- The Mets were considering Dodgers first base coach Clayton McCullough for bench coach after he impressed in his managerial interview with New York, but a hiring doesn’t seem likely to come to fruition. Jon Heyman of the MLB Network tweets that New York brass doesn’t believe McCullough would leave Los Angeles for a coaching position elsewhere. Instead, it seems he’s lined up to return for a second season on Dave Roberts’ staff. Deesha Thosar of the New York Daily News reported yesterday that the Mets were looking into a potential “headline-grabbing hire” for bench coach.
- The Mets already made a notable coaching move this morning, tabbing longtime big league third baseman Eric Chávez as hitting coach. Chávez had accepted a position as one of two Yankees assistant hitting coaches just a few weeks ago, leaving the Bronx club with an unanticipated vacancy on staff. Lindsey Adler of the Athletic reports (on Twitter) that the Yankees do plan to replace Chávez this offseason. That aligns with general manager Brian Cashman’s stated wish to enter the season with three hitting instructors on staff. Dillon Lawson is slated to be the team’s lead hitting coach, with Casey Dykes lined up for an assistant role.
- Though the club has confirmed that Ray Montgomery will make the unusual transition from front office to bench coach on Joe Maddon’s staff, the Angels have not yet announced assignments for either former bench coach Mike Gallego (who will remain on the staff) or newcomers Phil Nevin, Benji Gil, and Bill Haselman (per Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register). This may be due to the club’s pursuit of Adam Eaton for its staff should he choose to retire — which, given that he remains an active member of the MLBPA, cannot be completed during the lockout.
- The Mets announced their full slate of minor league coaches Thursday, including new managers at all four affiliates: former Cubs farmhand Kevin Boles at Triple-A Syracuse; journeyman infielder Reid Brignac at Double-A Binghamton; former Expos, Red Sox, and (briefly) Mets shortstop Luis Rivera at High-A Brooklyn; and former Mets catching instructor Robbie Robinson at Low-A St. Lucie. A full list of Mets minor league coaches, compiled by SNY contributor Jacob Resnick, can be found here.
- The Reds have hired sixteen-year big-league veteran Juan Samuel as a minor league hitting instructor, per Jon Heyman of MLB Network, though his precise role has not yet been announced. Since retiring, the three-time All-Star has held a number of positions, including as a major league base coach and, briefly, as interim manager of the Orioles following the 2010 mid-season firing of Dave Trembley. In addition to his long and productive playing career, Samuel is remembered as the Mets’ return in the 1989 deal that sent Lenny Dykstra and Roger McDowell, cornerstones of the 1986 World Series champs, to the Phillies.
- The Rangers announced two members of their 2022 big-league coaching staff, including the promotion of former journeyman catcher, advanced scout, and so-called “coordinator of run prevention” Brett Hayes to bullpen coach and the hiring of former Jays farmhand and Dodgers minor league hitting instructor Seth Conner as assistant hitting coach. Both will join Chris Woodward’s staff for a season the Rangers hope will represent a major step forward in the rebuilding process following the club’s recent big-ticket signings of Corey Seager, Marcus Semien, and Jon Gray.
The Mets are finalizing a deal with Joey Cora to make the 56-year-old their next third base coach, reports Mike Puma of the New York Post. He’ll replace Gary DiSarcina, who was let go after the season and has since taken on the same role with the Nationals.
Cora has spent the past five seasons as the Pirates third base coach, a stint that overlapped with those of a pair of managers (Clint Hurdle and Derek Shelton). After the season, Pittsburgh announced that Cora would not be brought back, eventually promoting field coordinator Mike Rabelo to take over the position.
New Mets skipper Buck Showalter is apparently set to bring Cora to Queens in what’ll be his first coaching hire. A big league second baseman from 1987-98, Cora began his coaching career as a skipper in the Mets farm system. He made the jump to a big league staff under Ozzie Guillen with the White Sox in 2003, serving as the third base coach on the South Siders 2005 World Series-winning club. Cora, the older brother of Red Sox manager Alex Cora, also spent some time on the Marlins staff.
Showalter and the Mets front office still have plenty of work to do in building out the staff over the coming weeks. Jeremy Hefner, who served as pitching coach under former skipper Luis Rojas, is retaining that position with Showalter. Yet bench coach, hitting coach, first base coach and bullpen coach all remain to be filled.
Puma names a pair of potential candidates for the bench coach vacancy, suggesting John Russell and Clayton McCullough as possibilities. Russell, who managed the Pirates from 2008-2010, spent the 2011-18 seasons on Showalter’s staffs with the Orioles. The bulk of that time came as bench coach. McCullough, meanwhile, is currently the Dodgers first base coach. He interviewed for the Mets managerial vacancy last month. While he obviously didn’t land that position, Puma writes he made a favorable enough impression the team could look to add him to the staff as Showalter’s top lieutenant.
The Mets have interviewed Dodgers first base coach Clayton McCullough as part of their ongoing managerial search, tweets Joel Sherman of the New York Post. It’s expected to be their final interview of the first round of the search to replace Luis Rojas.
McCullough joins Dodgers bench coach Bob Geren as the second member of Dave Roberts’ staff to interview for the Mets’ vacancy. The other four known candidates are veteran skipper Buck Showalter, Rays bench coach Matt Quatraro, Astros bench coach Joe Espada and former Tigers/Angels skipper Brad Ausmus.
The 2021 season was the first on a Major League coaching staff for the 41-year-old McCullough, a former minor league catcher who’d previously spent close to a decade as a minor league coach and manager in the Blue Jays system. The Dodgers hired him as their minor league field coordinator in 2015 and promoted him to the big league coaching staff this past season. McCullough also interviewed for the Giants’ managerial vacancy prior to the team’s hiring of Gabe Kapler.
While the first wave of interviews was conducted via Zoom by new general manager Billy Eppler, per SNY’s Andy Martino, the second round of interviews will be conducted in person and will include owner Steve Cohen. He adds that the field is expected to be whittled down to three finalists prior to in-person interviews. At the moment, Showalter is seen as having a “strong chance” to secure the position, per Martino, but it seems as though two more candidates will have the opportunity to sway Eppler and Cohen before anything is finalized.