Mets general manager Sandy Alderson gave a vote of confidence to his pitching coach on Wednesday when he said Dan Warthen‘s job was safe.
“He’s part of the solution,” Alderson was quoted in L.A. during the Mets’ 4-game visit. “He’s part of the group of people, including the pitchers, as well as the coaching staff, who are trying to figure out how to get this staff back to where we expected it to be.”
Warthen is currently the longest-tenured coach on the Mets’ staff. He was hired nine years ago when the team parted ways with Rick Peterson when Willie Randolph was fired. He managed under Jerry Manuel and has stayed on board throughout Terry Collins‘ time in Queens.
He’s been part of two postseason teams (one of them being the 2015 National League champion club), but in 2017, it’s clear something hasn’t been working with the Mets and their staff’s overall performance.
Going into Thursday night’s series finale against the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Mets sport the second-worst ERA in the entire National League at 5.05. The team currently sits 9 games under .500 with no real sight of that improving any time soon.
Starting pitchers are getting hit hard early on, and the bullpen hasn’t been much better either.
Of course, anyone could make the case for why none of this is Dan Warthen’s fault.
You can point to injuries like the one that Noah Syndergaard suffered that will keep him on the shelf for a majority of this season. Or even Matt Harvey‘s extreme regression that a lot of us weren’t expecting. There are, however, other areas where you could justify his firing.
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Take, for example, Robert Gsellman and his big second year slump. Were there some adjustments that he needed to make that the Mets staff just haven’t been able to figure out? Is he just not as good as we all thought he could be?
The bullpen’s usage has also been extremely questionable this year. There’s no doubt that the majority of that falls on Collins’ lap, but he’s also consulting with his pitching coach on a constant basis, so Warthen cannot be fully exonerated either.
Ultimately in sports, it’s all about results, and the Mets just simply aren’t getting them. This staff was suppose to be deep, and was suppose to be able to withstand an injury or two. The pieces just haven’t fit the way they have in years past, and someone is ultimately going to have to take the fall for that.
No one’s job should be safe with the season the Mets are having right now — not Warthen’s, not Collins’, not even Sandy’s job should be a sure thing. This team has a narrow window of great arms that can perform under the right guidance. If the Wilpons and the front office aren’t careful with whom they choose to lead the way, the window could close faster than it opened up.