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Jeremy Hefner to return as Mets' pitching coach

Mets pitching coach Jeremy Hefner is "very optimistic

Mets pitching coach Jeremy Hefner is "very optimistic for even more success from the pitching staff moving forward." Credit: MLB Photos via Getty Images/Mary DeCicco

The Mets don’t have a head of baseball operations, and they don’t have a manager. But they do have a pitching coach.

Jeremy Hefner will return in that role for 2022, the team announced Tuesday.

The timing is a bit odd, answering this question before hiring for the bigger roles, but it was time-sensitive. The Mets had until the end of the month to exercise their option on Hefner’s contract for next season, so they did that instead of risking losing him in free agency, a source familiar with their thinking explained.

Making that relatively easy call was team president Sandy Alderson, the de facto baseball operations leader until the Mets hire a permanent one, and the two assistant general managers, Ian Levin and Bryn Alderson (son of Sandy).

"Jeremy has done an outstanding job of working with the entire pitching staff and they’ve all benefited from his leadership and expertise," Alderson said in a statement. "He has blended analytics with his knowledge to provide players with tools for individual and team success."

Hefner said in a statement issued by the team: "I’m extremely excited to continue working with this group and build on the systems and practices we’ve implemented. I saw a lot of development from the rotation and bullpen and am very optimistic for even more success from the pitching staff moving forward."

The rest of the coaching positions will be decided on by the eventual new baseball boss and manager, with Hefner expected to be the only holdover from Luis Rojas’ staff last season.

Assistant hitting coach Kevin Howard has returned to his original role as director of player development, and hitting coach Hugh Quattlebaum also is being reassigned to a player development position. He was hired last offseason as director of hitting development. The others, including bench coach Dave Jauss and third-base/infield coach Gary DiSarcina, are free to pursue employment elsewhere.

Originally hired ahead of the 2020 season by then-GM Brodie Van Wagenen to serve on then-manager Carlos Beltran’s staff, Hefner earned rave reviews in two seasons on the job. In 2021, the Mets ranked ninth with a 3.90 ERA, tied for seventh with a 1.23 WHIP, were fifth with a 25.1% strikeout rate and tied for seventh with an 8.2% walk rate.

New York Sports