The New York Mets made yet another addition to their organization on Thursday, in an offseason full of them. They offered Yankees’ assistant hitting coach Eric Chavez, who had been recently appointed by the crosstown rivals, the hitting coach position, which he will reportedly accept.
Andy Martino of SNY reported the news. The Mets have been busy this offseason, replacing Zack Scott with new general manager Billy Eppler, bringing in Buck Showalter as the new skipper, and signing four major free agents: center fielder Starling Marte, outfielder Mark Canha, infielder Eduardo Escobar, and star pitcher Max Scherzer.
Chavez, currently 44 years old, knows Eppler, for his stint with the Yankees in 2011 and 2012, when the current Mets’ baseball decisions chief worked in the Bronx. Then, Chavez worked, per SNY, as a special assistant during Eppler’s tenure as the GM of the Los Angeles Angels.
A surprising move by the Mets
The move is certainly a surprise, but the Mets didn’t operate outside the rules: they asked the Yankees for permission to interview Chavez, and they granted it because it was for a higher position.
Chavez doesn’t have any experience as a hitting coach, but was an above-average hitter back in the day. He played for the Oakland Athletics, Yankees, and Arizona Diamondbacks between 1998 and 2014, so he certainly knows a thing or two about hitting, as his 260 home runs and 113 wRC+ suggest.
Chavez will have his hands full with the Mets’ offense. The unit scored only 3.92 runs per gameand were 20th with a .238/.314/.390/.705 line and 176 round-trippers in 2021.
Francisco Lindor, Dominic Smith, Jeff McNeil, James McCann, and Michael Conforto all struggled with the bat last season at different levels, and Chavez will try to revert the situation with all of them except for Conforto, currently a free agent. The Mets’ offense needs a jolt, and they are hoping this hire will provide it.