By Rich Coutinho
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The Mets have announced some coaching changes for 2012 and my immediate reaction is that losing Chip Hale is a big hit while adding Tim Teufel as third base coach and Ricky Bones as bullpen coach makes sense and here is why: Teufel, who was the AAA Buffalo Bisons manager and Bones, who was the team’s pitching coach, are very familiar with the personnel that played there, like Lucas Duda and Ruben Tejada for instance. It makes sense to have them around the major league squad since the players they mentored could be very big pieces on the 2012 Mets.
Hale will be a major hit for the Mets because he really had an impact on the dynamic of the clubhouse and he also made few, if any, mistakes on the third base coaching lines. He was a tireless worker when it came to studying video and providing opponents tendencies which helped the Mets immensely.
Dan Warthen, whom I think does a tremendous job with the pitching staff, will remain and that is a huge positive for the Mets. What we must remember about pitching coaches is that they can not reach everyone but Warthen did a great job with guys like Manny Acosta, Dillon Gee, Jonathan Niese, and R.A. Dickey providing them with mentoring and coaching that helped them perform at a high level. Mike Pelfrey, Pedro Beato and Bobby Parnell remain big projects for Warthen but his track record as a pitching coach is good. I also think Ricky Bones will provide a great second voice for the pitching staff and one that would reside in the bullpen. More importantly, it is an ex-pitcher who could relate to the trials and tribulations that relief pitchers encounter every day.
Dave Hudgens should also be commended for getting the Mets to change their outlook offensively. Despite all of the injuries, the Mets improved in two major areas — on base percentage and hits with runners in scoring position. The team was devoid of power for most of the season because of injuries and a huge ballpark, but Hudgens made due with less. His big challenge is 2012 will be Jason Bay, whose bat will need to be awakened, but overall the team made huge strides with the younger bats like Lucas Duda and Ruben Tejada as well as Justin Turner. Josh Thole had a decent second half as well while Angel Pagan will be another challenge for Hudgens — that is if Pagan is still on the roster.
The other coaches not returning, aside from Hale, are Mookie Wilson, bench coach Kent Oberkfell, and bullpen coach Jon Debus. Wilson and Debus will be offered other jobs within the organization. What this means is the Mets will need to hire a first base coach and a bench coach in the coming weeks.
How you do feel about the coaching changes? Leave a comment below.