By Ed Coleman
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The winds of change blew through the Mets’ coaching staff on Wednesday, and when the gale subsided, four coaches were gone, two were retained, and there were still two positions – bench coach and first-base coach – that remained to be filled.
It was surprising if just for the fact that manager Terry Collins had expressed his desire to bring all of his coaches back for the 2012 season just before the end of this current season. Also, the one coach that most observers believed to be on the shakiest ground – pitching coach Dan Warthen – was retained while four others were pink-slipped.
Gone are 3B coach Chip Hale, bench coach Ken Oberkfell, 1B coach Mookie Wilson and bullpen coach Jon DeBus.
Hale accepted a two-year deal to be the bench coach of the Oakland A’s, rejoining his old friend Bob Melvin, the current Oakland manager. Hale and Melvin worked together on the Arizona Diamondbacks staff. Mets GM Sandy Alderson explained why the changes were made.
Hitting instructor Dave Hudgens was retained as well, but that was expected. Hudgens did a good job and also had a two-year contract.
Warthen deserved to be back as well, even though the pitching staff, especially the bullpen, faltered toward the end of the season. Collins addressed why Warthen was worthy of being retained.
Former Met Tim Teufel, who managed at Triple AAA Buffalo this past season, will take over for Hale as 3B coach. Teufel’s pitching coach at Buffalo – Ricky Bones – will be the new bullpen coach with the Mets. Wilson and DeBus have both been offered other jobs within the organization.
Oberkfell, meanwhile, will not be offered another position, and the bench coach spot remains open.
And for all the Wally Backman fans out there, he will not become the new Mets’ bench coach. He will pursue whatever managerial openings there are out there in the off-season.
If he stays with the Mets, he will likely take over Teufel’s spot as the manager at Buffalo.
Finally, rehabbing Johan Santana will skip a second Instructional League start in Florida this weekend and wrap up his program on Saturday. Santana threw 4 innings in an Instructional game last Friday, but will throw long toss and play light catch through Saturday and then shut things down for at least a couple of months.
The Mets and Santana feel that he’ll be ready for spring training and the 2012 season.
Are you OK with the Mets’ coaching shake-up? Let Eddie know in the comments below…