NEW YORK -- The Mets did not have to look far for their new hitting coach, agreeing this week to hire Eric Chavez away from the Yankees, according to a source. The team has not confirmed the hire, which could become official within the next few days.
Chavez had joined the Yankees late last year as their assistant hitting coach, but he was subsequently allowed to interview for what amounted to a promotion. The Mets tabbed Chavez to replace Hugh Quattlebaum, their interim hitting coach for most of last season.
A prominent slugger for the Moneyball-era A’s of the early 2000s, Chavez played 17 seasons with the A’s, Yankees and D-backs, hitting .268 with 260 career homers. He won a Silver Slugger at third base in 2002.
Since his retirement, Chavez has worked as a television analyst, a front-office executive and a Minor League manager. Last month, the Yankees hired Chavez to become their assistant hitting coach. But when the Mets expressed interest in hiring him as their top hitting coach, the Yankees, following generally accepted industry protocols, allowed an interview to take place.
Chavez has had a close relationship with Mets general manager Billy Eppler since last decade, when Eppler helped him progress as a young Yankees executive. When Eppler moved on to become GM of the Angels, he brought Chavez with him as a special assistant. He also interviewed Chavez for the team’s managerial vacancy following the 2018 season.
In New York, Chavez will inherit an offense that underperformed for much of last season, finishing 27th in the Majors in runs per game. The team dismissed hitting coach Chili Davis in May and replaced him with Quattlebaum, but saw little improvement following that move.
Perhaps a new-look dugout is what the team needs. The Mets are also close to hiring Wayne Kirby and Joey Cora as their first- and third-base coaches, respectively, sources confirmed, giving new manager Buck Showalter significant experience on his staff. Jeremy Hefner is set to return as pitching coach, and the Mets are expected to name a bench coach within the near-term future.