MIAMI -- Mets hitting coach Lamar Johnson prefers to leave his players’ swings alone. That’s especially true in the middle of the season, when large-scale adjustments can be difficult to make.
The offseason, however, is a different matter. And that's particularly relevant to struggling Mets slugger Curtis Granderson, who Johnson said may be due for some offseason changes that go beyond just a few swing tweaks.
“Overall, there are some things I would like to see him do a little different next year,” Johnson told Newsday this week. “But right now, I’m just trying to get him to drive the ball... I see some things where I know it’s going to have to be (changed) in the winter.”
Granderson, 33, is hitting just .210./.313/.354 with 16 homers and 49 RBIs. He was signed to a four-year, $60-million deal last offseason in hopes that his power would translate at Citi Field. So far, it hasn’t.
Johnson declined to go into great detail, though he believes changes this winter could help restore some needed consistency to Granderson’s swing.
“The big thing that I talk to all the hitters about is developing one consistent swing,” said Johnson, who took over in May after the firing of Dave Hudgens. “You do the same thing in the cage, in batting practice, and in the game. That’s what we’re going to work on. Sometimes, we develop to different swings, some guys do. I just want him to develop one swing, a consistent swing, and that’s what we’ve been working on since I’ve been here. It’s being consistent with your swing, your bat path.”
Granderson is no stranger to swing changes. Throughout his career, he has made various large-scale changes, drawing raves from coaches for his willingness to adapt and learn. Of course, he’s faced this scenario before.
In 2010, his first with the Yankees after arriving in a three-team blockbuster, Granderson struggled so badly that he sought to make major swing changes with hitting coach Kevin Long, as Newsday colleague Erik Boland reported back then. Those adjustments opened the door to outstanding seasons in 2011 and 2012.
Of course, there is a question of how much truly needs to change. The answer may not be so clean cut.
Recently, the blog Amazin’ Avenue wrote about Granderson’s batted ball profile, painting a picture of a player who has been cursed mostly by poor luck. Mike Vorkunov of the Ledger also tackled the issue, noting a downturn in Granderson’s ability to maximize the damage he does on fastballs.
Anyhow, should have more on the issue in Friday’s editions of Newsday. But either way -- whether big changes are needed or not -- it’s a question the Mets must answer if next season is going to be any better than the six before it.