CARLSBAD, Calif. — Days into his tenure as Mets general manager, Brodie Van Wagenen has made his presence felt in a big way when it comes to the club’s coaches.
Van Wagenen announced Monday a major shakeup to the big-league field staff that leaves the Mets with three vacancies: bench coach, hitting coach and bullpen coach.
- Hitting coach Pat Roessler is fired.
- Ruben Amaro Jr. is moving from first-base coach to a front-office adviser role.
- Gary DiSarcina is moving from bench coach to third-base coach.
- Glenn Sherlock is moving from third-base coach to first-base coach.
- Ricky Bones is moving from bullpen coach to a player-development role to be decided.
Pitching coach Dave Eiland and assistant hitting coach Tom Slater will remain in their roles.
The changes stemmed from two days of conversation between manager Mickey Callaway and Van Wagenen last week, the GM said.
“We really just rolled up our sleeves and wanted to be able to talk candidly about what he identified [as areas of potential improvement], what we felt like might be helpful to him,” Van Wagenen said at the hotel where baseball’s GM meetings began Monday. “We were on the same page from the beginning.
“Mickey will be very much involved [in picking new coaches]. Mickey will be coming into New York again next week when we come out of here. Hopefully, we’ll be able to schedule some interviews as soon as then, and Mickey will be part of every step on the way.”
Roessler spent four seasons with the Mets, 2015-17 as assistant hitting coach and 2018 as hitting coach. Although several Mets, including Michael Conforto and Amed Rosario, made significant second-half gains, the team was only so-so offensively, averaging 4.17 runs per game, ranking 23rd among 30 teams. The Mets were far better on the road (4.96 runs per game) than they were at Citi Field (3.41), a source of mystery to club officials.
Van Wagenen said the Mets have not identified a particular hitting philosophy they desire in a new hitting coach.
“At this point, our goal is to try to show improvement offensively, and we’re going to keep our eyes open to a variety of different options,” Van Wagenen said.
In returning to his front-office roots — he was the Phillies’ GM from 2009-15 — Amaro stands to be a significant voice for Van Wagenen, a former player agent, as he learns how to be a team executive.
Amaro and Van Wagenen played at Stanford, albeit not at the same time, and Van Wagenen said they have a “long history” that includes plenty of negotiations when Amaro’s Phillies worked with Van Wagenen’s clients.
“In my transition, he can be a valuable asset for me in the front office,” Van Wagenen said.
Regarding DiSarcina, Van Wagenen praised his work with the infielders, particularly shortstop Rosario and second baseman Jeff McNeil. But the Mets are looking for a more experienced bench coach/former manager-type who can better assist Callaway with in-game management, which was not a strength in his first year as manager.
“Gary is a good third-base coach,” Van Wagenen said. “Our goal is to try to give Mickey as much support as he can in the dugout.”
Van Wagenen didn’t offer as much clarity when it comes to his other top lieutenants. Special assistant Omar Minaya is staying, but Van Wagenen hedged when it came to the futures of assistant GM John Ricco and special assistant J.P. Ricciardi, saying they are important “right now.”
Will they remain Mets?
“I hope so,” Van Wagenen said. “At this point, we want to identify where our greatest needs are and make sure we’re putting our best people in that position. We’ve talked to those guys about various different roles and areas of focus. Hopefully, we can get more definition as it goes forward. They’re certainly important to me, and that’s why they’re out here this week.”