hitting coach before, but is cherished by the front office for his patience and approach at the plate. But is that something he can teach, when others and more experienced hitting coaches have failed with this current Mets team?
Incredibly, the thought that perhaps the Mets need better players to score more runs is never mentioned or brought up, which is kind of perplexing to me. It’s either the approach, protection for Wright, the fences, and now the hitting coach.