The Mets made news today by doing nothing unusual. When a team struggles, heads will roll. But what do coaches have to do with anything?
Hugh Quattlebaum was named the new hitting coach, with Kevin Howard as his assistant.
Now, if those are two names you hear for the first time, you are not alone because Mets players are in the same boat, asking, “Who are these guys?”
Just for the record, though, “these guys” are the new regime’s guys, hand-picked by Sandy Alderson, and part of a weeding-out process that may or may not extend to Mets’ manager Luis Rojas eventually.
Mets Players: “Just Leave Me Alone, Please”
Moreover, it’s a good bet there’s more than a handful of Mets players who are whispering to each other, “Why the hell don’t you just leave me be – I got this?”
Last in the major leagues in runs scored, fourth from the bottom in OPS, last in home runs, last in base hits, and second from last in base-on-balls (Source: ESPN.
What else do they need to know, as if some hitting guru is going to burst through the clubhouse door spreading magic glitter in each locker, and all will be well in Metland again?
In Baseball, Hitting Is Contagious
Hitting is contagious, they say in baseball. Logically then, so is poor hitting, the case with the Mets now, and with the exception of Brandon Nimmo and J.D. Davis (now on the 10-day IL), everyone is feeling it.
Moreover, no hitting coach on this planet can stop their hitters from trying to hit a five-run home run or swinging at balls a foot-and-a-half off the plate.
It’s mental, not physical. Francisco Lindor hasn’t forgotten how to hit; none of them have.
So now, you have these new faces coming in, all eager with a head full of ideas they’ve been saving up for just this moment in their careers when they have a captive audience to preach to – real live major league Mets hitters.
By mudding the water, how can that possibly help at this point?
There’s always a player or two who takes a liking and trust in a particular coach, and over time there might be someone on the Mets who will benefit.
Mets: Is Luis Rojas About To Get Run Over?
But unless Luis Rojas takes control by having a sitdown with Quattlebaum and Howard, telling them to back off because “My guys got this,” and even if it’s not true (yet), things can get even worse before they get better.
Ironically, when the Mets do pull out from this funk, and they will, all the credit will go to the new coaches.
In fact, you can say no one connected to the Mets has a better job than Quattlebaum (sorry, I can’t help but laugh when I type that name) and Howard.
They’re walking into a win-win situation – because, for the Mets offense, there’s nowhere to go but up.
In baseball, things tend to even out. Yermin Mercedes (CWS) will not hit .400 this year (he’s at .395), J.D. Martinez (BOS) will not stay on the pace he’s on to drive in 156 runs, and Cedric Mullins (BAL) will not collect the 218 base hits he on pace to deliver.
Likewise, the reverse is true, and the law of averages favors Mets players, like Dominic Smith, who will surely finish with far more than the six home runs he’s on pace for this season.
Fortunately, Mets pitching has kept them at or near .500 in the NL East, a division separated by a mere 2.5 games, and where .500 appears to be par for the course.
How Do You Spell P-A-N-I-C?
A question that comes to mind, though, with the Mets firing of Davis and Slater is this – though neither could be said to be helping the team – was either or both hurting the team?
I’ve never heard of anyone connected to the Mets say the latter – so what’s the point of it all – except to introduce two new faces to the Mets clubhouse in the middle of a season?
No, this was a move by the Mets that spells P-A-N-I-C, and for no reason except to say to their fans, though not their players, “See, we are trying to do something.”
Not very impressive, Sandy…
Here’s What Readers Are Saying…
Question with all due respect Steve Contursi Is your stance that good managers and coaches do NOT make a difference? Specifically when it comes down to the details of winning a championship vs just being a contender?