NOVEMBER 27: Hefner and the Mets are in agreement on a deal, per Heyman (Twitter link).
NOVEMBER 26: Twins assistant pitching coach Jeremy Hefner “is the Mets’ choice” to be their new pitching coach, MLB Network’s Jon Heyman tweets. SNY’s Andy Martino tweets that the deal isn’t quite yet finalized but could be by next week. If and when a deal is complete, Hefner will replace interim pitching coach Phil Regan, who stepped up when the club parted ways with veteran coach Dave Eiland back in June.
Hefner, still just 33 years old, pitched for the Mets as recently as 2012-13 but called his playing career quits after a 2016 run with the Cardinals’ Triple-A affiliate. He joined the Twins the following season as an advance scout. Hefner held that role for two seasons in Minnesota, helping to establish game plans for pitchers, devise defensive shifts and also use his experience as a recently retired player to best boil down data from the team’s analytics department for the players and coaching staff. Minnesota made Hefner its assistant pitching coach for the 2019 campaign, and that marks his lone season of experience on a Major League coaching staff to date.
Still, Hefner has been viewed as a rising star in the coaching ranks since latching on with the Twins and will seemingly get his first look at a top coaching spot with the only team for which he ever pitched at the MLB level. Hefner’s embracing of newer data and his recent experience as a player has become an increasingly desirable skill set for clubs both in terms of managerial and coaching searches.
Assuming the agreement does indeed go through, Hefner will be the second member of the Twins coaching staff to be hired away by another club this winter. Hitting coach James Rowson has already been plucked away by Miami, and it’s still possible that bench coach Derek Shelton could be hired as the next manager of the Pirates. Minnesota elevated an internal replacement, Edgar Varela, for Rowson yesterday.
MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo writes that the Mets plan to formally announce their new-look coaching staff all at once — perhaps sometime next week.