NEW YORK -- Pleased with the club’s offensive improvement under hitting coach Chili Davis, the Mets struck a deal this week to bring Davis back on a two-year contract, according to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman. The Mets, who intend to announce their whole coaching staff later this month, did not confirm the signing.
Under Davis, the Mets improved from 23rd in the Majors in runs per game in 2018 to 13th last season. Their batting average increased from .234 to .257, while their strikeout total decreased slightly from 1,404 to 1,384. The team also reduced its pull rate under Davis, who preaches an all-fields approach. Coming to New York after stints as the hitting coach of the A’s, Red Sox and Cubs, Davis oversaw the All-Star seasons of Pete Alonso and Jeff McNeil, as well as Michael Conforto’s 33-homer campaign.
“I thought Chili did a great job in 2019,” general manager Brodie Van Wagenen said Wednesday at the GM Meetings in Arizona. “He developed a good relationship with our players. He helped our guys understand the value of using the whole field.”
The Mets have also been meeting with candidates for both bench coach and pitching coach to fill out new manager Carlos Beltrán’s staff. Van Wagenen said he hopes last year’s interim manager, 82-year-old Phil Regan, returns in some capacity, though he would not commit to Regan as pitching coach. Former Reds and Rangers manager Jerry Narron is among the Mets’ bench coach candidates.
Tebow to return
Tim Tebow will resume his quest to reach the Majors in 2020, Van Wagenen said, beginning the year back at Triple-A Syracuse.
Last season, Tebow slashed .163/.240/.255 with four home runs in 264 plate appearances. A finger laceration on his left hand ended his season six weeks early, much like a broken bone in his right hand forced him to miss the final two months of 2018.
Van Wagenen, Tebow’s former agent, has been less optimistic than ex-GM Sandy Alderson was about Tebow’s chances to make the big leagues.
“Obviously when he signed originally, he had a steep hill to climb,” Van Wagenen said. “I think that remains the case, but his work ethic and attitude remain the same.”