Hensley Meulens, hired about a year ago to be then-manager Carlos Beltran’s right-hand man, won’t be back in 2021 as the Mets’ bench coach.
The first known change to the major-league coaching staff under new owner Steve Cohen means team president Sandy Alderson and his under-construction front office will afford manager Luis Rojas the chance to help choose his bench coach — an opportunity he did not have ahead of his first season.
"I have tremendous respect for Bam Bam," Rojas said via text Monday night. "I appreciated all that he did for us this last season and wish him nothing but the best in his next role."
The Rojas-Meulens arranged marriage came together when the Mets changed managers in January. When Beltran lost his job — part of the fallout of the 2017 Astros sign-stealing scandal — the Mets retained Meulens to work with Rojas.
Meulens, who is 53 and is fluent in five languages, was a longtime hitting/bench coach with the Giants under Bruce Bochy and reportedly has interviewed for several manager jobs in recent seasons. His 17-year career as a professional player included parts of five seasons in the majors with the Yankees.
The Mets’ next bench coach will be their fifth in five years after Meulens, Jim Riggleman (2019), Gary DiSarcina (2018) and Dick Scott (2016-17).
Alderson announced last week that Rojas would return for 2021.
"Very happy about that decision," Alderson said. "I think Luis is happy as well. And I’m looking forward to working with Louie, with our new general manager, the rest of the baseball operations group toward a successful 2021 season."
The fate of the rest of the staff is uncertain. That includes hitting coach Chili Davis, assistant hitting coaches Tom Slater and Ryan Ellis, pitching coach Jeremy Hefner, assistant pitching coach Jeremy Accardo, third-base/infield coach DiSarcina, first-base/outfield coach Tony DeFrancesco, quality-control/catcher coach Brian Schneider and bullpen coach Ricky Bones.
Bench coach is far from the biggest hole the Mets have to fill. Alderson still is trying to sort out the front office, having revealed last week that he gave up looking for a president of baseball operations and instead will hire a general manager.