Dan Warthen walked out of the clubhouse following the Mets’ final game of the season and made one promise.
“I am not going to retire, that’s all I know,” the Mets long-time pitching coach said.
And Monday, Warthen made good on that promise. Rebuffing an offer to remain in the Mets organization in another role, Warthen took a job as the assistant pitching coach with the Rangers, the team announced.
The Mets will announce former Royals and Yankees’ pitching coach Dave Eiland as Warthen’s replacement soon. Manager Terry Collins stepped down after the final game of the 2017 season, beginning the staff shakeup. The Mets hired first-time manager Mickey Callaway to replace Collins, who remains in the organization as a special advisor to GM Sandy Alderson.
Mets dump pitching coach Dan Warthen, head trainer Ray Ramirez
Warthen was the Mets pitching coach from 2008-17 and oversaw the development of young pitchers like Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, who won the 2014 Rookie of the Year award, Matt Harvey and Jeurys Familia. He guided R.A. Dickey through his 2012 Cy Young season.
In 2016, despite losing Harvey, deGrom and Steven Matz to season-ending injuries, the Mets rotation finished with the third best ERA in the majors. In 2015, the year their pitching got them to the World Series, they had the fourth best ERA in the majors over all 3.43.
This year, however, the Mets pitching went off the rails and Warthen was the target for unhappy fans and some within the organization.
The Mets had the second-worst WHIP in the majors this season (1.49) and batting average against (.273) as a staff. They gave up the fourth-most walks in the big leagues (593) and were well above the average for the National League (541) and MLB (528).
Mets looking to replace pitching coach Dan Warthen
That largely would be seen as being out of Warthen’s hands.
The Mets lost every one of their seven starters except deGrom to an injury at one point of this season, including losing Syndergaard on April 30 and missing him until Sept. 23.
It also affected the bullpen.
After losing Jeurys Familia for 15 games for an MLB suspension under the joint domestic violence policy, the Mets closer had to undergo surgery to remove a blood clot in his right shoulder and was out over three months.
Dumping Warthen won’t fix the Mets and his pitchers want him back
Warthen had fierce support among the Mets pitchers, who were quick to point out that they had been the among best staffs in baseball the previous two years under his guidance.
“He has helped me a lot, he’s taught me different grips and approaches,” deGrom said in September when the rumblings about Warthen getting fired were getting louder. “Even just this year, working through that period where I just couldn’t get myself mechanically together, he was there working with me and we eventually figured it out.
“I like working with Dan,” deGrom said. “We work well together and I think I am better for it, and I want to keep working with him.”
Syndergaard, whose injury was a tipping point for the season, was blunt when he talked about Warthen’s future. On the last day of the season, Syndergaard threw high heat at the front office.
Noah Syndergaard campaigns to save Dan Warthen’s job
“As far as pitching coach situation, I think it’s pretty much (BS) with Dan. He’s taking the blame for all the injuries we’ve had this year,” Syndergaard said after the Oct. 1 season finale. “I think they are looking in the wrong direction. If Dan’s not back next year, what does that say? Because I am right here saying that in my opinion, I think he is what’s best for our pitching staff and I want him to be my pitching coach for the remainder of my career.”
Warthen, a lefty who pitched four seasons in the majors with Montreal, Philadelphia and Houston, was also the pitching coach for the Mariners, Padres and Tigers. He was the bullpen coach with the Dodgers in 2006 and 2007.
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