NEW YORK -- One of baseball’s rising analytic minds is nearing a return to the Mets. The team on Tuesday moved closer to a deal to make Jeremy Hefner, a Met from 2012-13, its pitching coach, according to a source. Multiple reports indicated the deal was complete, though Mets sources said that was not officially the case as of early Tuesday afternoon.
The Mets plan to announce their entire coaching staff at once, likely in early December.
Hefner, 33, joined the Mets on a waiver claim in late 2011, posting a 4.65 ERA over 50 appearances before undergoing Tommy John surgery, which effectively ended his career. Hefner spent three more seasons as a Mets and Cardinals Minor Leaguer before retiring as a player, pursuing a business administration degree from Oral Roberts University at the same time.
Upon retiring, Hefner joined the Twins as an advance scout for two seasons, before receiving a promotion to assistant pitching coach. In that role, Hefner relied heavily on data to concoct pitch-mix strategies and mechanical adjustments for Twins pitchers, much as Mets pitching strategist Jeremy Accardo did upon joining the Mets’ big league staff in June.
With Hefner on board, there was no immediate word as to Accardo’s status, though Mets officials have said they were pleased with Accardo’s work. General manager Brodie Van Wagenen has also said he would like to keep 82-year-old interim pitching coach Phil Regan in the organization, likely in a developmental role.
In Flushing, Hefner will inherit a pitching staff that ranked 20th in the Majors in ERA before Regan and Accardo took over in June, and seventh afterward. National League Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom is returning to anchor the rotation, alongside Noah Syndergaard, Marcus Stroman and Steven Matz. Among Hefner’s most significant projects will be figuring out how to improve both Syndergaard and closer Edwin Díaz, who struggled in 2019.
In addition to closing in on a hire of Hefner, the Mets have agreed to bring back Chili Davis as hitting coach and hire Hensley Meulens as bench coach. The rest of manager Carlos Beltrán’s inaugural coaching staff should be finalized shortly.