If Jarred Kelenic develops into a star player for the Seattle Mariners, we will never forget the name, “Brodie Van Wagenen.”
As of right now, only Miguel Castro and J.D Davis serve as reminders that Van Wagenen was this team’s General Manager.
You can throw Marcus Stroman into the mix as well but he was lured back after Brodie was already given his walking papers.
Today we say goodbye to one of his first hires, hitting coach, Chili Davis.
The acquisition of Davis prior to the 2019 season was met with instant criticism.
His signing came on the heels of a rough stint in Chicago where he served as the Cubs’ hitting coach.
He admitted he had difficulty connecting with Chicago’s roster.
Davis detested “launch angle” and he made it his mission to change the philosophy of Cub hitters who wanted to hit the ball in the air.
Here’s what Chili said after being let go in Chicago:
I learned a lot this year,” Davis told the Sun-Times’ Gordon Wittenmyer. “I learned that the next situation I get in, before I say yes to a job, I need to make sure I know the personnel I’ll be dealing with in the clubhouse. I hope the next guy connects better with the players, because I felt that there were multiple players there I didn’t connect with. It wasn’t that I didn’t try; it just wasn’t there.
More of the same here? GM Zack Scott said that the Mets were parting ways with Davis because the Mets players “needed a better support system.”
That’s an interesting quote, for sure. Davis was reportedly well liked and respected in the clubhouse. Dominic Smith credits Davis for helping him in his breakout season in 2020.
Unfortunately, for Davis, he was a square peg trying to fit in a round hole here with the Mets.
The Mets, as a whole, enjoyed a ton of success at the plate in 2020. Of course, Davis worked remotely from his home in Arizona the entire season.
So, who wasn’t getting the support they needed?
It should be noted that Davis had success in Oakland as the A’s hitting coach. The Red Sox led the league in runs and OBP during Davis’ tenure in Beantown.
Speaking of the Red Sox, the Met offense completely disappeared against Boston last week. That continued Friday night in Philadelphia.
The following day, a mysterious stranger emerged.
After a 5-4 victory against the Phillies, Met players started praising Donnie Stevenson, a “hitting and approach coach.”
Apparently, Donnie is all about “elevating and celebrating,” “ripping heaters,” and “bringing the diesel.”
Is it strange that the first time the offense surfaces in nearly a week that the players are singing the praises of a fictional character instead of their actual hitting coach?
Yes. But I think Chili Davis may be somewhat involved with Donnie. Watch this video below. When asked Donnie’s last name, Pete Alonso says he “needs to ask Chili.”
Was Chili the problem? Maybe. Maybe not.
This isn’t something new. When offense falters, it’s usually the hitting coach who falls on the sword.
Hugh Quattlebaum, who will serve as Davis’ replacement comes highly recommended. The hire of Quattlebaum is drawing instant praise. But, make no mistake. If the offense struggles, he’ll be looking for a new job as well.
And that’s Steve Cohen for you. Our new owner didn’t like the way the offense was performing and he made a move. I like it.
Time is running out. It’s seemingly getting more and more difficult for Brodie Van Wagenen to salvage his legacy here with the Mets.
Now it’s time for Francisco Lindor and James McCann to build theirs.
Photo Credit: AP/Jeff Roberson