A shakeup of the Mets’ coaching staff has yielded a new direct mentee for manager Buck Showalter: Eric Chavez, now the bench coach.
They promoted Chavez from hitting coach, sources confirmed Monday night, the most significant in a series of tweaks that features several roles changing but most of the names and faces remaining. Jeremy Barnes will replace Chavez as the hitting coach, and Glenn Sherlock will stay aboard as a catching/run-game/game-calling coach.
For Chavez, who is viewed within the industry as something of a managerial prospect and who reportedly interviewed for manager openings with the Angels and Rangers in recent years, this bump up on the staff should serve him well for if or when he takes that next step. He’ll be the right-hand man for Showalter, who this month was named Manager of the Year for the fourth time in his career.
Chavez will be the Mets’ seventh bench coach in seven seasons. Since 2017, they have bounced from Dick Scott to Gary DiSarcina to Jim Riggleman to Hensley Meulens to Dave Jauss to Sherlock, with part of that turnover due to similarly frequent changes at manager.
Barnes served as the assistant hitting coach in 2022 (and the de facto farm director in 2021). Other teams expressed interest in potentially hiring him, a person familiar with the situation said, so the Mets moved him up as a way to fend off would-be poachers.
Sherlock, hand-picked by Showalter to be the bench coach in Showalter’s first season with the Mets, stayed in that role for one season. Showalter often went out of his way to publicly praise Sherlock’s abilities as a catching instructor. Their relationship dates to 1989 when they worked in the Yankees’ farm system.
Regarding Sherlock’s new job, the Mets figure controlling the run game will be more important if rookie catcher Francisco Alvarez is on the team. His defensive capabilities are reputed to lag well behind his hitting.
Also, the Mets informed other clubs that they would not retain bullpen coach Craig Bjornson, making him free to interview elsewhere, a source said.